Today is my 13th wedding anniversary. It’s supposed to be a fun-filled, celebratory time, and it’s not. Instead, this anniversary has served to bring to the forefront – yet again – something that reeeeeeeally needs to be different going forward.
I’m a little bruised, a little sad, a little angry. I’ve stayed in bed reading all day, though in retrospect, my book choice, Chris Perez’ To Selena, With Love, probably hasn’t done my mood any favors. I’m going to eat my soon-to-be-delivered panang curry, and then I’m probably going back to bed, where I will watch really dumb YouTube videos and ignore everything else except my son, who is wonderful and growing into a very responsible young man. And eventually, I will sleep, and then, said in my best Scarlett O’Hara voice, tomorrow is another day.
And I won’t stop believing that the Lord is, even now, working behind the scenes on my behalf. I will stand on this truth until the day I die, knowing that it never won’t be the case. Even this present darkness (see Ephesians 6:12) will eventually disappear in the light. One of these days, things are gonna get good, and I’m here for that. Things are going to be different, and I’m definitely here for that. In the meantime, I remember that the Lord gave me “restoration” as one of my words for this year, and I know that even today is not beyond His reach. Post title notwithstanding, I don’t actually believe in luck or lack thereof:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives.
My 2018, so far, has been full of kindness. My situation has not yet changed for the better, but it’s as if the Lord is determined to shower me, in the midst of all the chaos and unknowns, with sweet little reminders of his affection.
Random strangers shouted, “Bless you!” from across the street, two different times, two different places, as I sneezed.
A good friend has committed to checking on me once a week, until I no longer want or need her to.
Facebook friends and family were astonishingly generous with their praise when I (uncomfortably) posted a photo of me all dressed up for a night out to see Hamilton with my kiddo.
Small gestures, these, but I have felt them like water on a thirsty ground. They are reminders that I have value.
Speaking of thirsty ground, one of my favorite places in the world has been offering up its kindnesses, too: the Anza-Borrego Desert. I discovered it in the spring of 2017, during the superbloom that resulted from unusually heavy winter rains, and it was instant love.
Its 600,000 wild acres of mountains, sand, canyons, and badlands seem to whisper to my soul. I find I can breathe freely in its wide-open spaces. (And the night skies, oh my goodness. The tiny little village in the middle of the desert, Borrego Springs, is an International Dark Sky Community [more info here], so there are no streetlights for 50 miles in any direction. You’ll never find a more perfect view of the Milky Way.) So I get out there as often as I can, sometimes to stay the night, sometimes just to take my little Renegade off-roading, but always to hear the Lord and regain a bit of equilibrium. I dream of building an artists’ retreat there someday – there’s a robust art scene in Borrego Springs – where people can come and be inspired by the harsh beauty of the land. And, of course, I will use it, too.
I was wandering around the Borrego Art Institute last summer, and I began speaking with one of the ladies who worked there. I found myself telling her about my artists’ retreat dream, and the next thing I knew, she was showing me vacant lots all around the area. We had an instant connection, something that rarely, if ever, happens to me, and I came away from that day feeling the Lord’s hand over me like a warm shelter. I looked for her on subsequent visits, but I always seemed to miss her – until this last weekend. I had a tough week and drove out to the desert on Saturday, journal, Bible, and snacks in hand. I spent some time writing, but as the sun began going down and the winds picked up, it got chilly, so I decided to go check out the latest exhibit at the Art Institute. And there she was at her desk. Her cheery “How ARE you?” led to me unloading about my life, which led to her and her coworker praying over me right then and there, which then led to an invitation to her home that evening. And when I walked in her door, it was as if I had known her and her husband my entire life (in fact, her husband had said something similar when she showed him the photo of us she had insisted on). Soon I was covered with cats and little, yappy dogs, and a fantastic conversation ensued. By the end of the evening, this older couple had wrapped me in a cocoon of love and total acceptance, had opened their home to me anytime I should want it, and prayed over me again. I think that night’s sleep was the best I’ve had since coming to California. The next morning, I got texts detailing what a blessing I was to them.
Y’all. I barely know what to do with all this kindness, but something deep in me is so hungry for it. I, too, am thirsty ground, and here come the gentle, soaking rains. It feels like I have things to learn yet, but they are not harsh lessons. I can hardly believe that I might get to learn what it feels like not to be cracked and dry.
