There are damp tissues in my coat pocket.

“Are you okay?” Justine calls out behind me in the dark. 

“No,” I moan, and march on ahead.

I drop her freshly-packed bag on the backseat of my car, Henry (named for Mr. Ford), and then collapse behind the wheel. I turn the key, pull into reverse. By this time I am crying.

“I’m just sick of it all,” I can barely say, barely aware of what I’m frustrated with. Is it the goodbyes? I know I’m going to see everyone again. Is it the life decisions? Is it that I’m not going ‘home’ for Christmas? I really don’t know.

Justine simply listens. 

I splutter and cry– she suggests we pull over– but I could drive the route from 67 Moffat Road to Matt and Cora’s house with my eyes closed. Well, driving without my eyes is probably not feasible, but you get the picture. It’s second nature. I just want to get home, and as I brake and accelerate on New Zealand roads she listens and listens and listens. 

I can’t say everything that was going on. I’m not going to attempt to put into words the smorgasbord of emotion that was my heart tonight. It’s been a fortnight of countless see-you-laters (well, not countless– twenty-three, to be exact) and pouring out to others. Yet for the first time, I finally cried.

Oh, I didn’t expect to be here. If I followed my plan, I would have been working as a teacher paying off my student loan and going back to Australia as soon as possible. If I interpreted what God said about being in Newcastle, staffing a DTS in New Zealand seemed to be flat-out disobedience.

But somehow Jesus took a brokenhearted, disappointed girl who swore she would never be DTS staff (let alone with YWAM Bethlehem!) and brought her on a journey of healing and hope restored– all the while being DTS staff in the suburb she went to university in. Who even scripts that?

There are still damp tissues in my coat pocket. 

Even the fact that there are tissues in Henry is nothing short of miracle– my car isn’t known for being particularly stocked with supplies. But after we’ve been parked in front of the flax garden for awhile, I remember the pack of tissues from our DTS giveaway pile (“put these in your car, Kayla,”  and I finally had done so, the other day).

And for what feels like the billionth time, I get rid of lies I’d been believing about myself and replace them with truth. Justine prays for me, and I smile again.

Tomorrow I have to wake up and face two more see-you-laters. This time it’s to the ladies that got me through the past six months, brushing teeth together, praying at 7:30am together, running around the globe together on the most glorious adventure.

If I followed my original plan, I wouldn’t know them. Not like I do now. 

So, rather than empty coat pockets?

I’d much rather them be stuffed to seams with damp tissues.

“Though you have sorrow now,
yet I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy from you.”
-John 16:22

Photos: Full moon in Bethlehem (circa 2013). Maree & me at Cathedral Cove (Sept 2016). Me & Justine at the Lokeni Wedding (Dec 2016).