Dear Baja, Goodwill, Reynosa and the many homes that have held my heart,
Loving you has always been easy. Yes, you might think it has been quite some time since my feet have graced the gravel roads, the red dirt pathways, the bustling sidewalks and the many racks of clothing. You might think the absence of years or maybe just mere days means that your significance has faded, that loving you has stopped.
My cheeks have lost the flushed, rosy gleam of learning you and seeing you as something new. And sure, maybe my feet haven't stepped afoot on your home turf, but in the grand scheme of loving, that means nothing.
My faith has indeed been tested a time or two, but you will see after I lose myself to my words, that there's always, there's always been you.
You've been tucked away in the suitcases of the past-nudging me forward on into uncertainty.
And well the truth is, there you will always be.
I'm a different bird, a girl wounded by the pangs of rejection and weariness from worry, a girl that finds more peace in moving to a foreign country that meeting a new soul. And you might think that this means I am lonely, but I beg to differ...
You all graced me with your presence and your people and those people, they waited patiently me for me to find my voice.
And with my voice, comes my story…people often peg my life as perfection, but oh I'm only human and so is my life. It's plagued with doubts and failures. It is full of questions and crazy risk-taking. It is ravaged with hard times and wondering where is HIS promised provision, but oh how He always comes through.
But that is the ease that comes with this life of ours- we refuse to see the invisible tears, we refuse to dig deeper and realize that someone, someone sitting next to you needs love. Oh they need love and they deserve it. Look a little closer, will you. The woman with swollen eyes in the store, she needs you. The man looking for a hot meal, he needs you. There's invisible pain. There are invisible tears.
And thanks to you the ones that really saw me, most days, I am 27 and fearless. Fearless, because God used you all to teach me that my heart was always meant to break the mold, my hands were always meant to hold and my feet were always trained to run a path, different and out of the ordinary for most.
This doesn't mean I'm brave. I'm not looking for accolades, nor are they deserved.
He on the other hand is my bravery.
The more I have found in life, well, those sweet findings have always been among the times that were less about me.
That's the key that was long ago spoken over our hearts, now forever bleeding red among His beautiful, perfect Word. Wasn't it? More of HIM, less of me.
Joy has come from giving all of you more than I really had. And the beauty is that I have always had enough.
And faith, comes like the rushing tide and wanes like a dimming candle, but asking for Him to enter in-always assures a soul that all is well. All truly is well.
Since I have last seen you, I've had moments of darkness winning, but light always wins and with Jesus, there is always victory.
My hands sure have been empty, but my heart has always been full. And oh how I have seen love in you all, I've felt love to the tips of my fingers on the beaches of Baja taken over by seven children trying to sit in my lap at one time. I've felt love to the overflowing with customers showing up and adopting me, retelling their precious, beautiful stories. I've felt love in all of you and I've never stopped loving you.
I couldn't be the woman I am, today, if it weren't for you. You have all impacted this heart of mine and people will tell me that I am the one leaving the impact, but friends when life has taken your breath away, when you have been adopted by strangers both Stateside and in a foreign country, you are the impacted one. I have been taught by the chocolate-candy eyes screaming Cristina from down the street, the women whose lives have been altered by so much pain, but who still tend the fields for twelve hours a day so that their babies don't have to go hungry, the family that I walked into among a million racks of clothing and the students both Stateside and those that call Mexico home. I have been taught by the hundreds of people that have walked into my life and some of those that have walked out.
Four years ago, I thought I was walking into my dream. A few months later, my bags were packed and I was told that I was running away from God, that I was walking out of HIS will. And oh the pain I was stricken with as I stared the judgments from others in the face, but you know what? The ones that I loved, the ones that loved me- they never questioned me. They held me, instead.
Look for those people. Look for the people that hold you. Look for the ones that listen to you dream with misty eyes. Look for the people that hold your hand and your heart and keep it for safe-keeping while you are away.
You will have people that tell you to settle, to step backwards, because you don't deserve to move forward. You will have those people that do nothing but cause you to deem life to be nothing more than a pile of rejection letters and unrequited love, but dear one, you know there is something more.
Listen, be still your heart.
And just breathe.
Look for the people that run behind and before you, the ones that enter your mess, and let them. Don't just stand there in your silence with the key in your hand. Unlock your heart to the ones that make your heart sing with joy and refuse to settle for the fear of life being nothing more.
Four years ago, I stood on the other side of the door at five o'clock in the morning. Tears stood in my eyes as I acknowledged that the dream I had perfectly drawn was nothing more than a sketch. It was a reckoning of sorts and my, how it took time to get over that voice telling me I would regret my decision. Four years ago, and the sweet sanity I left behind is still going strong; she still carries out the mission. And I have managed to find my own…
But Oasis, Baja, you are with me every single day.
You helped me stumble blindly into confidence and He used you to help make me brave. Without you, I would have lived off the assumptions that life was all it could ever be.
Thank you, Jesus, for being more than a dream. Thank you, Jesus, for being the author and perfecter of my faith. Thank you for being the confidence I need to run my race. Thank you, Jesus, my heart has never been the same. And oh all praises to you, because it never will be!