• sarah@healingeyes.org

Tag Archives: true love

It’s Easy to move a mountain

New look for Healing Eyes and even better direction for the long term goals we hold dear. Where do we stand now?

We stand on the edge of the abyss and now its time to JUMP or walk away. Put all the talk of ‘doing’ something to reality. But HOW?

EASY!

Help purchase 2 acres of land in Eastern Uganda for a village to then build a primary school on. No problem! The way I see it is if God didn’t want us to help this small village he wouldn’t have led me right to there doorstep back in June (Read more…)

So now after returning from the October trip we have more insight as to what we can come alongside the village with. It’s more than building a school, it’s building an ongoing relationship with a community of orphans and widows. Does it scare me?! Yup!

How can you help? I’m glad you asked:)

It’s as easy as Click..Pray…Wait

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Adopting full circle .. a memoir of the past 2 years

Can traveling the world over bring back a loved one? Nope
Can helping others bring back a loved one? Nope
Can remembering what life was like and allowing a small smile sneak through bring back a loved one? Yup

December 15, 2015 will be the big 2 year mark for the passing of Andrew Stacilauskas and he is never far from my thoughts. This blog/website has morphed into Healing Eyes and it all started back when we were trying to adopt a domestic infant baby because all efforts to create a homemade one kept failing. I have left behind that story of pain to move on to a story of life and what a journey it has been. Back when Andy and I were trying to have a child I remember that amazing day when we were successful and I screamed out, “Andy, I’m pregnant”! Then I saw the ultrasound and heard the heartbeat. Andy never got to hear it but he was so happy to hear about it when I said it was so real. All the thousands of dollars had paid off. Then it all fell apart one night when I had a terrible nightmare of losing the child, I woke up scared and Andy tried to calm me. That very day we lost the baby. Andy stayed home from work and comforted me like he always did. That loss changed us.

Why do I mention this years later?

Perhaps loss in all its forms has a way of changing us and creating a new improved version of ourselves. When all is taken away you see through different eyes and the unsurmountable seems that much possible because you have nothing left to lose. I think in the bible it references losing your self to find yourself, the real person God knew all along that you could be.

Missing a husband really stinks and shopping for groceries alone really stinks. So many things about being a widow really stink. But Andy I finally am a mother…just not quite how we envisioned it to happen. So all those years ago when we started this blog/website to raise funds to adopt a child has come full circle because today I am again asking for strangers to help me ‘adopt in spirit’ hundreds of children.

I am sorry if it seems I am always asking for money but the more kids God brings me keeps raising the need and I don’t want to die knowing I could have asked one more time to recapture my dream.

The total goal of $45,000 is to purchase land and build the first school building in Eastern Uganda for a school of orphans, disabled, and impoverished children in a village surrounded by Widows. First phase is buying the land before the end of the year!

Healing Eyes, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in Western Michigan. If you would like to partner with Healing Eyes on a one time or monthly basis, please make your checks payable to Healing Eyes, Inc. and mail them to 4160 Blue Heron Dr SE, Apt 302, Kentwood, MI 49512. 

Thank you. If you don’t have a PayPal Account Don’t Worry it’s not required  look to the bottom left side after clicking the Donate button, where it says “Don’t have a PayPal Account”.

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The lie of the ‘phase’ argument

I have often wondered if this time of my life is a ‘phase’ or a ‘season’. Often strangers and friends have said to me that perhaps it’s just a phase I have to go through and then things will go back to how they were. It’s all fine and dandy to have such a spiritual high in life and then return to what is normal. I’m re-reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and have run across a passage in it that illustrates such a quandary I find myself in repeatedly.

“A direct attack on his faith..persuading him that ‘his religious phase ‘ is just going to die away like all his previous phases? The mere word ‘phase’ will likely do the trick. You keep him well fed on hazy ideas of Progress and Development and the Historical Point of View, I trust, and give him lots of modern biographies to read? The people in them are always emerging from Phases, aren’t they?”

There was one distinct time I remember while in Africa and after I just found the school near the border of Kenya and Uganda. I had just spend about 4 weeks in Kenya and not all of it was a blessing like most think will happen when serving God. Often we never see the blessings that come from our labor but we have faith some good will come out of our strife. My health was poor and my spirits were low but I was hopeful God would still follow through on his promise to show me the widows and orphans he kept speaking of to me. It was an amazing story of how I found the school and if you care to read it again you can follow this link, Coincidences lead to truth.

But it was that very night after being blessed by God that the devil or evil one, however you want to label that unnerving feeling, decided to slither on it and put doubts in my head. He used some other foreigners visiting the area to put the word ‘phase’ into my heart. One lady said to me, ‘maybe it’s all a phase in your life and you can go back to graphic design, but it’s great your doing what your doing’. Just like that the familiar doubt creeped back in and I went to bed crying and with a tight chest full of doubt and fear.

