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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Why I’m Taking A Three Week Break From Blogging

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With the birth of each of our children, came a rebirth of me.

I worked full-time until the birth of our first child in 2002. It was then that I realized, for the first time in my life, that I might not want to be a full-time work outside of the home mama. My mom worked full-time her entire life, so I assumed I’d do the same. My husband and I had purchased a home, and hadn’t planned our finances around me staying home in any capacity. But I knew right away, as soon as our son was born – I didn’t want to work full-time anymore. I wanted to stay home more. I worked full-time for a year and a half after that first maternity leave. And then my husband got a raise, just enough for me to stay home one day a week, so I reduced my work to four days per week.

It felt just right. And I was grateful for more time with my baby boy.

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With the birth of each of our children, came a rebirth of me.

I worked four days a week until the birth of our second child in 2005. After a 12-week maternity leave at home with our daughter, I returned to my four days a week position. I remained solid in that position for one more full year. My husband was deep in the trenches with his work, and just weeks before I’d found out I was pregnant with our daughter, our entire family began managing what would become six years of the worst of my sister’s mental health and addiction issues. Add my four day a week workload, and it felt like way too much. I knew something had to change. So I made a dramatic move. I took a formal leave of absence, and cut all the way back to one day per week of work. Working one day a week worked really well for two whole years. But then my leave came to an end and I was informed, given the shortage of professionals in my field, my employer needed me back, full-time. There were no part-time options, so I opted to resign and open my own private practice.

The time was right. And I was grateful as I’d always envisioned myself in private practice somewhere along the way anyway.

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With the birth of each of our children, came a rebirth of me.

I started and maintained my private practice, working 2-3 days per week, until the birth of our third child, another baby girl in 2011. At this point, we’d been through a lot. I’d been through a lot. We’d spent years managing unbelievable trauma and drama with my sister, she’d had a baby, and things had finally stabilized to the point they were manageable. For years, it seemed there was no way we could add another baby to the picture, but I didn’t feel “done” having kids and our biological clocks were ticking. So we thought hard and prayed hard. The answer was yes. It was indeed time for another baby. After I returned from maternity leave in March 2012, I continued seeing patients two days a week, and did everything else that needed to be done for the private practice when I could fit it in. (And for the most part, that remains true today.)

But things were different this third time around.

You see, after all those years of trauma and drama, after all those years of waiting, I realized what a gift we had in our baby girl. I knew and had a strong sense, for the first time in my life, that if God blessed me so richly with this baby girl, maybe He had other beautiful plans for me, maybe there were other things I was supposed to do that would fulfill me as richly and as deeply as this baby girl? Maybe He’d planned beauty from all this pain?

So I picked up the bits and pieces of a dream that had been building since the birth of our baby boy in 2002.

I’d just returned from maternity leave, and baby girl was only three-months-old. I knew it was kind of crazy, this starting something new and big when I’d just had a baby and was trying to adjust to work, again, as mama of three. Baby was still a baby, I had two other little ones, and my husband had begun a big corporate job. But God called anyway, it’s time.

So in April 2012, after seeking wise counsel, I decided, it was time to launch this blog. In-between work and dance class and baseball and changing diapers and everything else, I worked my butt off getting ready to launch this thing.

In July 2012, I launched the blog. It was no small thing as far as I was concerned. The blog was important to me, and I valued it immeasurably. It was part of a dream I’d been visioning, at that time, for nine years already.

So that brings me to today, to this post.

I’ve decided to take a three week break from blogging.

Because I know, with the birth of each of our children, comes a rebirth of me.

And while I’ve without a doubt been working towards that rebirth of me, it hasn’t happened yet.

I’ve known, for 19 months, that it’s time for rebirth. But my rebirth is different this time. It’s not just a matter of making a few adjustments and I’ll be good to go.

It’s a matter of handing my life over to God and saying – what would you have me do next?

It’s a matter of deciding – am I going to continue thinking I’m all in, or am I actually going to live all in?

It’s a matter of believing and trusting, truly following this Jesus I say I believe in.

