I decided to check my facebook today.
The first thing I saw when I opened it up were pictures of my awesome little (much bigger than me) brother at his Bellarmine University signing. I cannot describe how proud of him I am! He is officially a Knight, going to a Division 1 lacrosse school on scholarship! While this is SO exciting, it doesn’t begin to be the reason I am the proud big sister I am. Brad may be the most kind-hearted, loyal, genuine guy I know. He loves Jesus, his family and his friends; they always come first. He is an extremely talented athlete, but may still be the most humble guy you will meet. My husband one day may have his work cut out for him, because Brad has taught me what it is to be treated like the most important lady in someone’s life. He is a shoulder to cry on and a friend to laugh at everything with. I miss him more every day.
As I looked at these beautiful pictures, I could not hold back the tears, because you see, these pictures are missing something. It’s me. The part of my heart that will always stay in Brentwood, Tennessee with my sweet family throbbed and ached. I longed to be here…
I wanted to be here….
(so did Wes. did I mention that because Brad is the greatest friend ever, he HAS the greatest friends ever…)
I wished I could be here…
Every day of my life is filled with immense, extreme Joy. More Joy than anyone ever deserves, the Joy that comes from KNOWING that Christ died for me and LONGING to give my whole heart, my whole life back to serving him. The Joy that comes from standing in the center of His will and just watching Him orchestrate everything perfectly. The Joy that comes from being able to look into a little brown face that seems hopeless and tell her that Jesus loves her. The Joy that comes from being called “Mommy”. But that does not mean that it doesn’t hurt. Hurt deep in the pit of my stomach where Paul’s words, “I want to know the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in death” ring true. Where I believe that when Jesus said I must “leave my father and mother and follow after Him,” He was not kidding. God’s word is simple and straightforward. However it is not always easy. Today was one of the heartache days. Some days I just long for that first home, for my mother’s smile as I walk in the door, my dad’s bear hug as he gets home each night, and late nights of movies, ice cream and laughter with Brad. Missing things will be a part of this life, because I will hardly ever be able to be with my American family and my Ugandan family at the same time. But, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold every thing he has and bought that field.” Missing things hurts my heart sometimes, but is always a gentle reminder to me that giving up EVERYTHING really IS worth it. HARD and worth it.
Brad, I am SO blessed to call you my brother and my best friend. Thanks for loving me, for loving my girls, for being there for me, supporting me when I may be crazy, and for funny texts in the middle of the night. Thanks for sharing your life with me. Thanks for loving those around you the way Jesus loved and for being kind, patient, loyal respectful, hilarious, wise and humble. I love you so much.
Mom and Dad, Wow. I know that you must (because I do) have moments as parents where you wonder if you could have done better. I think that by looking at your children you know the answer to that… You ARE the greatest parents anyone could ever ask for. Thank you for teaching us about Jesus and loving those around you so well. Thank you for reminding us that ANYTHING is possible and to reach for our dreams. None of this is possible without your love and support. I love you.
*thanks Ms. Dykes for the great pictures!