Garment of Praise

Back in Dallas, Brian and I were talking about how our community in Chiang Mai –  specifically the Grace International School community – will again shift following a family’s announced plans to return to their home country.

And 10 days away from the end of our time here in The States I felt a tinge of longing bubble up, and wondered will God ever direct us back to America? Because it’s hard. Hard to be away (both from Thailand when we’re in America and vice versa) + all the things that come with overseas living. (Is that a surprise to anyone?)

And never am I reminded so much of this as when we’re here in the land-of-everything-within-arm’s-or-2-day-shipping-reach (which actually simultaneously makes me thankful we DON’T live here but that’s another story…).

My thoughts then went to our recent flight from Phoenix to Dallas when the babes both lost it for 25+ minutes of the descent. Again, the ears. It’s so sad. I’ve learned to handle, or at least cope with, the helplessness of being unable to soothe the ear pain, but this particular flight I lost it along with them. Perhaps the leaving friends and family in Arizona was too fresh and tears were imminent anyway. Whatever the root, I cried too as we all wriggled and fussed through the pain.

And I realized I do that with God – wriggle and fuss through the pain.

The pain of leaving. The pain of longing. The pain of knowing ‘home’ is ruined for us forever. We have two homes now and we’ll always be away from one.

After we’d landed, deboarded and I’d taken a deep breath, I told Brian how stressful that was – that Piper couldn’t handle it, Paxton couldn’t handle and I couldn’t handle it. That we all cried. To which he reminded me: “I know, I was there.” RIGHT. Indeed he was. I just needed to process it out loud – the comfort of empathy.

I continued on about the stress boiling over in my body during those minutes, and how harmful it must be to my health, and why do we do this to ourselves? To which it later occurred to me it’s really not a choice that we “do this to ourselves”.

This, for us, is how faith manifests itself. We were invited to live it out overseas. So, yes. Yes to uncomfortable flights + the wiggle-and-fuss-inducing-pain that comes with the territory of going, leaving, living and longing.

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Which lead to another realisation (I’m noticing time here in America is ripe for these reflections) – that I tend to focus on what we leave behind. And that’ll never not be hard.

But that misses out on so much of the good. The incredible opportunities and growth of our faith, mind of/for Christ and the sheer release of our will to His. The trust. And the resulting peace.

Interwovenly, I’ve recently been memorizing Isaiah 61:1-3 as part of a Bible study with a group of gals in Chiang Mai:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.
Being in the encouragement, love and support of family, friends and community here in The States has reminded me to put on a garment of praise. To shift my perspective. And quite literally I’ve been given an essential oil of joy (thanks Amy!) to take back to Chiang Mai home. How cool.

This living on the other side of the world is a gift, not a pain to wiggle and fuss about. It’s a rich, full life that I often overlook as such.

Thank you, America friends, for renewing that in me – in us – these last two months.

This always has been and still is our journey worth taking.

Grateful,
Amanda

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