So I’m sitting in this boat. Jesus is smiling so slightly with his gentle, gracious and patient spirit. He’s looking at me. He’s waiting. He says “give me an hour, and I’ll change your life.”

And I’m here, still deciding if I’m going to give him “this hour.” Am I ready to give it to Him, or not?

And you, my readers? You’ve found me here, in this in-between place, in this moment of deciding what’s next.

In this in-between place, in this moment of deciding, I’ll be doing practical things, logistical things, and hard things.

What are the practical things? I’ll be attending my nephew’s baptism, celebrating my daughter’s golden birthday, and spending a week with my kids during their spring break. Just as important, I’m desperate to keep my promise and call my friend, Denise, with whom I haven’t chatted for way too long.

What are the logistical things? If time allows, I’ll be updating my Meet Amy and Blog Vision pages on the blog. I’ll also be working on finalizing plans for my second annual Special Mamas series in May.

What are the hard things? I’ll be spending time in reflection and praying, hard. I’ll be reading scripture and books, reviewing old diaries, journals, and blog posts. I’d like to spend some time journaling, without editing, without an audience, to better discern what’s next. And I’m seeking wise counsel, because I can’t do this alone.

Oh ya, I might open that bottle of champagne that’s been sitting in the fridge since December 6th, and enjoy it with my husband some night.:)

Thank you for understanding, thank you for reading today and any other day you’ve read in the past, and know I’ll be back.

As of now, I plan to return to the blog on Wednesday, April 9th, but if I need more time, I’ll take it.

If you’re new to the site, or haven’t had a chance to read as many of my posts as you’d like, I recommend reading the two series that reflect my writing and heart best to-date, Letters to the Unthanked and Journey to Haiti. If you’d like to contact me for any reason while I’m gone, please don’t hesitate! All of my contact information can be found on the Connect page on my blog.

Blessings to you all.

Amy

“I’m thinking a mid-life crisis is not so much a crisis as it is an awakening. Either you’re upset where you’ve landed and you perceive you’re stuck there for the rest of your life, or you’re wide awake and ready to use your wisdom to launch you into an even better second half. I strive to be the latter.”

Post from my personal Facebook page – May 25, 2013

Amy - Thanks so much for your encouragement and prayers, Lori. I’m in the 2nd week of break, and while I’m missing blogging and have continued to “draft posts in my head,” it has been well worth it. The time I’ve spent in prayer, reflection and review has been telling for me, just as it was for you. Blessings to you!March 31, 2014 – 5:19 pm

Valerie Hubel - Amy – I will be praying for you during this time. Breaks like this – intentional and with a clear focus are so good in our crazy lives. Blessings to you!March 20, 2014 – 5:25 pm

Lori Harris - Good for you! I’m in the middle of my 2nd blog break and it’s fabulous filling…and telling.
Praying for renewal.March 20, 2014 – 1:23 pm

Tom Baunsgard - Dear Amy, Take a break! Refill, Rebirth, enjoy yourself with rest, family, reflection, prayer and the Word… It’s all good! We will all be looking forward to your return to blogging! Blessings Abound!March 19, 2014 – 7:59 pm

Vicki Thunstrom - I’ll be praying that you achieve all you desire on your break! And if you return on April 9th it will be an extra gift to me as that’s my birthday! :)March 19, 2014 – 6:31 pm

Journey To Haiti (slideshow with music)

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The Place

Amy

*This is the final post from a month-long series about my journey to Haiti. Click here to read all the posts in the series.

*Music courtesy of Ft. Alex Boye, Africanized Symphonic Cover of Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain

Terri Siebert - I really enjoyed this. September 29, 2014 – 11:50 pm

Tiffany Femling - Eyes are an expression to the soul! March 14, 2014 – 4:56 pm

With and Without Translation

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He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; 

yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Kids_239God makes no mistakes.

He orchestrates every detail of our lives.

He knows exactly who to bring into our lives and when, so we become more of who He created us to be.

It’s been 12 days since I met Kednaud. Out of all the translators I could’ve been assigned, God chose Kednaud. It was truly a divine appointment.

