I had 45 minutes in the Denver airport before my flight home.
It wasn’t a lot of time, but sometimes a little is all you need.
The night before as I repacked my suitcase to head home, one of our very first and longest Mercy House donors messaged me and asked if she could meet me with her kids at the airport–“for just a minute to encourage you?”
I never pass up encouragement, so I sent her the time and terminal.
We found each other in a sea of travelers and her adorable little kids gave me big hugs like we were long lost friends. We settled down at a nearby table at the airport Burger King and they handed me a Chick Fil A gift card, a package of homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (my favorite) and a beautiful paper crown.
Because, of course.
While the kids shared a soda, I caught up with an online friend turned in-life one.
I had just spent 3 days at a soul care retreat with a room full of world changers who were so raw and real and vulnerable that I felt at home standing in front of them, sobbing uncontrollably, letting them into a painful place I haven’t shared with many.
So, when my airport visitor asked me how I was doing, I mean, really doing, I told her.
I told her life was good and life was hard. That this yes might just kill me, but I would die happy and satisfied. Because sometimes when people ask, they really want to know.
My layover time was ticking.
She called her kiddos over and said, “Would you like to ask Mrs. Welch your questions now?” she turned to me and said, “Mercy House is a part of our lives. My kids have grown up praying for you.”
They asked about our water well and about the girls in Africa and then this question, “Have you ever been persecuted?” I paused. “Like has anyone ever thrown rocks at you?”
Not real ones.
But I told them about some of our Fair Trade Friday groups in India who were facing violence and opposition for their faith and asked these littlest supporters to pray for them.
I looked at my watch and it was time to go. They walked me to the escalator and we took some pictures. They hugged me again and I grabbed my bags, my paper crown and the unopened card and hurried towards security.
Once I settled in my seat on the plane, I took a deep breath and felt a surge of exhausted relief to be heading home again. I opened the card and the first words were, “Keep going, girl…”
I ate an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and I cried in row 26.
Because that’s exactly what I needed to hear…
I’m really bad at taking care of myself. And sometimes when you put off caring for yourself, it takes a lot of time to catch up. And that’s what I’m doing. But I’m also trying not go give up.
Maybe you need to hear those words too, Keep going, girl…
Keep going when it gets hard
Keep going when it stays hard
Keep going when you really want to give up
Keep going when you’re afraid and everyone thinks your brave
Keep going when you’re too tired to stand
Here are 5 things I’m learning in this Keep Going Season:
- Be vulnerable with people who want to know how you’re really doing.
- Let people encourage you with sweet tea and sweet words. You don’t always have to act like everything is okay.
- Retreat to a quiet place and listen to God. He always says something, even if it’s be still
- Surround yourself with a community of broken people who share a common journey (adoption, leadership, teenagers, toddlers)
- Wear a crown and celebrate. Sometimes we have to look behind us to see how far we’ve come.
Whatever you do, just keep going, girl.