[broken]

time in Liberia always moves at its own, unique pace. i’ve been back for only two and a half days, yet somehow, it feels like a lifetime ago that i stepped off the plane into the humid night air, the heat that settles itself deep in your pores, on the shoulders like a heavy blanket. two and a half days. how can so many thoughts, so many emotions and experiences exist within the confines of 65 hours?

i’ve had one word running through my mind since i landed here, a word that i’ve been chewing on, deliberately, thinking about and mulling over and holding up to the light:: broken. broken? at first glance, it doesn’t make much sense. sure, when i first came to Liberia in 2008, i was broken. i’d just gone through a messy divorce, i’d lost a job and relationships, and everything i’d held secure had come crashing down around me, shattering into a million tiny pieces at my feet. the shell-shocked woman who first stepped foot on African soil five and a half years ago–she was undoubtedly broken. but i’m no longer that woman; everything’s changed since then.

and when i left Liberia in 2013 i was, again, broken–just in a different way. i had PTSD, and the depression i’ve battled for most of my life had reared its ugly head. i’d seen too much, felt too much:: the grief when children die too soon, the shame when i finally understood my white privilege, the anger when teen girls were raped by men in their twenties and no one did a thing about it. i left Liberia 14 months ago broken, most certainly, but in the time i had at home–i healed. mind, body, heart, and soul; all those fragmented pieces have been put back together again.

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                                           [Photo by Peter Kirkeskov / Flickr / Creative Commons]

and so thinking about all of this, i see that i have come to equate Liberia with brokenness–my own, mostly, that of my heart and something deep within me that used to feel as if it would never be whole again. over the years, Liberia had stretched me, drained me, broke me. the things i saw, those that my heart and mind could never really find the words for–they wore me out, wore me down.

but somewhere along the line, i started thinking: maybe it doesn’t have to be like this. maybe there’s a better way. maybe brokenness no longer has to mean what it used to. hannah brencher wrote, “your heart is supposed to be broken like bread and passed all around, not left in pieces on the floor.” and these days, i hold her words within me, delicately, for i can feel the truth in them, and it feels holy, somehow. i hold her words, and i can’t help but think of our Christ, who broke the bread to feed thousands–and it was in the breaking that it was mysteriously multiplied. and i think, too, of when he himself was broken, on behalf of us, for the sake of love; again, the breaking somehow gives way to more, something better, something full.

so i started thinking about all these things, and it came to me:: maybe i can do something with this brokenness. maybe it means that somehow, someway, now there’s suddenly more of my heart to go around. i can hug and hold and share and pray and love without it taking everything out of me. looking back, i think there was a time when i was supposed to suffer with; but perhaps now is the time to show what awaits on the other side. the thin places, they always stretch you, and the hard places, they’re full of grit and pain, but they don’t last forever; that much i know to be true.

maybe my brokenness was only meant for a season after all. yes, it was heavy, and it was painful, and the season seemed long, too long. but it served a purpose. and maybe, just maybe–now is the time for redemption. maybe now is the time to see Liberia through fresh eyes, through the lens of what it feels like to be living a better story. maybe i’ll always carry the burden, and maybe the hard things are always going to break me. but i do not have to remain broken. i don’t have to stay shattered.

i have a choice. i can use what’s been broken, and i can see something new be birthed from it. and that–well, that’s a really beautiful thing.

count the cost

it seems no matter where i turn these days, i can’t get away from three little words:: “count the cost.”

it all started a couple weeks ago, after i read through the gospel of luke. in 14.25-33. Jesus speaks of building a tower and a king going to war, of carrying one’s cross and the act of sacrifice to follow after him. count the cost. 

since then, i’ve been wrestling with this passage, these hard but holy words, chewing on them deliberately, holding them up to the light. in just a few short months, i’ll be taking a trip, the first since the epic unraveling that led to me leaving the missions field. this trip, it’s a big deal for me, in so many ways. missions, Liberia, orphan care: these things, for me, are what following after Jesus looks like. getting my hands dirty and my heart broken–this is the stuff discipleship is made of. it’s grossly uncomfortable and nowhere near easy. count the cost.

