The Land of Smiles.

Tuesday February 9th — While crying to my parents about the unfolding events of my life I finally blurted out, “What am I doing with myself? Life is not going as I planned! Ugh. I want to travel again. I’m young. I have nothing holding me down. I should travel! That’s what I’m meant to do! That’s what I love to do! I need a new adventure!”

Wednesday February 10th — A friend who’s serving in Thailand messages me, “So I think you would love it here and next time we come you should totally come with us. Haha.” To which I replied, “I would love to! Can I come now?!” Friend’s response, “I’m not even kidding. Come over now! That would be the bomb.com.”

Six days later I purchased my plane tickets to Thailand.

I love roller coasters, but as much as I love them I hate them. What I love most about them, is what I hate most about them. It’s the wait to sit in the front seat, the BEST seat. It’s the anticipation of the next drop after chugging up a mountainous peak. It’s the feeling in my stomach upon every downfall. It’s the wind in my face. It’s the slight fear that at any time the cart could very well veer off track and…well… It’s all in the thrill. It’s when the car finally arrives back at its station, I catch my breath and instantly want to ride again.

Upon each great adventure God has called me on I felt those same feelings. As much as I loved scheduling those adventures I hated it. Wrestling with mom and dad. Westling with God. Wrestling with myself. It’s the wait to see exactly what God has planned for me. It’s the anticipation of the joy set before me. It’s the pit in my stomach knowing that I’m about to step onto foreign land and potentially face great challenges. It’s the wind in my face, and I have to choose to believe it’s the peace of the Holy Spirit and not the wind of a storm. It’s the slight fear that at any time anything can happen. What has always terrified me most became my most prized treasures.  It’s all in the thrill, the fearful, anxious, exciting cry of my heart.

Here is what I know:

April 1st I (uno solo) will depart from Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. I will be in air a little over thirteen hours before landing in Doha, Qatar. After a five hour layover I will board another plane to Bangkok, Thailand. This time I’ll be in air for a little over seven hours. Next I’ll spend approximately three hours in Bangkok before my final two hour flight to Chiang Mai where I will finally step on Thai soil and breathe in air I never imagined would kiss my face.

I will be met by the most encouraging friends who will help me get established for the month that lies ahead. I will be serving alongside my friends and a wonderful non-profit organization called The Sunshine House. The Sunshine House is a home for woman saved from sex trafficking and abusive relationships which provides care and work opportunities for women in need. I will also be exploring the beautiful land of Chiang Mai and following every lead and every road the Father calls me on. I will be learning and growing and facing my fears. I will be brave and courageous and open. I will be resting and abiding.

On April 29th I will returning home and begin a new season of life.

Things I don’t know:

I don’t know how to fly alone. I don’t know how to speak Arabic or Thai. I don’t know where I’ll be living or the specifics of what I’ll be doing. I don’t know the layout or design of the city. I don’t know Thai culture. I don’t know what my purpose is in going, only that God has made it very clear for me to accept his invitation to Chiang Mai.

Quite frankly I don’t know what bravery looks like, but I know God has made me brave. I don’t know what comfort zones I will need to step out of, but I know I have a comforter. I don’t know what God’s plan is, but I know He has one. I don’t know in which areas God will strengthen me, but I know in His kingdom He calls his children from glory to glory.

Two things I will hold onto:

  1. Though [I] have not seen him, [I] love him; and even though [I] do not see him now, [I] believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for [I am] receiving the end result of [my] faith, the salvation of [my] soul.” 1 Peter 1:8-9
  2. “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.” Malachi 4:2

There will be few times in our lives when all our instincts will tell us to do something, something that defies logic, upsets our plans and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, we do it. Listen to our instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications and just go for it (Judith McNaught).

So, I’m just going for it. I have that stomach drop-the coaster is about to take off- God is always good-but holy crap this is happening feeling in my stomach. And it’s good. It’s real good. I’m going to Thailand, The Land of Smiles. Thank you, Jesus.

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