I leave this beautiful country today (Dominican Republic)!and I can’t seem to find the right words to express all of the things I want to say.
I can’t quite think of a time when the word “bittersweet” had a more accurate meaning. It is Christmas, my favorite time of the year, and I am absolutely OVERJOYED to see my friends and family again. To settle into a routine in the familiar. On the other hand, the thought of not seeing my babies every day, not holding their hands, or kissing their cheeks, or holding them while they cry….that thought is too painful to express. I am caught in such a beautiful crossroads. I am feeling all of the feelings. I am grieving, I am joyful, I am mixed up.
The same Jesus who messed me up, who turned my world upside down, who offered His redemption so lavishly in my life, has allowed me to be a part of something beautiful here at Freedom. I am humbled that he would use me. I am in awe that He would choose me for this season, to invest in these kids’ lives for this time. He is the giver of perfect, undeserved gifts. And He is also the one who directs my steps.
So I must trust him as I board the plane and go home without a set plan as to when I can see these kids again.
And it aches. The weight of that realization burns and I want to shout “It’s not fair!” Because I love them so fiercely in a way that I can’t describe because it doesn’t make sense. I know they aren’t mine to keep. People are not toys to collect. And yet, I love watching their stories unfold. I cherish the moments when I get to be a part of shaping who they become.
And as I want to clench my fists and shout “it’s not fair!” it strikes me that it really ISN’T fair. The Lord gifted me this time here. I didn’t earn it. I didn’t deserve it. He GAVE me this season, and that’s the most unfair thing I’ve ever heard of.
And so I am grateful. I am humbled. I know that this place is holy. These kids are seeing and hearing the gospel and feeling love in the midst of their brokenness.
Now it’s time to walk away from this beautiful place and go back home. Home. What a weighty word we casually assign a place. I think our hearts don’t really reside at a geographical location, they reside with the people we love anywhere. So I trade one home for the next. And there’s peace, overwhelming, because Jesus is a gracious God and he led me to Freedom so wherever He leads me next will also be beautiful in its one way.
This journey overseas started out so difficult, yet I am leaving with friends that feel like family. I am leaving having loved harder, laughed louder, and with the peace that this was such a GOOD season.
I am transitioning from one thing to the next. Trading one country for another. One culture for another. One language for another. Teaching one group of kids for another group of kids. And I am even more grateful for a God who never changes. Who is always constant, loving, challenging, and holy.
I’m sorry this post has been all over the place. I suppose that’s how my brain works lately. And instead of editing it, I think I’ll keep it the way it is. Because this is just how it is:overwhelming and chaotic and wrapped up in feelings too big to name.