Hello from England!
I’ve been on the beautiful island of green rolling hills for four glorious days. As we flew in from the west, I noticed how roads and fields conformed to the curvature of the landscape, a stark contrast to the N-S, E-W grid roads I’m used to seeing when I fly over American cities. While it may make navigation a bit more difficult for me (as someone who is already directionally challenged), I welcome the adventure! I am type that likes to trespass through the grass to go from point A to point B with speed and efficiency. Curved pathways invite me to meander and enjoy the scenery as I follow the unpredictable curves of life, ready to face whatever I find around the bend.
It seems I brought the warm winds with me from the tropics. As I arrived, England began thawing out. Neighbors are flinging open windows and smiling and waving to each other at the market; families are going for picnics in the park. The flowers are bursting into bloom and among them, a blossom that has special meaning for me: the daffodil. If the daffodil had a face, it would have a fixed grin and rainbow-shaped eyes that gaze up at the warm sunshine without a worry in the world. Today I feel like that daffodil, but it wasn’t always so. I’ve been reflecting on my trip here 10 years ago when the climate of my soul was much different…
10 years ago I was in England as a 20-year-old at YWAM DTS*. I was physically in England, but my soul was somewhere else, lost in confusion, lies, and regret. For months I’d looked forward to my adventure in Europe & Africa with a group of young people eager to know Jesus better and share his love. I’d fundraised my program fees and invited others to follow my journey through email updates. Flights were purchased, everything was set. I arrived in England as planned, but my journey had taken a very unexpected turn and I didn’t know how I’d gotten so stuck.
After two dreary cold months with gray clouds hanging low, the sun finally crept out beneath winter’s duvet to cast sun-rays across the emerald fields. Droplets of warm sunshine fell among the thick green growth and beckoned the daffodils to emerge. Frilly cups of yellow and gold burst forth from the ground carrying a ray of hope in the midst of my great despair, a glimmer of light in my tunnel of darkness.
In those months of darkness, I wanted to remain under the protective thick warm blanket in the illusory world of my dreams. But my roommates gently beckoned me out to breakfast every morning. Even as the light shone into the room of bunk-beds which I shared with my 8 roommates, I stayed under my duvet until the last possible minute. Sleep was my only pacifier. I’d been stuck in an emotional tunnel for months and thought it would last forever—an eternal dark night of the soul.
I dropped out of the program after 2 months, knowing I was not fit for an adventure to the villages of South Africa and Lesotho and my team carried on without me. I found myself back home with my parents in Taiwan (my childhood home) feeling like the biggest missionary-kid failure as a mission school drop-out. But by the grace of God and the warmth of home, I reemerged into the light, throwing off my duvet of depression. I went through a faith revival as I came to understand in the depths of my soul (not just with my mind) that God’s love for me was not based on my performance but on His grace alone.
Now that I’m back in England 10 years later in the season of emerging daffodils, I feel that they’re telling my story–a story of God’s restoration in my life.
“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. “You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the LORD of hosts. –-Malachi 4:2-3
*YWAM is Youth With A Mission, a training program for Christian young people interested in reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus. DTS, Discipleship Training School, is a 6 month program of lectures and outreach that is a prerequisite to most other schools.
Check out my Europe Voyage Vlog! They don’t always correspond with my blog content, but this time it does. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel as well!