While I was in Kenya, I got the best glimpse of God's love for me that I have ever had. I have always heard from people that once they had kids, they saw God's love in a whole new light. Sharon felt like she was my baby. I can't even put into words the love I have for her. I was with her as much as possible when I was at IAA: I helped brush her teeth, get her dressed, changed her diapers, played with her, helped her at school, held her at church, tucked her into bed at night, etc. We were both attached to each other. She would ask me to sleep with her every night and would cry when I left the room, she would cry if I set her down for one minute to go to the bathroom, and she would cry if another kid came and sat on my lap. She wanted my undivided attention. I know I can never love her as much as God does, but my feelings for her helped me understand God's love for me so much more.

The song lyrics from How He Loves keep coming to mind:

"He is jealous for me"

I never really understand those words until I met Sharon. I can honestly say I felt a tinge of jealousy when another volunteer would want to tuck her into bed - I would think to myself, no, that is what I do. I loved her and wanted to give her goodnight kisses, tuck her into bed, and say sweet dreams. I wanted to love her and be loved. And then I thought to myself... that is how God feels. He wants me to love Him, wants my trust... I can now imagine how He feels when I turn away from Him... when I reject Him.

Saying goodbye to Sharon was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I still remember when the van pulled up and she was in my arms. I remember tearing up as I asked Christine to tell Sharon in Swahili that I was going home... to try to explain to her what was going on. I was a mess. I didn't want to leave her. I asked Sara to hold her and I can't even begin to describe how I felt as I sat in the van and drove away.... looking out at Sharon as she waved bye and blew kisses to me. 

I still cry almost everyday. I feel like she is my child and I left part of my heart in Kenya. I have had the blessing to be able to skype with her and the other toddlers twice and leave a video for her as well. Hearing her precious voice and seeing her beautiful face again was such a gift - but a bittersweet one. Of course, it reminds me even more how much I want to be back with her. When I hear her and the other toddlers say "Auntie, come back now! I miss you! I love you!" - it is so hard. I want the best for her and am constantly praying for her everyday. Small things remind me of her - like a girl at one of my Skyhawks camp wore a butterfly jacket one day and it reminded me of the one that Sharon wore... and naturally, I teared up. I find myself thinking about her all the time, talking about her all the time, and looking at pictures of her all the time. I watch the videos I have of her over and over. I realize I have to let God be in control - He loves her more than I ever will. He has a plan for her life. He blessed me with the chance to get to have those memories with Sharon... she changed my life in so many ways. She taught me what life is really about... what loving until it hurts really means. I'm praying God will give me the opportunity to hold her in my arms again one day... to be able to play games with her, kiss her, laugh with her. But until then, I have to trust that God is protecting her. This can be hard at times - she has a problem with her fingers swelling up and getting infected. While I was there, she was taken to the doctor and they would cut open the wound and then wrap it up to heal. She was getting shots and was on medication.. but it still spread to another finger. Since I left Kenya, she has been to the doctor a few times. Her fingers have continued to get worse despite the medication, and she was taken to the bone specialist today. She was tested for HIV/AIDS and tested negative - THANK YOU GOD! I am praying that the bone specialist will be able to identify what is wrong with her and be able to give her the proper care and medicine to heal it. Being a million miles away from her and not being able to help her myself is forcing me to rely on God more than ever.

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