there's no going back

This is one of those posts I’ve been saving for a time when I had some flash of brilliance. Or at least when all my thoughts and feelings stopped crashing around in my head for at least 30 minutes so I could gather them all up in a cute little 500-word post.

I’ll be waiting forever at this rate.

I know that saying “I’m wrecked” is getting to be a little old hat, a smidge too cliche, but I’m not sure how else to say it.

I’m wrecked.

My eyes have been opened to all the suffering going on around the globe (I always type “blog” when I mean to type “globe” and while, yes, there’s some suffering going on around this blog, it doesn’t exactly compare to what I’m talking about), and I can’t just shut it off and go back to my happy little life.

Oh I’m sure there’s a “balance” somewhere. There’s always a balance, right?

Balance schmalance, I say. Since when did Jesus talk about balance? He was always doing the “all or nothing” spiel. Give it all up, don’t look back, complete surrender, I don’t want anything from you but everything.

So, how do I DO that??

I’m itching to go, to love on these people in person, to use my hands and my feet and my words and my arms to ease their pain and restore their dignity.

I know that our trip to Cambodia is a big part of that. I am soooooo excited to go (oh my word, EXCITED). But a part of me is already sad about the three weeks flying by and us coming back here and… then what? Back to life as normal. In my comfy house in my safe neighborhood with my “tight” finances that somehow budge just enough to let me eat Chipotle and Pei Wei 3-4 times a month.

I also know myself well enough to know that I romanticize a life in a foreign land where I can make a “real” difference. I know that I have no stinking clue what it’s really like to live for 6 months, a year, 5 years in a place like Haiti or Kenya or Cambodia or Uganda or Bolivia.

For all my talk of “doing without,” I like air conditioning and coming inside when the bugs get bad and ice and a comfortable bed and my fast internet connection and a mile-long list of other luxuries.

Can I give it up? Am I supposed to?

I just know that I can’t sit here any longer while little boys and girls are being sold for sex, and 8-year-olds are raising their younger siblings because their parents have died of AIDS, and women are being ravaged and ruined by soldiers who care nothing for human life.

And on and on and on and on.

I’m nobody special, yet still, compared to them, I’m in a position of power and influence and I CAN DO SOMETHING, by God’s grace, to help them.

And yes, saving money to go to Cambodia and selling my possessions and advocating for the poor and spreading the word and watching National Geographic documentaries is a start.

But I want to keep moving forward and forward and forward.

Because there’s no way I can go back.

18 thoughts on “there's no going back

  1. Krysten

    I am just catching up on your blog after becoming a follower a few weeks ago (yeah, I drank the crazy cool-aid) and this post is another killer! My husband and I are going to India in 4 months to visit the girls who live in the children’s home that our church built a few years back. I’m scared out of my wits. Not because I’ll be zillions of miles away from home or because I’m going to one of the strangest places I could imagine on God’s green earth, and not even because I had to get a bunch of bizarre shots for stuff I’ve barely heard of and take pills to help ward off the very-real possibility that I could get malaria. Not any of that. Those are just details. I am frightened of what life will be like for us when we get back. When we come home to our cozy bed with 600 threadcount sheets and fluffy pillows, with no worries about killer mosquitoes or any discomfort of any type, really. Who will I be once God shows me the faces of these girls who were almost certainly headed for brothels and back-alleys before God used our church to make a place for them? Who will I be when I hug the lepers at the colony we’ll be visiting? Who could I possibly be, here in the most privileged nation in the world, after I’ve experienced all that? And what does all that mean about who I am right now? Sorry, I think I just wrote my newest blog post here in your comment field! It’s just so much to think about, pray about, wonder about. But you hit it on the head….there’s no way to go back.

  2. Rachelle

    You need them as much as they need you. I am behind you all the way! I may even be pushing!! Keep your eyes on Jesus and go forward taking every step with him.

  3. Sharon Meekins

    Dearest Marla, I love you and your heart. As you delight yourself in the Lord, may He give you the desires of your heart. I’m so excited with you about your upcoming trip to Cambodia! Praising God for His goodness and faithfulness. Much love to you, friend!

  4. Elisabeth

    Marla~ thank you for being so honest…and messy…and not altogether sure what your conclusion may be. I feel similarly- God has been challenging my status quo- and I’m getting used to the idea of less stuff, giving more, etc. I want to give it ALL, to be radical, but it truly is a process, and a huge diversion from our culture. You might want to check out lysaterkeurst.com today, as she talks about her recent missions experience. I LOVE the scripture promise she includes about the reward of giving, going, and serving. I hope it encourages you. Thank you for being real; it helps to know we’re not alone in our mess of feelings/callings/balance!

  5. ellen

    I admire you in many ways Marla but my honest response to your post is a deep sigh and take a rest – lol your ethusiasm is definately God given and as your life progressess it will be God honed. We reap what we sow and as you so unto the Lord (time, money, stuff) He will replace it with more and you will have more to sow (time, money, stuff) Maybe He will call your family to the mission field – but if He doesn’t, He will provide the means for you to “go” from where ever He puts you. Many many ministries provide us means to give to others and to actually make a difference in the world. My trip to Haiti showed me how easy it is to help those great Haitian children for not much. You will know you are moving in the right direction when the Peace comes. God put us in the U.S. for a reason – we are blessed to be a blessing !! You are definately a blessing.

  6. Claudia

    God is moving in your life and He will continue to direct you whether it is to actually totally change direction or spread the word so others will have their eyes opened. Either way, you are being changed!

  7. Shannon Wheeler

    You are echoing my heart. As we prepare to go to Ukraine Saturday, I am both excited and also aware that I’m going to have that same struggle when I return home that you are describing. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You encourage me with your honesty and your heart to “see” others and to serve the Lord by loving them.

  8. kendal

    this is so close to our bible study discussion from sunday. we were in romans 12, you know the firs ttwo verses about not conforming to the pattern of the world. and my husband asked, “how much (stuff) is too much?” he advocates for having no savings. giving it all. using it all for christ in the here and now. and i’m down with that, but like you, i like air conditioning. and groceries. it’s a tough question for this tough world.

  9. Bethany

    God loves where you are. You are ready and willing–you’re just waiting for His next direction. Thank you for being a living inspiration Marla! I love you!

  10. katie

    LOVE this post, Marla!! And can absolutely relate. I spent a week in China in May/June. Came home for a week. Then spent a week in Memphis working with refugees. Needless to say I’m currently walking in that tension of wanting, with my whole being, to be there…somewhere…looking into the eyes of the helpless & the hopeless, and also wanting with my whole being to be right where I am. I’m having to remind myself that even though I don’t know how to go forward, I’ve gotta just keep moving step by step because, as you said, there’s no way to go back. And I think I’m okay with that 🙂 Can’t wait to hear about your trip to Cambodia!

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