I am not sure where to start this post. I have written and erased. I have read Joshua 3, thought about the parting of the Red Sea, thought about the parting of the Jordan River, wondered about misapplying scripture to my life.

Yet here I am, at the bank of my own private Jordan River.

From the gracious Michelle DeRusha (michellederusha.com)

From the gracious Michelle DeRusha (michellederusha.com)

In mid-December  I needed to let  my work know my intentions for the next year in regards to my job. For the past sixteen plus years this was a non-decision, I wasn’t going anywhere. I waited until 9:00 p.m. on the night of the deadline and then hit send on my letter of resignation.

I emailed my family and a few close friends. The deed is done, that which had been private is moving to the public. Please pray for sleep.

Even now, my eyes tear up typing this.

I wrote to others when it was closer to the time for the news to step further into the public light, “I have been here so long, I feel a bit like I am resigning from myself.” Oh this paradoxical God we serve. Stay until the cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night move. It’s moving causing me to move away from me to stay with me.

I have desired for years to go to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. And every year excuses abound to why it was not convenient. Not the right this year, maybe next year. This, this will be the year and going has become symbolic of the type of woman I want to be, one of cour_age and not merely convenience.

I started putting out feelers and (frankly) to my surprise no one wanted to go with me. Have you met me? I’m fun. As in, a lot of fun to travel with. I decided that I’d rather go alone than not go at all. Do you see how this trip took on more symbolism than I ever intended?! So, I prepared for my first ever vacation alone.

And then got an email from a former student from my Chengdu days. One I haven’t seen in eons. Last year she was in the States and had the opportunity to spend several days in Denver with my family. She has been in my childhood bedroom, she has gone to the movie with my nieces, she has hung out with my parents and their friends. She is a sister in ways that broach cultures. Do you get how unbelievable this is? Do you see that I could never, never, never have orchestrated what came next?

Would I have any interest in going to Cambodia? She even said that we haven’t seen each other in about as many years as my oldest niece has been alive. “Niece” is one of the nine love languages! I nearly fell over.

And just like that I was offered a fish from a loving God. Amy, though you are stepping into the Jordan River and it won’t part until you step and you don’t know where you are going and you think that a “wise” person makes a plan before they step, you are NOT stepping alone. For I am with you. Cour_age.

Today, I fly to Cambodia. I am both light and heavy because after four days I will fly to Thailand and participate in two weeks of meetings with my beloved company. We don’t get to be together but once a year. It will be a time packed with reunions and teaching and hanging out and laughing and crying and more goodbyes than I want. The Thai Iced Tea will flow!

The number one question in the last two weeks has been: what’s next?

I get that. I’m fine with being asked. But I am finding that people don’t quite know what to do with my answer: I don’t know. I have ideas and some things I’m working on and hope work out. All I know clearly is that this season is over and I have been so richly blessed by the people I have met the last 20 years! I’ll be in my current job until the end of June.

But this I know for sure, I am not leaving God, China, America, the Broncos, the Jayhawks, and love of reading, an interest in zumba, or my call to help people live in the messy middle.

Coming to this decision has been one of the hardest of my life. But knowing that I am not alone helps. Thank you. Hang on for the ride, folks, the spring will be ____________! (Depends on the moment how I finish that sentence.)

Today I step into my own River Jordan. Will you pray for me? Will you pray for all of the encounters I will have in the next few weeks? I’m not sure in Cambodia how easy it will be to access the internet, but when I can, I’ll post pictures of Chunmei and me frolicking amongst ancient ruins.

*****

If you know the name of the group I work with, that’s lovely, but please don’t reference it on this blog. Thank you for your understanding.

Leave A Comment

  1. Pete Aldrich January 23, 2013 at 8:00 am - Reply

    Praying for you, Amy. A new season (like the one we’re in right now) is challenging, but it will make you rely on God like never before. Pretty sure that’s what He intended …

    Thanks for your many contributions to an organization that is filled with servant hearts like yourself. I’m glad I got to be a small part of it.

