Saturday, July 18, 2015

"The air is full of spices."

I don't really hear God very often. I phrase it like that so no one will come along and admonish me because he's "speaking to me all the time," or whatever. He might be, but I don't hear him. I have a lot of problems with it, problems that have been growing over the past couple of years. It's immensely frustrating to feel that every prayer goes unanswered. I have big prayers- fix my health, make me a mom, make life better. I have small prayers- help me wake up in the morning, give me the energy to do some chores. My prayers cover a pretty broad spectrum, and I don't really get a return on them. I'm always praying that I'll know what God wants me to do, so I can try to do it and be where I'm supposed to be. But I very seldom feel really sure about anything in my life. So when I feel like I've been nudged in a certain direction by God, it's kind of a big deal. Because I don't feel that way very often, it kind of stands out.

I think about traveling a lot. I want to go see all of my kids. I want to go back to Tanzania. I want to go everywhere. But every time I think of traveling, it's like wishful thinking. Those thoughts are always framed like this: "oh, I really wish I could go to [country name] and see all the amazing things and visit the kids. But it will be a long time before that will happen, if it ever does. I don't have the money and it was too hard fundraising for Tanzania, and I can't put myself through that stress again while I've got all this other stuff going on." I know that I need to pay my bills and I want to knock out my debt and do all these things around the house and adopt a few kids, and I feel like it's an either/or choice: either I can keep traveling and stay in debt, or I can put all my resources toward those goals and stay home. The latter feels like the more responsible thing to do, even though I'm doing it and it's not been super successful, either. But I digress. I choose the latter because it seems smarter, like the right thing.

A couple of weeks ago, though, on the Sunday before Independence Day, I woke up with a thought in my head. Brandon was already up and playing video games, as he does every Sunday before church, and I was trying to stay in bed as long as possible, but I woke up a few minutes early, thinking very clearly that I should take the Sunday shift my friend Stephanie was trying to get rid of the following week, because I'd need the money for a trip next fall. There is no reason why I should wake up thinking that. I had no desire to take that Sunday from Stephanie. I love her dearly, but she had been drafted to work at the Main library on a holiday weekend, the day after we'd be getting back from the farm (so I'd be tired.) No one wants to work at the Main library except the people who already work there during the week. It's huge and busy and they have their own weird rules and security guards because sometimes scary stuff happens there. Steph was really stressing about it, because it would be hard to get rid of the shift (being a holiday weekend) and she *really* didn't want to work it. I love my friend, but I didn't want to work it, either. And yet, I woke up feeling- or knowing- that I should. Not only would I be paid for the weekend, but there was an offer of transportation and a bit of extra cash on the table, as well. And I needed that money, apparently. As I got out of bed and started my morning, I went through the regular script in my head. "Yes, it'd be wonderful to go on another Compassion trip, but that can't realistically happen. It costs too much. Fundraising is too hard. I'll never get the money together. I still owe some money from my Tanzania trip. It's too hard. I can't do it. Not now." But with each of those thoughts, I had an immediate answer at the ready. I don't know where they came from. I mean, I think I do, but that's not usually how this script goes, so it surprised me. "It would be wonderful. The cost is doable. You've learned a lot about fundraising and new ways to do it. The trip's a long time from now, plenty of time to raise the money. There's so much time, you could get the money together to pay off the Tanzania debt, too. You can do it. You've done it before. And you have time." It was a weird feeling.

All these things were running through my head as I was getting ready for church. It came to be ten minutes before time to leave, I decided to turn on the laptop and see where Compassion was headed late 2016. I felt like this trip, should it exist, would be next fall. Compassion keeps a list of their trips for the next year on the side of the tour page- the months are listed, and the countries, but details are to be announced later. So I scrolled to the bottom of the screen, and there it was: India, November 2016.

I don't know that I'm going yet. I think I'm supposed to. And truthfully, I think my mom is supposed to go, too. But I don't want my own excitement about the possibility of travel to cloud my judgment or lead me in a direction I'm not really supposed to go. I didn't have as many doubts last time, but I think my fear of not being able to raise the money is affecting how I approach this. Fundraising is really hard. International travel is expensive. I do not make a lot of money, so all of the money for this trip (or any trip) would have to be procured with fundraising and working Sunday shifts for the library. The rest of my income is dedicated to my family's financial responsibilities. Brandon is supportive of my wanting to travel with Compassion, but in a weird way. He says I can go wherever, whenever, as long as I can raise the money for it. So it's nice that he supports my desire to travel with Compassion and see our kids!

So here I am, asking for your prayers. I was going to keep this a secret a little while longer- mom suggested that we take 30 days to pray about it and see where God leads. But I don't think my prayers are enough. Like I said, I don't hear from God very often. I want to hear him loud and clear on this. I want to know exactly what I'm supposed to do. Especially since every time I get a letter from one of my kids, I feel tugged in their direction, too. "Oh, Anahi's letter is so sweet, maybe I should go to Honduras and see her instead. It would be cheaper, too." This isn't about doing what is cheapest. This is about doing what is right and what I'm supposed to do. I know that there are people that don't get that, and that's ok. But I am a firm believer that if you're not where God wants you to be- or where he would prefer you to be- then the path may not be as smooth, I guess. Not to say that people who are doing the right thing aren't going to have problems from time to time, but I think they have peace about it. I like peace. It's a good goal to have. But I digress. I'd appreciate your prayers while I try to figure out if I'm supposed to go somewhere. And confirmation that I have the right place would be great, too. It's a big world out there, and I've got kids all over. But if you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I have a big love for India and we are even interested in adopting from there someday. So going to India would just be....incredible. Amazing. And it would be really neat if it all works out.


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