I guess I thought that it’d be easy, ‘cause people always speak of peace. And now I’m picking up the pieces left of me, ‘cause I can see that it was You breaking me. -Chris August, “Water into Wine”
Well, I’m back. It has been just over two weeks since my feet have hit American soil, and I hit the ground running. Between making up classwork, writing papers, coffee dates with friends, Sunday School touring to share about the trip, and working almost an hour away from my apartment, I am BEAT. I don’t sleep much these days. I didn’t see daylight for THREE DAYS the first week I was back from Myanmar, and I still feel the jet lag lingering (hence my racing thoughts at 12:30am).
Last night, I had the unexpected opportunity to meet with my dear friend and former roommate, and she is always a breath of fresh air. What started out as picking up a film for a paper turned into a four-hour long conversation about life, relationships, God, and a little bit of everything else. She has this way of pulling my thoughts out of me, and I realized something sitting on the couch with her: I still haven’t given myself time to process the shattering of my heart on the other side of the world. I haven’t given myself time to dwell on what happened to my heart, my soul even, overseas last month.
I began aimlessly rambling about all of these things that had been jolting around in my brain, dying to become solidified memories and applications that I could cherish for the rest of my life. I honestly don’t even know where to begin, but one common theme remains: God broke me.
Culture shock smacked me in the face less than a week after being back. One Wednesday, we were in a village in Myanmar, listening to Brad and Pastor Aung preach Jesus to people who were new to even hearing the Gospel, sharing testimonies, singing songs, coloring elephants, and clothing these beautiful people who had no material possessions. The following Wednesday, I was in the kitchen with my grandmother, preparing a feast for my family, dipping cherries in chocolate and licking my fingers between batches. The temperature of the room was comfortable, I heard Black Friday commercials in the living room, and I was texting my family on my iPhone, making plans for the holiday. I couldn’t help but think about the children I met, their precious smiles, being ELATED to kick a deflated soccer ball around in dirt with me. I felt so guilty. I felt so convicted. I didn’t understand what was going on.
That Sunday, we shared about our trip to a class, and one of my team members said something that really stirred my heart. He said that he received an email from one of the pastors we met asking how we were doing, and Shannon told him he was preparing for Thanksgiving. The pastor replied that he would be going out into a village and evangelizing to a lost people group. So while I was kicked back, watching football and being in a turkey coma, I know that one of my fellow brothers in Christ was spreading the Gospel.
I keep thinking my heart has been heavy, but as I think through all of these thoughts, it’s the complete opposite: it was broken. While I was in Myanmar, God shattered my heart into millions of tiny pieces, and I gathered what I could to bring back home, but I just couldn’t get all of the pieces. This road ahead of me isn’t easy. Walking across campus, being asked what I want for Christmas OVER and OVER again, choosing an outfit out of my overflowing closet every morning, picking a playlist to listen to on my iTunes… it’s a different WORLD here. I am struggling fitting back into it.
There isn’t an ounce of peace in my body these days. I love Myanmar, and I love the Burmese people. I know this has been a sporadic conglomeration of thoughts, and I apologize for that, but it’s what is on my heart. If someone actually takes the time to read it, I guess I should have some sort of take-away so your time wasn’t wasted.
If you go on an overseas trip, you will be changed. Prepare yourself for that. But know that it is one of the best experiences you could ever have. I am a different person coming back from Myanmar. Our worship pastor, Brad, was our team leader, and he challenged us with this passage in Matthew:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. -Matt. 7:7 NASB
He told us to figure out what our “it” is. My “it” was letting go. Letting go of the person I have wanted to be, and letting who God created me to be take the reigns. God is changing me from water into wine. He is changing YOU from water into wine. He is making a miracle out of each of us, and how SWEET it is to know that He chose me to be a part of that.
I know I joke about my love for Chris August, but in all seriousness, his song Water Into Wine has been my testimony post-Myanmar. It spoke to me before, but little did I know that God was going to bring me to tears tonight listening to the lyrics to that song. The quote at the beginning of this post is some of the most beautiful, applicable lyrics I have ever read/heard.
Brothers and Sisters, please search your hearts after reading this. Find that “it” in your life. Fall on your knees and ask God to break your heart for something. The juxtaposition of the peace and pure chaos is invigorating. It keeps me up at night. With all of the stress and turmoil I have been through these last couple of weeks, I would do it all over again tomorrow.