Kednaud spent an entire day with me. It was arguably the most important day of my trip to Haiti, the day I met our sponsored children. He translated every word I uttered, every word our two sponsored children uttered, and every word uttered by a mama, auntie, nurse, and project director. Add up all of those words across an entire day, and you’ll begin to grasp the thousands of words Kednaud translated.

I was grateful for Kednaud’s presence and assistance, truly grateful.

The only words he didn’t know how to translate from English to French Creole were “pink” and “swimsuit.” That accounts for an entire day of translating words. I’d say that’s beyond impressive.

I’ve worked with translators before for my work as a speech-language pathologist, so this translation was nothing foreign to me. But this experience of working with a translator all day, non-stop? It was beyond amazing. The Compassion staff reminded us that these were not just translators, they were “relationship builders,” and that’s exactly what Kednaud was.

But there’s something more I want you to know about Kednaud. You see, he wasn’t JUST my translator that day.

I believe God sent Kednaud to be my translator because there was something He desperately wanted to show me, show us, in the moments in-bewteen translation.

God arranged moments in-between translation for me to connect with Kednaud. When everyone else was using the restroom, when everyone else was helping the kids change into their bathing suits, when everyone else was helping the kids change into their clothes, when everyone else was getting a second helping of food, and after everyone else had been given gifts, Kednaud and I were blessed with small moments to connect about things that matter most.

What are the things that matter most? They’re things that connect us as human beings, regardless of our gender, regardless of where we were born, regardless of our possessions, regardless of any circumstance.

Kednaud’s friends tease him, joke that He’s not fully Haitian. He “gets” American culture. He has friends that are from America, and they’ve invited him to come and live in the United States. They’ll even buy him a house if he’ll move to America. It’s tempting, but he knows. He’s Haitian. He loves his country and he doesn’t want to leave. He’s meant to stay here, in Haiti.

So he translates for American visitors, he values the opportunity to engage and develop relationship with Americans who visit and build homes in Haiti.

And God’s placed on Kednaud’s heart a big God-sized dream. Kednaud dreams of learning 21 languages. He’s already learned four, and knows what his fifth will be, Italian. Because education is expensive and finances are limited, Kednaud works on one language at a time, as he’s able to afford. He takes courses online, through a website called Babbel, where he learns each language and earns a certificate that proves his proficiency.

Kednaud understands. His dream to learn 21 languages is big. It’s a dream most might think is unattainable, especially considering his circumstances. But he believes, I believe, that ALL things are possible with God, through Christ.

I shared about this “God-sized dream” talk in America, how God places dreams on our hearts that seem big, unattainable through the lens of human eyes, but that we trust, knowing anything is possible with God.

We both looked up towards the sky, stating out loud, agreeing as brother and sister in Christ, that yes – anything. is possible. with God. There was peace and joy in this agreement. And that was the first moment I knew, God had me meeting Kednaud, and Kednaud meeting me for a very special purpose. To propel both of us further, with confidence, towards His dreams for us.

Kednaud plays drums. He’s in a band, and he writes songs. And as you might guess, he loves American music. The most perfect medley of songs played throughout the day with our sponsored children. Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do,” Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” and The Jackson 5’s “I’ll be There” played as we frolicked in the pool for the first time ever, played games that united young and old, and shared a great feast together.

Then, it was time to present the families with gifts I’d brought from home. First was Bethchaida. The joy on her face was indescribable. And sweet Djino. I’ll never forget the way he smiled bashfully when I showed him the motorycycle shirt I’d brought for him, the way he bent over, kissed me on the cheek and said “merci.” Kednaud was there, and captured it all in words and photographs.

But there was something missing. I’d promised Kednaud a special gift, too. There was a song, it came to me in the moment we were talking about American music. And I knew I needed to share it with Kednaud. I’d just downloaded it from iTunes a few weeks prior to coming to Haiti; it’s the song that’s resonated most with my spirit these days.

So I ran. I literally ran back to the place where I had my iPhone and headphones. Because the clock was ticking. I’d used up all but 15 minutes of time with my sponsored children and their accompanying adults, and I didn’t want to miss a minute. But I wanted to keep my promise to Kednaud. I wanted to give him this gift, I wanted him to hear this song. So yes, I ran, and then I ran back, iPhone and headphones in tow.