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Photo by Harry Doyle // Creative Commons // Flickr

yes, i can confidently say i’ve counted the cost. i know what it takes. it’s giving up hot showers and consistent electricity. it’s sleepless nights tossing and turning under a mosquito net. it’s sweat gushing from my pores and feet that never get clean. it’s frequent headaches and an upset stomach and very little in the way of comforts. it’s sensory overload, which is overwhelming for someone like me. it’s being a source of constant scrutiny, of having my every move watched. it’s standing out when i just want to blend in. 

it’s kids who die too soon and no one who mourns them once they’re gone. it’s unfair systems, instability and oppression, and people who deserve so much more. it’s long, tedious days full of overwhelming needs; it’s constantly wondering if what i’m doing makes any difference at all. it’s guilt and shame as my white privilege stares me in the face.

it’s homesickness and loneliness and sometimes feeling like an ancient Israelite, banished to exile. it’s losing friendships due to time and distance. it’s once-promising relationships that don’t work out because i never stay in one place long enough. it’s the fear of being forever single. it’s coming “home” only to discover how different it feels and how i’m not even sure where “home” is anymore. it’s worrying that i don’t measure up to other women my age who seem to have achieved more than i. it’s saying goodbye to financial security; it’s living on faith and the generosity of others. it’s seeing things i’ll never find the words for, and feeling like no one else will ever understand me as a result.

count the cost.

still, even with all this, i can’t help but wonder. maybe following Jesus looks less like keeping with the status quo and more like “a long obedience in the same direction”. maybe it’s less of a ‘normal’ life and more of an upside-down kingdom. maybe it’s heart-wrenchingly hard. but i’m willing to bet it’s worth it.

because this–missions, life, faith, discipleship, struggle, tension, overcoming; it’s the stuff of Jesus’ heart. yes, it’s costly, and yes, the price is high. but me? i’m counting it all joy–for the sake of knowing and loving the One who paid it all anyway.

because the story’s not yet over

it all began with a puddle of tears soaking into the off-white living room carpet.

it was early spring, six years ago now, when there’s still a chill in the air and everything looks dingy and grey in the weak sunlight. i’d just watched Hotel Rwanda for the first time, i remember, and it’d ripped something open in me, something that cried out for justice and healing and peace, some deep part of my soul that ached for africa, though i hadn’t yet been. i sat sobbing on the floor, rocking and praying (pleading, really) for the wrong things to be made right. “send me, Lord,” i wept. “i’ll go; send me.”

and as soon as i spoke those words, i knew, somehow, inexplicably knew, He would.

and then in November, i traveled to Liberia for the first time; a tiny nation i’d never even heard of but felt drawn to nonetheless. for two weeks, i quieted my soul and followed where i felt His leading. and He led me to the children–hungry children; sick children; hopeless children; scared children. the orphan-spirit in me recognized its kindred in the least of these, and i held them and i rocked them and i cried; oh, how i cried. because i knew that feeling; i had felt that ache, the lack. and when it came time for me to get on the airplane, to leave the poverty and return to privilege (guilty and ashamed as i felt for even having that choice), i knew i would never be the same.

so i went back. time and time again, i went back. i gave those children a permanent place in my arms, in my stretched-wide heart; i became auntie, mama, friend. i gritted my teeth and settled into a life lived in the thin places, in the messy, the uncomfortable. and it was hard; truly, so very hard. poverty took on a face. Michael died, and then Buster did, too. girls were raped, and the kids were beaten, and why in the world was no one talking about it? corruption was everywhere, and always–more death, more bodies, more loss. and then i got malaria, and then my health seemed to just deteriorate from that point on. i wasn’t sleeping well, and my body was sore, my heart tired, and in March of last year, i made the unthinkably difficult choice to walk away.

difficult because even in the hard, there was always beauty:: in Jumah’s fat, sweaty cheeks nestled against my neck. in Mercy’s long fingers that intertwined perfectly with my own. in Leemue’s happy smile and bright eyes, and Beyan’s transformation, and the look on Janet’s face when she told me i was her mother. and in the way these little ones lit up when i called them by name, for they knew–they were no longer overlooked or passed over; i saw them, really saw them, and i wanted to give them back the dignity that had been stolen.

