Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Does This Feel Like?

I've been trying to put into words what it feels like to be this close to returning to Guatemala. It's the question I have been asked most often over the last week and I am not sure how to answer it. I find myself saying the same thing I said right before I left Guatemala in 2007 when people would ask why I wasn't thrilled to be returning to the U.S. "It's complicated", I would say, because no one understood how I could want permission to leave Guatemala, but I didn't really want to leave. And now when I know the person asking is going to look at me like I'm nuts and start looking for an outlet for a quick escape because they think my response about this is a little "out there", I cut my answer short with, again, "It's complicated." But I can't just say that here. I've talked about this trip for 6 months, always thinking that at that moment I was as excited as I would ever be about returning to Guatemala. I've gone through every emotion there is, other than anger, about the trip, but tonight I am as settled as I have been in 6 months. How am I really feeling about being just two days away from reconnecting with myself?

I am at peace. Never in my life have I experienced peace with this intensity. The fear that was raging three or four weeks ago and that had been coming and going since December is gone. I have nothing to fear and I am so thankful that it is not overpowering me as it did before I went to foster in Guatemala. For a while I was afraid of the fear itself and I feared that the same thing would happen when I got to Guatemala as it did then, but those were crazy thoughts. I am in a much different place than I was near the end of our adoption. This trip is partly the result of that time in my life. I cannot say that I regret the moments when panic struck repeatedly and when fear had such a tight grip on me. I wish that I would have handled it the right way in the beginning, but that fear is what caused me to fall at the feet of Christ (again) and in the end led to my realization of why I was in Guatemala. The peace that I have tonight is a gift from God. I am reassured that this is right. This is what is supposed to be happening in our lives right now.

I am joy-filled. Leaving Guatemala in 2007 truly hurt me. The ONLY reason I came back to the U.S. is because Danny was waiting for us here. Really....that was the only reason I returned. Since then I have felt like a visitor here. I love the United States and I am happy to be an American. I will always be. But I belong in Guatemala (and a couple of other countries...because my life simply cannot be lived in one place). Several people hoped when I returned from Guatemala that my sadness about having to leave that place would fade. They hoped that I would readjust and realize that I really did not want to spend my life living there. How could I want to live in a place like that, away from the luxuries of "home"? Obviously, things did not go as they hoped. I have never stopped wanting to return to Guatemala and I never will. I have never stopped talking about it and I make it clear, always, that the time is coming when I will return to Guatemala not for a short term mission trip, but to live part of my life there. But for now, I am overwhelmed with joy at the thought of being back in Guatemala, if only for one week. I feel like I am going home....as close to home as I can get this side of Heaven.

I am happy. Happy that Tommy and Danny are both traveling with me. Happy that the Butler's and Salemi's are traveling with us. Happy, happy, happy...about every thing.

I am excited. OK...that is actually an understatement. I have often mentioned feeling like I am going to explode and feeling like I am "bubbling" with excitement. I still feel that way now, except it has been intensified a hundred times. I have so much energy (even though I am completely exhausted) that I feel like I am bouncing off the walls and I feel like I could shake electricity out of the tips of my fingers. I know...it doesn't make sense. But at least I know I am not alone. Every person traveling is crazy excited.

I am blessed. I could not imagine traveling with anyone else or any other families on this trip other than the Butler's and the Salemi's. These two families include some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They inspire me and I have no doubt that we will be blessed by them time and time again while we are in Guatemala.

I am so in love. I am totally consummed. I am thankful. With, by and for God. Period.

I am ready for whatever He may bring or wherever He may lead. I am still following, still listening. My heart is wide open and I am ready...for any thing.

I am anxiously waitng to find out what it feels like to land and be in Guatemala again. I want to finally know what it will feel like to be back at the house I lived in with Tommy and to walk the streets of Antigua with my husband and with friends that were incredible sources of support through his adoption...friends that walked with me through my time in Guatemala. I want to know what it is like to see Tommy running through the house where he first learned to sit up by himself and eat french fries in the house where he had his first taste of baby food. I want to see Danny's face as he sees all new sights and want to be close to his heart as he soaks in all that Guatemala is...the good and the bad. I want to be able to do more during this week, but I am coming to terms with the fact that just for this trip, our very first trip back, we will only be able to do so much.

