Going through my pictures and video has been very hard. In fact, I have been putting it off- just as I have put off writing the large number of people who supported me in prayer, provision or financially so that mine could be the feet that stepped off the plane in Malawi. It is not out of a heart that is not thankful, it is from a heart that is scared I'll lose it if I wrap up all the loose ends surrounding my journey.
Soon after I returned, I made myself busy trying to help the next team leaving in June. Though I am thankful for the opportunity to help and excited for them, in a way I think I was trying to prolong the inevitable... I'm not going to Malawi in June. I just wasn't ready to be done with it yet; it was too hard to think about the possibility of not seeing my new friends in Christ again on this Earth. I was afraid that by talking about it too much, of finishing my photo books and videos and thank you notes that it would all be over- like a wonderful dream that never happened.
Those who have asked me about my trip may have even found it difficult to talk to me about it- I have kept a lot of it close to my heart, not wanting to spoil it by messing up the telling of it. How do you package others lives in a 15 minute presentation? How do you try to describe the feeling of loving dear people whom you just met but with whom you have an instant bond because you share the love of the same Savior?
I am compelled, though, to tell the stories, to share their lives, to encourage others to go, to thank others from the bottom of my heart for helping me get there, to point others to the beauty of a God who is supremely sovereign and the author of incredible adventure in Him.
So- I finished my video. Step #1. Thursday I tell my story to a group for the first time. Step #2
There are many steps to follow. (Including writing my thank you notes- I promise there is one coming to all of you who helped me!) I must keep walking through this part of the journey with as much purpose as those that came before the plane took off from XNA.
I was able to process a bit of this with a dear friend today over lunch who has experienced the same feelings and with God tonight through His word. He is so good. He is so kind. "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6 and "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." Hebrews 13: 8
I am being taught that coming home and telling my story and wrapping up loose ends from my journey is not about closure. This is about the next thing that God wants to teach me in my life. God didn't bring me so clearly to the place where I was compelled to go and serve and share to leave me there. He will complete the work he has started in me and he never, ever changes. Where I am comes as no surprise to Him. I don't know if I will ever physically be able to be the one who goes again- I don't know what the future holds. My desire right now would be to make many journeys to Malawi and wherever else He leads me for Him. I want to go with Justin and Ava and would love to go through that experience with many other friends and family. But for today, I am in God's will to be right where I am. Seeking Him here. The magic of Malawi isn't about Malawi. It's about God. He has called us to serve Him wherever we are- that includes in my very own house.
I am thankful that I serve the One who wants to push and stretch me. To teach me that He has freed me from every fear in pursuit of His will in my life. Our God is good. Right now He is reminding me that this is not closure on a journey in my life, rather it is a new beginning of giving myself completely to His purpose and plans.
"O, Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139: 1-10, 16