Leaving the country you were born and raised in for new horizons has quite simply got to be one of the most challenging, rewarding and yet beautiful things I can say I have done to date.
When you leave the familiar of your comfort zone for pastures new there is no telling of the adventures that lay ahead. Sure, you have a vague idea of what life may look like, a preconceived idea of how the job may be or such mundane things as the weather conditions. You do not however know of the life that is about to slap you in the face, push and pull you in every which way, test you way beyond what you think you can endure and at times tear you apart. Nothing in the world prepares you for this. That is why we brand it the unknown and why very few venture in to it.
The places that God has taken me are places I would have never envisioned little old me would be a witness to. I am the first to admit that throughout my life God has thrown me many a life line. On such occasions I have ignored said life line and gone the way in which I think is easier. A more softer way if you will. These is a reason I like to call these decisions mistakes, it was only until I was in far too deeply did I realise that these probably were not my smartest life choices, but as always, those life lines just kept coming, God kept loving, kept pursuing. I would be far from surprised if God’s patience had worn thin on me. That as we know is not quite in his nature. When packing up and leaving for Thailand became another one of those life lines I decided to dive in and for once chose a way in which was honouring to God.
Read back on my previous blog posts and you will see that God has been faithful. When choosing to be obedient to the things he has asked of me a new world began to open. I began to view things through different lenses, my heart opens more and more every day. Opening our hearts is almost certainly a risk. It makes us prone to vulnerability however it is commanded of us. The choice to keep our hearts closed will result in us not grasping the endless blessings that God has for us. Not only this but we are therefore consciously choosing to not be a blessing to others.
When we open our heart, we let people in to those close bits that are sometimes uncomfortable to show, we share our dreams, our passions, our desires, we let people see the weaker side to us. I had spent years not allowing that side to be seen. I put up a solid wall, I intended to be untouchable and I’m sure that anyone who looked close enough could see that it was an act. What it came down to was loss and the desire to prevent that from ever happening to me again but if there is one thing we are promised it’s not that. When we give our hearts, we will experience loss but we also gain something very special and that is love.
I am no stranger to loss, throughout my 27 years I have experienced it first-hand. I was brought into this world by two parents and lost one of them. As well as this I lost a step mummy an uncle, a gran and a friend. Loss via death is a loss like no other. We then come on to the loss of ourselves. We lose our purpose, our dignity and our faith. Then ofcourse I am familiar with the loss of relationships, relationships that were broken or were taken away from me because God knew my worth better than I did. Sometimes loss is necessary, we must be willing to lose in order to give birth to new things and I have found that God tends to blow your mind with the things that he will replace them with.
At present I am experiencing the loss of people that pop in and out of this transient life style. It happens to be as common as anything when you choose the life of an expat. There are two choices in this and I have tried both approaches. Our first choice is to hold back, close yourself off from feeling, from giving people the opportunity to hurt you. Certainly, this could work but by this we are cutting ourselves off from a whole beautiful world of blessings. This brings me on to the second option. We let people in, we give them the chance to see the real us, we love them and we let them love us back. Yes, this is messy, yes this can be complicated and yes you could get your heart broken but it’s an option that God promises you will not regret.
In the span of a 16 months I have had to say goodbye A LOT. People come for a day, people stay for years, no matter their duration of Bangkok living I have had to say goodbye and yes even to this day, it continues to suck. Ofcourse there is an element of guarding your heart but God created me to be a highly relational being, as many may know I love people, like REALLY LOVE THEM. I find it incredibly difficult not to go all in and do you know what, once upon a time ago I would have scorned myself for doing just that but today I learn little by little to celebrate this part of me.
Two days ago I said goodbye to a team that came on board with our organisation for 6 weeks. Such a short time span in the grander scheme of life and yet I gave my heart and didn’t expect the closeness and beauty I would find with these people on an individual level. Each member of this team taught me something different. One girl affirmed me and who I was created to be, she ensured me that it is ok to ask God for our deepest desires, another brought me to tears with the sound of voice when she sang. One couple modelled a beautiful design of marriage and showed me what couples look like on the mission field. Lastly, I was shown what a strong man of God truly looks like. A man that walks so boldly in the incredible gifts and talents that God has given him. His personality was infectious and beautiful.
People are sent to us for seasons of our life. Some are meant to stay the course of a life time, others pop in and out but no matter what we are called to love in the absolute best way we know how and if practiced and exercised in the correct way it is an incredibly beautiful design for life.
When I ponder over the topic of loss I think about women I have met who are either active in the sex industry or have made an exit. They know what it truly means to experience loss and rejection on a level that some of us may never understand. Customers come to them sometimes for a mere hour, some are taken on as regulars but eventually they all leave, this cycle is continuous, could you even begin to imagine what this does to the human heart? They, more than anybody need to feel a love that is so true and so pure. If it takes my whole life time to get to as many people as possible who are trapped in this cycle then so be it. I want my love to be given to people and for them to know that through my brokenness I see them, I understand them and I do indeed love them.