|To Every Thing|
This past weekend, my six-year-old daughter and I went on a road trip, visiting many loved ones along the way. It was rather a whirlwind, and we missed some beloved friends, but it was a fun trip with lots of remembering and memory-creating.
For me, the drive home (with the wee one sleeping in the back seat) was a contemplative time. We had visited most of the places I have spent my adult years, and I was feeling a bit nostalgic.
You see, I've always wanted roots....deeply anchored in a place. My childhood included lots of moves from place-to-place, and I wanted my adulthood to be fixed in place. I wanted to spend all the seasons of my adult life in one home, one town, one school system (as I am a teacher).
I hasn't worked that way! Instead, there have been many crises that demanded I move and many choices which have pushed me to move. There have been dark, dark times of pain and abuse. There have been shadowy times of loneliness and fear.
With each move, I hoped again that this would be the place I could grow those deep roots. When I moved to my current city, I thought I would stay forever in this place where my parents have made their home. I never dreamed I would have the courage to marry a third time; two abusive husbands were enough for me to tell God that I was done unless He dropped someone in my lap. I never dreamed my husband and I would become a forever family for a 27-month old (who rocks my world!). And I never figured God would give me a man (who also rocks my world!) called to His ministry, who would lead us on a search for a place to serve...which would mean moving again.
And the most amazing thing occurred to me on my road trip this past weekend: I am looking forward to moving this time! Not that I want to leave my parents; I don't. But this woman whom God has called to be wife is excited about serving God, wherever He calls us. Even if it means we're far from my beloved parents and much of our extended family.
My thoughts also wandered to my continuing struggle on how to understand the pain of this world, the suffering that surrounds us, in the context of God's great and abiding love for us. My past is full of pain, but in contemplating those places and times on our road trip, I discovered a truth: I never walked alone.
In Isaiah 43:2, God promises "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you will not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." God has accompanied me through every trial and tribulation, and I wholly trust that He will abide in me as we search, find, and move to serve Him.
And He will abide in you, loving you through the darkest times, carrying you when you are unable to walk. He hears our prayers, and when we are unable to pray, "...the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." (Romans 8:26) God loves you. God is with you in all things.
Amen. And amen.