Maybe I am crazy!

Maybe I did go too far in all this hope and faith crap and now I am stuck in the middle of Africa with no one to bail me out. Literally alone in a jungle sleeping in a tent with the realization of how stupid all of this was. Since something like this happened before I tried to repeat words in my head, ‘No it isn’t a phase and that I experienced too many coincidences to not see them as miracles and guidance from God’. I like proof and God did give me proof that day and so I pushed back the evil thoughts of doubt and phases to eventually fall asleep in the pitch-black darkness of the night.

You see it’s right when we learn something new or get closer to affirmation that God exists and that our purpose in life is simple. The evil will creep in and stomp on those hopes the instant we find answers to that small voice in our hearts. In Africa it is a full frontal attack on people because they don’t have all the comforts of modern civilization to lull them into a ‘normal’ life of ease. I never want to return to thinking that ‘religion is all very well up to a point’. Neither do I want to fall into the habit of thinking my religion is better than other religions when life comes down to Love and Compassion! Not taking what is given to us at face value in the bible and questioning it all and reading it and willingly asking God to explain it to me with any method he chooses. If it’s by throwing me in a third world country with only faith than I’ll do it because that is living…that is truly seeing faith in action…and it is about bring ‘flavor’ to the world we live in and not mediocrity. Likewise God can use people in modern life to make a difference in those around them even if its by living vicariously through those God says, ‘Go’, to.

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Void where there was pain

Thousands of miles later and I am looking out at the palm trees and pink fluffy clouds again. My return to the island is very strange feeling. It isn’t happy or sad or even elated.

I feel ‘blank’

Used up…

Incomplete…

Maybe its the rush of adrenaline that has left my system or perhaps the exhaustion. All of those reasons would make sense logically based on our limited bodies. Or I could go with the other reason I feel empty.

Something happened in Africa that I can’t quite explain yet. I wasn’t excited while there, I wasn’t elated, I wasn’t even full of ideas of what to do. While there I saw a lot and felt a lot but did I really fall in love with it there? Or perhaps it was the feeling of being Alive in extreme circumstances. Was it the outpouring of love and fragility of life that fills the inevitable void?

With my eyes closed I still see her… little Billah… branded on my heart. Why am I worried about her? She is one girl amongst a thousand and I am one small person amongst a million.

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This room I sit in right now is clean, comfortable, even without running water I can drink from the tap or a kitchen to cook in. This still is LUXURY!

It’s not a void I feel but an ache…a deep sorrow for what I saw and those kids I touched and held in my arms. My heart is bleeding for them and I can’t erase it. I have seen too much to just turn away from that need. To see so much pain and need when our dollar can go so far and turn my face to that. When education is bountiful in the States even for the poor but in Africa its a choice between eating and learning. Working to exhaustion to survive and children and babies starve in the streets, die of diseases, malnutrition, neglect, pain…

No I do not feel a void..but finally I see a purpose…I see what was missing…and yet I am powerless to do anything measurable in today’s version of ‘success’.  It has to be small steps and little victories, showing love, and teaching compassion to those with the least. But do they really have the least? When they live so fully in the simplicity of life when we drown ourselves with gadgets, clothing, fancy toys, and trinkets.

I will start off with one goal and that is to fundraise like crazy to go back…to show compassion…to build relationships and above all invest in LIFE. My first fundraiser was a success as I really thought it would fail. However, God showed me and raised $648 out of just 25 people! That to me is amazing and he gave me a CPA that I have been praying for. Now If I keep doing this than maybe Healing Eyes will become more than a dream, a whim, a crazy idea.

It starts with the Small Step forward into the impossible.

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An Anniversary of Life

The heart breaks again today…the anniversary of a death. The one moment in life where everything stood still amidst the crumbling walls around me. December 15th was the longest day of my life a moment I will forever ask Why. We seem to cling to ‘anniversaries’ of time and yet time is fleeting. It’s been a year and today the sky cries with me. The dark clouds are coming in from the east and shedding silent tears overhead… Tears are meaningful and yet we hide them to help others arounds suffer less. No more will I hide the tears, today is a day of transparency. The mountains are shrouded in darkness and yet the sun is awaiting its turn…patiently waiting to shine again. We grieve loss but we don’t die ourselves. We trudge on through the gloom because there is hope that one day we will meet again…

Some of my readers found this blog when it was called SarahAndyAdoption…Some of you when it became SarahAndyCancer…and now it is called HealingEyes. It started with hope of a ‘new life‘, interrupted by ‘reality‘, and now it is again about ‘Hope for a New Life‘.

