This post was originally published on my previous website on April 26, 2018.
As most people in my circle know, for the past 3+ years, I've been planning to go on a year-long co-op placement in the Global South as part of my undergrad, in my 4th year. These past few months have been spent working to secure a placement and prepare to leave over the summer.
I think this has been a dream of mine since reading Kisses from Katie in grade 9. I think a part of me has wanted to spend extended time in the Global South since I first travelled to the Philippines in 2011. It's been something I've been working towards and dreaming of since I heard about this program at the University of Toronto.
A few weeks ago, I found myself with an offer to live in a beautiful country for a year, working with a local, grassroots, church-based NGO. I would be working with youth, doing communications, and using my international development degree.
It was my dream placement.
I had every intention to accept it. "Unless God writes in the sky," I texted a friend.
But sometimes God writes in the sky even when you don't want Him to, and especially when you least expect Him to.
So, on the Thursday before Easter, I declined my dream placement.
I don't expect everyone to understand. It's hard for me to articulate the intangible feeling of knowing and understanding exactly what I needed to do deep down in my soul. I won't launch into the full story here... it's one that needs to be told over a coffee, not on a blog. There isn't really much of a story, other than that where there should've been peace and excitement about this placement, there was instead division and uneasiness.
It wasn't my dream to hold onto anymore. I think part of me has known that for months, but another part of me, the part that's been dreaming about this for more than five years, didn't want that to be true.
It's sad when dreams die. I cried more tears over losing this dream than I had cried in a long time. But the day after declining that placement, I entered into a weekend that was a reminder that resurrection doesn't happen without death. That full and abundant life doesn't happen without sacrifice at the cross. That something can be celebrated on one Sunday, killed on Friday, and then raised to new life the next Sunday.
Things change. Outlooks change. Sometimes very quickly. And in this case, very quickly is exactly what happened...
I thought I would have to drop-out of the co-op stream of my program, and graduate a year earlier (which would've been nice, honestly, but...).
But don't I know that God's grace reaches infinitely farther than I can ask or imagine.
In the matter of a few days, a new plan was in motion, and I will now be completing my co-op placement at Compassion Canada, continuing in a similar role that I have been working in for the past two years. I get to stay in Toronto and continue investing in the places, spaces and people I love, while continuing in this amazing program, doing something I love, and contributing to an organization I am so proud to work with.
It's the dream placement I never even knew to dream of.
And that's just how much the Lord desires to lavish His love on His kids.
I'll also likely be taking a bit of time to travel throughout the year to visit some of my Compassion kids. And, as part of my program, I will also be conducting some primary research, based here in Toronto, for a thesis paper that I will write in 5th year.
Yeah, it does blow my mind a little, too.
I want to say thank you, to those that prayed through this process with me. You prayed me to a different outcome than I expected, but one I am fully at peace with and one that I couldn't be more delighted with.
I also want to apologize for my inconsistent updates. Things happened fast and suddenly, and it was hard to keep up with updating everyone, remembering who was updated up until what point in the process... etcetera. This post is my attempt to do a sweeping catch-up for everyone. Thank you for grace in this.
This has definitely been a weird space to be in because over the past several years, everything in my life had been barrelling towards this placement that is no longer going to happen. Everything has been about placement, everything fit around the big block that was placement... and maybe that was part of the problem.
Throughout this process, I've been hearing God tell me to trust. To step off a cliff, even if it feels like I'm free falling, and trust that He is going to catch me.
I thought many things of this picture. I thought that stepping off the cliff meant going on placement. Or maybe that I wouldn't be offered a placement.
Turns out it meant that I would be offered what I thought was my dream placement and He would ask me to let go of it. Step off the cliff into the unknown of giving up a long-held-on-to dream.
And to know that sometimes, dreams change. And that's okay.
In fact, sometimes that changing dream is the very best He has for you.