Choosing not to go on a mission trip this summer was one of the hardest I've had to make in a long time.
It's impossible to fully explain my thought processes. I've been so back and forth the last few months.
In February, I finally made up my mind to go back to Carmencita's orphanage with a church in Texas. It was when they gave me a deadline for the money that I started to have doubts.
I was incredibly, overwhelmingly stressed out. How was I going to get enough money in time? But I had to stop myself: God had provided before, He would do it again. But, then, I couldn't just expect the money to land on my front porch. I'd have to work for it.
And all that planning. I knew the time that went into preparing for a missions trip.
And even the trip itself. In past years, I've felt nervous, yes, but also an unwavering joy and excitement to go. There was none of that this year. In a way, I feel like I was choosing to go simply because that's what I was supposed to do. If I didn't go on missions trip, wasn't that missions girl, then who was I?
But God spoke to me gently, and harshly to me at the same time. He told me, through His word, through prayer, and through many others in my life, that this was not the time for me to go. My spirit, my mind, and my body are all exhausted. I'm tired, and I've forgotten how to take care of myself. I'm so worn down; I'm running on an empty tank. And if there's no fuel left in me to fuel myself, I can't possibly fuel other people.
So in a quick email, with the push of a send button, I decided not to go to Peru. God and my dad quenched my thoughts of guilt. I had been walking a mission field in my own home for the past year, waking up daily to show Jesus' unconditional love to the people it was hardest to show it to: Levi and Evan, and the rest of my family.
And in deciding not to go, I felt a weight lifted from me. A burden taken off my shoulders. It was one less thing I had to worry about.
My one regret, the one thing that still hurts my heart every time I think about not going to Peru this year, the one thing that still makes me genuinely, horribly upset about it is Carmencita.
I still miss her just as much as I missed her the day I got back last summer. And the thought of not seeing her this year, by my own choice, is heartwrenching. Thoughts of guilt and betrayal flash through my mind. Does she think I don't care about her? Does she think I don't want to see her, that I don't want to take care of her?
But all I can really do is take these things to God, and pray with everything in me that even though she can't see me, she knows that I love her, that I will do everything in my power to take care of her, and that God loves her even more than I do.
And finally, when all that weight came off, I could really understand the meaning of one of my favorite verses from this past year. It was starting to make sense, to feel right:
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
- Matthew 11:28-30