Home, Bittersweet Home


Welcome Home Sign

We are back in Kenya, settling into our Tenwek home.

To say it’s bittersweet is obvious. We love that we’re back. The boys are in heaven; they jumped right back into Tenwek life. I chose to start school with Noah and Jacob and potty training with Levi right away on Monday. Plus, I’m relearning how to cook and manage life here…without Hannah. It’s easier in the sense that I only have 3 kids to pull me in 3 different directions, but it’s harder in that I have to grieve and find my new normal.

My new normal is without diapers. It is with a spare bedroom. It is without hair bows and pink. It is with a void that cannot be filled. I love it and hate it at the same time. I jumped back into a routine so quickly because I want the boys to have consistency. And I need to have a plan. Otherwise, the jet lag and grief will overwhelm me. I refuse to be shaken. I will not give Satan a foothold. Therefore, I am diving into potty training, homeschooling, cooking, shopping, having fun with the boys, meetings, Bible studies and Scripture memorization. I am re-entering community life because I need to do this. I need to feel as normal as possible.

My 3 Boys!

I think it’s working. At least for today. I mean, that’s all I can do, right? I can just take it one day at a time, counting my blessings at every step. And I have a lot to be thankful for. This Tenwek family hung a “Welcome Home” sign on our porch, showered every room in our house with Scripture, provided entertainment for the boys, gave us space and grace, and so many other things. We are humbled by their love for us, and we are so grateful. Our families back in the States are nothing but supportive. Our friends all over the world have diligently uplifted us in prayer. We feel it. God is still tenderly loving us at every turn. Thank you for the part you have played in our mission, in our mourning, and in our personal lives.

Prayer Requests:

1.) Potty training is going well, but it’s still potty training. Please pray for Levi this weekend especially. Aaron and I will be attending a conference and Levi will stay with Aunt Amy…Maybe you should pray for Aunt Amy too! Pray that Levi will not regress despite my inconsistent presence.

2.) Pray for Aaron. He still needs to revisit the hospital and return to work.

3.) Pray for wisdom. I have committed to teaching middle school math next year to several missionary kids. Pray that I will choose the best curriculum for these kids, that I will know how to best serve them without being stressed or neglecting my own children’s needs, that I will be wise in making my new schedule for the upcoming school year. (I know this school year isn’t over yet, but we are planning and preparing for next year!)

Matthew 6:33 reminds us, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”


9 responses »

  1. Your Wonder Woman shirt fits you perfectly! I have been following your story since Meagan Boozer posted about Hannah being sick. Will continue praying for you all. Hannah and your blogs have touched my life.

  2. Our sweet daughter,
    We feel your heartache and sadness, but also feel your excitement for being back in Kenya. Tears come and go each day, missing you and your precious family and thinking of you going through sweet Hannah things. Praying for your “normal” to settle in your life and for God to surround you all with comfort and love, give you peace, wisdom, and strength each day. Miss you, yet so happy for your life serving God and for your Kenya family.
    Luv ya bunches, Mom and Daddy

  3. Praying for your family as you adjust back to life in Kenya without your dear daughter. May God’s peace and joy fill your hearts now and in the days to come. His Grace Is Sufficient for You.

  4. Today as I read your blog, this verse kept coming to me. Isaiah 43:19, Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. God is faithful and He will take you every step of the way. I am continuing to pray for you and your family as you are back in Africa, esp. for that potty training. That was my least favorite job with the kids and as a foster parent, I potty trained lots of little ones.

  5. I am so glad that you are strong enough to allow God to keep you busy, to say the least! Many people would find it difficult to even get out of bed!

    Good luck on the potty training. Carrie and Will just turned two yesterday and we have two potty chairs in our bathroom!

    I have been praying for Aaron’s return to work at the hospital. God will get him through it.

    I have been praying for you, too. Mothers Day is approaching. I know that Aaron, Noah, Jacob and Levi will make it special for you. God will get you through it.

    It is comforting to hear that your community is so warm and caring. God picked a great place for you!

    Peace, comfort, and joy to you. As always, thank you for sharing.

  6. My dearest sister, I think of you each and every day and ask myself how does my sister do it? I have always admired you for your strong faith and ongoing passion for God. Over the past several months, I have grown in my faith and passion for God through the heartache and sorrow our family has endured. I truly believe without God we would have crumbled. I love and miss you all so much. Hugs and kisses from Aunt Tina in PA!!

  7. Dear Stephanie, I read about you and your family in a Samaritan’s Purse article. I coordinate a ministry through our local church to minister to families who have experienced loss of a child. I hope that you can see my e-mail I leave below so you can contact me if you’d like one of our ministry’s memory boxes – it contains an ornament of art work of Jesus rocking a baby in heaven and other items to minister to you in your grief. I would be glad to mail one to you in Kenya or to someone in the states who is traveling your way. Here is our ministry website : http://www.bethanycentral.org/ministries/home.asp?id=449 I am praying for you, Aaron, and the boys as you walk this path of grief.

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