Eyes Up: My Future Trip to Cambodia

I don’t see the sun set often in Nashville, if ever.

My apartment is situated between the green rolling hills of this fine city. It sits at a low point which means as I look out my bedroom window right now, I mostly see the full tips of Magnolia trees reaching towards the what-is-assumed darkening sky of 7:30pm. I love this city, but lately I’ve been missing big, unobstructed skies and sunsets.

But to be honest, I didn’t miss open skies until I all-of-a-sudden realized I was no longer able to see them. Before then I loved looking at the large waxy Magnolia leaves out my window. Turns out I don’t miss most things in my life until my mind becomes aware I don’t have them.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. —Isaiah 26:3

What do you think about the most?

It takes a millisecond for me to know what I think about the most, and it so happens none of it actually exists.

I think about the house I don’t have, the husband I don’t have, the children I don’t have, the beauty I don’t have, the adventure I don’t have, even the love of my Father I don’t always believe I have. I look around and I see the gift of marriage and families in the lives being given to so many my age and wonder what I’m doing wrong. I wonder if God is not good. Too often I wonder if He really is withholding from me despite His character.

Author A. W. Tozer in his book Rules for Self Discovery says what we think about most often is of the utmost importance. It tells us who or what hold the affection of our hearts. It tells us who we are trying to become and who or what we believe will give us fulfillment.

I am so grateful for the gifts of grace and mercy because I am more broken than I even realize and more loved than I can understand. In the past 6 months I’ve felt this deeper than ever before. I’ve found myself living in the shadows of other stories that are not my own. My sin of discontentment and comparison have been kindly highlighted to me, and I find myself constantly dying to my own story for my life. Ah, the gift of humility!

I keep hearing my Father say, “Anna, look up. Look up.”

What happens when I look up? I stop remembering what I don’t have and instead become filled with peace and excitement for what is to come. The shadows begin to clear and I begin to dream. I believe this time of repentance for comparison has prepared me to take steps in my specific calling.

I heard about a trip to Cambodia through an organization called Freedom’s Promise (you can read more about it at my GoFundMe page) at a weekly Tuesday night dinner with my friend, Emily. Over the past 6 months or so, we’ve been having endless conversation about purpose in friendship and what it means to be on mission together. It’s been a new kind of conversation for me. It’s given me a glimpse of what God calls us to in relationship when two people are seeking Him first. Our friendship has been the big glass of cold water I didn’t realize I needed when I met her two years ago. What does it look like to join hands with the people around me and run towards my calling? What does it look like to be other’s biggest cheerleader?

As our weekly dinner began, Emily let me know the Lord had put it on her heart to ask if I would go to Cambodia. Without hesitation, I said yes. My Father was giving me a gift and all I had to do was say yes. When I called the organization, they told me they were in need of someone to help lead the children’s ministry portion of the trip. They had been praying for someone to fill this spot and believed I was an answer to this prayer. Since this point, my friend Emily pushed through fear and said “yes” to joining the trip. We will be leading the children’s ministry together.

Hand in hand, running towards Him.

On the more practical side, I needed between $1400 and $1500 to book my flight to Cambodia by the end of May. I received exactly $1500 by this point and as I sit here typing this letter, I sit in awe of His faithfulness to provide in the midst of my doubt! Now that my flight is covered, I need to raise an additional $2000 to cover hotel, food, and other travel expenses by the first week of August.

This certainly isn’t your typical fundraising post, but I also know I have been called to be honest in my story because it matters. More so because He matters. I wanted to provide insight into my personal collision with Jesus’ grace in hopes you would see all the ways the Lord is preparing me at this very moment. And that it might help you to think of the ways He is doing the same for you. I also hope you will read more about the mission of Freedom’s Promise and their incredible team both here in Nashville and in Cambodia!

Lastly, I ask if you will prayerfully consider supporting my trip to Cambodia and the greater movement of bringing heaven to earth through the prevention of sex trafficking. If you would like to offer financial support, you can visit my Facebook page for the link or click through to the donation page. I would also love prayer specifically in the months leading up to the trip for my eyes to be opened to God’s work in the people of Cambodia and for my heart to be softened towards the awful injustice of sex trafficking.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post! Let His kingdom come.