I’m sitting here in my tiny airplane seat on my first of four flights over the next two days heading home to the Philippines. I miraculously lifted my carry-on suitcase over me and into the overhead bin without too much of a struggle so as not to give away the secret that I managed to shove over forty-five pounds into that tiny thing (that is very much against all airline regulations in case you’re wondering). Now that I can breathe again, I close my tear-stained eyes for a minute and work my way through some of my favorite memories of the past seven weeks.
Because of the way I’m wired, if I’m not intentional about pausing to reflect and remember, then I can all too quickly close doors and transition all of me into what’s ahead. And I don’t want to do that quite yet-at least not for the next few hours while I’m still in US airspace.
Coming home this time was a whirlwind of support raising, traveling to different churches, holidays with my family, sweet reunions with friends, and countless encouraging heart conversations over delicious coffee. It wasn’t necessarily restful at all or resembling of a vacation in any way-but it was exactly what I needed.
God blessed my short time in the States more than I could have ever imagined. The people He has put in my life are nothing short of incredible. I am loved and provided for on a practical level by more than one “mom”. Multiple people have helped me fundraise and advocated for me in a variety of different ways. And my friends- I cant even put into words how good they are! Most of my friends and my family too, admittedly had NO idea how to handle me. And yet throughout the entire seven weeks, they each held me up, asked me questions and listened to my long stories about kids they’ve never met and a land they’ve never seen, encouraged and prayed and bought my meals, and made me laugh so hard I cried on multiple occasions.
And all those things are part of what makes the actual act of leaving and saying goodbye SO hard. My eyes are actually still recovering from my cry-fest outside of airport security check a few hours ago. We were those people!
I so desperately miss my new home and family in the Philippines. I can’t wait to hug my sweet girls’ necks and then fist pump all the boys because most of them are way too cool to hug me. And yet as much as I look forward to getting back to my life and ministry in the Philippines, I still have moments when I want to live near my family and go out for dinner with my best friends and marry someone tall dark and handsome. I don’t want to give up everything I’ve come to love in the Philippines; I want all of that- just with some American perks added to it.
And yet I know this- no one can serve two masters. Following Jesus means making a choice. And sometimes for me, on days like today standing outside airport security, that choice feels heart wrenching.
God did A LOT in my heart during my time in the States. He filled me up after 18 months of nonstop pouring out. He humbled me through the continuous flow of financial support for the ministry. He taught me so many lessons and poured a supernatural amount of strength and energy into me during those jam-packed weeks.
But more than anything, He revealed to me so clearly each day that this life in America is not what He has for me. And when my life looks so vastly different from the people around me at home, I can take comfort in the fact that this is His will for me.
I LOVE my family deeply. And I told you already-I have some of the best friends in the world. I love snuggling deep under the soft covers and waking up to my puppy staring back at me. I love washers and dryers. Great water pressure and constant electricity. I love the 500 different flavors of ice cream and endless breakfast options. I love Subway, and Mexican food, and tubs of greek yogurt. And I really love how fast the internet is.
But I love His will and His calling more. I so want to follow Him in this crazy adventure of a life, and I want that over everything else. Everything. I have to get back to the Philippines- to reunite with the place and the people that God allows to make me come fully alive. The cost is high for sure. But the Reward is so worth it.