People have told me I was brave for moving to Africa when I was 19. But I didn't feel brave. I'm pretty sure it was more foolishness and naivety (with a little faith mixed in) than it was bravery. I didn't look at what I was doing as being anything special. It was frightening in some ways, sure. But I wasn't setting out to be Mother Teresa. I didn't think I was embarking on anything pat-on-the-back worthy. I was simply following my heart. And outsiders called that bravery. Courage.
I'm sitting here tonight with a lump in my throat.
Moving home from Africa after 13 years is demanding far more courage than it took to move there.
More courage than I have.
I am most certainly not brave. I cry painful, ugly tears at the thought of needing to make a whole new life for myself. The smallest of things feel insurmountable to me right now. And the biggest of things... Well, they sit heavily on my chest and make it impossible for me to breathe.
Like a landslide, the only dream I've ever had just completely washed away. I didn't have a "back-up plan" tucked in my pocket for a rainy day. I didn't have a secret wish of "If I weren't a missionary, I'd do THIS with my life". I was doing exactly what I always wanted to do.
And now it's gone.
I feel as though my heart may not have another dream left in her.
I am scared. And I feel alone (even though I am well aware of the amazing people God has given me in my life). And my heart feels hollow.
I've been told to embrace the idea of a clean slate. The world is my oyster. I can do anything I want to do.
While I appreciate the heart behind those statements, please---I beg you---spare me the rhetoric. Please hang onto your two cents and your platitudes. It's not as easy as just "deciding what I want to do next". Maybe it should be. But it isn't.
I want to dream again. I want to hope. I want to breathe in deep. I crave it... but I also fear it.
I need courage to face my fears. To trust one more time. To hope again.
I need to courage to speak. To be vulnerable. To be really me.
I need courage to put one foot in front of the other. To believe it's going to be ok. To look for His hand.
I need courage to grieve. To bury. To walk away.
I need courage to embrace wholeness. To dream again. To start over.
I need courage.
I. Need. Courage.