And the LORD blessed me with a suspected case of whooping cough so I may have two days off work to cough uncontrollably and have no excuse but to give everyone an update while I wait for my blood test results. Pretty sure that’s mentioned in the bible somewhere, right?
I’ve found myself panicking slightly, and feeling like perhaps I should be doing more to prepare myself for going overseas. Getting myself in some kind of “Cambodia mood” so I don’t get completely bowled over with the huge cultural and spiritual shift like I have on past trips. I’ve felt a little helpless here, as I haven’t yet found an instruction manual on “Cambodia For Young Australian Dummies” (though Pip Miner has been helpful in giving me practical advice on life in Poipet). Instead, I’ve felt the need to begin reading over my journals from two years ago, when I last visited Cambodia. As well as revising my Khmer language skills (at my best I had a vocabulary of about 40 words, which may sound functional, but was really only enough to conduct simple chit-chat with people I’d just met), I’ve realised that I learned a lot of things in 2011 that I needed to be reminded of in my current circumstances.
“All around us we were seeing stories of people getting exploited, children who couldn’t afford high school education, families coming to bankruptcy over simple medical expenses and the repercussions of this country’s past impacting generations later… ”
“… I don’t like people to know I feel insecure about how they see me or that I struggle with self-value. I hate crying in front of people (the other reason I’m still sitting back here) and I tend to steer conversation away from how I’m feeling or what I’ve been through because I do like to put across the image of having it all together. But to be realistic, I’m broken. I’m probably not shattered, but I’m barely holding it together sometimes. And I’m learning that it’s good to acknowledge that. I’m also learning that my brokenness is a good thing, and that I’m not meant to have it all together. If I did, I’d be God. I’m not God, I’m not a great human, I’m just a person. I’m starting to accept that God can use that though, and he can bring hope into the darkest, most hopeless situations. He can and will use my brokenness, but it’s my responsibility to leave my brokenness at the cross – my present and my future, not just my past.”
A friend sent me a message earlier this week, quoting Isaiah 58. I was at work and I found myself trying to hold back tears. Through my precious friend, God gently and lovingly reminded me to trust in him and continue to be obedient, even when the hurt and darkness might not allow me to see more than a few hours or days ahead of me.
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a well-watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
If you haven’t read Isaiah 58, I encourage you to read the whole thing. It’s only 14 verses long, but I’ve been reading it over and over this week and drinking it in, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who might find it a breath of fresh air.
I’m continuing to ask God to help me to move forward. In recent months I’ve been damaged and betrayed by someone I thought I could trust, and it’s actually made me quite sick, so healing has been something I’ve needed quite holistically. Part of this healing is forgiveness, which is still such a hard step for me, but I hate feeling the bitterness of the hurt and I know it needs to happen. Please keep me in your prayers as I wrestle with this, as I know God’s going to have to give me his strength to keep going. I hate that so many of my updates have been sad, but I hope to have better news sooner rather than later. I hope that, in all of these words, you might find some encouragement to pull out of this for yourself. God is still here, I just have to wait and listen.