come on my soul

12.30.13

Here I sit – goodness only knows how many feet in the air – somewhere over the Atlantic.

Is this real life? Am I actually sitting on a plane making the twenty-some hour journey to my new home? I think this is happening.

So much anticipation has lead to this moment. So many prayers have been said over my trip and this next season of life. I have been overwhelmed with the support people have provided me with. It doesn’t seem real yet. I think I need a little red dirt on my feet and a kid in my arms before reality will start to sink in. The level of excitement I’m currently feeling is probably equivalent to the excitement felt by so many kiddos on Christmas Eve. My Christmas Eve is just a few days late. (Now if I had a little extra leg room and one less flight, it really would be like Christmas.)

I have no idea what the next few days will look like, let alone the next few months or even year – and I love that I can be okay with that. I’ve allowed myself to be comfortable enough to relinquish control and allow God to place my feet for me. Having said that, I still have many moments where I have to actively give up that control. There are so many times that I would love to change a situation or wish that things could be different – but when it comes down to it, that’s a fantastic recipe for stress and worry. Nothing feeds stress than control. Nothing leads to worry more than unfavorable circumstances. The very minute that you give that control over to the ultimate planner, the stress fades away – the worry subsides. It’s incredible how freeing surrender can feel. I’m still working on it, it’s come a long way – and my time in Uganda played a huge part in that.

I learned so many lessons during my short two months this summer. I was challenged beyond any boundary than I ever had before, but I was empowered in so many ways that allowed me to be successful in what I was doing. I can’t wait to see what happens over the next few months. Who knows where and when my Ugandan journey will end, but right now I’m just excited for it to begin.

Let’s do this. Will you join me?

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So I’m sitting on my next flight after writing this blog and found myself in a state of complete worry. It was about something stupid that my mind thought up and exploded from there. As I was sitting there trying not to worry about it I realizes how ridiculous I was being having written a blog about that very thing just hours before. Like I said, it’s still a work in progress, but it’s an active decision – and I’m still trying to make the right choice.

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called me higher

Change: a one word description of my life.

From moving to North Carolina, to an internship in Nashville, to a two-and-a-half month trip to Uganda that turned into something very different than I had planned – change and uncertainty have been in the air through all of it. I’ve never known exactly where I’ll land in the next season, but I’ve grown fairly comfortable with the unknown and the excitement that anticipation brings. Now moving to Nashville for three months was one thing, but this next step is bigger and more unexpected than any of the moves up to this point.

Everyone says that “Africa will change you”. While I didn’t discredit this fact, I just waltzed my way over to Uganda in May expecting it to be an adventure, but not wanting to put much pressure on the situation. Of course, I left Uganda a different person than I arrived there just two months before. I don’t think I can put words together to describe that, and probably never will. I’ve always said that I’d love to do short term missions and couldn’t necessarily see myself committing to living full-time halfway around the world. I knew better than to say “never”, but I cuddled up as close to the word as I could without saying it out loud. I should have known what was coming around the corner.

After two months of praying, discussing, and freaking out later, I have committed to (at least) one year with Sole Hope in Uganda. I know, I’m {insert your preferred word here}. I promise that I’ve told myself that same thing. I still think I’m crazy and there are days when I second guess my choice, but God has so deliberately placed this in front of me that I can do nothing but take his hand and trust where he leads. (I even went as far as tattooing this on my arm as a daily reminder.) A day of baby steps and avoided panic attacks now qualifies as “successful”.

At the end of December, I will be packed up and Jinja bound. To be honest, the living there isn’t my worry at this point. It’s not in the jumble of airport connections, or the long flights. My anxiety lies in the next five weeks. I have approximately five weeks to pack up my life in North Carolina, buy the needed supplies for my move, and say goodbye to some of the people that I love the most. I have so many things spinning through my mind that I don’t even know what to start doing first.

I need to breathe. Sometimes I forget. (Ironically enough, I have another tattoo that reads “God is Breath” as a reminder that when I don’t have breath, He will breathe for me.)

I need to make lists.

I need to take a break from the chaos of life and mentally prepare myself for the biggest jump I’ve ever attempted.

While this time of preparation is filled with stress, it is also filled with unmatched anticipation and unbelievable excitement. I cannot wait to get back and hug all of the people I got to know over the summer. I CANNOT wait to be back causing trouble with the Collie kids and holding that not-so-little Eli. I can’t wait for good cappuccinos, boda rides with accompanying soundtracks, and that beautiful fish room that I’ve been dreaming of since I first laid eyes on it. I can’t believe I get to be a part of something I believe in 100%. I know there will be stressful days, but I know the joy in the small moments will melt all of that away.

Change.

Something different. Something challenging. Something rewarding.

Change.

Live for the unexpected. Respond, don’t react. Be present. Be willing.

Love does.

HOPE for now

I come to you all with a request. It’s not a request that is easy for me, but I’m learning that life isn’t always comfortable, and I know I’ll be learning that even more over the coming months. My trip is approaching much faster than it feels like it should be, with many mixed emotions attached. In less than three weeks I will have my life in North Carolina packed up – bound for Canada and all the snow it has to offer. These next few weeks will be some of the most stressful (thanks to my avoidance of anything packing related) and busy weeks of my life. These times come with great anticipation and unmatched excitement.