    Proverbs 3:5-6 …

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 23, 2013 at 8:09 am - Reply

      Thanks Pete. Knowing folks like you and D have walked this path helps. And yes on the relying on God like I haven’t had to in ages. I hadn’t pictured being mid-40s and at this point. BUT I know I’m not alone in that statement :)!

  2. Kristi January 23, 2013 at 8:08 am - Reply

    Ah, paradox! “It’s moving causing me to move away from me to stay with me.” Difficult, yet somehow beautiful! Thank you, thank you for just being you wherever you go!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 23, 2013 at 8:48 am - Reply

      Until the fish eat our feet :)

  3. Laura January 23, 2013 at 8:45 am - Reply

    So proud of my big sis and how you live with cour_age! You are such an inspiration and a great mentor for so many people.

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 23, 2013 at 8:49 am - Reply

      As are you! You are a woman of cour_ge too as you seek new vistas :). I love you Laura!!

  4. sandy January 23, 2013 at 8:52 am - Reply

    oh my friend…i remember the fears and tears of a season ending….and no answers to the question of ‘what’s next’. it can be so hard to look at the unknown when one season ends & the other one isn’t yet defined. i’m so proud of you for following your master into the unknown. be of good cour-ge!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 23, 2013 at 8:57 am - Reply

      Thanks Sandy … knowing that you get it, and in some ways have followed similar paths, beyond comforting. Beyond.

  5. Mikkin Helvig January 23, 2013 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Amy! We need to talk more—what a wonderful picture though—God really does let us know things little by little. Can’t wait to see you again on this side of the globe! I owe you an email these days….have a blast in Cambodia! Do the sunrise at the way one day—I remember it so well!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 23, 2013 at 10:13 am - Reply

      Oh Mikkin. I look forward to the email :) Thanks for the Cambodia tip!!

  6. Michelle DeRusha January 23, 2013 at 10:27 am - Reply

    I am praying for you, Amy. And I know, I know what it’s like to put your feet into that river. I left my job of 10 years last May to pursue writing full-time…without the assurance of knowing exactly what was next. God has been so, so good and his timing has been impeccable…but it wouldn’t have happened, without that first step in faith.

    Go forth in faith and cour_age – he’s got your back.

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      Michelle, I remember last May when you took that wonderfully scary step and wondering when/if it would be my turn. It’s helfpul to hear from those who have taken this step in different ways, turn and say, it will be OK.

      AND can you see why when I saw your picture I knew that was the exact image if have of me right now! So fun that was physically you and metaphorically me. Again, thanks for letting me use it! (and for the prayers!) Amy

  7. Michelle DeRusha January 23, 2013 at 10:27 am - Reply

    P.S. The picture looks great — it’s an awesome fit for your story!!

  8. Erin January 23, 2013 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Lifting you up and (not so shamelessly secretly) glad to know the chances of seeing you on I-70 @ Hays or when we visit Denver regularly are both looking more feasible! Fathom it: Amy Young in my house after all these years (& offering laughs & wisdom like so long ago in Zhengzhou)!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm - Reply

      Oh Erin, that would just be too, too wonderful! Exit 159 here I come! To think of being in your home. Wow.

  9. Katherine Haire January 23, 2013 at 11:19 am - Reply

    “I don’t know.” I LOVE that response, and so does God.

    As a new member of the group that you’re leaving, I (selfishly) feel a little cheated in this deal. You were/are that safe person I could go up to that first day in Beijing, and tearfully say, “I’m scared.” You gave us newbies the “Talk” on integrity with all the seriousness and humour that make you “you”.

    You are the person that knows….stuff.

    I love your directness (that’s a little intimidating in the sweetest way), and most of all your humility.

    What will (the collective) “we” do without you? I don’t know. But the mark that you’ve made is permanent, deep, and lasting.

