Teacups in the Jungle

Life stories from a missionary mama

Tonight we ate a cake that was the most horrid shade of green you can imagine. Even the pink sprinkles and pink M&M’s around the outside didn’t help distract from the “greenness” of the cake. However, as Danny reminded me as I put it together, this cake was not of my choosing. It was in fact, a creation of our little girl’s imagination from her hospital bed, less than two weeks ago.

The green cake.

During a rough afternoon, when she was uncomfortable laying on her back and not liking the I.V. in her arm, we tried to help take her mind off things by offering her a special gift when she got out of the hospital. We offered a new cuddly toy, a book, or even a new movie to watch. However, as she pondered over these options nothing seemed to fit quite right. Then, she smiled the first smile of the day and got a little glint of hope in her eyes and proudly stated, “I want a green cake Mama when I go home”. That was it and we made a promise to our Izzy that when we were home and she was ready, we would have a green cake.

It was not the prettiest cake we have ever made, not the most expensive cake we have ever enjoyed, not even the best tasting cake, but for sure, it was high on the list of being the cake eaten in our house for the best reason. We celebrated that Izzy is out of the hospital, surgery is over and she has been doing great. I know God has been answering so many prayers as I watch her running around playing “restaurant” and not once since we have left the hospital has she complained of pain, even though she has a wound all the way across the bottom of her tummy. I have been amazed and so grateful to see how quickly she has regained her strength and energy. The Lord knew I would need nights of celebration, like tonight, in the midst of these, “crazy-feeling” days.

There is always room to give thanks.

Many of you now know I have to leave America this Wednesday morning (September 18th). My right to 90 days in this country, as a British citizen, are coming to an end and I am no longer able to be here by law. Danny will stay here in the States to look after Izzy, while Judah and I fly to N. Ireland to stay with my parents for a while.

There was always that little hope within me that something would change and I could stay. So, I was disappointed as we left the Immigration Office this past Tuesday with confirmation from an official that no, there is nothing I can do but leave. As we drove home, looking at scenery that has become more familiar to me these past months, I felt a little more foreign than I had before. I was just told, I don’t belong, I have no right to stay. It is an unsettling feeling to be different from the rest of your family, to be told to leave a place that in your heart has become a home. However, none of these thoughts crowded my mind as much as the thought of saying goodbye to Danny and Izzy. Our family having to live on opposite sides of the world for a while and then this: trying to explain it all to a little girl who lives everyday surrounded by the love of her Mama, Papa and adoring baby brother Judah. A little girl that has had a lot of changes already in her life this summer. It was hard to officially book the ticket and choose a seat number just for me, instead of for us all. There were a few tears shed that night as we clicked the aisle seat at the back.  There were tears shed in church this morning as I received hugs and promises of prayer from some special ladies who have walked lonely and painful paths and known the joy of the Lord as their strength.

This has been a season of change. Any plan we may have had in these past months has now fully unraveled to the point of being unrecognizable. We have come undone. We hold each decision and day loosely in our hands knowing that God will make a way and we will walk in it. This is the part were I wish this wasn’t a blog post and instead I could sit and share my heart with you face to face.  I know my words here will always fall short when I try to explain what is happening within my soul.

It may seem strange or even fake for some of you to hear that though this has been a difficult season, it has also been one of the most special summers of my life.

As our plans unraveled before my eyes, time and time again, the Lord knit my heart together with His and He gave me a new song to sing. My heart has been both broken and full all in the same moment.  The more I hurt as a Mama for my little ones; the deeper I have felt the overwhelming love of my Heavenly Father, who has promised that nothing can ever separate me from His love. Nothing.

And though I no longer have any right to be in this country which has been a home to me over the years, I can always come boldly before the Throne of Grace and commune with the Creator of this world, because of who I am in Christ Jesus. My Redeemer is alive, reigning on High and I can enter His courts with thanksgiving and come into His courts with praise. Amazing to grasp this truth and let it seep down into our souls.

There is nowhere on this earth that I cannot find Him, there is nowhere I will go that He is not already there and I am never asked to depart from His presence. He rejoices to dwell with His children.

I can breathe deep everyday because it is in this place, in the presence of the Lord that I find complete rest and peace. I can be grateful to the King of Kings who makes no mistake in my life. He is in control of every detail and every plan is for His purpose, my good and His glory. This is not all wrong, it is perfectly right.

In wandering off the beaten track of my failing plans, I have found the most glorious of scenery. The joy has always outweighed the pain. The peace has always conquered the stress and His presence has made this present moment a Holy place.

The gift is this;

I am hurting and healing,
Leaving and returning,
Uprooted and grounded,
Fallen and falling in Love,
Fragile and secure,
Have come to an end and am starting anew,
Poured out and refreshed,
Stretched but not damaged,
Traveling but not heavy burdened,
Tearful but not in despair,
Disappointed but not defeated,
Broken in pieces and yet remaining whole.

This is personal, it is real and I am grateful today for the path my Savior has allowed me to walk. It is not to be explained, it is to be experienced and enjoyed. Words fall short whereas His Word will always remain.

The road ahead can still sometimes feel hard and heavy when I look at the terrain but He knows the way and He leads me on.  It is my desire to follow the Shepherd who has promised me no harm. I know as I travel this path I will find Him to be ever faithful and His presence so peaceful that I may even start to look off the road and gaze instead into the beauty of His Holiness.

“He restores my soul” – Psalm 23.

Romans 8: 38&39.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 139:3
Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
So grateful she is home and healing well. Thank you for all your prayers for Izzy.
These two are becoming close friends, separation will be hard but reunions all the sweeter. 

Grateful for your prayers,

Philippa for us all.

5 thoughts on “Traveling but not heavy burdened.

  1. Lucy says:

    i live in djibouti – i am british, married to a guy from minnesota, and i know the 'joys' of US visas. – we have 3 smallish kids – you have my prayers 🙂

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  2. Lucy! So nice to meet you on here. I must confess I had to google to check out where “Djibouti” is in the world! Thanks so much for stopping by to say hi and for your prayers for our little family. I can imagine you totally relate to the visa scenario, it sure keeps thing “interesting” being a multi cultured family. 🙂 I trust you are all well. Hi back to you from California!

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  3. Praying for you, and your beautiful little family, as you take this next step on your journey. Praising the Lord for his healing in little Izzy! Praying for your hurting heart and for little Judah as he will miss his big sis. God goes before you and has such an amazing plan. The Lord bless you (all) and keep you… the Lord make His face shine upon you. Blessings on all of the Brooks family from sunny Mesa, Arizona.

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  4. Dear Colleen,

    Thanks so much for your sweet words and for all your prayers. We shared with Izzy today that Mama would be leaving for a little while. She seemed to listen and understand and then my sweet girl noticed my teary eyes and flung her arms around my neck holding me tight. However in the next breath she was wondering where her drink was! I love a three year olds mind! I would really appreciate your prayers for my flights on Wednesday, I am really nervous about flying with little Judah boy on my own. Thank you for all your encouragement and greeting back to you from us here in Paso Robles, California! Love Philippa.

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  5. Dear Pip, you have such an AMAZING gift in the way that you share your walk with God! Just wanted you to know that you are such an inspiration to me as a Mum down here in little New Zealand and every time I read your blogs or follow you on instagram I am reminded of the AWESOME God we serve! Praying for you and especially for you leaving the US. lots of love, Steph xx

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