I turned it to this song, Just Say Jesus, and gave Kednaud the headphones.

I sat with the children, the mama and the auntie gathered the gifts, and as we all sat together, speechless, in these last moments, Kednaud pressed play.

The music started. My heart raced. This was the song I’d promised. I had no idea why it was the only song that’d come to me when I learned Kednaud’s dreams and love for music, but this was the song I needed to share.

And that’s when he began. As the words and tune met his ears for the first time, he smiled, his face lit up. He air drummed, and he air drummed some more, non-stop, until the song was done.

Kednaud

He loved it. My gift had been received. God’s gift, to both of us, had been received.

The day had been worthy of a million pictures, and this moment was as worthy as any other. So we snapped a photo of another moment I’ll never forget, a moment that needed no translation.

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God unites his children in the most unusual and unexpected ways. He tailors our experiences uniquely. Because He’s the one that created us. He knows our innermost being. He knows our heart and He owns the dreams He’s placed there. He’s the only one who can translate, when words just don’t suffice.

I saw so much of myself in Kednaud. We share a love for words, for music. Kednaud’s only part Haitian, and I’m only part American; we rest in peace knowing our eternal citizenship is in heaven. We share God-sized dreams that seem impossible, but we know in our hearts, without translation, that anything is possible with God.

Amy

*This is part of a month-long series about my journey to Haiti. Click here to read all the posts in the series.

Kednaud Thermitus - Amy I want to thanks the song. I ‘m sorry if iam late to listen to it. I was sick. I can tell you iam listening the song right now.
thanks so much.
so what happen I never hear from you?
April 1, 2014 – 12:22 am

The Boy Who Stole My Heart

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It was my first full day in Haiti with Compassion International. Hours into the day, I found myself actively engaged with a group of girls at the far end of the project’s play yard.

With the help of a translator, I uncovered bits and pieces about the girls. They were all around my son and daughter’s age – eight, nine, ten and eleven-years-old. I was intrigued by their personalities and way of being with one another, and kept thinking how cool it would be if my daughter was there, engaging with the girls, just like me.

Another woman from our group approached and began conversing with the girls, so I decided it was a good opportunity to engage the teenage girls I saw yards away.

The day passed. We spent the rest of the morning with mamas and babies enrolled in Compassion’s Child Survival Program, had lunch with project staff, visited families’ homes, and returned to the project at the end of the day.

After we spent a little more time in the classrooms and play yard, after we used the restroom one last time before we had to leave, I met the boy who stole my heart.

I really didn’t want to say good-bye, but I was on my way back to the van. It was time to go.

Most of my fellow travelers were already on the van. I was one of the last to load.

Just feet before the van, a boy approached. He came alongside me, hung close, tight to my body. I’m still not sure if I’ve ever had anyone step in tandem with me the way that boy did. The only way I can describe it is that his little body was so tight, right alongside me, that we became one walking unit in that moment.

God helped me recognize, immediately, this boy’s strong presence.

I put my arm around his shoulders as we walked. “Hi buddy,” I said quietly, lovingly.

He kept close, never out of step. He snuggled in a bit closer.

And then he looked up at me, as we were walking even slower now, and ever so gently but assuredly said “I want you to be my mommy.”

This was the first child that had spoken a word of English to me all day, and these were the words I was going to hear?

My heart broke. I began crying immediately. “Oh buddy,” I said, as I gave him the biggest, most endearing mama bear hug I could muster.

The world around me disappeared. We were three, maybe five feet from the van at this point, and I’m sure there were an abundance of kids and adults wondering why I was crying and hugging this boy. I’m certain they had no idea what he’d just told me.

