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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Jaworski

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Feelings

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 4

The Heart of a Missionary

Africa 2019. I can’t believe I never shared or posted these photos before. It seems odd now… but I guess at the time, life hit so hard and fast that before I had time to process my trip, celebrate, laugh, and reminisce, I found myself in a state of grief so strong and unexpected I lost all joy completely. It was as if my trip had become like a cherished memory or photo album of a dead loved one that just brought pain, tears, and longing each time I thought about it or scrolled through my camera roll. Remember Nhu had said no... and to complicate things, I was still muddling through the culture shock from returning home after being halfway across the world for three weeks. For all you skeptics out there, yes it’s real, and yes it happens every time you travel… even if you travel a lot. So now, what I thought would be a next puzzle piece of a new exciting journey just beginning had become a painful reminder of my failure. “What did I do wrong, Lord? What should I have done differently? Did I misinterpret what I thought you were calling me too? Did I fall for the rookie trap of confusing my own selfish desires with your will Lord? Seriously?!? I thought I was more mature than that!! And if I didn’t make a mistake, why did you bring me so far just to slam the door in my face?...” Or had he? Honestly, I didn’t know. I was embarrassed by how I was letting the enemy steal my joy for all the Lord had accomplished on our trip. I was frustrated, angry, and surprised at how upset I was. “Michelle you knew this could happen, and you prepared for this!! Pull yourself together! What the heck is the matter with you?!?” Don’t get me wrong, I was rejoicing too! I was so thankful for what he had done, the relationships I had built, and the ministry I had been a part of… But it was like I was ashamed to talk about it because I didn’t know how to tell everyone I had been rejected without feeling ashamed or even more mortifying, breaking down in tears at the sound of “How was your trip Michelle?! Tell me all about it” What was even weirder was that I hadn’t even technically been rejected… not completely… but it felt like it, and I felt guilty it did because it wasn’t fair to Sandy or Remember Nhu, because I knew she was just as sad as I was about the whole thing. OMG was I one complicated bag of crazy emotions! My poor family! Ugh… Face palm! I’m so sorry fam! Please forgive me for being a crazy person!

And yet, through it all, God was comforting me, assuring me, and sustaining me with his unending grace! Kind of like a loving parent after reprimanding their child, he was right there… holding me… speaking to me… reminding me that he knew best, and despite me acting like a spoiled brat for being told to wait, he was planning something even better for me. I just had to wait. Friend let me tell you, it was so humbling! I didn’t realize at the time just how much I had to learn still… and still do! I thought I had finally arrived, and it took a sucker punch to the gut to knock me off my pedestal! But oh, am I so thankful to God for his mercy!!!! I eventually came to realize God knew better than me, so I would not only wait, I’d wait well!! The pictures were still painful to look at, but my hope and joy were slowly coming back! I began to find my pictures comforting. They were memories that became my life line on the extra hard days. I didn’t know what God was doing, but I knew it would eventually lead back to that place of working with Remember Nhu to stop sexual slavery one child at a time by sharing the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ… I knew my season for grieving was over… and even though I was reluctant, I had to get back to work! It wasn’t that I had to “get over” my grief because it was wrong or sinful, although some of my reactions definitely were, but like King Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. I knew grief and disappointment are natural God given emotions, and necessary ones, and it was unhealthy for me to not allow myself to grieve. I was learning though that it was important to be able to process my grief in a biblical way so I could figure out what the Lord was trying to teach me. And I wanted to learn it fast too, because I really wanted him to say the waiting was over and I was ready for what he had next for me. It still hurt, but as I moved forward, it hurt less and less, because I had chosen Him. I had chosen joy in the midst of grief, and because of this, I was able to move into the next amazing season he had in store for me!!!


Coco’s Commentary

I love hearing Michelle’s heart! And I hope you enjoyed her very first entry of our brand new Blog “A Heart of a Missionary”! In case you were wondering where we’ve been the last year or so, here’s your answer! The last year for Michelle has been one of reflection, growth, and seeking God for his will in her life, and I am so excited to see her progress!!!! Join us twice a month right here as Michelle peels back the door of her heart to share with you what the Lord is doing in our lives… and SPOILER ALERT!!! It involves an opening door to become a full time Remember Nhu Staff member!!! A dream that has been two years in the making. God is good! If you can, please take a moment to explore our sight, view the photos, read our quarterly Road Trip Reports, and travel the globe with me on my virtual map! If you would like to hear more of Michelle’s heart, as well as ministry updates, check out the two other blog entries under the blog tab, and don’t forget to click the subscribe button so you get first dibs updates when we post new entries! We love you friend and are so glad you are joining us on our journey! Above all please keep us in your prayers as we embark on our Great Commission! You can find specific prayers below! Au Revoir!

♥CoCo

Prayer Pit Stop

  • For wisdom for Michelle and the leaders of Remember Nhu as they begin the process of transitioning Michelle to a full time staff member over time.

  • For the children to continue to grow in wisdom, stature, and faith in God, free from a life of slavery!

  • For Remember Nhu Leadership & Staff, Volunteers, House Parents, and International Workers as we all work to end child sex slavery around the world.

  • For the Lord to continue to confirm him calling Michelle to this ministry by providing the funds she needs to do the work he has for her.

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