• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
Small mercies. . .

Small mercies. . .

In the chaos of a move to another continent, we have seen small mercies in abundance. . .

in our last wedding  in NJ being full of laughter and golden light, a perfect farewell to the career that has carried us for 10 years

in a friend willing to fly to Baltimore to ease the exhaustion of our last 20 hour drive before our flight and remind us of the love and care that surrounds us

in surprise visits from busy friends to send us on our way and hugs that brought laughter and warmth during long hours on a plane that followed

in each of our bags weighing exactly 49 lbs when we checked in at the airport

in the girls’ walls painted the perfect shade of lavender in our new house to match the new blankets I had brought from the States for their beds

in the only large scrap in a bag of fabric being deep purple and enough to cover the bulletin board in their room

in a family moving from Nairobi 2 weeks ago and leaving the exact four beds we needed for our new home in Kijabe –  that fit the rooms like they had been made for us

in friends we met 5 years ago for a photo-shoot welcoming us and guiding us throughout the first overwhelming shopping experience – sacrificing precious hours to give peace of mind, saying “who knew, then, that we would get to do life together?”

in the only large white refrigerator at the Nakumatt (and last of that one in the store) being the perfect size for the space in our new kitchen

in the frame for the white board left in our home being the perfect width to stretch the canvas brought from home to hang in our new living room

in the hospital retreat being days after we landed so I can see the hospital in full, its structure and vision, and see the wisdom and kindness that will surround me

in our curtains, carefully packed from home, being the perfect size for our windows despite my lack of foresight to measure

in the bag of jumbo marshmallows left on the upstairs shelf that we ate while we unpacked

in meal after meal to welcome us and homemade cinnamon rolls and zucchini bread  to allow us to focus on settling and not on food

in our house being one of few that will get unlimited internet so we can upload and download pictures with ease

in the girls sleeping through the night perfectly in our move and seeming unfazed by jet-lag so they could start school our second day in Kenya

in the ancient blinds we found in the back of our kitchen cabinet and the tapestry needle I threw in our bag at the last minute to restring them so we have perfect light and privacy for our room

in a birthday party when we had been here less than a week so my girls feel a part of this world here, and scraps of ribbon and a silver beaded belt to make party appropriate costumes at the last minute

in birthday hats and signs and balloons for Belle, when I had not even figured out which day her birthday would fall

and finally, in a letter, written 27 years ago to my mom as a second grade assignment. We were told to write 20 years in the future from wherever we were. I was a few years off, but after we bought our plane tickets, my mom pointed out the date at the top –

September 24 . . . the day we arrived in Kijabe.

In a stilted 7 year old hand, only learning to write, I told her “I got a new job today. . . I have a white uniform and special gloves. . . I’m heading for Africa. I figure it’s best. Well, I have to go now. bye. Love, Arianna”

Simple mercies and reassurance, that in all the goodbyes and hellos, the confusion and transition, that all is as it was planned to be.

6 thoughts on “Small mercies. . .

    • Author gravatar

      Wow. So many wonders. God is INCREDIBLE. love you all <3

    • Author gravatar

      Wow, so neat to read about all of God’s little and big providences in your life!

    • Author gravatar


      That is amazing! I enjoyed reading every line of your post, but was brought to tears by the last line. God knew, 27 years ago, the plans he had for you and put it in your little 2nd grade heart… wow!!! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11. We continue to pray for you all. Thanks for sharing all that God is doing already.

    • Author gravatar

      That letter is incredible! It made me a little teary at work 🙂 loving all of the posts and glimpses into your new chapter

    • Author gravatar

      Oh my gosh! I always knew that you wanted to be a doctor, but I had never heard about the letter and dream to go to Africa! I admire your courage and trust in the Lord! Your faith in the Lord is leading you in a direction that so many of us could not go. Our God is awesome and your life is showing us just how much He will take care of us if we will only let go and trust Him! Blessings to you and our thoughts and prayers are with you as you make a difference in the lives of the ones who need you in Kenya.

    • […] I wrote when I was 7 that I wanted to be a doctor in Africa.  Knowing nothing of the path or implications, I was unwavering. Studying, applications, internships. . . step by step toward a certain whispered goal. In college, I started to waver a little – maybe teen moms in the inner city, and obstetrician in the Middle East, a public health advocate in a broken system. But all the paths still led to medical school. Along the way, I joined forces with a wise-for-his-age blue-eyed boy with the ability to see my heart better than I could and an unmatched trust in his Papa God that steadied my determination. […]

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