Have you ever watched video of yourself that was filmed just a few years ago?
Recent enough to have vivid memories of the situation, but long enough ago to be surprised by yourself?

This happened to me the other day. I was actually looking at my camera clips of me and my friend in Cambodia in order to find out what blankets I brought (the wonder of technology). A hilarious interaction in our room in Siem Reap showed snippets of our bunk beds there. (I brought the red checkered sheet). Though I found what I needed, I kept watching for memories’ sake.

Since I’m flying to Cambodia in two weeks for the first time in two years, seeing a glimpse of myself that long ago was surprising. That missions trip is always so vivid in my mind. But I was only fifteen. Though quite mature, and not that fifteen means silliness, I laughed at myself. My entertaining interactions and mannerisms: I was on the trip of my life and we all we were having so much fun. Following God is the best adventure.

But as I was watching I had one of those “little did I know” moments… little did I know that the love I had for that nation would soon break me down. Break me down into a vulnerable heart that just wanted to go back. And I couldn’t. And that pain, though submitted to God, caused me for a time to avoid thinking of it all. Since then, I have been blessed with amazing friends and journeys to Australia and New Zealand and the Mainland. But I did still stand on Cambodia, I still knew that I was going back, I still wrote and spoke and cried. It was hard. And in another video, there I was, innocently saying “I love this nation”. Did I really know what love was at that point?

What I know now is that through the pain I grew, watered by God and seasoned by tears. Don’t worry, in no way have I been depressed all these months nor have I been regretful. Far from it. What have I been? Tender. Wiser. And I suppose that’s time. And that’s especially God. Him revealing his heart as I spend more and more time with him. He’s the only constant, my joy. I love him.

I will return. With a taller stature and a new haircut. With a bolder spirit and a greater perspective. With a nicer camera and secondhand clothes. With pen in one hand and a guitar in another. Ready to do His will. I can’t help but be nervous, but one thing I do know? Through this whole time, God is the most trustworthy one can ever be.