the little canuck that could!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………i don’t even know how to begin this story. it’s so fresh that my words aren’t even fully to the surface yet, but at the same they are BURSTING to come out.

basically, my God, my Jesus, my PAPA is AWESOME. i have exited the desert, proclaiming that “he has seen me! he has heard me! i have always been in the corner of his eye!” this harrowing journey that i’ve been on for the last 3 years and more is finally over.

in my last post, i mentioned that i grew up rather…strangely, shall we say? well, as i grew up, i slowly realized that i had no status, no identity, no proof that i had ever entered canada legally. i simply did not exist. and there was a very likely possibility, if i made myself known, that i would be deported. i held onto this secret for many years – in fact, it was less than 4 years ago that i finally confided in my pastor and my mentors. i could barely even look them in the eye as i spilled my guts. i was completely expecting to be condemned for my secrecy and countless lies in an attempt to keep myself safe.

instead, all i found were open arms and compassionate eyes. from that day forward, we decided to embark on a adventure to make phone calls, send emails, book appointments and spend money until this problem was fixed.

 it has been difficult, to say the least. i have phoned, been phoned, paid, been broke, directed and redirected, frustrated, hoped, crushed, renewed, paid some more, traveled to places i’ve never been, talked to people i’ve still never seen face to face…but every day i have chosen to place one more foot in front of the other, with the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 in my heart and my eyes searching the sky for any sign of rain.

well, baby, get your raincoat on cause it’s pouring outside! =) a couple of weeks ago, i received a letter from immigration saying that i had an appointment with the prince george office at 10:30am on April 14th, where they wanted to “finalize my application for permanent residence.” sounds positive, right? well, i knew better than to get too excited – this could just be another bill i needed to pay so they could finish the next step, followed by more months of waiting. i told almost no one about this appointment out of that exact fear.

so, yesterday, i went with joanna & amie downtown to the same building i had gone to in september. i had flashbacks of being rejected all over again, began to feel that familiar anxiety in my stomach that warned me i should brace myself for more limbo.
joanna and amie sat in the waiting room, and i followed a french woman behind a closed door. we sat down at a huge conference table with huge conference chairs. she handed me a few papers and said, “sign your name here, here and here, and you are a permanent resident.”

i almost said, “excuse me?!” but instead i calmly said, “really? already?”
she smiled and said, “yes! today is your day! in a few minutes, you’ll be able to celebrate with your friends.”

as i signed my name, i could feel the emotion building behind my eyes. this can’t be real. there’s GOT to be a catch i’m missing. oh God, God, please let this be real.

we shook hands, mine trembling; i grabbed my purse and left the room. i spotted joanna and amie sitting anxiously in the waiting room, and i debated. should i smile right away? or should i hold a stern face and THEN burst into a surprise?

it was no use; my face exploded and i promptly burst into tears.
“it’s all done! i’m a permanent resident! you’re stuck with me now!”
cue the screaming and jumping and group-hugging. we’re girls. don’t judge. 😉

hoooo. even writing this has made my throat swell and my eyes burn again. i don’t know if i can properly convey how i feel right now. it’s like i can breathe for the first time in 12 years. i no longer need to live in fear of being sent away. i have found freedom, but not to do whatever i want as though there are no rules – freedom to do the right thing, to make a life that speaks to people and gives God glory. he’s the only one that deserves it.

“This is my now, and I am breathing in the moment; as I look around, I can’t believe the love I see. My fears behind me, gone are the shadows and doubt – that was then; this is my now.”