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 23, 2013 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      Katherine. Well, you know (much to my chagrin!) I’m a public crier when I am so inclined. So here I sit in the Beijing airport Starbucks surrounded by Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese (all known for their love of a good public display of emotion — unless it’s loud bargaining and then, Katie-bar-the-door!) and cry. All I can say is that is what I hope to be and do.

      It also brings to mind another thing I was told once — “Amy, you know we love you, but we fear you.” At first I was a bit taken a back. But I knew it was true. :) … in a good way.

      And the month of August will forever bring a bitter twinge for me after all the time I’ve spent with newbies. The only thing that helps is when Niece #2 realized I would be in the States this next August, she lit up like a candle and said, “You’ll be here for my birthday!”

      Katherine, you have called me to be a better person in the best ways too. Thank you. xx Amy

  10. Connie Gibson January 23, 2013 at 11:20 am - Reply

    New adventures when Father directs and leads are GREAT! Hang on for a great ride! You’ve been a faithful servant and a wise mentor.. thank you for all the years of service. It’s nice to know that your serving and being used isn’t over, just changing. I love you and look forward to hearing what’s ahead for you. Love you Amy!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      Connie, interesting how we are on kind of similar paths, eh?! Nice to have good company like you :)!!

    • Debbie Marshall February 19, 2015 at 8:05 am - Reply

      Connie, I read this and realized again the “what goes around comes around” nature of life. We all have next-steps of mystery, some within oranizations, some between. Happy Chinese New Year to all, and hope to see you before you head out. Debbie
      …and Amy, your cour_age is made of gold and jewels, built the One Foundation.
      Thanks again for following the Way in His strength. with love

  11. amyglester January 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    I couldn’t be prouder to call you my friend. Prouder of the work you’ve done, prouder of the way you will finish, or prouder of the work that is yet to come. You are faithful and He who called you is Faithful.

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Amy — I know you love public crying — so if you were here with me in the BJ starbucks you’d be scooting your chair away and pretending you don’t know me :) I have found that, and I don’t quite get this, but it is those of you who knew me “pre-China” that have anchored me during this season. I look at you and am reminded I will live through this transition because I’ve done it before and you’re still here with me :) … AND every MLK Jr day I think of you and our weekends in Memphis. Maybe next year we’ll be together on MLK jr day!

  12. Hayden Sewall January 23, 2013 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Oh, Amy! I love this post, everything about it except the sadness. And I love how he provided that traveling partner as a reminder of how much you can trust him.

    I can relate to your feelings of leaving, maybe 1/3rd of what you are going through, but you’ve been with your company a long time!! Glad you aren’t leaving everything.

  13. Janis McArthur January 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Will be lifting you up in your new adventure. When the Father says move, you go where He tells you. Thank you for your encouragement to me the two years I was in China. I sort of understand what you’re going through. Moving to Laos was a big step for me and I am grateful He has been with me all the way. Thanks for sharing. Maybe we can catch up sometime. Cambodia is not too far from Laos.

  14. Cindy (Stevens) Sefiane January 23, 2013 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Amy,

    Excited for you, but also know how hard it can be to walk out in faith after so many years of the abnormal becoming normal and now everything will be abnormal again….. I so get it! Will be thinking of you in all this! And if you need a place to come and visit you are more than welcome to visit us in Morocco! =) That was the direction I went after China, crazy at the time how that came to be, and now I can look back and see His loving hands that guided me to a place I was needed, years before anyone knew how great the need would be! Love you much!!!!
    Cindy

  15. Loren Pinilis January 23, 2013 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    I admire your courage in stepping out in faith. What an exciting opportunity for God to really show up in your life.
    By the way, is there a place you can get Thai Iced Tea in the States?

  16. Beth January 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    God bless you in this next step you are taking (in the Jordan) and wherever God leads you, Amy. I’m so glad you got the chance to go with your friend to Cambodia too and yes, I will certainly pray for you in all of your decisions ahead and travels today. Thanks for reminding us to be sensitive and willing to go wherever God calls.