I loosened my embrace because we were now even closer to the van. He looked down and pointed to one of two bracelets I had on my wrist, one purple, one cream. (Oddly enough, I’d received those bracelets as gifts of appreciation from Haitians in the market 16+ months ago after I’d presented them with gifts I brought from home.) I couldn’t be his mommy, but I knew as soon as he looked at that purple bracelet that I wanted to give it to him to let him know how much he was loved. A translator was present and helped with the exchange. For a few seconds, all was right with the world. I had a bracelet and the boy had a bracelet. We’d be tied together, in our hearts, and the bracelets would be a tangible reminder. But a little girl approached and saw I had another bracelet to give, so I obliged, even though it meant I’d no longer have a bracelet to keep my heart tangibly tied to this sweet boy.

Still crying, I gave him one last hug, waved good-bye, and got on the van. Tears continued to stream as I made my way to the back of the van, past most of my fellow travelers. I explained to a couple who’d asked, he said “I want you to be my mommy.”

How was I supposed to sit in this van, act like I’d just heard any ‘ol words, and move right on out?

Praise. The. Lord. He wasn’t about to let my time with this boy end, even though all other indications said it was a done deal.

Thankfully, our departure was delayed for one reason or another. I didn’t even care because all my mind could think of was the boy. Kids were swarming around just outside of our van. I looked to my right, and there he was. I caught him just as he was looking down, fiddling with his bracelet. “I’ve got to get a picture of this boy,” I told those around me as I stood up immediately and captured not one, but two pictures. I felt blessed to have, at the very least, seen him again and captured these photos to remember him by.

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If I remember correctly, the van moved, turned in the direction of the gates where we’d depart. I thought I’d seen the last of the boy. I was sad, but grateful too, that God had given me the opportunity to see him from afar one more time.

But God knew otherwise. The van stopped. There was another delay.

Some moments passed, and then I noticed my boy coming alongside our van. He was looking up, into the windows, and he was now on the side of the van where I was sitting. When he came to the window of the people sitting in front of me, I noticed he was looking at them and pointing to his bracelet. I knew right away, he was looking for me.

“He’s looking for me!” I exclaimed as quietly and as calmly as I could without seeming like a freak to my fellow travelers close by.

I knocked on the window, loud enough so he could hear and notice I was there in the back row. I waved, put my hand on my heart, pointed to his bracelet, and then pointed to my wrist where the bracelet had once been. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and smiled.

We’d found each other, once again.

I began crying, once again.

I opened one hand and put it up flat against the window. He put his hand up too. One panel of glass separated us.

It was clear the bus was about to move towards the gates.

I blew him a kiss. He blew me one, too. I blew another. He blew another.

And as we drove off, I looked back and noticed. He was wearing navy blue Converse, untied. He walked quietly by himself as we drove away, fiddling with his bracelet, yet again.

Call me a blubbery mess. Call me whatever.

In the days following, I wasn’t sure what to do with this experience. In fact, nine days later, I’m still not sure why I met that boy, why he was the only child I engaged with that day that spoke any word of English, or why he felt compelled to say “I want you to be my mommy.”

I’d give anything to know if that little boy has a mommy. I’d give anything for the opportunity to go back and take a Compassion staff and translator with me, visit his home, and know more. If he had a mommy, I’d love on her and tell her how awesome she is and how she’s raising her son with a beautiful heart. I’d tell him what a great mommy he has and how she loves him with all her heart. And if he didn’t have a mommy? Well, I don’t know what I’d do. But reality is, I’ll never get the opportunity to do any of that.

Why is it that my Heavenly Father gave me this gift, this boy to love for just a few moments? I don’t know.

The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be His name, is all I can say.

Perhaps I’ll never know why I met this boy, why he wanted me to be his mommy. Perhaps someday the good Lord will make it clear. For now, I trust, there was a reason.

Five days after meeting the boy, I arrived back home. Photographs of my journey flashed on our television screen as I recounted my days in Haiti with my husband and two oldest children.

And then, the Lord gave me eyes to see what I needed to see in a photograph I hadn’t remembered taking earlier that morning in the play yard.

The boy.

There he was!

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I’m not 100% sure because the first two photos I took of the boy were from the side, and this photo was straight on. But my heart knows, my heart feels confident. The Lord gives me eyes to see what He wants me to see, because He’s awesome like that.

That boy in the middle of all those girls?

It’s him.

