I love this memory! God blessed us with a trip to Europe, just the two of us the summer of 2019! What a blessing! So grateful for the trip of a lifetime! A gift God so graciously lavished on us! I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a gift meant to sustain us through the storms we never anticipated were headed our way!
That’s the thing about storms, they always come out of the blue! When we least expect it! New England was hit with multiple feet of snow last week and the Midwest is preparing for a major blizzard as I write this blog! Last month, the Midwest had horrid and tragic tornadoes that ripped apart city’s and neighborhoods! The storms of life are painful and always completely unexpected!
Every time I see our Europe pictures I’m reminded of how quickly we can be caught off guard with the most unexpected hardships in life! I’m thankful for the mountain top experiences God grants to sustain us when the trials of life hit hard!
These pictures were taken when our hearts were overjoyed! Exuberant with the hope of the future! Innocently unaware of the ground shaking trials we’d soon endure in our world, our city, our jobs, our lives, our marriage, our family, and in our souls!
These pictures from our dream Europe vacation, we’re taken before our world began spinning. We’ve endured 2 1/2 years of unexpected major life trials! I’m comforted when I see these pictures! Simply, because they are a reminder of the good times! They were taken during a time when life felt more certain, stable, and less fearful! The pictures were taken before the pandemic! They were taken before the understanding of the devastation of unemployment! … Before medical trauma! … Before the loss of two of the most important people in my life! … Before moving from a place we considered home for 20 years! A place we thought we’d retire and eventually our children would marry and bring grand-babies to visit us. It was before several years of trial after trial! It was before we felt displaced in a multitude of ways! These pictures are a reminder of God’s blessings!
I won’t lie, there have “at times” been major parts of my spirit that have yearned to go back to the “simpler” days! There have been days when I can so relate with the Israelites desire to run back to Egypt, because the path to the promised land is heavy, painful, uncertain, and certainly not what we expect! There have been days when I hurt for the Israelites, simply because this life has handed us an overflowing cup of “hard” for an extended period of time! I hurt… because in some way “I get it!” God has a way of allowing life circumstances to connect us more intimately with His word! There’s nothing like experiencing hardship to make us more empathetic, compassionate, and understanding of the struggles others encounter! God knows this and uses our pain to mold us into more devout followers and more empathetic and caring disciples! In all honesty, I’m still at the place in the journey when I wish he could have used another method, a method that wasn’t quite so life-altering, difficult, and fearful! But… I’m not God! I can’t see the end! In my flesh I see the ruggedness along the journey! When I earnestly seek Him throughout the journey, I see the beauty along the path! The flowers, the streams, the sunsets, and the answered prayers along the way.
There are certainly those days, when it feels like Satan is getting the best of me! When the journey has been so very long and there seems to be no end in sight. When I’m overwhelmed with the wait, the struggle, and weary from the journey! There are days when like the Israelites my spirit cries to return to the familiar! The only problem is there is no running back to Egypt! The days of Egypt are long gone and God has us hiking on a new path, a new journey! My only choice is to straighten my God-given crown, cry out to God, and run back to His word for comfort, hope, and security!
I thank God for the glimpses of the Promised Land! These moments bring me hope, energy, and sustainability! The view is in sight! Occasionally, we dip into a valley and the trees and rugged terrain threaten the view I so desperately yearn to grasp in my hands! It is during these times, Satan hurls on doubt!
As I await for the mountaintop to replace the difficult rocky & rugged journey of this valley we’re trudging through… I will cling to the promises of God!
“All things work for good to those who are called according to His plan!”
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord! Plans for you to prosper and never to harm you’ll.”
Mathew 6:28- 34 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
As I sit here overwhelmed with my own thoughts, feelings, and concerns… I realized we have made it to the Promised Land! We’re only waiting for the crop, the land, and the provisions! We’re so very close! I will not lose focus! I will “Seek God first and foremost!” I will trust His promises! I will not lose hope!
As a counselor, I know I am not alone on my journey! What mountain in your life is causing your pain, hardship, and difficulty?
- Are you struggling to see hope in a broken relationship?
- Do you have a wayward spouse/ child?
- Are you facing financial hardship/ illness?
- Are you struggling to see God’s plan past the doubt Satan is using to cloud your heart/mind?
We all have difficult aspects to this life! Jesus said “In this world, you “WILL” have trouble! But take heart I have overcome the world!”
Friends, I don’t have all the answers! I don’t have the power to stop the storm! I don’t have in my power the ability to smooth out and shorten the long journey your enduring! If I did, I would have began with ending my own trials/ pain/ broken relationships.
I will point you in the same direction, I point myself to when life gets hard! Jesus! When I take my focus off the problem’s of this life and place my focus on Jesus, I feel grounded and the fear subsides!