Two weeks… just two weeks left.
I faced the days with dread of the end. Not just because Abby would be married and gone, but because decisions loomed beyond the wedding day. My decisions.
I would have to work. But where? Would I become a nanny? Would I go back to work at the Children’s Center as a teacher? I had options abroad. Would I teach with that missionary couple in Papua New Guinea? Or would I help homeschool those little girls in Madagascar?
Which path? What was I meant for? I love the feel of my own home and the joy that comes from working and laughing together. I love the beauty of working in your home church, united in purpose and doctrine.
But how can I forget the challenge of teaching? The deep joy of walking side-by-side with children of other lands and loving them so deeply you are fit to burst? The ache of kneeling and praying on foreign soil for the lost children asleep around you?
Since the day I left, I have not ceased to pray for Thailand and those children. That book is closed. I know. I would not reopen it, Lord.
I sat that Monday morning, my stomach empty and my heart full. I thought these thoughts with my Bible open on the floor beside me and my eyes lifted to the blue sky outside my window. I knew my help would come from Him. I had chosen to use this day to fast and pray. Everyone was gone, the house was empty. It was just me, my troubles and God.
I started to read. I read aloud from a little book called The Blessed and Boundless God. I read and read until a tenderness came to my heart. Every Scripture verse and every truth seemed to be more wonderful than I could explain. I was so thankful that such a boundless God could love a person like me.
All morning I read Scripture and other books, sprawled out on my floor, sometimes smiling, sometimes unable to read for the tears.
I look back on that day as one of the sweetest times of my life. How could I choose else but His Presence like that? But I do.
I thanked Him as I read, full of such gratitude. When I finally knelt, my troubles written in my journal, ready to present to God, I felt that those burdens were not burdens at all. Of course He will guide me! Of course He will answer me! Of course He has a plan for me!
When I opened my mouth, I only thanked Him more. When I did tell Him of the decisions ahead, I remember asking only two things.
“Lord, provide me with a job.” Even as I uttered the words, my soul shrank from every day leaving and returning with mere hours left to devote to my family and my home. “Lord,” I spoke helplessly, “My heart is in my home.”
I could not have both. Every member of my family works and it seems unbelievably sad to imagine each of them coming home to an empty house and no dinner. We share the responsibility usually, but it gave me great satisfaction, those months of not working, to be the one to make the house clean and warm, with promise of a good dinner for my busy family.
I sighed heavily and promised. “I will do whatever you ask me to do.”
I felt a pang as I looked at my favorite decoration in my room. It is a pencil portrait of a Hmong child. Dried wildflowers picked by dirty little hands hang down it’s wooden frame. It is my reminder to pray for Thailand. This day, I sit and stare, longing to see that land again.
“Just once.” I whisper absent-mindedly. “May I go back?”
I remember the messages from my older students over facebook, the video calls from the little ones and I remember the many promises I made in foolishness. Yes, I will visit you! When? In April! Then my sister became engaged. I will visit you! When? soon! All the while, time passes and I learn. I must wait on the Lord for permission and not allow my emotions to take control.
I looked up, smiled and repeated. “I will do whatever you ask me to do.”
I meant it. He had been with me and the time had been so sweet. He didn’t have to do that. That day was a gift. I rose with new light and for the rest of the day I felt His gentle Presence.
Four days later I received a text.
“I was wondering what your schedule is like in… say… October/November?”
It was a missionary lady who was heading to Thailand. She was due with her fourth child in November and needed someone to come and help with the kids during recovery.
“We will pay airfare as well!”
I was floored. I knew it was an answer to prayer. “Yes!”
About a week later, as I was chatting with a friend, she asked rather abruptly, “Do you know of anyone that is looking for a job?”
I shook my head. “No, not really, but I can keep my ears open. What is the job?"
“Oh, it would be working from home, answering calls and data entry.” She looked at me a little oddly.
It took me way too many minutes to realize it, but when I did I answered, “Actually, I’m looking for a job.”
She laughed and said, “I’ll give him your information and hopefully you’ll be hearing from him.”
“What about my trip to Thailand?” I asked.
“Tell him about it. Maybe he won’t mind.”
I felt very skeptical but a week later, after the wedding had passed and I had basically lost hope that he would contact me, I received an email from him. After a phone interview, he decided that he didn’t mind that I would be gone for two months and hired me on the spot.
I read the email with the job description and pay proposal and felt that I was living in an alternate reality. It was all so much more than I had asked for.
Two weeks… just two weeks left before I see them again. I would never have dreamed to ask that not only would He let me go to Thailand, but that it would all be paid for. I would never have thought to ask that He give me a well-paying job in the comfort of my own home, with time to spare for cleaning and cooking for my family.
I would have never thought of it all… but of course my thoughts are limited… and He is the boundless God.
“Is it not grace in the highest degree for this perfect, self-sufficient, incomparable God to look on us?”The Blessed and Boundless God, George Swinnock
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21