Exactly one year ago today. We woke up in the Maracaibo airport after having been detained when trying to re-enter Venezuela.
That was a year ago. It's hard to believe. It feels like so long ago since so much has happened since then. But yet, it feels like yesterday. I distinctly remember what it felt like to start pulling stuff out of our suitcases to make a make-shift bed for our kids to lie down on a cold airport floor. I remember asking permission to go get food for me and the kids. I remember them deciding to move us and feeling relief when we had an area with couches and airport seats to sleep on. My kids could sleep on a couch instead of a floor.
Want to revisit our post from last year? Check out this video.
I remember that next morning after a terrible nights sleep (flights coming in, passengers staring at us, people going in and out of the bathroom that was right by us). We would let the kids run up and down the open hall area and they didn't say anything about us not being allowed to. I remember talking to the embassy and them making sure we were all safe.
I distinctly remember that the U.S. consulate eventually coming and having us fill out prisoner forms. "I know you're not prisoners," he kept saying. "But it's the only form I have, so that way I have all of your information." That wasn't very reassuring since we practically felt like prisoners.
That day at the airport went surprisingly well. The kids enjoyed their time with the team. We tried to play some games and watched some movies on laptops. The beauty of being with Stinters who bring dvds. And we snacked on some food we were bringing back with us, Cheez-its and Cheerios. There were probably others.
This is all a bit crazy to think about. This was our life just a year ago. And yet it feels like some bad movie I watched and then forgot about. But it was real. And it changed things. Changed our plans. Changed our hearts even. Maybe.
Our lives are incredibly different now. We went to Epcot last night for the Candlelight Processional with our life group. As we were walking out amidst the glow of Christmas lights and music, Bart said, "I can't believe this is our lives right now." And he's right. How much things can change in a year. We're grateful. Grateful for our current reality of slowing down and healing. Grateful for time invested in the here and now and not planning for the future.
But yet, I'm oddly somehow grateful for the deportation. For the Lord taking that and using it. Sometimes I need knocked upside the head before I see what he's trying to do. Trying to change my heart and my attitude. Trying to give me a better view of him and allowing me the grace the be frustrated and broken and even scared. I'm not sure that he's trustworthy to me right now, but I am beyond thankful that I have a God who let's me be in process and imperfect. Because I sure do bring a lot of that to the table.