“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have travelled from the point where they started.”
― Henry Ward Beecher
After months of anticipation I am now in full swing of my home assignment. I never would have envisioned that time would simply pass by in a flash. I can’t believe we are already saying saying hello to december. Each day I have embraced, has been an absolute joy. It’s been filled with blessings upon blessings and opportunities to tick things of the list as well meeting some of the most beautiful people. Before coming back to England, I prayed that God would do some big things and stir some hearts, as always, he never fails to show up.
I wanted to touch upon a few things in this blog, after speaking with a best pal over a cup of Yorkshire tea in the country side and having the opportunity to share my heart I realised that many a subject were brewing in my heart (I promise, no pun intended here!) Firstly, I want to address the pain of transformation. Something that has come to my attention since being back, is the many comments in regard to how much I have changed. It’s fair to say that there is truth in this. . I have a new strength in me that I didn’t know was there before. I have a fire and a love that calls me into action and I feel lighter. This is slightly harder to explain but the piles of emotional damage and baggage just don’t seem to be there anymore.
Of course you can’t change your past and to some extent it will always be a part of you but something that God has taught me is to own my story
He can use it to bring joy and encouragement to other people’s lives. Previously I lived with a victim mentality. I felt I was valid in my poor actions towards myself and other people because of the experiences that I had gone through. There were times when I couldn’t see behind my own pain but now I want to use these stories for God’s glory.
Embarking on this journey has not been without pain and a lot of seeking. I think many can testify to this is their own lives.
A lot of our growth comes from some , of our biggest struggles
What I have come to realise is that in our deepest sufferings we have that inner desire to want to give up, but chances are we could be on the brink of a breakthrough, it’s in these times that we shouldn’t throw in the towel. Yes, we need to rest and have so much grace for ourselves, but we keep going even if we have to crawl.
Before coming back to the UK, I had some debrief counselling to break down the past 2 years of my time in Thailand. One thing I have absolutely come to realise is a lot has happened. Some small, some big. As I took a long hard look at this timeline, my councillor wanted to me to reflect upon any patterns that had emerged. As I pondered, something struck me right in the heart, it was clear as day.
My biggest breakthroughs had taken place after some of my biggest mistakes
This actually blew me away. As I looked over all the events that had taken place, I could see that it was in my striving for perfection that things were stagnant. My mistakes had been part of my growth, it was out of my weaknesses that I could see God’s strength and could begin to understand the concept of grace. When I go through moments of pushing until exhaustion, I am doing things in my own strength. Trying to be the best athlete., trying to change the world, eating 100 percent “clean” trying to be the perfect friend, daughter, missionary. It never ever seemed to work. I have learnt that when we relax, take a breather, learn from our mistakes and be kind to ourselves, God shines through us.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to raise a deaf world” C.S Lewis
I suppose what I am trying to say in all of this is never be ashamed of the journey you’ve travelled. Don’t let your story define you and always try and see beauty in chaos.
We really are in quite an exciting time. Now more than ever people are discovering their voices and they are not afraid to speak out. I can see that it’s making people uncomfortable. More recently we are seeing such things take place as the “ #Me-too movement. Women, I believe have had about enough and they want to speak out. Can we can even begin to condemn? I don’t think so. All around I am surrounded by some of the most incredible women who have been through stuff we couldn’t even imagine. Their strength and resilience astounds me. I am excited to see the sheer volume of women sharing their truth. It takes a big step of faith to reach out and be vulnerable. People won’t always accept your truth but that’s the thing isn’t it. It’s not theirs to accept. Gender equality cannot be achieved if we don’t all work together and speak about the hard stuff. It requires men and women to work ceaselessly in supporting one another and stepping out, even if it costs you a thing or two.
It’s been an absolute privilege to be able to tour round various churches and to share what has been going on in Thailand, both in myself and for the women that I am there to serve. In some churches I have been very open about my journey and the fire I have had to come through. It’s been nothing short of scary bearing my soul and yet it’s been so entirely necessary as I know that I wouldn’t have ended up involved in the work I do unless I had gone through certain situations. We would not have got to B without A and it’s a journey I will own. I will not let shame dictate the rest of my story.
Let’s continue to be bold, let’s sit in vulnerability and use our pain to reach out to others who’s present was once our past.