If you’re my friend on facebook, then you will know that I have been taking tons of pictures of my trip. It’s been such a challenge to capture pictures as well as live in the moment. I knew one thing I didn’t want to do was live my entire trip behind the lens, I wanted to experience it fully as well. It seems that I got both of my wishes granted. I’ve gotten some awesome shots, but I’ve been able to fully live these moments. Interestingly enough, I think one of my favorite moments has become when I’m about to take a picture of something and I catch myself smiling behind the lens. There’s this moment where I know that I’m about to capture something that will forever help me remember that moment. Looking back through my pictures now, while they’re cool shots in general, they’re almost like little pieces of things that are forever etched in my brain. How incredible it is to have an invention that can bring to life for the rest of the world what is forever branded on my heart.
Yesterday, as I was doing something that could be put in the category of “closure”, I heard my little message tone on facebook ring. It was Melissa, who was sitting fifteen feet from me, but she could tell that something inside of me was completely broken, i’m sure it was clear on my tear stained face. It seemed that words failed me and I couldn’t even explain what God was doing inside of me. All I could think about was how much I fought him about this trip. I just kept remembering all these nights at home where I kept saying to God in my mind “are you sure? I really don’t know that this is what I should be doing.” I never heard a loud, audible, booming voice, but there was always a quiet nudge and whisper to continue forward.
I dealt with a lot before leaving home. God took me through an intense season of obedience, forgiveness and redemption. I bring all of this up because last night I had one of the most incredible dreams. I’m literally almost in tears as I write this, I dreamt I was sitting at a booth in a restaurant listening to someone I know very well, someone who hurt me and who I haven’t been sure how to forgive. As they sat at the table behind me talking with someone, completely unaware that I was nearby, I just sat there listening to their conversation and their life. They were happy and talking about all these great things and I felt myself laughing and smiling. In my genuine heart of hearts I was so happy to see them doing well. When I woke up this morning there was a realization that washed over me. Forgiveness did not come in a huge moment of “making things right” (although it can come that way), but rather this time it came over time as I walked these old streets and as I began to live out God’s plans for my life. I’ve been shown redemption in the most beautiful ways and through that it has brought me a freedom I’ve never known before and has freed me to release that to those people who I’ve been hurt by.
Today is bittersweet, it is filled with a longing to see my family and friends, to tell them all that God has done. Yet, I am so brokenhearted to think about leaving in just a few short days. I have seen the face of God in so many places and through so many people while I’ve been here. I am so thankful that every single time I fought the Lord about coming, he never yelled, he never forced me to come, but he put such a quiet nudge and whisper in my heart that He knew I couldn’t resist it. He knew I couldn’t resist His affectionate and gentle hand placed on my back and slowly guiding me forward. He has been beside me through all of this and I have come to know Him in an entirely new way. Whether I was standing in the garden of Gethsemane, on top of a desert mountain or in the food bank, He became so real to me, and although I’ve known it my whole life, it was only further assurance that this journey and life that I am living is not only worth it, but exceeds far more than anything I could have ever imagined.