I recognize his face, he looks familiar. He looks exactly like the boy who told me “I want you to be my mommy.” He looks exactly like the boy who blew me kisses when I was still crying in the van. He looks exactly like the boy who wore navy blue Converse, untied.

And if it’s truly him as my heart thinks it is?

Then God has spoken.

I’m here, orchestrating every bit of your life, whether you know it or not.

I chose you before you chose Me.

You are loved.

Now go love.

Amy

*This is part of a month-long series about my journey to Haiti. Click here to read all the posts in the series.

Hannah Hinojosa - How beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. I’m so glad that this boy has a continual prayer advocate in you now!!December 20, 2014 – 2:20 pm

Terri Siebert - oh man this had my crying, this is so beautiful and touched me so much. Thank you for sharing this experience. September 29, 2014 – 11:42 pm

Vicki Thunstrom - Oh my word, Amy! This is the most precious thing, Tears and more tears….. what a gift!March 6, 2014 – 1:32 am

Tiffany Femling - Not much makes me tear up … But, your writing does! Thank you for sharing!March 5, 2014 – 9:36 pm

Re-entry

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Re-entry, it was all good.

Well, at least for a little while.

The first flight took us from Port-au-Prince to Miami. The plane was nearly silent in those last moments on the ground in Haiti. I’d never seen so many people looking out windows as a plane readied for take-off. Even so, it was all good.

Going through customs, waiting longer than expected for our luggage in Miami, and then waiting another 30 minutes to get into the terminal for our connecting flights? It was all good.

But then, after all that, re-entry wasn’t so good.

I bid farewell to the last members of the group I’d been traveling with for six days, and things went downhill from there.

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A man directed me that way, to Concourse H, the place I’d check in for my flight back home. The walk was longer, much longer than I expected. In fact, so long I thought I’d gotten lost. By the time I made it to Concourse H, my anxiety and stress levels had skyrocketed. If there was any way to measure my anxiety in Haiti (nonexistent) vs. my anxiety in that moment (extremely high), I can guarantee the contrast would’ve been striking. I was so anxious and stressed, that by the time I arrived at Concourse H, the only words I could muster to the last two Compassion travelers I ran into from Wisconsin were “I’m really stressed now.” But I’d made my way, so I paid to check my big red suitcase and picked up my boarding pass.

I ran to the security line which appeared to be a mile long. I had to go to the bathroom and wanted to grab lunch before the flight departed, so I knew I didn’t have a minute to spare. I stood in that security line for 30 minutes, listening to two in front of me talk about $4 million, $22 million budgets, how they hated the fact they had to hear the same speaker two years in a row – how could anyone think that was a good idea? A lady stopped dead in her tracks and sighed. Everyone was harried.

I had to hold myself back from breaking down in tears, sobbing, at this re-entry. It was bad enough bearing this weight, this heaviness inside, the somber feelings anyone would’ve seen if they observed me closely. Tears were welling. I wanted to run, hide.

And then, I looked down and realized – I hadn’t actually checked my bag.

So after 30 minutes in that security line, I had to go back to the airline check-in, stand in line for another 15 minutes, and check my bag.

I got back in the security line, only this time it was much longer than it’d been the first time. I forced myself to breathe deeply. There was nothing I could do to change the circumstances. A woman from Atlanta struck up conversation with a woman from Canada in front of me. “I just got back. All I want to do is go back to the island. It’s too cold here.” And the woman from Canada? She responded, “I just hope my flight gets delayed. I’d be good staying here as long as they need me to.”

And me? I just wanted to catch a flight back to Haiti, and somehow magically transport my family there with me, and magically all four of them would acclimate, and magically they’d all feel called to become missionaries and we’d spend a lifetime waking sleeping giants in Haiti.

A woman nearby had the words Trust Your Journey printed on her shirt.

I knew God had me going back home. My husband’s called to creative corporate life, my kids are established, safe and sound in their school, sports and peer groups. There was no way any of this magical thinking would ever become reality. My life and my loves are in the United States. But I also knew in my heart that God intended, planned for me to return to Haiti. I didn’t understand how it’d all fit, how it’d all unfold, and I didn’t know when. I just knew, I just know.

