This is Part 2 of a two-part series.
If you have not read Part 1, you can do so here.
Six days in India and I still had no idea why I was supposed to be there. After a rough first half of the trip, I was desperate to find out why I felt the call to travel from the Midwest all the way to Mumbai, India. As I hinted at in Part 1, I did find out, but I had to wait until the very end of the trip. I wonder if it's because patience isn't exactly a skill of mine.
On the last day of the trip, we visited the office of the organization we partnered with for our final meeting. We walked past their open workspace and filed into the conference room. As I moved toward the back of the room to take a seat, I turned my head to the right and noticed an image painted on the wall. When my eyes met the image, it felt like my heart was going to float right up and out of my mouth.
On the wall was a painting of a birdcage with birds flying out of it, and the word "freedom" written underneath the birds. My eyes filled with tears as I continued walking to my seat.
"Teno, did you see what's on the wall over there?!" I said to him as he filed in behind me.
Seeing that image meant everything to me in that moment. When I first started UnKajed Thoughts, I drew a birdcage with a bird flying out of it, and had it posted on the 'about me' section of the blog.
We found out that the images on those office walls were painted approximately one week before that meeting, which means right before or around the time we departed for India this image was painted (for me). It was all the confirmation I needed that I was exactly where I was supposed to be - in India, on that trip - and that this is the path I'm supposed to follow.
As a group we had the opportunity to share a word that stuck out to us and follow with a summary of the trip.
That was my word. If you read Part 1, then you know that's not at all how I felt throughout the trip. But the night before this meeting and when I saw that birdcage on the wall, I truly felt like a beloved daughter of God. Beloved that He would provide confirmation using that specific imagery and beloved because of what kept me up the night before.
In order to share with you some of what happened that night, we have to revisit my time sitting in the middle of the woods at Couples Camp 14 months prior to the trip to India.
Do you remember that list of thoughts that plopped into my head that day? If not, let's jog your memory one last time.
Now that you're caught up... There was one thought I did not share with you that I initially refused to write down. It was the answer to my first thought, "are we supposed to have kids?"
The answer to that question was, Yes, and came with this strong feeling that us having kids was somehow linked to India.
As I said though, I wasn't writing that down... but when I couldn't move to the next prompt because the thought kept cycling through my mind, and as it did, my emotions increasingly intensified until I finally said to myself "Okay! "I'll write it down!" with quite a bit of exasperation.
I actually left Couples Camp still rejecting the idea that I would ever have kids. But because of what He said, I continued to bounce back and forth, one day saying, "Okay, I guess I'll have kids," and the next declaring, "Nah, I don't want that life."
So when my annual OB/GYN appointment rolled around 5 months prior to the trip, I still refused to remove my intrauterine device (IUD). Shortly after that appointment, my husband and I were in the car chatting. For probably the 200th time, I was on my soapbox shooting off all the reasons why I didn't want kids and how birthing and raising children is not a woman's sole purpose in life even though her body is specifically designed to do so.
When I finished rambling, Teno gently responded something along the lines of, "All of your reasons are centered around self. You don't say anything about how it impacts us as a whole, positive or negative."
I honestly don't think Teno knew what he was doing when he said that. I think he simply made an observation. But the moment he said that, I thought to myself, "I want my character and life to look more like Jesus' and Jesus is not selfish or self-centered."
I immediately decided to surrender to the idea that me having kids was probably an important part of my journey. I made another appointment and a few weeks later, my IUD was removed. *Gasp*
4 months later...
On our last night in India, we laid down around midnight. Although Teno seemed to sleep great, I'm pretty sure I never fell asleep that night. Thoughts, visions, and what I can only describe as a supernatural like energy filled my mind and body. Although I'm not going to share all the details or thoughts from that night, what I will tell you is that when I rolled out of bed the next morning, something was different. I was different, both emotionally and physically.
When I stood in front of the mirror to get ready that day, I looked at my reflection and out loud called myself, "Beloved" and began to believe it. I woke up that morning and even before I saw that birdcage on the wall, I knew that I needed to let go of anything holding me back so I could run hard after what God has called me to do. And I left India knowing that we conceived our first child on that trip.
I had my last few alcoholic beverages at the airport, then dodged the question, "Are you pregnant?!" with one more beer the day after our return. I went home and counted down the days until my period was supposed to come but wouldn't. 10 days after our return, I was officially late and a pregnancy test confirmed what I already knew.
The trip and its purpose were about life, renewal, vision and recalibration. India was just the beginning of a new and beautiful lifelong journey. They say "No one has ever returned from India unchanged." That my friend, is the truth.
Who else has big news to share?! Or a travel story that changed the course of their life?