I'm not sure what I was thinking upon my arrival this time...I guess maybe because we killed all the lice last time we were here (in October), I thought that the girls would still be free of them? Whatever I thought, I did not do a thorough enough examination of the girls' heads and realized, painfully realized, after 10 days of GiGi sleeping, more or less on my face, that they have more lice than I care to see in my lifetime!
Poor little baby was scratching her head, but I thought she was just scratching at a couple of fungal spots, which are being treated. No, those weren't just fungus...she was scratching lice in her hair. And, yes, just as you might imagine, I have the friendly fellows crawling around on my head as well. :(. After closer examination I also realized GiGi had scabies on her ear. It's not a severe case of scabies, and we are very fortunate, because it can spread VERY quickly! I am not positive I have them but I have a couple spots on my knuckles that look very suspicious so I will be treating those tonight as well.
As I watched the girls picking lice out of GiGi's hair tonight, I will admit it was pretty funny, especially when they would pull on her hair too hard and she would say "Awwwwwww" and then click her little tongue in disgust at them. :). However, the humor quickly fades as the pit in my stomach grows. Why have my beautiful daughters lived their lives exposed to so many bugs-both on their physical bodies and internally-that at the ages of 7,5,3 and 2, they instinctively know what to do about them??? All I can think about as I scratch my own head are the hundreds and thousands of precious babies that don't have a lice treatment kit accessible to them. They don't have the cream to rub on the scabies that kills them, they don't have the medicine to kill the bugs that make their little bellies hurt constantly. It's likely that if they were treated, they would just get them all over again. Am I doing enough to ensure that this isn't the "norm" for babies and children? Why should it be second nature for these precious children to be scratching their bodies constantly? Why should they have never-ending diarrhea? Why should thousands of innocent children die every single year simply because of dirty water?
It makes me sick to my stomach to realize that my four daughters know exactly what to look for and how to kill the lice. That GiGi, at just under 2 years old, knows enough to sit still for her sisters to dig them out of her hair. I know as Americans we are told that kids live in poverty and suffer. I know I grew up being told how blessed I was. But the reality is I had no clue! When we went to Ethiopia to pick up Silas, Josh and Mahlea, it changed everything for me. I couldn't even leave the guesthouse without sobbing. Looking into the sad eyes of such beautiful, hurting people. Being in Africa has opened my eyes to a reality I think every American should know. It is easy for us to focus on our own busy, comfortable lives, that is until you have seen people you love hurting. My eight amazing African children have endured more hardship in their few years than I have in my entire life. Our older kids have shared many, many heart-breaking stories. Even our little girls know enough English that they have shared some things that are gut wrenching. I don't have the answers, and oh how I wish I had the solution for every child, and the more I learn about God, the more I believe He doesn't want a singular solution. The truth is, from My Father's perspective, entering into the suffering of others is as much about changing MY heart and MY life as it is about giving children a family.
As I sit in my room listening to my beautiful girls sleep, I don't ever want to forget. I don't ever want to be the selfish person I have been in the past. I will gladly say "yes' to bugs and dirt--things I have always disliked. I will say "yes" over and over again if it means I can look into beautiful little eyes and tell them that they are loved. I don't know what our future holds, but I know we will continue seeking God's wisdom and keep right on saying "yes".
Proverbs 24:11-14 tells usTonight I am asking The Lord what more I can do to make a difference in the lives of "those who are unjustly sentenced to die" and I'm praying all my children will find the Lord's wisdom and the bright future He has in store for each of them!!
"Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die;save them as they stagger to their death.Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.”For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.He who guards your soul knows you knew.He will repay all people as their actions deserve.My child, eat honey, for it is good,and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul.If you find it, you will have a bright future,and your hopes will not be cut short."
Before I sign off for today, I want to let you know that we have some amazing friends in Billings who have been fasting and praying for our family and our girls and our situation every Wednesday. They asked us this week if we would invite you to join us in praying and fasting, not just for our situation, not just for us to get our daughters home, but for ALL the children and ALL the families who are in a very similar situation to ours, as well as for the DRC as a whole. Would you join us?
As always, we love and thank you for walking this road with us. We can't do this without you!