Andy you left at 10:03pm on December 15, 2013…but the story continues.
You never left a legacy behind in the shape of a child but you have left a legacy behind of a transformed life.
Even in your last minutes you relented and found peace with God… and me.

Now a new life begins and never fear Andy I am not alone. I have been surrounded by children…a life we never could have…you would be amazed to see who I am today. Tomorrow may come without you and though I may shed wild tears for you I know you are smiling down at me as a child wraps their arms around my waist and says I missed you Miss Sarah. Perhaps its a bit of you left behind to comfort me.

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To that ONE widow

Widows you may not realize this but you are stronger than you think. There will be those dark nights and dark early mornings where you feel all is lost. Your heart will physically ache and you will clutch your heart and ask why keep going. The tears will just start flowing and you’ll look up to the ceiling and memories will flood in…you used to have someone next to you to hold you when you cried. Your mind will turn dark and you may think of doing something thinking it will end that pain. It’s going to be ok though. Just OK though ha. If you are facing a milestone in your grief soon, 6 months, 1 year, 5 year marker, whatever number it is…you have strength inside you didn’t even know was there.  This morning I made myself get up and jog (this is a milestone in itself as when your depressed you do not run) after getting an amazing email from a friend. It was as if in my darkest hour at around 3am God decided to throw me a hand and remind me ‘everything is under control’. Just like earlier with my Jeep and the out of the blue donation to fix it.

It’s in those darkest hours where you find helpstrength you never knew was there. Now even if you don’t believe the God thing and all that religious stuff there is SOMETHING in you that is keeping you alive. There is a widow story in the bible about being persistent and asking over and over for something and eventually the person will give in to the widow. Maybe it is not JUST about the NEED the widow has but it is showing the underlying strength and perseverance the ‘widow’ has. Great Loss Sucks! Grief sucks! But something happens after that awakens you…just don’t give up…if it’s that ONE widow reading this today that feels as if the world under her feet is caving, that her heart is literally breaking…it’s going to be ok and someday maybe your heart won’t feel crushed.

Now to that email. One of my supporters back in Michigan sent me a delightful email this morning about a door opening on a possible connection with a church I know there. This has been a door closed for almost 8 months, it cracked open a few times but quickly shut again. She shared how she prayed on an opportunity and that she was given it on a silver plate one day and overwhelmed by the response. Maybe it is true if you just Ask for something and don’t give up after the first denial you might be pleasantly surprised. I want to go into more detail but I have to rush to get my laundry together for my friend who is amazing and does it for free for me. Yes I did have to swallow my pride a bit for that but hey Free Laundry and maybe folding!

So stay tuned for more…I hope:)

And you that ONE WIDOW reading this… You are going to be ok! just might suck for a bit… contact me if you need a shoulder to cry on.

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Perseverance worked yesterday

Much better day with the kids. Hot and muggy but no tears and mean words. The kids were super lovey today. Happy feet gave me the longest hug and told me I was a good person (yes in those exact words).

I brought my bracelet maker today and the kids taught me how to make rubberband bracelets with just my two fingers. The boys actually were the ones most interested and very talented. It was a great motivator for good behavior and manners. it was quite funny, we started with about 5 kids but then when the van arrived with a huge load of kids I said, “quick pack it up before they see”. Otherwise all the kids would be grabbing and it would have been chaotic. One girl really understood me and rushed to quick hide the loom.

There was this small boy who over the week keeps finding me. He pulls out his big piece of paper I had been teaching how to make flowers on. He asks me to show him how to make a new flower each day. So cute and odd how he keeps bringing that piece of paper back to me. I wish I knew his name. He’s one of the few boys who complains about how loud it is there. He wishes everyone would stop screaming all the time.

So yesterday was awful but today was a blessing. I got hugged, loved, and treated nicely:)

The Jeep update: My Jeep is ‘running’ but it needs a tune-up now for the distributor. I won’t complain though because it would be triple the cost if it was a newer jeep. So yay this will only break me by $220. Pray that God will keep providing and doors will keep opening up.

I am thankful for free Wifi courtesy of my awesome neighbors. I am thankful for my girlfriend Renee who is going to be my roomy soon. I am thankful for the sun. I am thankful my Jeep starts. I am thankful for the kids who hug me. I am thankful the mosquitos are not too bitey. I am thankful I have gallons of drinking water. I am thankful for Becca who sends me goodies. I am thankful for Cindy who prays for me. I am thankful for my Parents who are proud of me… and I am thankful for my Olaf who keeps me company at night.

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Healing Eyes

Lost Memory of my Husband

Sweet Andy 

Found a video from a year ago… God I miss your kiss!