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so in the fall, in the midst of changing seasons and a reminder to give thanks in all things, it should have come as no surprise when He asked me if i’d consider going back. He asked if i’d count the cost and decide if it was worth it. because i’ve tasted, and i’ve seen, friends, and i know the price is high.

but i also know:: this life is not my own. it’s been given to me that i may give it away.
and i know:: it’s when you give of yourself that you truly give.
and i know:: the tender heart of the Father aches for these children, so how cannot mine also?

and i guess that’s what settled it, then, when i decided i’d go. i’m currently making plans for a june-september trip, in which i’ll be reunited with my kids and hug old friends and hand-deliver some love letters and help a community center open its doors to be a beacon of light. i’m heart-thumping-in-my-ears excited and butterflies-in-my-tummy nervous, because i know and i’ve learned:: i cannot do this alone.

for starters, there’s a price tag, an actual monetary amount that i need to raise to buy a plane ticket and take three months off work and pay for accommodations and life in Liberia. $5000. i need to raise $5000…in four months.

and i need people to pray, to start praying now, really, for all the steps of this process. because i know this is going to be hard some days, and i’m going to be tired, and i’ll feel like giving up, and it’s then that i’ll need friends to be my Aaron and my Hur and hold my hands up to the hills where my help comes from.

so. here’s where i swallow my pride and humble my heart and i ask. will you help me? in whatever way God leads you, will you help me?

for if it takes a village to raise a child, i can only imagine it takes many, many more to raise hundreds of them. and there are sons and daughters not of my womb but of my heart who are an ocean away, waiting for Auntie Elena to come back to see them. and my heart-cry for the orphan, for the poor and the oppressed, for the discouraged and down-trodden, for the ones who need Jesus in the most desperate of ways–well, it’s calling me back, too.

i have a dream

if you know me in real life, or have been following this blog for some time now, you’re probably well-aware of one thing: i have a dream.
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it’s a dream of red earth and blue sky, of toothy smiles and weathered hands; a dream of bright sun in my eyes and hair grease on my fingers while i loosen the girls’ plaits; a dream of dust on my lap from where little ones have crawled and settled themselves in.
it’s a dream of love beyond language barriers, acceptance beyond cultural differences, a bond that breaks down walls.
it’s a dream of joy that is wild and a heart that’s stretched wide, of working through the hard places, the grit of a life both unfair and unjust.
it’s a dream of defying the odds and refusing to let statistics have the final say.
it’s a dream of doing my part to build a kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, of a life lived in pursuit of the things of Jesus’ heart, of chasing after the presence of God that is waiting for me an ocean away.
it’s a dream for the children whom i’ve welcomed into my arms and my heart as my own, to see them grow up loved and valued and whole.
it’s a dream to be there through all of it, the triumphs and the failures, the successes and the tears. it’s a dream to laugh and love and pray and teach and see and feel and learn and doubt and live out this messy beautiful faith-walk, however imperfect it may be.

i have a dream.
and i am on my way
. i’m going to a “place with joy, tears, glory, grace and most of all, more of Jesus with every step i take.” (holley gerth)

so this one is for the dreamers, those of us with wide eyes and lofty vision, who are working at making their dreams reality. the road sometimes seems long, the way often narrow, but sure enough, we are on our way. with shaky hands and unsure steps, we keep walking. and people may question, as they often do when they don’t understand, but still we walk ahead.
we dream, and we walk, and we know–one day, we’ll get there. 

the return to liberia: an update

it was a mere two weeks ago that i stood in church, hands shaking in surrender as i realized the magnitude of what i was saying yes to. a return to liberia. a return to the oppressive heat and sleepless nights. to lives lost too soon, to children who nobody mourns once they leave us. to a land that assaults the senses, to the corruption, the poverty, the things i saw and heard that my heart and mind still have no words for.
but also–a return to regrowth. a return to a simple life, lived without excess. to hope and dreams for brighter futures. to community and to my kids, these young ones who have forever stolen my heart and changed the course of my entire life.

two weeks ago, i said yes. and i started to prepare. i filled out my citizenship application and put out a plea for the funds needed to file it. two weeks later, i’m over 60% funded, with a little over a week to go until my deadline**, and i’m already looking ahead to the next phase of this process.

two weeks ago, i told God, “yes…but it’d sure be great if you could let me know i’m making the right choice here.” and He did. in the scriptures that urge me to spend myself on behalf of the needy. in old journal entries that reconfirmed His call on my life to  “be love.” in the support and encouragement of friends and family who agreed to give, knowing that this, all of this–whatever God is up to–is a worthy cause. “it’s no surprise,” they said. “we all knew you’d be back there one day eventually.” and when i told my good friend Momo that i was coming back to Liberia, he laughed delightedly and told me, “God will provide. you need to be here.”

and i do–need to be there, that is. i need to be reunited with the pieces of my heart waiting for me there. i need to be living out my days doing what i was made to do.

and so i take another step, a little shaky but with all the faith i can muster. and when i falter, and this all seems crazy and impossible and a little of both, i lift my vision higher.

i walk, slow but sure, and every day, i cry a little with gratitude for this crazy, beautiful, messy adventure He has put me on.
wait with me, my sweet Liberia. i’m coming-o! 

