I graduated college in May of 2005 and I was married in October of that same year. In November, I was on a flight to the most northern part of Japan. A town called Misawa. While I was on the 22 hour flight, thoughts rushed through my mind. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me in another country. Everyone’s eyebrows rose as I told them my plans to live in another country for a few years. The truth is that nothing could have prepared me for the experiences (good and bad) I had while there.
Many things happened over that 3 year tour, but one of the most memorable was when I became pregnant one year before it was time to go back to America. I was very emotional when I was pregnant with my daughter Chloe. I was on the other side of the world and didn’t have much of a support system other than my husband Chris. We were both very young and didn’t know the first thing about raising a child. At my 7th month of pregnancy, I used to stay up all night worrying and chatting with my friends back in U.S. since it was daytime over there. I often found myself on the back porch of the apartment we lived in. Majestic mountains could be seen in the distance and I wondered “What am I doing here?” Chris worked all day and went to school on some nights, so I spent some of my time alone. I started to pray more and more because I had not ever been in a situation that pressed me so hard. My anxiety peaked one day as I was working part time at the American High School on base as an English tutor. I found myself in the E.R. hooked up to many machines. As a well person who had not ever been to the doctor for anything other than normal checkups or a cold, this whole ordeal scared me. I started panicking and I had my first full blown panic attack. Thoughts raced through my head as I thought about being alone on the other side of the world.
One night while up again, I was in a pregnancy chat room and I posted that I was in Japan, having my first baby and was highly emotional. I was able to be open and honest because it was anonymous. I began to receive a flood of responses from women to my inbox telling me that they were praying for me. One lady in particular, kept sending me messages. She said she was a U.S. contractor stationed in Korea. She told me that she was praying for me and asked for my address. I gave it to her and thought nothing of of it. A few months later, I received a box in the mail. It had all types of beautiful baby girl clothes and a check for $50. This lady was a complete stranger! There was also a note attached to it that said “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) I was floored. I tried to contact with her again several times and received no response. I couldn’t believe that a STRANGER took the time to send gifts and an encouraging word. At this moment, I realized what compassion really is. She showed me that showing true compassion and love is its own reward. She didn’t want to do anything but help me. Now when I meet young mothers, I always like to pay it forward with gifts and encouragement. If I wouldn’t have ever been in such a vulnerable state, I would have never seen how truly compassionate people can be. I was featured in the #1000Speak video along with other bloggers from around the world! Check it out below! This video was created by Tamara Woods.
1000 Speak gathered 1000 bloggers from around the world to talk about what compassion means to them. You can contact the founder, Yvonne Spence to find out how you can become apart of the #1000Speak initiative.