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Evening with the Stars

So I am struggling with what to share about my day. Part of me just wants to share the ‘Doing’ part and a bunch of kid photos. But my heart is being pulled to a different direction. It is rewinding back to last night and my conversation with God. Be warned this conversation is a mixed bag of emotions and a bit hard to share since it just exposes my vulnerability more. Perhaps that is what I am supposed to do when Go said, ‘Write’.  Plus if I had my way I wouldn’t share my private journal with the public but maybe God’s ways are better than mine.

The sun gives me a reason to breathe.

Helping others gives me purpose.

Is it because of taking care of Andy?

Am I trying to make up for his death?

Help me God!

I can’t do this alone

What lesson am I to learn?

Oh what misery I feel when loves first kiss is gone forever. Never to return again… I long for you Andy.

“I have called you to follow me on a solitary path, making time alone with me your highest priority and deepest joy. It is a pathway largely unappreciated and often despised. However, you have chosen the better thing, which will never be taken away from you. Moreover as you walk close to me, I can bless others through you.” -Jesus Calling book

Don’t let your service become self serving.. Don’t let it become mere busywork, losing sight of walking with God.

Watch carefully that VBS, Girls and Boys Club, and the Lighthouse do not become busy work, pulling you away from me and slowing the rebuilding of our relationship. I must remember to have my solitude – to write and to listen. Take time to enjoy the world God has given us.

“God what do you want? To use me to bless others thru simple interactions that may seem unimportant and are awkward.”

Be in many places for now but do not be busy, calm yourself to be in my presence. Spend time with me – even in guilt – even if others think you are slacking. It is not there ways but mine. Guard your heart and walk slow.

Tell the story of your heart. Do not doubt your ability. If I give you gifts I expect them to be used. Even if you can’t see how or if they exist, trust me. Over and over I say trust me. My love – my child – my gift to you is time. So appreciate it even though you fight it! Embrace boredom – see past what you were taught about living. You were taught for years to be busy. You fought the stillness I sought to give you!

Do not fear the night for tonight the stars shine for you. Sleep in my arms – rest in my love.

Why do you think you disliked the ways of how Christians try witnessing to non-believers for all those years with Andy? Does it feel to forced, scripted, rehearsed, fake, and ungenuine? Only I can change a heart. Only I can lead others, you are to be a follower, let me take your control away. Let your will go. You are finally seeing what it means to be open to relinquishing that control so now let me lead you.

Remember you need to first walk with me and learn how to believe again.

So long you were gone and hid from my face…take this time to remember me.


Soon after writing that I stood up and went out on my patio and saw that the clouds had parted and the stars were the brightest I have seen since living here. I nearly cried with joy as I felt a bit of loneliness lift from my heart. I laid down on the patio chair and stared at my stars and listened. The star Vega shown so bright and I felt Andy near me. I felt God surround me and comfort me in that moment. If I hadn’t calmed my mind and gave God an evening with me than I wouldn’t have slept so great last night. I felt the tears flow from my heart to my eyes and then fell into a deep sleep. It won’t always be like that but I’ll take that moment and maybe those moments will become more frequent as I learn to be still.

Ok enough mooshy stuff. Here Are the photos from my day! At one point I had to swim out into the ocean to save 2 kids who tipped from the paddle board and bring them in, so now I am learning how to be a lifeguard.

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Support

I’m liking the living by faith thing. It takes some of the pressure off of knowing all the answers and controlling everything. This morning I ran out of fruit snacks and I was sad but then this afternoon I got a package from a new supporter and it had…FRUIT SNACKS! Problem solved!

My first supporter mailed me two boxes stuffed full of food and goodies. Yay! Thank you Becca! This past sunday I finally put money in the offering plate and it was a bit more than I thought I could afford being jobless soon but I didn’t have change. Anyways, a friend said I wouldn’t regret it and that God would give it back somehow. So I’m not saying this was directly related but.. ‘it kinda feels like it’.

It’s gonna be ok. My new job will be learning to live by faith and sharing the story as I flounder around. Maybe eventually I’ll get my sea legs on solid ground and stop waffling.

Written on the outside of one of the boxes: Isaiah 53:4-6

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering. Yet we considered him punished by God, Stricken by him, and afflicted; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

To give your life to Jesus fully? Wreckless abandonment?

Be directed even if it means your heart is broken over and over again? Is that possible?

While living in a fallen world there will be sickness, cancer, death. Is it a fantastical dream to want a world where no more sickness lives?

Matthew 8:20

Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head.

Matthew 8:22

Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.

 

We can have all the plans in place prior to following God’s call, we can wait until our timing is ready. But what if all that is meaningless excuses and we must go when called…

I made a huge upheaval after Andy died and now I am on an island. None of it was easy and still it hurts. I grieve Andy! I grieve loss. It’s a great cost to follow this madness. It would be easier to go back instead of forward. Would Jesus accept any of my excuses to give up?

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