“And yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave [me] rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying [my heart] with food and gladness.” — Acts 14:17, New Pellucere Version 🙂
I’ve been mentally writing and re-writing this blog post for about 6 months now. Why? Because when the hubby and I had our big idea a little over a year ago, I just knew how the whole thing was going to play out. We would make the decision, agree on the details, and move forward with executing the plan flawlessly. The story would be sequential and VERY entertaining. My narrative practically wrote itself…
It’s just that not a single thing has happened as we envisioned. Our end goal is still the same, but the getting there has been all kinds of “not what we imagined.” Really, I should have known better, because in our household, God is not only IN the details, but he writes them. And our best-laid plans gang aft agley because we still haven’t learned just to go with the flow and trust his process.
[Side note: The Lord has been teaching me about the difference between dreaming and imagination, and what his giving us the desires of our hearts REALLY means. It’s not about “if we want it, he’ll give it to us.” It’s actually about one who knows us better than we know ourselves and offers a dream – a desire – he knows we’re gonna love. When we say yes, he gets to work making it happen, but the deal is that it’s like writing an outline. We “dream” – come up with the idea, or more accurately, discover what he’s put in our heart. We say yes. Those are the Roman numerals in the outline. We get to choose what goes there. But the little abc’s are the details, and if we have truly given him authority over our lives, those letters are not ours to fill in. When we do, THOSE are imaginations, and they’re most often in vain. I realize this seems to be in direct contradiction to all that stuff we’re taught about going after our dreams, making them happen, etc. But years ago, someone told me that if I could accomplish the things I dreamed without God, I wasn’t dreaming big enough, and I took it to heart. Dreaming, in my mind, is the single biggest way to deepen my trust in the Lord. And that is very much what this season has been about.]
Okay, so the announcement:
We are moving to Alaska at the end of July. Yes, the 49th state. Yes, for real. Yes, we know it gets cold up there.
I’ll give y’all the details in Part II, which, in and of itself, is exactly 0% how I thought I’d break the news. But there it is. And we are super-excited like you wouldn’t believe. We just have to see a few more things fall into place, and then I can tell you everything. But for now, I need to go cook supper for my family, which will be served on paper plates, as all my dinnerware is packed. 🙂 Until next time…
Life as I know it has been HECTIC recently, so this past weekend, I took myself down to the Gulf Coast for a bit of “degaussing.” Having grown up in that area, it’s always been a happy place/de-stressing place/thinking place for me, and this time was no different. I took my journal with me, like always, and sought out the least-populated stretches of sand, like always, so I could meander and process. (Hi, my name is Pellucere, and I like long walks on the beach…)
Eventually, I came to the Quintana fishing jetty, and it hit me suddenly that I had never once walked its entire, 3/5-mile-plus length. I had a strong compulsion to do so, which was quickly countered by a mental litany of all sorts of reasons why I shouldn’t (you’ll get to the end and be swamped by the breaking waves and swept away into the muddy, brown Gulf. You’ll drop your phone in the water while trying to take pictures. It’s a pain to get saltwater off your sunglasses. Your mp3 player will get soaked. You’ll lose your car keys. NO ONE ELSE IS DOING IT!)
I am not generally a fearful person, and frankly, all these thoughts ticked me off. I mean, really. You know how sometimes you hear stuff in your head that you just KNOW isn’t you? It struck me as an opportune time to take all those vain imaginations captive, and so I did. Even so, as I began to walk out past the few fishermen perched on the first third of the jetty, I found myself stopped a few times, standing and watching the waves crash over its end. But as I kept going, I realized that the breakers were landing directly in front of me or directly behind me. Not once did I get more than wet feet.
I heard the Lord speak to me as I walked. He said, “I will keep you safe. The spray is all that will hit you, and it won’t bother you at all. In fact, you will be refreshed. You will thrive in it.” I felt like He meant this for my life in general, and the jetty walk was really just an illustration, an exercise in choosing to trust Him, rather than let irrational fears rule me. And I had to laugh when I finally reached the end — there was a large, green sign declaring this to be Jetty #7. Green represents new life, and 7 is the number of completion. I felt like I’d completed one phase or level and been promoted to a new one.
So many people I know are in a season of learning what it means to walk by faith and not by sight. Where we thought we had an understanding of this before, there’s a new intensity to the lesson that makes me sure we’re being prepared for things we can’t even imagine. If you find yourself in this season, blind and unable to hear, full of uncertainty and strange fears, maybe rethinking everything you ever thought you knew, rest assured that you absolutely are not alone. Take comfort in the fact that the Lord believes in YOU enough to stretch you a little further, teach you a little more. Be proud that He thinks you capable of the hard assignments. Think of it as an honors class in more ways than one. 🙂