Trust your journey, I reminded myself.

This second wait in security was another 30 minutes, but I finally got through.

I felt like a foreigner, a robot, just another body as I formally re-entered this nation of mine. Shoes off, laptop in the bin, bag on the belt, liquids in the quart-sized-bag using this 3:1:1 method known intimately to TSA. I didn’t take off my sweatshirt, but the TSA agent called me on it right before I passed through. Apparently, there was something about me that was unusual, alerting. I didn’t pass the test. “Follow me,” said the agent. He asked me to hold out my hands, face up. He swiped a tiny piece of fabric or paper across my hands, stuck it in some machine that read the results, and lo and behold, I checked out ok.

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I plopped my shoes, bag, laptop, and all my other stuff on the ground so I could gather myself outside of security. “It’s just not right,” said a man as he passed me and shook his head. “Ridiculous,” I responded as the stranger walked away.

I proceeded to the bathroom. The toilet paper holder fell on the floor. The door didn’t lock.

I grabbed the only food that was close, Nathan’s Famous. Soggy fries and a chicken sandwich were dropped in a paper bag, now mine, for a total of $12-something.

There was nowhere to sit, nowhere to plug in my phone. I sat, then grabbed all my stuff and got back up thinking there must be a better place. But truly, there was nowhere else to sit. So as odd as it seemed, as odd as it felt, I plopped right back down in that same spot a couple minutes later.

It was all a little awkward.

People were on phones everywhere.

I overheard a man, tattooed up and down, “they’re not making money.”

A young guy, “I’ve had scheduling problems.”

And even an old guy, “I’m a little annoyed.” And later to himself, after he ended the call, “It’s starting already. I hate this.”

My straw creaked loudly as I adjusted it in the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs cup of Diet Coke I’d grabbed with my lunch. Everyone turned and stared at me all at the same time.

I scarfed down my soggy fries and chicken sandwich, and plugged in my phone for a few minutes of charge before I boarded the plane.

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It was then, as I looked down at the rolled-up painting I bought in Haiti, that I realized – we’re all human, we’re all broken. We’re all living in poverty one way or another, all impoverished without Him. He knows our fallen nature and He’s desperate to re-charge us, give us hope. So we plug in to the source, the only source that brings life and true wealth, God.

I looked across, out the window where wings made by men directed our way back home. The sun was setting, the clouds victorious, soft promises.

He’s in control.

He knows what He’s doing.

We hear.

We trust.

He knows the way.

He turns our poverty into wealth-of-a-spiritual-kind if we plug in, let Him lead the way.

Snow covered the ground. I walked out, into the cold with a humble Haitian heart, full of hope regardless of any circumstance I face.

I plug in. And I know, I’m not alone. For my one true source of life, of hope, is with me, now and forevermore.

Amy

*This is part of a month-long series about my journey to Haiti. Click here to read all the posts in the series.

Hannah Hinojosa - Amen. What a powerful post…. It is so hard to re-enter our country, but you’re so right that we are all broken without God…our poverty of soul is there. But thanks for reminding me again that God is still here and at work!December 20, 2014 – 1:23 pm

Monica Anderson Palmer - I read this post two days ago and have been soaking in it, mostly because your writing drew me in, drug me through the airport with you and tore out my heart at your leaving part of your heart behind….if you’ve had any doubt at all that writing, and “GOING” is not your true calling-IT IS! Such a pleasure, thrill, journey it is to experience someone’s passion through the written word :) March 5, 2014 – 5:53 pm

Tom Baunsgard - Dear Amy, Wow, WOW, What a wonderful Journey! All the people you touched, and who touched you back . In reality it was God’s love that was so prevalent and that was what touched everyone throughout your mission. I’m thankful that you had a safe trip and that you are back home safe… Seems the worst part for the whole ordeal was travel within the US… A sad but true condition of our life and times in this, our bountiful country. I applaud your bravery in making this journey and stepping “out of the box”. I know you will return there someday. In the meantime, Stay “Plugged In” to the true source. You inspire us all to do the same!March 4, 2014 – 3:31 am