I came back.
I came back to this place.
I came back to the Dominican Republic.
And it hasn't been something I could completely grasp.
But as I decided to listen again… and when I asked Him, asked Him where I was going, what I was to do… for a purpose, a renewed calling…
He spoke to me in that car.
In that four hour long silence on my way back from Seattle just shy of two months ago.
And the answers I wanted didn’t necessarily surface, but something else did.
Something between God and I that continues to be a theme in my life.
Those moments when I turn to Him, when I choose to face Him, when I expect that He’ll talk back.
I get tired of my own voice, I get tired of my inner dialogue, I get tired of my doubts and worries and frustrations…
So when I finally get alone with Him, of course He will speak, of course He will tell me what I’ve needed because he knows the inner workings of my heart.
I say of course as doubt fills within each letter as I type.
But that’s what happened.
And I shared it with you all.
In my little film…
The moments and memories and realizations that had been gnawing at my insides…
These instances that I had hesitated to publish because I didn’t quite know how they all fit together.
But then He brought me back to the concept of a story.
And I see the story is on-going.
And that the beautiful thing about this life is that God is weaving every story together.
He is arranging and rearranging that which is unfolding from each of our lives.
And I’m always surprised at how He does this… So truly surprised... Even though He so generously shows this to me repeatedly until I begin to believe Him again.
The last month of my life has been a continual reminder of the story God has given me and continues to shape.
I have been in this state of feeling so childlike, I have been challenged to receive gifts from my King that have overwhelmed me time and time again.
Because as I have lived these last six months in the US after returning from 13 months abroad, I was wrecked by the weight of so many circumstances that were waiting for me upon my arrival.
And there were so many moments, days, even months were I was face to face with the reality that I might not make it back into His arms.
I found myself in the seat of a skeptic time and time again.
I sat in my own brokenness, digging deep within myself to find the answers but all I discovered was an empty well in need of refreshment, fulfillment, renewal.
That’s when you know that hope is waning, when you no longer want to look to the only One who has ever provided such promise and peace.
I kept Him at arms length for months.
I questioned the very truths and gifts He had been releasing in my life for years and I wondered if He really was who He told me He had been…
My safe place, my refuge, my strong tower, my deliverer, my healer, my father, my friend…
And I hid from so many that I loved.
I didn’t tell a lot of you. I didn’t want to let many in.
The turmoil had exceeded my ability to cry out.
And that became the scariest position I had ever found myself in.
But God waited.
And He saw.
And He listened even when I yelled and cried and rejected that which He was willing to give to me.
And as I was visiting a precious friend in San Francisco mid-November… I heard Him speak amongst the many voices of encouragement and truth that had surrounded me those few days I took to connect with such a precious community…
“I’m going to win you back with my love.”
And oh what a beginning that trip was…
To cry and pray and worship...
To acknowledge the pain, to call it out, to admit that I needed rescue.
I had advocates. I had listeners. I came back to my friends.
And as I looked at myself from the outside… I began to see that it was possible.
That I could be me again...
Me in HIM.
And that’s what He continued to show me…
That’s what He continued to speak…
“I’ll win you back…”
“It’s my love, Corinne. MY love.”
And that’s what He has done.
And it has been the greatest story yet.
Because there were moments where I got away with Him… When I finally wanted His friendship…
But I still couldn’t receive…
He would speak, but I didn’t trust what He had to say.
Until He started to bring others to me…
And He gave me what I could have never found myself…
These individuals that continue to heal me… That are filling these roles God has always intended to fill in my life and the beautiful reality is He chose to give me them, He made them part of the rescue mission.
And it has been HIS doing... And being on the receiving end has wrecked me in the most profound way. It has challenged me to receive a love that I didn’t think was possible… a love that truly restores, a love that gives, a love that repairs and doesn’t make sense most of the time.
But it is so real...
So so real.
And so I find myself here in this place.
In this country that has been such a part of my story.
And I shouldn’t have been surprised.
I should have known that when God told me I had to keep telling stories that He would direct me to the place where so many of my last years stories had come from.
But it wrecked me again as I sat in that car and realized that it was time to say yes again.
And so I did.
And here I am.
And I’m writing in the same bedroom where I laid on the floor countless hours, pouring out all that was in me, all that I didn’t understand, all that was hurting me.
And I’m holding the girls that I had held so many nights, so many mornings, during so much time that passed while I was given the task of caring for them as if they were my own.
The moments where God told me,
"if you don’t step in and lay yourself down and give up your rights… who will?"
The moments where He moved my heart to a sacrifice I had only read about in His story.
And as I sat down to eat dinner last night… and the food began to be served to a pack of hungry little girls… I still wondered why I was there… I had to go back again and ask Him to tell me again about my purpose.
And in that moment He showed me that even if it just meant eating with them, praying with them, singing with them, sharing with them, playing with them, listening to them, driving them to school, and just being present...
That would be enough.
That is enough.
But yet, He still has more.
And I brought out my camera minutes later.
And I began to capture that which only few have ever had the privilege of doing so.
Because I’m part of this place...
I’ve painted on these walls, I’ve slept in these beds, I've mopped these halls, I've prayed over every room...
I’ve seen so much.
And I just can’t deny anymore that God would have more for me than I could ever see for myself... and more for these girls than I could ever dream of for them.
And so today we went to the river.
And I got to watch them again in new experiences.
And we got to walk through clay and dirt and mar.
And we listened to one another and shared what He has done in us.
And we picked up rocks that began to mean so much more than found objects.
They became rocks of reminders.
Reminding me, reminding them that we have received so much.
That we have been changed.
That we are on the other end of so many stories many people would hesitate to believe unless they experienced it in their own lives.
And again I was reminded of why I got on the plane…
and why I left my job for two weeks…
why I left the one I love and all the experiences I am so looking forward to with him…
why I left the life I’ve readjusted to and began to grow in and appreciate…
why I left a home that is so safe and secure and healing…
And it’s because the act of saying yes again outweighs my ability to simply ignore a voice that has been so profoundly etched in my heart I can no longer deny its familiarity.
And with every repeated “yes” I utter, on the other side I find I am more of who He has always intended me to be.