26 January 2015

I Leave Today! Here Are Ways You Can Pray...

I'm leaving today!

I'm leaving today.

For months, I have been waiting for, talking about, dreaming about, this trip. And today is the day that it's actually happening. I have to tell you, I'm equal parts excited and afraid.

I am so excited to see friends I haven't seen in years, to meet their spouses and children, to hear stories of their lives in the time we've been apart. I am excited to have space to hear all that God wants to say, to rest and reflect on the last few years and the season that has recently come to an end. I am excited to see two beautiful countries that hold so many memories for me--to see how different they look to my older (and, hopefully wiser) heart...and to experience a brand new city and create new memories. I am excited to be free of a timetable, to be in no hurry...to carry a purse, if I want, but never think about where I put house keys or stopping for gas. To come home from a day with dozens, if not hundreds, of photos on my camera--many of which were taken by small children and, somehow, though they are not well-framed, or even fully in-focus, end up becoming my new favorite pictures.

And, at the same time, I am so afraid...of many of these same things. I am afraid to be in the company of all of these people I haven't seen in years, to be reminded of, and grieve, all the time I have missed.  To see the hurt in the eyes of children who have been abandoned by family members and previous visiting tourists, who believed that I had become another on the list of people who had forgotten them in my absence. To visit places that now hold only memories of friends (and ministries) that are no longer with us. I am a little afraid of the memories that some of these places hold of my youthful arrogance or lack of conflict resolution skills--and the twinge of pain as I remember those I wounded in those times. I am nervous for what the space and silence will hold--for all that God wants to say, really, and what it might mean for this life that I have created, and fallen in love with, in California. I am afraid that I will try to decide, for myself, what the measure of success is for this trip and work to make something happen, instead of allowing God to shape it the way He wishes it to go. I am afraid that I will get lost or miss a flight or leave a bag on a plane, since it's been so long since I have traveled alone.

In the depths of my heart, I know that this trip will be amazing. Beyond-my-wildest-dreams-totally-bonkers amazing. I also know that this level of amazing means that it will look very little like what I'm expecting. And, that, brings a mix of excitement and fear.

I've been praying the prayer of the father speaking to Jesus in Mark 9, 'Jesus said, "Everything is possible for one who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"'

Would you pray for my heart--for my unbelief--today and over the next month?
• Pray for peace of mind and spirit as I travel (today to London, this weekend to Ireland, and Monday to Nairobi--and back to LA on March 1.)
• Pray for my desires to take a back seat--that I might fully trust and follow God's plan and direction for these next five weeks.
• Pray that I will be reminded of all that God has taught me about living fearlessly--and for continued strength and determination to overcome that constant obstacle.
• Pray for the conversations I will have to be both deep and enriching, and light-hearted and full of laughter--all of which I believe to be life-giving.
• Pray for my family, who sits home anxiously awaiting my return. For each of them to see God's faithfulness on display in the photos and stories that are posted while I'm away.
• Pray that I would listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting for when to speak and when to remain silent. For which questions to ask and how to respond to those asked of me. For what God might be inviting me in to and offering me release from.

I promise three things: 1) I will post as often as I can. 2) I will be as honest as is appropriate in the posts. 3) And not all of the posts, but some, will be this lengthy.

Thank you for all of the support and encouragement you have given so far: through donations, cards, emails, posts and texts. I am overwhelmed by the way this community has rallied around me in the lead-up to this adventure. By the ways that you have pointed to and embodied God's provision. And I am so grateful for all of the ways you will prayerfully and emotionally support me as the journey progresses.

Love. Love. Love.


Julie Hibbard said...

Love love love THIS! And YOU!!

Unknown said...

Happy trails!
May all your flights be first class...
Love well. Laugh loud. Take lots of photos.

Cindy said...

Praying for you and your trip! May God walk with you and guide you every step of the way:) May you be His hands and feet while you are there.
Blessings & Prayer,
Cindy Williams

p.s. I wish I could have given you some photos to share with some of my friends back there that I haven't seen in 10 years!