As I step out of this year-long season of life in the Philippines, I am sure the words will finally begin to pour out of my mouth. It will be a steady stream of processing, sometimes emerging like a roaring river, and sometimes just a trickle of tears where sentences fall short.
With two weeks left in this nation for a while, I am beginning to tap into the questions that conclude nearly every enormous season of life, such as “what was that experience for?” and “how do I move forward now that I have been changed in this certain way?” and “what’s next on the horizon?” That is just a handful of questions from the well of inquiries that I’m laying out on the door of Heaven. God is faithful to receive my prayers, I know, and faithful to return His answers in the most perfect phrasing. So I’m resorting now to simply resting at His feet, waiting, and keeping my Spirit open for any way he desires to speak.
But before I start delving into the process of processing, I want to first express the depth of gratitude I have in my heart for the people who have followed my life this past year. You have faithfully contended for me in prayer, spoken words of encouragement over my life, helped me fight the lies that have been screaming doubt into my soul, and have even supported me financially so I can pay bills and live here as I do what I can to serve these precious sisters that have wiggled their way into my heart.
Your prayers have moved mountains in my life. Several of these impending circumstantial impossibilities, I’m sure, were moved before I had the chance to face them, or even gasp at the sight of them. And for the looming peaks that I was called to climb and conquer, your prayers were the faith I needed for the ascent. And as I look back and see the breathtaking views I’ve had over the last year from rugged, uphill travel, you too, my prayer warriors, get to share in my victories. For all the girls who have received an unexpected second wind to continue their studies amidst every kind of trial, they say thank you, too. They may not even realize it, but their battles are being won by a God who hears the prayers of people who are strangers to them, from thousands of miles away. I cannot say enough how incredible it has been to be armed with such powerful intercession.
For those who have reached out to me over the last 12 months with encouragement and prophetic words, thank you. There were even people on teams that visited and gave me such timely affirmation, maybe even unknowingly, and spoke bold words over me that shook off the lies and darkness from my mind so I could receive God’s true identity for me. I’m shying away from even attempting to pretend like this year was easy, and for those people who took the time to push me to fight the good fight and believe in the infinite depth of God’s goodness—thank you.
Then to those who have been walking with me as I learn how to be more vulnerable, receive God’s truth for my life, and walk in my fearless, God-given identity–I am so honored to know you. Specifically for my mother, Lucy, Coach Kenny, Mark, Ebie, Taylor and Maleah, people who sat with me and wiped my tears away or stayed up at late hours to go to battle with the enemy over a FaceTime call, thank you. God specifically used you all to usher me into true freedom and healing. I can’t even express how much that means to me. You all have been a net that faithfully pulled me in closer, even when I wanted to give up. And as soon as you knew God had revived my strength, you launched me back out to do what He asked me to do in this season.
And for those who have surrendered a portion of your finances so that I could live and serve here—thank you. Your generosity put feet to my desire of being here with Wipe Every Tear in the Philippines, serving, loving, and learning from my sisters who are boldly pursuing all that God’s hand is holding for them. Without you, I practically would not be able to have called this place home. The experiences, memories, and people that I have encountered throughout this year have changed my life. And I hope you know that everything God granted me to give to my sisters was made possible by your help. So please celebrate with me in each victory!
Here are some of the greatest victories from this past year that every prayer warrior, encourager, and supporter who took part in this journey gets to celebrate…
- Young women and ladyboys literally leaving their places of captivity and pursuing their dreams, through education and through the power of Jesus working in them and restoring them fully.
- Six college graduates this last spring—girls who have put in the time and effort that it takes to hold a college diploma. These are girls who once identified as fearful and ashamed and now are young professionals who are serving their community and relishing the beauty of their restored lives!
- Acquiring a new safe house that is full of expansive space, perfect for healing, rest, and the feeling of home.
- Scores of girls coming back into our care after leaving—that’s right, even when they give up, God doesn’t! He continues pursuing them, racing after their hearts, and bringing them back to a place where they can truly pursue the futures that He has for them.
- Conversations that my teammates and I have had with the girls that have been utterly infused with the Presence of Jesus, and have shaken off lies and hurts that have been assaulting our sweet sisters for too long.
- Sisterhood with these sweet girls who are in our care. I truly feel like I have family here.
- An amazing Girls Getaway in May, where we were able to take our girls on vacation to the beach and give space for God to plant His peace, rest, and healing in them.
- Healing miracles! During our Girls Getaway trip, we did outreach in the rural countryside, and we experienced deaf ears opened and mute tongues speaking through the healing power of Jesus!
- Victory in personal battles. As I live and serve here, God has been weeding my own heart, allowing me to go up to bat with some of my biggest fears, hurts, and impossibilities. But God hasn’t let me down yet and I am experiencing more freedom and healing every day—in ways I didn’t even know I needed!
- Personal health. Not once since being here did I have a health emergency of any kind. God has been truly sheltering me this whole time.
I could go on and on, and as I come back to Boise, I’m sure I will write and post more of the thoughts that emerge as this season comes to a close. Regardless of the challenges that I have faced this year, all of those trials have been trumped by the goodness of Jesus. I truly cannot even fathom the fact that God allowed me to live such a dream at such a young age. I am thankful and I am ready to take a moment to rest for God’s “what’s next,” and then run towards it with all my might.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have sent me and kept me here. I love you all so dearly.