  17. Maria I. Morgan January 24, 2013 at 2:20 am - Reply

    Beautiful, Amy! I can understand the relief and uncertainty you must be feeling. But how encouraging to know that the Lord is right in the middle of all the messiness! He has a purpose and a plan for this new phase in your life. Embrace it! God bless you! :)

  18. Karin P January 24, 2013 at 3:30 am - Reply

    You go girl.

    When it is time, it is time.

    And trust me: I get it. China got under my skin 23 years ago, and never quite left. Then Paris did, too, darn it. That one I did not see coming. I feel you in this.

    Clearly there were other plans for me as well, plans to heal me and my relationships and to give me a hope for a future. Not harmful plans, but prosperous ones.

    Because, as more life wisdom from a TOTALLY different source once said: Wherever you go, there you are. :D

    So take those nuggets of wisdom for what they are worth, and know that it’s all for a good end, yes?

    ENJOY Angkor Wat (I’m jealous!!!), and I am so excited to know that probably we will get to have coffee (or tea) here in Denver in a few short months.

    The next few months will be hard, but good ones, and you will be in my thoughts.

    Bon courage et bon voyage, mon amie!
    xoxo
    Karin

  19. Karen January 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy, I’m glad I found you again and so glad to see that our Lord is leading you on a new adventure. My word for this new year is ‘courage’ so I pray He gives us both courage to enter with joy the things He has planned. Looking forward to hearing more.

  20. Kevin Felt January 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing. It reminds me a lot of the feelings I felt when stepping out 8 years ago, right about this time, filling out my application to come to China on the eve of the deadline–knowing that the cloud was moving and bringing me out of my “comfortable” work to China, but not sure of much more than that.

    We’ll miss you, but I look forward to hearing what he has next for you.

    Enjoy Angkor Wat. It’s fantastic. We rented bikes in Siam Reap and rode all around the closer ruins one of the days we were there. Took awhile to get from Siam Reap out there, but it was a blast going at our own pace.

    -Kevin

  21. Joan January 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Praying for you, Amy. Stepping into new territory is always a bit scary, but God will guide you. He doesn’t just place these desires in our hearts only to leave us alone.

    Many blessings,
    Joan

  22. Brianna Wasson January 25, 2013 at 4:13 am - Reply

    I do not really know you, but I admire you just the same. Truly. There is no doubt you are a woman of courage. Prayers for you as you go straight through the messy middle of major transition and an amazing trip to Southeast Asia.

  23. Bobbye January 25, 2013 at 5:49 am - Reply

    Twenty years – a great time to make a life change. What ever direction you are sent will be the one that is best for you and for you to contribute in a way that you have not considered. Good luck! Have fun along the way! And, stop and smell the roses. Only God can make a rose.

  24. Deanne January 25, 2013 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Inspirational. Thank you for sharing your leap of faith – it is an encouragement to me to see how God is providing for you and encouraging you forward each step of the way.

  25. Mark Allman January 27, 2013 at 1:32 am - Reply

    “I have been here so long, I feel a bit like I am resigning from myself.” “But this I know for sure, I am not leaving God, China, America, the Broncos, the Jayhawks, and love of reading, an interest in zumba, or my call to help people live in the messy middle.”
    You may leave China but I am sure China will never leave you and part of you will be with those you have touched always. I think we all assume we know where we will be 6 months from now but the truth is we do not know where we will be this afternoon. Relish your journey; part of the fun will be finding out where God moves you around the chess board. :) I know you are one of those pieces that is versatile and can be used all over.
    I added you to my prayer list on my work computer and I will lift your journey up. I wish you well… thanks for taking us along for the ride!!!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy January 27, 2013 at 8:30 am - Reply

      Oh Mark, I’m not sure why … but this moved me deeply. Thanks for letting me know you’ve added me to the prayer list. I truly appreciate it.

