Hello from the Philippines!
This has been one of those days so full and so deep that I will likely not be able to process it all until the trip home…when I’ll cry for the entire 27 hours of travel.
If you’re not familiar with my story, a little background might help you appreciate this post.
A Nervous Wreck
It’s been a day I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
But can I be honest with you? I was completely, utterly terrified about this trip. The week before I left, I cried more times than care to admit. I had that “top of the roller coaster” feeling, wondering if it was too late to get off the ride.
Frankly, I should have renamed my blog, Inspired to Wimp Out.
I was nervous. Nervous about the travel. Nervous about all the emotion. Nervous about getting sick. Nervous that the possibility of meeting my mother’s family wouldn’t work out. Nervous about being away from my husband and children.
It was hard to say goodbye to my kids. It was hard to step on the plane.
I even cried going through customs. Who DOES that?!
Everything about this trip is so riddled with emotion for me.
I was probably even nervous about being nervous.
Why Be Nervous?
Today I had the privilege of meeting Maricor, the beautiful girl we sponsor through Compassion. She’s 16 years old and I love that we look so similar! I even bought matching headbands for us (because I’m cheesy like that…)
I just adored being able to talk to her for hours face to face about our lives and the things we love. She mentioned that she performs dances often at church during worship so, I asked if she was ever nervous and her reply will stick with me forever. With complete honesty she said,
“Why would I be nervous when it’s all for God…?
I wish I’d heard her wisdom two days ago as I started on this journey. Why be nervous when it’s all for God?
Profound wisdom for a 16 year old. What are you facing in life that makes you nervous? He is the author of your story, no need to fear…
It was a powerful start to my day, but it didn’t end there…
My Anthem for this Day of a Lifetime
A song by Christa Wells, called Thousand Things, has long been a favorite of mine, but now that this trip to the Philippines is a reality, her song has become my anthem.
The idea behind it is that in every moment a Thousand Things are happening. In every season of pain there are echoes of hope. We often only see one side, but God is weaving an intensely intricate story and each moment of our lives, easy or difficult, plays an important part in that story.
I imagine sharing the song with myself as a little girl saying, “Hold tight, sweetheart. There’s much beauty for your ashes….it’s all coming around.”
Today….It All Came Around
Tonight some of my Mother’s family came to my hotel in Manila to meet me.
Eighteen of them. Some traveled over 20 hours. Some had stayed a week in Manila just to be here to meet me.
And the rest of the family? Called on cell phones while we were at dinner…
All this on Monday…Memorial day. I think God loves to throw in those thoughtful details.
Seeing my face, so much like their beloved sister’s, left them all in a huge pile of tears.
Seeing their faces, so much like my mother’s, left me in a huge pile of tears.
A. Huge. Pile. Of. Tears.
I can’t even tell you the emotions that ran through me.
Brother’s and sister’s who long ago hugged my mother goodbye for the last time, hugged me, her daughter, hello tonight for the first time.
A Word of Thanks
Can I say thank you? Thank you for reading, thank you for being a part of this community.
Because if it weren’t for you? Tears of joy wouldn’t be streaming down as I type this from Manila. If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have met Maricor and my family today.
Thank you, with all my heart, for being a part of this story!
Here is Christa’s song, Thousand Things. I think you’ll quickly see why it’s become my anthem.
And if, in your life, there are more ashes than beauty right now, I pray it will be your anthem too.
He is good. He redeems. He loves you beyond your wildest imagination. He is NOT finished writing your story.
How to Follow The Compassion Bloggers In the Philippines
We are only one day into this trip and it’s already been amazing. But this is just my take on the day. I have been so honored to be traveling with Tsh, Emily, Lindsey, Stephanie, Keely, Patricia and Shaun. And they all have their own incredible words to share.
You can read all of their stories on the Official Trip page.
You can also follow us on Twitter
And if you want to really be connected to this trip and begin writing a story of your own, here are the sweet Filipino children awaiting sponsors.
Read the rest of my trip posts here:
Day 2 – My Bathroom Is a Portal to the 1980’s
Day 3 – Grab Your Passports! I’m Taking You On A Trip
Day 4 – What To Do When You Can’t Do Anything
Day 5 – The Power of Being Known