Because I’m in Africa

african sunset

I’ve described it before. This thing that has taken over my life. This calling…this consuming, life changing calling that fills the air I breathe. It’s like that when God calls you, when He says lay down your life…take up your cross…and follow Me.

You have a choice.

You can stay with all that you have known. Live your life here in this worldly realm. Or you can leave it behind. And, follow Him. Trading everything you once thought you knew, for a new life. Surrendering your plans. You may think in doing so, one loses her life. Not so. It is in the laying down that we gain the most. But, we never fully know until we let go. That’s the faith part.

It is very much like the call of a missionary, the sacred work of walking with bereaved families, caring for tiny babies with brief lives. The type of consuming some may call “crazy” that causes a person to sell everything they have and move to Africa, or some other far away land that is not at all like the life one knows in the United States of America. Most people going about their business in everyday life don’t understand the consuming. Why…why would you want to enter into the wilderness again and again?

Why do you not have time for the everydayness that used to matter to you? Why is it increasingly harder to make time for relationships outside of this mission?

I struggled for a time with the loneliness of this calling. The misunderstanding. And, sometimes, I still do.

A dear fellow servant and grief bearer in this sacred work, my friend Bethany described it well…

“It is difficult, because if you were in Africa the people in your life would understand. You would be gone…not just emotionally and mentally…but physically. But, they don’t understand that even though you are physically here…you’re really not. Because you’re really in ‘Africa’. You’re really completely immersed in this missionary work. Your heart is somewhere else.”

Sufficient Grace Ministries is my mission and where ever we walk with families is my mission field, my Africa…or China…or India…or some other faraway land. And, knowing that…understanding that truth, helps set me free from those who do not understand this consuming calling. To embrace the family and friends who courageously enter into this missionary work. The ones who get it. Your Africa may not look the same as mine. You may be called to a different mission.

But, setting others free sets us free…

To pick up the cross. Follow Him. And, serve the next person in front of me with love and grace.

So, if I’m missing from the radar. If I don’t answer the phone for a bit. Sometimes, it’s too much to explain where I’ve been, and what I’ve been doing…sometimes it is a sacred thing to carry quietly in my heart, along with the tears that were shed in that room. It isn’t personal when I need to retreat…to hide a bit. Just like I know it isn’t personal that not everyone understands my need to go…to do this work that few want to face.

Just know, it’s because sometimes I’m not here.

Sometimes…I’m in Africa.

photo credit


  1. My dear friend was also my doula, Shannon S. She was as deep in the trenches as I was. And it was the deepest depths I have even known. Any person who devotes their life to accompanying families into the battle of their lives, leaves me feeling woozy with their purpose. Being a doula is very much “all in”, every minute of every day. It is as much of a calling as devoting a life to religion, social justice, etc. She turned my tea light of a flame into a boundless wildfire. She has inspired me to also come to my own calling. A doula of course. I cannot imagine the amount of fulfillment to come…

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