These words of mine are long overdue, and honestly they’ve been sitting upon my heart for weeks, for months.
You see, Centro NOE, you have changed me.
God brought me to you, when I was a million pieces, certain that all I’d know for the rest of my life would be rejection.
I was feeble. I was weak when we first met.
And yes, some of your dear students remember those first few months as ones filled with silence, with a girl that seemed out of her element, one that would surely cherish the experience but wouldn’t return, because fear held her captive.
But on the last night, the goodbyes would be the most painful they’d ever been. They would rip out parts of my heart and withhold them from me until I returned.
And I would return, twice.
In fact, here I am.
I am no longer defined by rejection, nor held back by fear.
Yes, I am weak most of my days, but He is thankfully enough, He is my strength.
And most of all, I am home. These cobblestone uneven streets are all that I know; they are all that I want to know. These days spent in my second home, hours upon end, are all that I need. These students that challenge me to learn, to encounter joy in the simplest moments are all that I want.
NOE, you are home to me.
And yes, these months have challenged me, but there have been moments that have taken my breath away. Moments when former students come into my most difficult classes and pour out their hearts, vouching for me and supporting me with all that they are. Moments when the Directors, seek me out, give me more responsibilities and tell me that NOE can be home to me for however long that I like. And there are moments when the entire class caves into laughter over past participles, when students lose themselves in learning without even realizing it.
Moments when I must quietly remind myself that this life is my beautiful life to hold.
My dream has come to life before my very own eyes, and I’m here.
Ten years of praying, ten years of tears, ten years of missing, ten years of planning my perfect life.
Ten years of waiting. Ten. Worthwhile. Years.
And now my heart is full, because those ten years did not go to waste.
“His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9
NOE, this is our third time together, and yesterday I took part in your inauguration, with tears trickling down my cheeks, because you are no longer just a chapter in a book to me, no you are apart of me.
And God made me for you, NOE.
I am weary of holding it in, I cannot.
I was made for you. Long ago, when my plans were to hide at home in the company of silence, my God set me apart to speak another language, to move without certainty. And when I followed, my life changed, because He knew where I was always supposed to be.
Tears are relentless, just like your love, because I’ve stumbled onto something that I never want to lose. And my heart longs to be the difference, to be your hands and feet, to shout your love from the rooftops, to love to the tips of fingers. May you use me to use me up, sweet Jesus. USE ME TO USE ME UP.