I already do not want to leave the place where I feel the most like myself.

But I will not focus on the fact that I will return to the U.S. Instead, I am looking forward to meeting and spending time with Marco, the local pastor that we will be working with in Pueblo Nuevo. Meeting with families and determining which to include in our sponsorship program. Visiting a couple of children's homes/orphanages. Distributing supplies. Meeting Anna and her family. Making plans for October, December and beyond. Watching my Guatemalan born child play with children that live their lives there. Shaking hands with people that I have never met, but love with my entire heart. Praying with our team. Getting to know them better. Reconnecting with the piece of my heart that is anchored there. But perhaps most importantly, I am focused on just being there, spending time in His presence, listening for His voice and seeking His face. In every child's cry, we will hear Him. In every mother's desperate face, we will see Him.

Several people have asked what they can be praying about. Thank you so much for remembering us! This is what I am personally praying for....

- That everyone has a safe trip.
- That the meeting with Marco and time spent with him goes well and that we are able to begin making definite, logical plans for families that have children enrolled in the children's program and those that do not attend the program
- That He will lead us to the families/students that He wants us to work with first as we begin the AAB sponsorship program.
- That we will know which children we are to help first.
- That our hearts will be broken for the things that break His heart.
- That our faith will be renewed and increased.
- That when He speaks, we will listen.

On a more personal level, I am praying that our entire team will be open to Him and His will for our lives and the future of AAB. I pray that we will each be moved in a way that makes it impossible to come home and quickly forget about the things that we will see and experience. I am praying that we will all lay our resistance down and replace it with greater trust in the One that promises that He has a plan for our lives and it is a plan far more superior to any of ours. And I pray that we will remember, now and always, that this isn't about us, it isn't about our families or our friends and it isn't about what other people think we should be doing with our lives. It is only about serving the Lord in the way He has called us to live and making sure that His will is done through us. We are only vessels, here for a short time, with only one chance to do it right. This is the first and last chance and I pray that we all, including myself, will use this time to search within ourselves and ask God the question, "Why are you allowing me to breate Your air today?" with the intention of responding correctly when He answers the question. (Question taken from a conversation with Amanda). May we each hear His answer clearly and act quickly.

I will be blogging from Guatemala daily (late at night) and will also be on Facebook. If you would like to keep up with updates through Facebook, you can find me with the name "Terry Carr Bracey".

Adios until Friday from Antigua.....


jajbs said...

once again, you have managed to capture my feelings, emotions and thoughts with your writing. i am BEYOND excited and am having a hard time containing my husband! i can't wait to see what is in store for us!!

luv ya..... 2 MORE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Vanessa said...

Terry, Your words have reflected many of the same feelings I have about Guatemala and the work I know the Lord has in store for me there. I'm praying for safe travels and for God to open each team member's eyes to the work He has set before them!!

Bobbi said...

Oh, how the next 36 hours are going to DRAG!!! I am now finally allowing my heart and mind to open back up to the country I love. As I tucked Krista in tonight I tried to put into words what our experience was going to be like. I was not able to. I am totally emotional. I am a sap, cry easily anyway, but my emotions are running high. Then, when her eyes filled with tears when we were talking about orphans and what their life was like, I knew why we were going. I think that I already have grown as a person. Cassie observed tonight that for the week that it has been, I have been calm and patient. I think it is because I am returning to such a wonderful place. I cannot wait.

Oh, and you are like a giggling teenager!!!!!:>)

C said...

It is so hard to explain to people about my pull to Guatemala and the people but you found the right words. I am so excited for you guys and can't wait to hear all about your trip. Take care and enjoy your trip!

B'ham, Al