I’m trying to find the words of gratitude, but none seem to be adequate enough to express how thankful I am to have the people behind me that I do.
People who have cheered me on and kept me going since Day 1 of this crazy and wild journey that started April 2017. People who have pushed me to take one more step with their kind words of love and encouragement. People who have stood behind the most beautiful days and the days where all I wanted to do was book a flight and run back to my comfortability. People that the Lord has so carefully and diligently placed in my life to love me and encourage me through one of the most life-changing experiences.
As I sit on my bed and think about hundreds of supporters that have made this journey possible, I keep hearing the Lord say, “I love you. And it is because I love you that I have given you one of the greatest and most powerful support systems.” My supporters and encouragers are some of the sweetest ways the Lord has shown his love to me — pure, unconditional love.
To my mom and dad: As I think back to the day I sat you down and told you I was leaving the country for nine months and needed to raise $15,000, my mind is filled with unending support and unconditional love. Parents who are there on the hardest days and there on the greatest of days. Parents who encouraged me when all I wanted to do was to come home, and even though all they wanted to do was see me, they knew that where the Lord had me was best. People who selflessly took this journey as their own and have joined me in the growth that I have experienced. People that listened to every secret, problem and complaint that I had. Two of my favorite humans. Thank you.
To my siblings: The people who have made it the hardest to leave. Thank you for allowing me to miss out on a year of your life and supporting me through it. Thank you for the hard goodbyes. Thank you for giving me so much excitement in returning, anticipation in knowing that I might be tackled at the airport. You have all grown so much, and missing a year of your life hasn’t been easy, but your love and support have made it so much easier. Thank you.
To my grandparents: Some of my favorite people. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and supporting me in whatever journey the Lord takes me on. The people who pour out so much love to me and hide their pain of me being gone because they know it breaks my heart to not be there. The people who have shown me and taught me how to live as a person who loves and follows the Lord. Thank you.
To my church family: I don’t have the words for this family. Some of the most selfless people. Thank you for joining me in this journey since the very first day. Thank you for spending hours upon hours praying for me. Thank you for giving me comfort, peace and happiness in knowing that I have one of the greatest church families to run home to. Thank you for showering me with grace, generosity and so much encouragement. Thank you for giving me the community I so desperately want and need. Thank you for giving me a “home.” Thank you for being my biggest cheerleaders. Thank you for all of your love.
To my friends: I am blown away by you and your friendships to me. The unending love, the support, the patience, the ability to keep in contact with me for nine months, only because my friendship is worth it to you. Thank you for loving me well, for listening to me, for seeking my heart, for pushing me in ways I never thought possible and for giving me sweet friendships that will make returning home so much easier.
To my Seymour community: My heart has been shown abounds of love by this community. It is beyond me how a community can be so loving, so supportive, so encouraging. I have felt comfort in knowing that I have a community in my “home” that has stood behind me every day, every week. Thank you for following this journey. Thank you to the people who don’t personally know me, but they know that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for showing me the love of God. Thank you.
To those who financially supported me: Thank you for standing behind my goal of raising $15,000. Thank you for teaching me about the Lord’s provision and the Lord’s plan for my life. In many times, you were the answer to prayers. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to bless this journey. Thank you for being those who made this possible.
To those who prayerfully supported me: The power of prayer has been a sweet lesson that I have been reminded of repeatedly on this journey, and I know it’s only because of the prayers that have been poured out over me. The power of prayer when I was laying in bed, extremely sick. The power of prayer when tough times were present. The power of prayer when it was difficult to be away. Thank you for your prayers.
To those who sent words of encouragement and love almost daily: Thank you for lifting me up on my worst days. Thank you for allowing the Lord to speak through you in the times when I needed it most. Thank you for reminding me of who I am, for reminding me of his promises, for showing me love when I felt hopeless. Your words mean more to me than you’ll ever know.
To my team: My people, Courtney, Tara, Nick and Rodrigo. Some of the most caring, gentle, generous, life-giving people. People who stood with me through the hard days and the beautiful days. The people who lived through each experience with me. The people who listened to my heart daily. The people who extended a hand to me and said, “We are going to do this journey together.” The people who chose me, loved me, forgave me, showed me grace, gave me comfort and simply lived life with me each and every day. The people who loved Jesus with me and pushed me in ways that I never expected. Thank you.
The Lord has given me one of the most powerful support systems I could have ever imagined. I have a list of people in my head that I am indebted to for the rest of my life, but I rest assured that their reward is waiting for them in heaven.
It’s important for me to recognize that this journey isn’t only mine, but also the people who have joined me in this journey, who have done what they could from their homes and allowed the Lord to do the rest. This isn’t my journey. It is our journey, and I am so beyond thankful for the people the Lord has placed in my life.
The relationships he has ordained through me being gone, the opportunities he has placed before me and the lifelong friendships he has given me through a simple act of obedience in following him for nine months.
Oh the love that I have for the people who love, encourage and support me well. You guys are my people and will forever have a place in my heart. How thankful I am to have friends and family who make leaving this season much easier. How thankful I am to have supporters who make coming home so exciting. How thankful I am to have so many people who love me and have been counting down the days until I am home.
Father, I am so thankful. My words are inadequate, but your promises over these people are not. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Keia Blair is a Seymour native who attends Cincinnati Christian University. She recently wrapped up a nine-month mission trip around the world. Send comments to [email protected].