Sunday, December 19, 2010

Full Circle

God is the most magnificent Healer. In the moments that bring revelation - when loose ends are tied, or long-awaited closure finally arrives - we are greeted by this supernatural peace and overwhelming reassurance that God truly is in control of our circumstances.

When we are able to survey the wearisome and trying journey from the higher ground - look down on the path that had led us through darkness, through deserts and despair and see how far we've come (or rather, how far the Lord has led us) - it is a glorious moment. In that place, enraptured by the Lord's splendor, His strength and faithfulness, all you can do is stand in awesome wonder, taking in all He revealed & refined on the journey. While the journey may have been brimming with pain and the testing of your faith, you now can say for certain, "It is worth it - any journey that leads me closer in relationship to Jesus Christ, that makes me more like Him, is worth it." No matter the intensity of the heartbreak, the sickness, the loss, the pain, the effort - knowing Him more is worth it. Yes, this is easily said in the reflecting stage, as you bask in the sweet sunshine on higher ground. However, when our faith must be our eyes and we are in the thick of the journey, the proclamation that "it is worth it" may be either the furthest thing from our lips or said through our teeth, as our jaw is clenched together in pain.

Regardless of where we are on the journey, we must remember the beauty that is Romans 8:28 - God causes ALL things to work together for our GOOD. Even every bump on the road, every callous we obtain, every time stumble or fall flat on our faces. In the words of Brennan Manning, "The wisdom of tenderness allows us to love our whole life story and know that we've been graced and made beautiful by the providence of our past history. "Even from my sins," wrote Augustine of Hippo, "God has drawn good." All the wrong turns in the past, the detours, the mistakes, the moral lapses - everything that's irrevocably ugly or painful melts and dissolves in the light of accepted tenderness" [Manning, The Wisdom of Tenderness, 32]. Right now, here, today, I can thank God for the people He placed in my life for a brief moment, and no longer question why they may not remain. As i listened to my Ipod on shuffle yesterday during quiet time, two songs played in a row that had once sent twinges of pain through my heart, as they were linked to memories and old emotions. Yesterday was different - i was able to thank God for the sweet memories, but also thank Him for the new thing He is doing. SO SO SO SO GOOD!!!!!

God will bring healing. In His perfect timing, He always does. And when we are in the most brutal battle or deepest valley, we must hold on to this promise and keep our eyes fixed on Him. When we are reveling in wholeness and redemption, we must remember all the Lord has revealed and taught us through the journey.

"It is only a faithful person who truly believes that God sovereignly controls his circumstances" [Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest]. God, give us the faith to believe that you control our circumstances. As you remain sovereign and reign with goodness and compassion, may we trust you with our future, while relishing in the moment that is today - the here and now.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Road Tripping

As Hannah and I are enjoying this crazy, spontaneous adventure, I'm learning so much. Like for instance, though I am very much an extrovert, i NEED NEED alone time to regenerate at times. I can't wait to hit the beach today and just read listening to the sound of the ocean. I have also learned you really get to know someone on a road trip. Hannah and i joke - we've been on 3 official "dates" before we headed on this road trip. So, though we seem pretty friend and travel compatible, there is so much left to learn about each other. Kind of like any other relationship, huh? Takes time. A third thing i have learned - i love the open road. Yesterday i drove for 8 hours straight. Give me some great music and someone to talk to every once in awhile, and i'm good to go. There's something therapeutic about driving.

And the final thing i've learned: road trips are about the journey. I was blessed to grow up with a dad working for the airlines and being able to fly everywhere for free - Japan, London, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Amsterdam, Guatemala, El Salvador, all over the US, you name it. Flying is mostly about arriving at your destination, getting there as fast as possible. And while i greatly appreciate the speed and the service of flying, road trips are necessary at times. Though we had an ETA for reaching Florida, we drove until we were tired, we stopped at random attractions - some, big landmarks i've only seen in pictures, others less known but just as amazing (like the giant sized Superman :D). When you enjoy the journey, the destination is just another phase. And while Florida and the condo we're privileged to stay in are awesome, the open road and random stops were sweet, as well.

Hmm...just a little of the more in depth thoughts I'm processing as we tackle some pretty silly bucket list items and dares. :) See you all in a week or so!