Alive and Leaving

Alive. Yes. The people of the Cambodian Chronicles are still very much alive. Very much busy. Too many should-have-been-written posts. And at the unearthly hour of 4:15 a.m., I am very much awake. Effects of the bit of coffee and tea that I drank last night, I suppose. I know. Caffiene only affects old people. I guess I’m getting old.

I don’t feel old. Definitely not old enough to be getting ready to fly away from the safety of my family in TEN DAYS. Sometimes I just want to go back to being two years old with not a care in the world, trusting my parents for all I need, resting in the security of their love. But I can’t. Make no mistake…their love and help is as present as ever, just in a different way. And I suppose if given the choice, I wouldn’t really want to go back anyways – it’s just nice to think about it.

Many of you know about the new chapter in my life that started opening last October. When my family and I moved to Cambodia, they committed to staying for three years, and I to one. I didn’t have any idea what would happen after that one year was over. Of course, about the time of Grandmom’s funeral, the questions started rolling in. “What are you going to do next?” “Are you staying longer?” The answer was simple. “I don’t know.” I treasure the time spent here in Cambodia with my family. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. I have learned so much. But I wanted to know what the next step was.

In October I started seriously asking God to show me His will for my life. Before I came to Cambodia, I had decided that I didn’t want to pursue a different mission. If I was supposed to go somewhere else, I wanted them to ask me to come, not me ask them if I could come. One night I thought to myself how ridiculous this was. What mission is going to ask someone who’s already involved in another mission to come help them? What if deciding to do it that way was a mistake? I decided to ask Dad what he thought, and went to sleep. The next morning I groggily checked my email, and amidst the spam mail the words “Open Door” popped out at me. It was an email from the Camp director of Beaver Lake Camp in Dryden, Ontario, telling me about an opportunity to come serve as a Personal Worker. If you know me, you probably know how close to my heart my Native friends whom I met during the three summers I spent in the North are. It has been a desire of my heart to return to the North for a longer term of service, but each time an opportunity arose, it just didn’t seem like it was God’s will for me to go. This time though, I was amazed at the timing of the email. Could it be that God was giving me my heart’s desire? Whether He was or not, just the email about the opportunity was a huge confirmation to me that God truly did care about me and that He heard my heart’s cry.

The next weeks were some of the hardest, best weeks of my life. It was such a journey of learning to surrender and trust. To give up my own plans for His perfect will. Of trying to control things on my own, in the end realizing that God really does have everything under His control and that I only mess things up when I stick my fingers into the ‘dough’. A journey of tears, and l.o.n.g conversations with my Dad that probably left him wondering where the “Emotional Female Manual” was. I won’t go into the many details of how I felt God leading me (if you’d like to read more of the ‘story’ leave me a comment or message with your email address and I will send you the long version). =) But in the end, He made it so clear that Canada was the next place He wanted me to be. I am so grateful to Him for His leading. Yes, to be sure there are doubts, questions, and fears, but when I start to doubt His leading, I go back to those specific answers, and can rest in Him.

That was five months ago. When I agreed to come, five months seemed like a long, long time to get ready to leave. It wasn’t. Those five months have sped by so quickly, and now the time is almost here. With each passing day, I realize more and more how very much I will miss Cambodia with it’s smiling people, delicious fruits, my dear students, and most of all my precious family. Tears appear from nowhere at the silliest times…when Alaina falls asleep in my arms, her hair a curly mess, and I realize she’ll keep growing without me here to watch. When Forrest runs up to me, eyes glowing, with some exciting tidbit to share, and I just know in my soul how MUCH I’ll miss his amusing ways. When I think of life without Daddy’s reassuring, gentle presence and Mom’s ever dearer friendship. Without my big brothers around to ‘protect’ me from the dangerous world and carry my bags for me, and without my sisters who are growing up way too fast. I will miss them. So. Much. And I know that my leaving will leave a hole here that will be felt probably even more than if we were at home living a “normal” life, but they have given me their blessing, support, and encouragement, and for that I am forever grateful.

I’ll (hopefully) be sending out prayer cards once I arrive at BLC, so if you’d like one please let me know.

This post was going to be about a family trip to the beach, a stolen camera, and how God is bringing it back to me. It’s pretty much blazed a trail of it’s own though, and now here’s one of those should-have-been-written-months-ago posts. =/ For now I will leave it at that, and end with an earnest request for your prayers in the next several weeks, for myself and for my family as we prepare for and adjust to our lives apart.

God bless you all today, and every day.

As always…

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And as a closing treat, here’s a favorite picture of mine from Granddad’s visit. This little lady and her twin kinda weasled their way into his soft Granddaddy heart. (and maybe someday you’ll see more pictures from his visit. Who knows? Maybe another coffee mistake will do it.)