Wednesday, June 5, 2013

One Year.

12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 31,536,000 seconds. 

One year.

A year ago today marked the beginning of a new journey. A year ago today, I stepped off the plane from Liberia, excited to meet my five day old nephew. I was tired [exhausted] and ready to be home. But coming home was scary. I was leaving Liberia behind. I was walking away from the life I had known for the past four years, and stepping into unfamiliar territory. I was scared, alone, worried and unsure.

When I left Liberia, I knew that I would need the time, space and freedom to come home and rest. My bones were weary and my heart was heavy. I also knew that I needed time to grieve. I didn't know what that meant or looked like at the time, but I knew it was necessary. I knew that I needed time to curl up in a cocoon and hibernate. I needed the freedom to almost rediscover myself--who was I outside of Liberia and ORR?
It has been a long, painful and beautiful process. My cocoon has been my safe place. I've spent oodles of time with my family and loving on my nephew (who turned one last week!). I have explored my creative side and experienced new people and places. I have had time to recuperate, remember, heal and move forward. I have learned so much over this last year! But I think the most important thing that I've done is grieve...and forgive.

Through the help of a fantastic ministry called Restoring Your Heart, I have grieved my losses. I have also learned that I have to chose forgiveness--forgiveness is for me! I've grieved losing Liberia and the children who became my own children. I cried over losing the life I had known. I grieved lost expectations and hopes for the future. I've shed tears over the loss of life, the unfairness, injustice and hopelessness that has filled my life for the last six years. The hardest, and most important, thing that I did just a few weeks ago was forgive Liberia. I wrote a lengthy letter to Liberia, laying everything out there--telling her how she's hurt me, what she's stolen from me, the grief she's given me, and how she's impacted and changed me. I wasn't very nice--I told Liberia that I hated her!
I ended the letter by proclaiming Truth and forgiving Liberia. It's hard to forgive an entire country that has done so much damage, but the freedom that comes with that forgiveness is incredible! I actually had to read the letter to my small group, and it was very emotional--my heart was racing and there were tears--but as the words came out of my mouth, the heaviness lifted. Because I chose to forgive Liberia, I was able to move on. To get up out of the muck, and focus on the journey ahead. It nearly took a full year, but it was time to move on. [Maybe some other time, I will share pieces of my letter]

As days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, I am focusing on getting back to Liberia. I am still overwhelmed and fumbling around this whole "setting up a non-profit" thing. There is so much I don't know, yet I've already learned so much. The thoughts, ideas and dreams in my journal are fleshing themselves out and becoming a reality. I have a house in Liberia! I have so many friends praying for me, encouraging me and building me up! There are so many friends on the other side of the world anxiously awaiting my return. There is a community of people who don't even know what's coming and how their lives are going to change because of Love! Through it all, I know and believe that God is with me every step of the way! I know that He's guiding and orchestrating, even if I can't see it or feel it. I still feel like I'm storing up energy for what's to come, but I know that it. is. good.
Thank you so much to all of you that have been a part of this long and winding journey! God is my Strength, but you all are extensions of Him! I would greatly appreciate your continued prayers as I'm delving into the not-so-fun paperwork side of things. I'm still feeling out of my league, but God continues to give me clarity. I'm also aware that time is of the essence, adding alittle extra pressure...which is both good and bad. I'm just so ready to be back in Liberia living out my calling (well, I'm ready to be back with the people I love, and living each day purposefully...but I'm still enjoying home and all that comes with it!). If I'm totally honest, I'm not ready for all of the hardships that come with Liberia...just thinking about it makes me tired! But I know that God's timing is perfect and He will strengthen and equip me for all of it!

I was talking earlier today with my best friend about how it's been a full year since I left Liberia. Neither one of us could believe how fast time has gone by...and then I laughed and said, "I wonder where I'll be on June 5, 2014? Probably Liberia." Probably Liberia is right, but I'm trying my hardest to keep my gaze ahead, while living in the now.

My heart overflows with trust and thankfulness!
Expectant for all that is to come in this next year!

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