It’s ok not to be ok.

So, we’ve been home for a little over a week and it’s finally starting to hit me that this chapter of my life is over. I’m not in Thailand anymore; in fact I’m roughly 8,600 miles away from my prior home in Chiang Mai. 

The weeks leading up to us leaving, we talked a lot about the dreaded “re-entry.” We talked about reverse culture shock, feelings we might have, and just coming home in general. After hearing the whole spiel, I wasn’t happy about it, but I knew I could handle it. I was ready to be uncomfortable in my once comfortable American life. I was ready for a change. Or at least that’s what I thought.

The second I stepped off my plane to Roanoke, (which was delayed 4 hours, of course), my mom took me to urgent care because I had become pretty sick over the past few travel days. It turns out I had a throat infection and a measurable case of dehydration, and to top it off, the medicine they gave me ended up making me significantly more sick.  I was miserable. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to see anyone, and I sure as heck didn’t want to “process” my trip.

I made the conscious decision to live in denial, and basically misery, so I didn’t have to deal with any of my crap.

I knew that processing two months of things that God revealed to me would take a long time, but if you tack on the fact that we were working with women trapped in prostitution, children living in the slums, and living in a nation where less than 1% believe in the One True God, then this “processing” was going to be brutal and long.

It was a lot easier to pretend like it wasn’t happening. People were satisfied with my two-minute response to the common “what did you do in Thailand?” question. The brief, light, and fluffy answer quickly turned into a vice. If I gave a short and sweet answer, I didn’t have to think about the hard and the ugly.

It wasn’t until Sunday when my pastor called and asked if I could give a ten minute talk at church about what God did in Thailand this summer, that I realized I had no idea how to answer that. How could I possibly tell these nice people about the horrors of the commercial sex trade? How could I tell them about the breakthrough we saw on our team and in the Thai people? What if they asked me how many people “got saved”?

I knew immediately that I would probably have to open my bible, which had been in my suitcase since we got home (oops), and talk to my Father who I had been totally avoiding. In that moment I remembered something we learned during debrief: It’s ok to not be ok. I realized that the things in Thailand that became “normal” to me were not ok. I learned that I was not ok. In those few moments of turning back to Him, God spoke to me through His word. He reminded me that He makes all things new. I can get up in front of people and tell them about all of these awful things, and still be confident of His faithfulness. He doesn’t make promises He isn’t going to keep. It’s ok to not be ok, because Jesus can handle His own name. He can handle His own children, in Thailand and in America.

Living in denial did nothing for my healing process. Living in denial belittled what Jesus did and is continuing to do in Chiang Mai. He is making all things new. He is making me new. He’s got this and He definitely doesn’t need me to help Him, but I am so thankful that He invited me on a journey with Him this summer.

Am I saying I have all of this “processed” and figured out? No way. That will probably take a very long time and include lots of heated back-and-forths with Jesus, but I’m ok with not being ok. I’m ok with trusting in the promises He has made us. 

Revelation 21:5 “Behold, I am making all things new.”


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