While I have a lot to mentally prepare for in the next few weeks, there are also a lot of physical things that are involved with the move. From flights, to visas, to everyday items that I need to bring with me, the numbers add up. While I will be working for Sole Hope while I’m on the ground, there are many things i need before I leave the States. If you are at all able to support me financially through this time, that would take one thing off of my “daily worry list”.

If you are not able to give financially, prayer is not only greatly accepted, but needed through this challenging, but exciting time. Below I have listed more information about how you can donate. I would love to connect with you if you have any questions about my trip, what this money would specifically be going towards, or anything else. Please email me or call me any time and I would be more than happy to chat.
Phone: 828.400.9859
Email: lis@solehope.org

For those living in the States:
All checks can be made payable to Sole Hope (which makes them tax deductible) and please  include a note that it is to go towards “Lis Steckle”. Please don’t write my name on the memo line (for accounting purposes), but please either write a note to include with the check or attach a sticky note with my name on the check itself. Donations can also be made online here. Go to the second option on the page titled “Make a One Time Donation” and include my name in the notes section.

Checks can be mailed to:
Sole Hope
PO Box 1492
Asheville, NC 28802

For those living in the Great White North (aka Canada):
Please make all checks made payable to Elisabeth Steckle (unfortunately, with Sole Hope being an American non-profit, the donations are not tax deductible). You can also make a donation through paypal and can be sent to the email address liz.steckle@gmail.com.

Mail checks to:
Elisabeth Steckle
46 Tara Cres
Kitchener, ON N2E 3K9

I have also set up an Amazon Wish List that I will keep updated until my move, as well as while I’m living in Uganda as I find things that are needed. You can access that list here.

Whether you are able to partner with me financially, or through prayer, know that it means more to me than words can describe. Knowing that I have so many people behind me through this entire process makes me feel more confident in my decision. This move wouldn’t be nearly as seamless (or possible at all) without your support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

One day at a time. One step at a time. You all keep me moving.

forevermore

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What a weekend.

Thursday started with a rather chilly ride to Asheville, a quick Target run, a drive to Greenville, a bit of procrastinating at Starbucks, and a trip to the Greenville airport – all before 10:30am. We picked up our much anticipated guest Natalie (a blogger and Sole Hope Advocate who can be found at Take the Cannoli) just in time for me to realize that I had forgotten all 200 shoe patterns that we needed for the conference. It was 11am and the weekend was off to a…stressful start. While Nat was ecstatic that she would be able to visit the Sole Hope office in Asheville, Asher and I were trying to crunch the numbers and figure out how we could fix this little mistake of mine. We started our trek up the mountain and found ourselves at one of my favorite overlooks. It’s the perfect time of year to visit the mountains, and Nat was experiencing all this beauty for the first time. We continued to Brevard, said our quick hellos, and sped off to Asheville as fast as our loaded down van would allow. A quick visit to the office, three inhaled crepes, and a walk around the block later – we were on our way to Greenville – again.

After the morning chaos, the stress of setting up our booth, and forgetting to give the van keys to the valet, we settled in for a much anticipated weekend at the Allume Conference. Sole Hope had the honor of sponsoring the conference which allowed us to not only share our mission on stage in front of 450 attendees, but we were able to host an Impact Opportunity on Saturday in the form of a shoe cutting party. It was incredible seeing this group of 45 women coming together with the SOLE purpose of cutting shoe uppers that will eventually be put on the foot of a child in Uganda. I was honored to be a part of the event, and was taken aback by how excited everyone was about being involved with Sole Hope. I loved seeing people as excited about these projects as I am. It was a successful weekend of not only connecting people with Sole Hope, but making personal connections with so many women that attended the conference.

It was three days full of laughter, tears, ridiculous humor, blogging, and friendships. To say the three of us had fun would be just the beginning. To say we got enough sleep would be a joke. To say I’m thankful for new and old heart friends would be an understatement. To say I’m even more passionate about Sole Hope would be nothing but the truth.

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Asher was able to bring back a few of the shoes whose uppers were cut in the States, sent to Uganda, and have returned in the form of the most adorable shoes. While I spent all weekend being a little jealous (okay, unbelievably jealous) that they do not yet come in my size, we had a few pairs that fit Nat like a glove. Clearly, a mini photo shoot in the cold (or freezing cold if your Miss SoCal Natalie) air of Greenville followed. Hopefully these shoes will be available for purchase in the States within the next year.

From the USA to Uganda to South Carolina – these shoes are world travellers.

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The weekend was more of a success than I could have ever imagined. I left with a refreshed passion for Sole Hope and blogging. I can’t wait to share new updates in both of those areas, but we’ll leave that for another post…

The weekend was filled with amazing speakers that made you think about life and art in a completely new way. Refreshed, renewed, and a little sleep deprived, we left the conference excited about not only the future, but where we are right now.

You are where you are for such a time as this; not to make an impression, but to make a difference. – Ann Voskamp