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**the first step in getting ready for a return to Liberia is filing my citizenship application, so i can travel freely between countries. the cost is $680, and i hope to file by November 1st. if you feel led to give towards this, please send me a message so i can give you donation info. no amount is too big or small–every little bit helps!

when i want to live a life that says “yes”

nearly seven months ago, i left Liberia. after an especially grueling season, i made the hard decision to fight for my emotional, mental and spiritual well-being and step off the mission field.

i dreamed of returning home to the States and resuming normalcy once more; i wanted to fall into a life of comfort and ease and forget all about the exhaustion of the past four years.

when i got home, i struggled a bit, as most missionaries do when it comes to reentry. the mass consumerism and excessive consumption of the Western world overwhelmed me. i felt guilty after lunch with friends, and i wondered if my kids in Liberia were hungry, if they’d had their fill.

mainly, though, i simply ached to be with them. these kids–they’d become my life. i’d welcomed them into my arms and my heart as if they were my own, and then i walked away from them. but the thing is: i had left pieces of my self, my very soul, behind with them.

and as more time passed, i started to wonder: how can i really live when i’m not whole, when massive portions of my heart lie an ocean away? and it was then that something deep inside me started to whisper, “the story is not over.”

i confess i dismissed it at first. a return to Liberia would be emotional suicide. i’m not ready. what if i can’t handle it again? what if this is just me, not being able to let go?

so i prayed, and i opened up the scriptures and sought out Truth. and i saw, woven throughout all its pages, i saw–the bleeding, tender heart of the Father for the fatherless.

i saw–that it’s when you give of yourself that you truly give.
i saw–that this life is not my own, and i don’t want to fill it with things that will only pass away.

i realized i wanted to live a life spent chasing after God and the things of His heart.
and you know what? for me, that’s found in Liberia.

because it’s one thing to serve the poor and the orphan, but it’s a whole other ballgame to identify with them and live among them, to enter into the hard places and hold their faces in my hands and tell them, “i’m here to stay.”
and i want to stay. i want to spend my days living out the scriptures, defending the cause of the weak and the fatherless, maintaining the rights of the poor and oppressed, rescuing the weak and needy (see psalm 82).
you see, i want my life to count for something, for my kids, who deserve someone to settle in for the long haul, someone to say, “i’m not going anywhere.”

and to do that i need to get my hands dirty. i need to step outside my comfort zone and give up the things that were never mine to begin with.

so i said yes. i stood in my church last sunday and raised my face high and told Jesus yes. even though my hands were shaking. even though the tears were falling. even when i counted the cost. i said yes–because he’s worth it.

and i’m looking for people who will say yes with me, who believe in me and the God that i serve and the work he has put in my heart to do. the timing is still off; there is still healing and some recovery i must go through before i can return to Liberia. and there are some very real, tangible needs that i cannot meet for myself that i need help with.

so please–send me a message, ask the questions, find out how you can get involved. i want you on this journey with me, friends.
say yes?

be love

four and a half years ago, i stepped foot on african soil for the first time. i was overwhelmed and unsure, broken and laid bare in a place that would ultimately change + give me so much more than i could ever leave behind.

liberia was nothing that i could have been prepared for, yet i knew i was following His lead. He had sent me to this tiny nation with the mandate to “be love” to the poor, the orphaned, and the voicelessas i held children in my arms and my lap, as my tears fell silently into their ebony hair and the red dust of the earth, my heart felt so heavy and full i was sure it would beat right out of my chest.

