We moved to Africa for my husband's job, and those first months in Dakar, Senegal, were hard. We had a newborn and were sleep deprived. The antimalarials gave me bad dreams. We were living out of suitcases, we found dead birds in the back bedroom, and our three-year-old couldn't seem to stop crying. Increasingly, we heard her fighting with a row of new imaginary friends, who were more often than not consigned to time out in the "bird room." How would I survive two years?
It was a joint struggle at first, but before long Levi found traction at work, and, left behind, I found myself staring at the government-issued rug—a dull yellow—and wondering how these children and I were supposed to pass our days in an empty apartment. Occasionally, I would muster strength and take initiative, but most mornings, I woke to find we were once again covered in a fine Saharan dust carried in by the Harmattan winds.
No problem. I've always known where to turn when things are hard. I prayed for strength and guidance and searched my scriptures. I listened to living prophets and threw my head back to receive anything heaven would send. And yet, heaven seemed oddly silent.