      • Mark Allman January 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm - Reply

        It’s a small list…… 5 people

  26. Alison L. January 27, 2013 at 2:46 am - Reply

    Hi Amy! Just wanted to say thanks for your service to the organization and all of us in it. You are absolutely the best person for the job. Blessings as you move on.

  27. Dawn February 28, 2013 at 3:33 am - Reply

    Sounds like changes are afoot and I’ll be thinking of you as you go forward in your journey. I’ll stay tuned and be interested in hearing more stories. Keep writing! I love reading what you share…..

    • Avatar photo
      Amy February 28, 2013 at 5:52 am - Reply

      Dawn! I just smile when I see your name. Hey to B. I miss Lawrence … though I hear you’re covered in snow right now!

  28. Holly March 2, 2013 at 2:17 am - Reply

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Amy, have I ever mentioned that I love your depth, the richness of insight you’ve been given into life and people, and the heart you have for just FOLLOWING our Father? I’m in awe of your journey. The paths He’s taken you down, the ways in which you’ve trusted Him with full abandon and your courage…it’s all beautiful. THANK YOU.

  29. Amy March 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Amy,

    By a round-about way through a link on one of your most current blog posts (I’m catching up a bit) – Can You Judge an Author by His Hair? – I came up on this post. Wow! Whoa! How did I miss this? Was it when your blog server/RSS/email updates/whatever was in kahoots and I didn’t receive your updates in my email inbox for a couple of weeks? I’ll just have to assume that was it! Jeepers! Now your posts about Cambodia make more sense! :) I/we KNOW all of the following, and that you KNOW this, too: You are loved. Father loves you. This is exciting. This is an adventure. This is emotional. (Yes, you better be crying in public – a trait we admire about you!) This is a leap of faith. You are not alone. You are being prayed for. This is not an end but a new beginning…a turn around a corner to where you need to be now, using the skills and talents you have, and learning some cool stuff on the way. I see you both crying and skipping and praising God along the way (add in zumba). Oh how I wish we could share a big ol’ mutual Amy-hug right now. Hmmm….maybe the next time I’ll see you won’t be in CO but in Cambodia! :) Love you, Amy, for who you are in Christ and for living that out to His glory! Yes, China will always be in our hearts. <3

  30. Amy March 26, 2013 at 6:12 am - Reply

    You know I am praying for you “b-day twin” and I always will. Hmmm…now I have a super fun person to visit in Cambodia! Oh, Lord, when? Trusting Him for all that! What an exciting adventure ahead….full of cheers, tears, laughter, and “wheee” moments!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy March 28, 2013 at 6:38 am - Reply

      I just went to Cambodia for a week :) … I”ll be back in CO part time!!

  31. […] in a bit of transition (OK, massive understatement) and you can read about the journey from the announcement I was resigning  through the way I make decisions and grieve to reminders that I am not alone. You can subscribe to […]

  32. CS July 21, 2013 at 12:03 am - Reply

    I ended up here via one of my favorite blogs (Micha Boyett) and I had a sneaky suspicion that you were a part of my old ‘overseas company’ and now that I’ve read more I’m certain you are with the company I was with for 6 years (now I am with another company but in the same place – for last 3 years). All that to say – I recently made the final decision to leave my place here in Asia this coming December. And I’m not at all sure ‘what’s next’ and I’m still coming to grips with all the angsty existential questions included in losing this major part of my identity. All that to say – this post has encouraged me greatly! Keep following the fire and cloud. ;)

    • Avatar photo
      Amy July 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      CS, I think you have indeed cracked the code! And as I read your comment, all I can say is I GET IT, I GET IT, I GET IT! :) Thanks for the comment and hope to see you around here again!

  33. […] image that kept coming to mind was “Stepping into my own River Jordan” and I wanted a picture of a person looking down at her feet as she stepped into water. […]

Related Posts