GOING AWAY TO COME BACK
I sit reflecting at my home in Nashville, TN after spending the past 10 days in the place I grew up, Oregon. It’s funny how life often comes full circle. As a 20 year old I couldn’t wait to leave the place I grew up, yet as a thirty (ah-hem) something, I shed some tears as the plane took off leaving that very same place. Until recently, I never realized that I took such a huge piece of my home with me.
I took for granted the mountain peaks that hug the valleys of pristine lakes and fields of tall golden grass, the brisk morning air that steals just enough of your breath to promptly wake you up, and the jagged yet beautifully placed tree tops of the Ponderosa Pines that meet the clear blue sky. I wished away morning walks and bike rides with my parents for the hustle and bustle of city life. The stark contrast is no longer lost on me.
So often I have defined myself by the here and now, neglecting to realize that these pieces of life have been gently molding me through the years. As I sat and listened to the wind passing through the trees in the absence of city noise, I was gently nudged with this reminder.
“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” Pslam 24:1-2
I realize now it is only by the grace of God that my life has been patterned as such. Growing up where I did gives me a unique perspective of where I am now. Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing, yet knowing all the unanswered questions in my journey that often left me lost, I would never choose to go back.
The day I put my faith in Jesus, it slowly but surely began making sense. It has been a winding road to freedom, surely with many blind curves ahead. I realized that though I will never be perfect, that I was not a mistake. I realized that nothing or nobody was ever a mistake, no matter hard that is to reconcile at times. That every step has been accounted for. That freedom actually exists. And that though I have made wrong turns, I will never be truly lost again.
These past two years have had defining moments. In the midst of transition, in many ways I have felt I have lost little pieces of me. I had grown to define myself by titles, and along the way had lost my identity in Jesus. I had assumed what I did mattered more than who I belonged to. But sitting at the foot of those Ponderosa Pines as they gently swayed providing me with each fresh breath, all I could think of was praise.
“Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away.” (Psalm 148:1-6)
I came to realize that everything we do is praise. If you have put your faith in God, then every act we do is worship. In the coming and the going. In the moments, big and small. In times of trial and in triumph.
I had hoped this trip would bring rest and revelation. Be careful what you ask for. When you reach for God, He not only speaks but reaches out for embrace. As much as I feel secure, I know I can no longer sit idle. If Jesus came to set us free, than we should live like we believe it. I long for heaven, but to wake up with breath in my lungs today, I am reminded of this.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
This past week I experienced what it’s like to ask the Lord to speak. All it took was being willing to listen. In the mess of business, I wonder if we are all but losing this. My prayer for you is that you can sit and listen. That you will hear. That you may find your way back like the prodigal son. That your little pieces will make sense, and that in Christ you will find a home. Heaven is real, but for now, lets bring it to earth. Join me?