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over the years, i wondered, time + time again, if i had made a mistake, if liberia was really the place for me, if the time + energy + tears made any difference at all. and i heard Him, time + time again, always answer with the same two words. “be love.” that’s it. simple, uncomplicated, wholehearted love. that was my mission, is my mission to this day. it’s my purpose, my calling, my ministry, the cry of my heart. “be love.”

be love. to the crippled man sleeping in the garbage pile.
be love. to the thirteen year old girls raped by grown men.
be love. to the hungry boys and girls begging for a dollar, a meal, whatever they can get their hands on.
be love. to the lonely children who cry themselves to sleep at night and wonder if God has forgotten them.
be love. to the neighbors and friends who just can’t seem to catch a break in life.
be love. to the quiet voices that no one listens to, the faces that  fade into the background.
be love. to the women who wish they were better.
be love. to the men who make them feel that way.
be love. to those who know not what they do.

because really, when it all comes down to it, what each of us needs most in this world is loveand love has a face. it has a voice. it’s a bed and clean clothes. it’s justice and standing up for another’s rights. it’s a warm embrace and a kiss on the forehead. it’s giving without expecting anything in return. it’s speaking words of promise and hope over the discouraged and downtrodden. it’s getting your hands dirty and your heart broken. it’s sacrificing that which you barely have. it’s braiding a ten year old girl’s hair and whispering in her ear how beautiful she is. it’s saying, “i will not give up on you even when everyone else does.” it’s teaching an entire generation of forgotten and voiceless children that they matter, that they’re worthy, and that i see them.

though my country of residence has changed, my mission has not. no matter where i find myself in the world, no matter who is set before me, i will choose to be love. truly, there’s nothing that could matter more. join me? get on out there + be love to someone who needs it today.

xo,
ep

heavy

two weeks removed from liberia, i still feel as if i’m carrying the country with me. memories rise up at the most random times, and i’m instantly transported back to a different time, a different place, and yet it still seems so very real. a photograph of one of my girls can bring me instantly to tears, and there are a few articles of clothing that i’ve yet to run through the laundry because i want to remember the smell of sticky air and pungent dust, a scent so uniquely liberian, so heavy that it settles not only in the fibers of your clothing but also your pores, your heart.

part of me doesn’t know what to do with all of this, with the memories, with its weight that i still carry on my shoulders, with the broad spectrum of emotion that i go through in any given day–any given moment, really.

i shared with someone recently that it feels like i’m wearing a backpack, stuffed full with children’s names and faces, their stories, their dreams. the backpack contains experiences, both good and bad, and all the intricate details of which i’m still working through. it’s filled with worries and fears, with guilt and tears, with triumphs and praises and prayers without words. my backpack is busting at the seams with four years of a life lived elsewhere, and it’s still so close, still too soon, that i just don’t know how to let it go.

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so this person challenged me to take a backpack, an actual one–the one i’ve carried through airports and on roadtrips, across oceans and countries–and actually fill it with everything i have that makes me think of, makes me remember liberia.

and i did it. pictures of me and the kids went in the backpack. so did letters from the girls, begging me to stay, pouring out their hearts with ink. in went books and gifts, pieces of fabric bought for me as a goodbye from a 19-year old who spent the little money she barely had on the auntie who was leaving her. i filled up the backpack, and i put it on.

and it hardly weighed a thing.

‘how can that be?’ i wondered. so often, it feels so much heavier, a pressing force on my shoulders that makes me want to collapse beneath it.

i thought about all the things i couldn’t put in the backpack: the way Lamie looked when i first saw him, crippled and dirty, sleeping in a garbage pile. the way it feels to have no idea where they put his body. the turning in my stomach when i think about where Lucky is and if we’ll ever see her again. the way i want to give the world to Janet, how i want her every dream to come true. the way bodies look broken and bloody on the road after an accident. the way mothers grieve the loss of their babies. the way i love Mercy so much that it hurts, and how i’ve always felt like she was mine, and now i don’t have her.

i wrote all those things out and stuck them to a pair of free weights, five pounds a piece. and i cried over them, cried so deeply i felt like i’d never stop. and then i put them in the backpack.

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even with the added weight of ten pounds and countless tears, the backpack was nowhere near as heavy as i felt like it should be.

which made me realize: sometimes, things hurt us so much that we feel like we’ll never be able to move on from them. but rarely is it as bad as we think it is. yes, it’s heavy and painful, and yes, maybe we’ll always carry around a piece of it. but all of the mess, all of the questions and tear, brokenness and heavy hearts, are not our lot in life forever. they’re merely a few short chapters in a greater story that is still being told.

when i have to say goodbye

i.
a pile of folded clothes sits atop the black suitcase, ready to be packed. photos come down off the walls, the closets are cleaned out and bathroom shelves cleared off. two large duffel bags, fifty pounds a piece, contain four years of memories. i think of the boxes and bins waiting for me back home and marvel at this, a life lived in such a way, packed up and stored at a moment’s notice. i suppose that i should be thankful; i’m free, refusing to be weighed down by possessions and all my stuff. 

