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:: Merry Christmas!

I usually like to have some kind of “big picture” thing to say when I write a Christmas letter. I like to say, “this is where I’ve been this year and this is where I’m going…”, but no matter how I try, I can’t do either of those for you today. So…this is where I am right now:

I’m sitting here in South Carolina, looking at pictures on facebook of the most recent PMI medical trip to Uganda. I wasn’t there. I’m looking at pictures of my precious babies on facebook. They’re in Uganda. The hospital where I am supposed to be working is in Uganda. Rachel, my sweet friend who I am supposed to be working with is in Uganda. Did I mention that I’m in the USA? Why is it that when I’m in Africa, I would give anything to spend a few days forced to sleep in and take it easy in my home sweet home, but now that I’m actually doing it, I’m RESTLESS to get back to Uganda?

These past few weeks my theme has been letting go.

I’m starting to let go of the twins. God kept them alive for 9 months in their mom’s belly against all odds. God kept them alive for 3 months in a tiny hut in a tiny village with hardly any food. He will keep them alive even if I am not their controlling everything. In fact, it might be easier for him.:)They are his and while it’s my pleasure to get to be a part of their lives, get to use the gifts you’ve given them to help them heal and grow, it’s not something he couldn’t do without me, so I am just grateful for the days I have with them…and letting go of the days I don’t have control over (which, when I stop and think, is all of them!).

I’m starting to let go of what people think of me. When word got out that I had mono and CMV, my sweet family and medical friends ALL had opinions. Go back now, stay here for one week, two weeks, two months. Everyone has a good reason for their advice and everyone has a little bit of trouble dealing with the part of their idea that I didn’t do. I want people to always be happy with my decisions and I want everyone to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. For the most part, everyone has been so encouraging, but I feel so silly for staying in the United States when there are things for me to be doing in Africa. Anyway, letting go.

I’m starting to let go of what I think I should be able to accomplish in Africa over the next few months. So far, most of the work God has done in Africa (as a result of me being there) has been IN me and not THROUGH me. The fact that E1 & E2 are alive is huge, I know, but caring for orphans is just a part of who I can’t help being…the big demolition and reconstruction work that God has done has been IN me. So, if he allows me to be a part of something outside of me in the next few months, I’ll be so excited. But, if the process of training nurses for the clinic is more about me being humbled and learning and less about me DOING, I’m ok with that. Letting go.

I’m starting to let go of the future. I started to freak out the other day about the fact that I can count my remaining single friends on one hand. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I can no longer count on TWO hands the number of friends who now have little ones of their own running around and…growing up. YIKES! My plan of marriage by 22 and first baby by 23 (with one baby every year after that until I was on the verge of “pull my hair out” stage) obviously isn’t going well. I’m 24 and have no husband and 13 children who have called me mama, but who I cannot adopt.:(I was coming to the point in prayer of telling Jesus that he had made a slight mistake in timing…when I realized that THIS is exactly where he wants me. I have not missed anything, I have not fallen off the straight and narrow and been beamed with the punishment of single hood. No no no. THIS is his plan. Wow. There is nothing about my life right now that has Jesus confused. He’s OK with my singleness (in fact, he’s using it for my good), he’s OK with the fact that I live in Africa and am not saving money for my future, he’s OK with the fact that my grand plans for life now only extend out about 2.5 weeks, he’s OK with the fact that my call to be a mom is limited right now to orphans who I will one day have to say “goodbye” to. And if he’s OK with it, so am I. That being said, I reserve the right to the occasional freak out (the still happen whenever I get a “save the date” or a birth announcement. BUT, the good news is: the are much shorter than they used to be and I no longer need chocolate to curb my anxiety. That’s what’s so wonderful about a life planned by Jesus and give over to his direction. I no longer have the power to mess it up.:)

So, it is from a place of slight frustration, but supernatural confidence and security, that I send you all Christmas greetings and these beautiful pictures of my sweet babies…all the way on the other side of the world…who are in the best care imaginable, their Father’s.

(and I can’t fail to mention Kelsey Neilsen (, Emily Henderson, and Emily Worrall (, who are being his hands and feet to the babies this past month.)

My prayer for each one of you for 2011 is that Jesus would make you uncomfortable enough to let go. Love you all!


  • Ashley - I just found your blog and am glad I did. Oh how I can relate to your ‘future’ paragraph. I too am 24 and single. Had you asked me five years ago where I would be today, married at 22 and baby by 23 were at the top of my list. Living at home (to save my money to adopt!) and working with foster kids was not on my radar, though it is where I currently am. It is comforting to hear someone else echoing my thought that the life I am living is exactly what He wants, even if it isn’t what I always wanted. I am also learning to want the life I have. Thank you for honesty and openness. It touched my heart.ReplyCancel

  • Lexi MacKinnon - Love everything you shared here! I know that this season of waiting is not easy… but you are doing so well at trusting God and keeping your chin up. Don’t forget that God can move mountains and his plans are always far better than our own! Praying for you Mandie! <3ReplyCancel

  • love - love all of this so much…what He is doing through you and in you. and those sweet babies! my heart kinda skips a beat when i see them! merry christmas to you all!ReplyCancel

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