Thursday, March 15, 2012

I am one of the fatherless.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy dwelling place - Psalm 68:5

We don't usually get personal on this blog, we stick to 'business' I guess you could say. I've been praying about this post the last few days- because Abide is not about Megan or I and our stories. It is about the God we serve and what He is going to do in the lives of families in Uganda. Redemption. Restoration. Beauty from the ashes. That is the God we serve. Humbled by our limitations and thankful we get to see Him show up in big ways for Uganda's poorest and most marginalized. But I feel it important to at least shed some light on why I believe so strongly in Abide and fighting for families to be kept together.

Megan and myself are both 'orphans'. Some of you already know this, some of you may not. We are both half orphans by definition. Megan's Mother died when she was 5 and my Dad died when I was 14. This will be the only time I speak for Megan and myself in this post- Having lost a parent, we understand what that absence feels like. There was and always will be one very important person missing at every significant milestone- College graduation, wedding days, and the birth of grandchildren. We did not however, experience the reality of our family being ripped apart after we were 'orphaned'. Our families stayed together because they were given the chance to. Had we grown up in Uganda, our stories might have looked quite different.

We fight because we believe when God required us to love the orphan and the widow, that He did not mean we should take the orphan away from the widow without first offering to come alongside her so that she might get the chance to keep her child.

When my Dad died people were cooking meals for us non-stop, our house was consistently full of people who loved us in the days and weeks following. Soon enough our house emptied and we were finally left to grieve and try to understand the ugly reality of my Dad's life ending here on earth. Not ugly for him, but pretty stinkin' ugly for us. While money could be no compensation for his passing, we were very blessed to receive life insurance and social security. We also benefited from free school lunches and CHIP/medicaid. As a single Mother with 4 kids, my Mom would have had an extremely difficult time making ends meet without insurance and government assistance.

This month, March 19th to be exact, is the anniversary of my Father's death. He passed away suddenly of a periodic embolism {a blood clot that traveled from his legs to his lungs after having surgery}. As many memories fade, what his life and death taught me have only been strengthened through living and working in Uganda. I believe in a God who has perfect plans. A God who works for the good of those who love Him. And sometimes {okay A LOT of the time} He works really ugly things into really good things. The perfect example of Jesus on the cross. The messy example of me- a sinner, saved by grace.

Why am I writing this? You can not understand my heart for Abide without also understanding that I, as a half-orphan, was given the chance to stay with my Mom. To be raised in my family. This is something I believe every child and family has the right to. Regardless of where you are born, I believe you deserve the chance to grow up in the family God decided to place you with first. No, I know, this is not always possible. Sometimes parents and extended families want nothing to do with their child. But may we not make the mistake in assuming that because a child is abandoned or placed in an orphanage that it MUST mean they are unloved. That we offer family strengthening as an OPTION before removal. As the church, may we begin loving the orphan so much so, that we work with urgency to help keep them in their families.



  1. Kelsey and Megan,
    what a joy to see God at work in your lives. I pray that as you both have found a Father who will never leave you and never forsake you... that you will introduce many, many, many young children to your Father.

  2. Dear Kelsey and Megan,

    Our hearts go out to you both for the trauma you have experienced, especially at such young ages. My family has had a similar experience, yet we marvel at how God caught us in a freefall and held us close to this day. May God continue to show His grace and compassion to both of you and those to whom you minister! We may not understand but we can trust- for He is always trustworthy, even when today and the future appear to be bleak! Praise God for His faithfulness to undeserving but extremely needy folks like me!

  3. Kelsey,
    This is very well written and insiteful. Thank you for sharing your heart. May God continue to bless you and the orphans in Uganda through this ministry!

  4. Thanks for sharing something so very personal. We love you guys and can't wait to see you in May. The countdown is on:)

  5. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate what you said and what you are trying to do here in Uganda! Molly Berglund