i am thankful, but i’m also a little sad.

ii.
i sit at her feet, this liberian mama of mine, and clutch her hand while i pray for her. daily, she and i hug in the kitchen, laughing and talking about kids and food. i realize who she is to me: a friend, a sister, a mother, and i choke back tears. she’s taught me so much, about love and humility, serving others, living by grace.

i pray, and i cry, and i don’t think i’ve ever loved her more than i do in this moment.

iii.
it’s four a.m., and i lay awake under the mosquito net. my head feels heavy from fatigue and allergies, yet i know sleep will elude me. another restless night–i’ve had so, so many.

in less than a week, i’ll be in a bed. it will be quiet; i will be comfortable. i dream about sleeping away the exhaustion of the last three months.

iv.
she shows up for work crying, and she somehow seems smaller than even the last time i saw her. they stole from her last night, broke into her home, her sense of safety and security, and took what wasn’t theirs. she swallows her tears and doesn’t want to talk about it. everyone rallies around her, offering sympathy, understanding, murmurs of encouragement. people here are forever losing, losing children, losing the things they scarcely have to begin with. when does it end?

and i, in my excess, feel guilty, ashamed.

v.
“auntie elena, you will not forget about me, yeah?” she whispers it softly into my ear as she hugs me goodbye, and time suddenly stands still. little hands claw at me, begging to hold, to be held, but all i can focus on is this one before me, jaw set with resolve, tears and questions in her eyes. i cup her face in my hands and meet her gaze; i can scarcely choke out the words. “i will never forget you. never. i love you.”

i see she believes me, and she rests her head on my shoulder. our hearts forever connected, our tears mingle in tiny pools, soaking the red dust of the earth where we stand.

vi.
i sit and stare, at nothing in particular, really. i think nothing in particular, feel nothing in particular. emptiness. it’s all that’s left. every word has been spoken, every prayer been prayed. the season comes to its close, as i always knew it would, eventually.

i lived well here; i loved well here. i did what i came here to do, did it the best way i knew how.

and then i hear it, an echo in the emptiness, a hint of hope in this barren heart:
“this chapter may be over, but the story’s just begun.”

[title unknown]

recently, i told you about the decision i’ve made to transition out of full-time missions in Liberia and consequently transition back to full-time life in the States. i also recently shared some of the difficulties i’ve been facing here in Liberia, all of which resulted in an epic unraveling.

i have continued to struggle in every way here in Liberia. physically, i’m exhausted. i’m sick of being sick and tired of being tired. i sleep fitfully most nights and can’t seem to keep my energy levels up during the day. emotionally, i’m drained. i’ve given everything i had in these last four years, and i am empty + raw + tender + bruised. my time in Liberia, rewarding and beautiful and life-changing as it’s been, has also been filled with grief, loss and tears, so many tears. it feels as if everything i’ve gone through during my four years here has caught up with me, like i’ve been unknowingly carrying it with me over time, and suddenly it’s all become too heavy, and i can do nothing but collapse under the weight.

so i’m crying mercy. i know i’ve reached my limit and for me to stay would be unhealthy. i leave Liberia in nineteen days, arriving back in the states in twenty. it’s not what i expected, but i know it’s for the best. i need to get healthy and whole again. i need to heal. i need to.

i look back and see that i have done what God sent me to Liberia to do, and i hear Him say i’ve done it well. i look at the kids, healthy and thriving, with happy hearts and dreams for their futures, and i see how much progress they’ve made. i remember where they came from, and i marvel at where they are now. i got to play a part in that. it humbles me and blows my mind, brings me to my knees in teary wonder. i can leave without  regrets; i did what i came here to do. the goodbyes will be heart-wrenching, but there is also a deep peace. it is time–time to go, time to start, time to change.

for now, in these days, i live in the in-between. one season is on the verge of its ending, while the new one has not yet come. i have both hands on the doorknobs, prepared to open as well as close the doors, respectively. i am saying goodbye while also saying hello. i am grieving what was and hoping for what will be. it’s a strange place, this in-between. it’s no longer the past, nor is it the not yet. it’s not yesterday, but it’s not tomorrow either. it simply is.

{i want to wholeheartedly thank all of you for the support and encouragement you’ve shown as i laid my heart bare and have shared my struggles with you. to be so transparent is not easy for me, but i have felt nothing but love from all the comments and emails i’ve received. thank you. thank you. i may still be a mess–but i’m a grateful one.}