Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Return to Liberia

It is incredibly hard to believe that I have been away from Liberia for 7 months! This is the longest period of time that I have been home since this whole Liberia journey started four years ago. It's been quite the roller-coaster ride, but I managed to finally find a good, comfortable place at home. That's the problem. I feel like whenever I get too comfortable, that means it's time to go back. As we say in Liberia, 'I can't lie''s going to be hard, but mostly bittersweet. My last night in Liberia was spent doing this:
Soaking up the fresh and salty ocean breeze, the sound of the waves, the sight of the horizon and the beautiful Liberian sunset. And, feeling like crap. I'd been in bed for four days with malaria and a broken foot. I hadn't eaten anything besides some bread with butter. I was pretty puny.

Home couldn't have come sooner. Home was rough, very rough, for the first two months. Last night I was thinking back to those first eight weeks that I was mostly stuck on the couch watching pointless TV. Having to sit on my butt and pull myself up the stairs with my arms every night to go back to bed. Those moments when I was in tears, just "wanting to be normal."

And then there's the past few weeks. Good weeks. Weeks that have brought growth, new friends, true community, and passionate prayer and praise. Times that I feel alive and better than ever. This is so good but I am already mentally trying to prepare myself to leave all of those things behind. Again, "I can't lie"...there's butterflies, anxiousness, stress and sometimes there's bargaining.

This is when I have to think about what's really important. Who, and what, really matters. For such a time is this. The call, the obedience, the reward. Last night, I poured my heart out in my journal about all of my fears, hesitations, and just feelings of not wanting to leave, and then feeling guilty for feeling that way. And that's when God said, "It's ok to feel this way. I am right here and with you every step of the way. I am going before you and will be behind you. My angels will be all around you. You can do this!"

And then I look at this:
And I think to myself, "Yes, I can do this. It's moments like this that make it all worth it. God, I trust you. Lead me. My heart is expectant, my eyes are open. Give me strength. Fill me with your love and your joy. Help me to show your love and joy to others. Give me peace. Peace that passes all understanding. I seek after you, and when I seek, I will find you. Jesus, be the center."

I'm leaving for Liberia on February 19th....that's 16 days, people!? Please pray for me as I prepare to leave. This Sunday will be my last Sunday at New Hope, so if I don't get to hug your neck....just know that I appreciate and love you all! And, I'm flying standby on the new Atlanta to Monrovia flight, so be praying for open seats! Thank you all for your continued prayers and support and for making it so gosh-darn hard to leave home to go to my second home!

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