“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 NIV)
The darkness flooded strong and heavy. Torrential.
Before Plant With Purpose wiggled its way into my heart, I wanted to live abroad. I dreamed of Antigua’s cobblestone streets, flowering woven shirts, bright skirts, distant volcanoes, and a day when I would dream in Spanish. I hoped to call Antigua home.
And that hope burrowed down deep within me, determined.
But I was scared. I was content, even joyful, to serve at Plant With Purpose. So I stayed silent. Stayed put.
About a year and a half ago I felt God calling me to ask if it would be possible to work for Plant With Purpose remotely from Guatemala. To ask if my dreams could come true. After an initial yes, I was given a final no.
I. felt. so. foolish. for thinking I could get what I wanted. That I wouldn’t have to choose between the job I loved and the country I wanted to call home.
And so, not ready to leave my job, I stuffed in the disappointment. Swallowed it down. Tucked it into a pocket. And went back to work.
Could I dare to hope again?
I spent one and half years in grief and burnout, trying to discern if the call for Guatemala was God-given or God-thwarted. Was I being too selfish or were my dreams too small?
I learned to name the grief, the ache, the burnout.
I learned to see God in the dark.
As my sight failed, my Hope grew. I learned to don my night vision God goggles, my hope growing wide as my pupils.
At a prayer workshop at my church, I was given a vision of light, of freedom, of joy:
“Someone is running in the dark, past all of these closed doors. But God rushes in and takes your hand; suddenly you are running with him in the light—free.”
I was running in the dark, past closed doors. I was running so hard and so fast and so desperate. I couldn’t see the light, but knew the light was coming. I kept running anyway. What else would I do?
I was promised light.
I know this is a lot of background and you’re probably wondering why I don’t just hurry and up and tell you already how the story ends, how God has made a way, but the darkness is what makes the light so sweet.
In the last few weeks of praying and pleading, of discerning and deliberating, I sensed a calling to let go. To loose my fists that clench too tightly around Plant With Purpose. To silence the voices that tell me I am nothing without my job, without this identity as a social justice do gooder. To quell the fear that Plant With Purpose is the best part of me, the only good part of me. That alone I will unhinge, disappear, disintegrate.
And so I decided to leave. To let go. To step forward.
I have friends who live in Guatemala who have graciously offered their home to me. I have roommates who have graciously agreed to let me leave halfway through our lease. I have a family that has graciously encouraged me to follow my dreams, even if it means I’ll see them less.
And so I told my boss I will be leaving Plant With Purpose at the end of June.
And so I told my roommates I will be moving out in the middle of July.
And so I told my friends I will be coming to live with them in Guatemala.
Just as soon as I made these plans, as I took this step, the light began to flood in. God answered my prayers for confirmation, my heart cry for meaningful work.
I have been given the opportunity to work as a freelance writer for other non profits. Over the last few months, the dark months, God has been building connections and giving me time to cultivate relationships that will allow me to do what I love to do in the country I would love to call home.
I have been running in the dark for so long, banging closed doors, and now I see the light. Like the woman at the prayer workshop told me, it is as if God has rushed up beside me, grabbed my hand, and we are now running in the light.
I stand here astonished. My vision flooded with light, with gifts, with promises fulfilled.
Ful-filled. Filled with fullness. Only the Great of Greatness, the Holy of Holies, the true God of True God, the Deep of Deep can fill with fullness. Is Fullness Himself.
The light floods quick, burns pupils. I am left, face unveiled, squinting out the glory, whispering gracias, gracias.