Tuesday, September 22, 2015

No... I'm Not the Same... And I'm Not Alone.

    September 22, 2015. September 22, 2014. Yes, it has been a whole year since I first set foot in Sunshine Orchard. A whole year! It hardly seems possible... But at the same time, it seems like I've been here forever. It is also hard to imagine leaving in three weeks from today. But it is comforting to know I will be returning in December.
    Oh, this place! How dear it has become to me! It isn't the campus... It isn't the beauty... It isn't the freedom... Those are all pleasant things yes, but they just add the the real source of joy. It's the people. It's the atmosphere. It's the place where I really began to LIVE, not merely exist. It's where my life began to have a purpose.
    If you have read my other blogs, I'm sure you can see why this place is so special. You can't help but love it with your whole heart. The kid are so precious... Irreplaceable. There isn't a single day that goes by but that I can thank God full of gratitude for giving me these special people in my life.
    To think of leaving in only three weeks is a crazy thought. How could time have slipped by so quickly? I am so excited to see my family and friends!! I'm so happy I will be home for a whole 7 weeks too! But I also know I will miss my kids and everyone else here so very much... It will be good to be back again after a break.
    As I look back over the past year, there is so much that has happened. So much that has changed my life forever. There have been more trials and opportunities for growth than I could have ever imagined! Sadly, I have not taken advantage of all of them. There have also been way more blessings and precious memories than I could have imagined!

    This is not the same little girl that walked away alone from those she held dear in an huge airport with tears streaming down her face and a terrible ache in her heart.
    This isn't the same little girl who lay on her bed alone at night in a motel in Chiang Mai and silently wept.
    This isn't the same girl who walked alone into a crowded chapel as the sky darkened and sat and stared with wonder and fear.
    This isn't the same girl who lay on her mat that night alone, silently screaming in agony of heart such as she had never before known as tears fell like rain on her pillow... Who's head began to throb and wanted nothing but to just go home right then.
    This isn't the same girl who fearfully and timidly sat in the back of Tharamu Suh Pweh's English classes to "help," as little girls filled her hair and hands with flowers and her heart with rays of happiness.
    This isn't the same girl who was asked to teach Tharamu Raquel's English classes when she left after the second term and was so scared at the thought that she couldn't even say no!
    This isn't the same girl who walked to classes that first day of teaching so nervously and with a constant prayer in her heart, pleading for help from the Master Teacher.
    This isn't the same girl who stood by the Steck's house and watched in silence and tears as the car rolled down the road, carrying her second family far away to her homeland and leaving her "alone."
    This isn't the same girl who was too shy and scared to go down to the children's home and ask when they wanted her to move in, so she sat in her hut for three days.
    This isn't the same girl who followed her feelings and made one of the biggest mistakes of her life, agonized through guilt and wretchedness, then struggled to believe in forgiveness and acceptance from God again.
    This isn't the same girl who walked to classes the first day of the 2015-2016 school year with excitement and a little apprehension and nervousness at the thought of teaching three classes instead of two and all of them full of energetic teenagers to look up to her.

    No.... I'm not the same. Praise God!  And I'm not alone. I now realize that I never was. Even when it felt so lonely, so empty, so frightening, God was still showing me that He was there.
    Like the key chain I saw through tear blurred eyes that said, "Jesus loves you." 
    Like being able to sit by an experienced flyer who just happened to be a dear friend. How on earth did she end up with the same flight as me on the same day? How did she end up in the same row on the plane? How did she then end up switching with a kindhearted lady so we sat by each other the whole 11ish hours? I know how. God loves me. God has a plan for me. God is still working. That's how.
    Like not having to really teach when I first got here, but was able to ease into it.
    Perfection? Still so far from it... But I have come to understand more fully the Love of my Father who is the origin of all perfection. Not only that, but He promises to mold and shape me after His own perfect will until I can be perfect as He is. It almost sounds too good to be true. But it is. Because God has said it. And His word never fails. What He says, that He will do. If we will only just believe...
    Oh, to have more of that faith! To even have as much as half a mustard seed... But just imagine if we had as much as a whole seed! That faith can move mountains. Jesus said so. It is the prayer of my heart to have more of that faith... That is may grow day by day, stronger and deeper. May it be your prayer as well. 

An old picture from last year... :)

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