One Year Later

A year

ago, I left Indonesia.

I remember, so clearly, that last week…

Last get-togethers with friends, last movies, last laughs, final hugs, heartbreaking goodbyes.

I remember, even more clearly, my last day there…

Waking up early to soak in the last bits of my normal. Chatting with our pembantu, loving on my dogs, taking my time as I walked through our house, looking out the upstairs window one more time and memorizing every detail of the mountains that surrounded us. I loved those mountains.

The goodbyes. Trying to stop the constant stream of tears as I hugged our beloved house helper and friend, Ibu Sari, goodbye.

The physical heartache as we pulled out of Kota Baru for

the last time.

Two wonderful friends who gave up their Saturday to go with us to Jakarta to see me off.

One last dinner together at Chili’s…and trying (unsuccessfully) to force down some food, but being able to stomach Cold Stone.

😀 No idea why.

One last hour spent together in the Jakarta airport, snagging a semi-private corner, but not far away enough from curious stares.

There were laughs for a bit, and then the tears began to flow. At times I had to force myself to breathe.

Quick hugs to Dave and Tiff, and then Tobin walked me to customs.

Saying goodbye to him was the most awful part of that day, worse than leaving my Indonesia. My best friend, the one who had held my hand through everything, was staying, and I was going. I couldn’t stop crying. He held me as my body shook and the streams of salty tears flowed. It was all I could do to not dissolve on the floor in a puddle of hysterical sobs.

I don’t know where I found the strength…to actually leave his arms and go.

But I did…

I’m sure the customs official wondered why I just cried. I kept looking back to where Tobin was, waiting for his last glimpse of me, dreading the moment when we couldn’t see each other anymore.

It came…and so did more tears.

With wobbly legs, I made my way to Starbucks…I still had two hours until my flight left, and I couldn’t bear to wait it out at the gate. I snagged a comfy chair in a corner, curled up with my latte, and let the tears flow as I reflected on the five years I was leaving behind.

Eventually I made it to the gate and onto the flight. And I was gone.

Indonesia was gone.

Looking back, it easily ranks as one of the worst days of my life. It was a necessary day…but that didn’t make it any easier.

I still feel the heartache when I think about it. And the tears still come.

For the last week or so, my mind has been battling between focusing on Christ and thinking about my last days in Indonesia. Even though it’ s all in the pa

st, it still hurts.

I can’t believe how much I miss it.

Even more, I can’t believe it’s been a year. A whole year.

I have to admit that last week, my thoughts became so consumed with Indonesia that I had to turn things around or I was going to drive myself crazy.

So I asked myself, What has God done in a year?

And the answers to that question sent me to my knees in thanks.

He brought us through six weeks of being on opposite sides of the world.

He provided for me while I was really pregnant, emotional, and away from Tobin…friends, a car, a place to stay, people to love me.

He brought our dogs safely back to the U.S.

He gave us a car much nicer than anything we dared to hope we might be able to buy.

He gave us a beautiful daughter. (Sorry, that one deserved to be in bold. ;))

He gave us precious time with friends and family in Minnesota before we moved.

He gave us a house and neighborhood that are beyond what we could have even dreamed.

He provided amazing friends and a great church during a tough transition to a new community.

He’s slowly giving us a place to belong.

When I look back at the last year, there are things that make me cry and remember…and that’s ok. There’s a time for that.

But there’s also

a time for rejoicing and giving thanks. And we’ve got plenty to be thankful for.

God, you are Good. So, So Good.



  1. It was like I was right there with you. Wow! What an experience! I can’t even come close to understanding or relating. Just reading it brought emotions.

    God is so good! Even when we can’t “see” it. I guess that’s faith.

    Now, you’re through that first year. Wonder what God will do now! Anxiously awaiting!

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