Places I love

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Creation Comfort

One of the beautiful things about living in Colorado is the weather. Where else can you find a day like this within the middle of the winter season? Granted, my friend and I weren't wearing tank tops, but we were wearing our cozy sweatshirts and enjoying the Colorado sunshine.

Hiking up the hill with one of my dearest friends made for a wonderful afternoon. She is one of my friends that can walk in silence with me and we are both okay with that. I was feeling a bit sad in my thoughts, and yet I laughed watching my golden retriever revert to her puppy days as she ran back and forth ahead of us.

About half way to the top of the trail, I said, "I love Colorado. It just feels like home." With the red dirt beneath my feet, I squinted against the bright sunlight and breathed deeply the cool fresh mountain air. Pikes Peak and the front range were spread out before me and I felt comfort in creation.

Living in Africa for 5 months, and only recently returning, I have found myself in a season of homecoming. My friend with whom I was walking also has just returned to Colorado after a time away. As I expressed that Colorado was just home, her smile and her agreement said it all.

Our time away changed my husband and I. Time away changed our friend. Colorado may not be filled with the same activities or even the same people as it once was, but this place is where I can breathe deep the familiar smells of the place I come from.

I continued hiking, still a bit sad in my thoughts, and yet I felt God all around me as I walked the trail to the view you see in the picture above. When we are home, there should be something healing in arriving there, experiencing the familiar, being able to rest in what we know.

I began thinking that God gave us His creation to call our hearts to the beauty of what is to come. In His creation, in the way He created you personally to experience it, there is a rest that calls to us. Whether it is the mountains of Colorado, the lush green of the African bush, or the wide oceans of the coastal places, there is something of Him displayed for you. Sunrises and sunsets, rain on your face or the warmth of the shining sun, it is a way to experience the comfort He's given to us now and yearn for that which is yet to come.

Jesus said that He has prepared a place for us.

As I reached the top of that hill, God reminded me that He is with me and that I was not alone in my somewhat sad thoughts. He is all around me, displaying his beauty and glory in the red dirt, the bright sunlight, the cool air, and even in the youthful frolicking of my dog.

God reminded me that unlike this homecoming that has held some joy and some sadness, in the homecoming to come, He will be what is familiar to me. He is the most intimate thing I have with me now that will still be with me then.

I pray you take some time to hike a trail or watch a sunset. May you find comfort in Him, your true home.

Take a deep breath, He is in it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Written Love

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and once again, I woke up rushing and hoping I'd have time to make my husband's breakfast and lunch, and then drive him to work. As I grabbed my phone to check the time, still a little damp around my edges from the shower, I saw a heart. It had writing on it. It was for me!

Like a little girl I clapped my hands and sat down to read. The love of my life claims he is not a writer, and maybe he isn't according to college scholars, but what he writes is beautiful to me. It's his heart pouring into mine. There on a simple page with the rough cut edges of a heart shape, were his words for me to see, but not only to see, but to keep and read again and again. 

There is something powerful and lasting about the written word. It holds something. It's something that keeps us up at night reading when we really should be sleeping. It's something that when we miss someone we can go back and look at how they wrote, what they wrote, hear their voice and remember a time that was beautiful to us. In those moments, often just reading the words can resurrect feelings, emotions, memories. Words put on a page are powerful.

As I sat on the bed and read what my husband had written to me, his written love brought me to life. He didn't spend a lot of money or take me out for an expensive night on the town. He gave me what I love most. He gave me written words that I can hold to my heart and remember his love for me anytime, any day, any moment. That is sacred to me.

I found myself wanting to tell people about how awesome my husband was. To share with them that I love being loved by him. To get them to see how great it was that he took the time to find scissors and cut me out a heart and then write on it in different colored pens to tell me how much he loved me. To help them realize it was special because he put effort and thought into it. 

Later that morning I sat down to read my Bible and rested on Ephesians 1. God spoke to my heart in the tender way that he so often does. I read the words that God had written. I saw repetitive themes such as: in love, in him, that we may know hope, that we may know the immeasurable power that he worked in Christ. 

Just as my husband's written love had brought me to life so this written love did the same, but even more so. God saw fit to write his thoughts, his heart, his love down for those who want to experience it. Just as my husband's note is something that I can pick up to remind me anytime, any day, any moment of his love for me, so God's word is meant to do the same. 

I was reminded yesterday by my husband and by my God how much I love the written word. So I leave you with these things to ponder...

Do you see the Bible as a love letter or is it a set of rules to bind you from the life you want? Is God the greatest lover of all time or is he the annoying guy who you wish would leave you alone because his love could never possibly be enough? Do you think Jesus was just a man or is the pretty unbelievable stuff he accomplished evidence of the effort and thought God put in to showing his love for you?

I pray you would feel well loved because you are. Husband or no husband. Flowers or no flowers. Chocolates or no chocolates. Your love letter has been written. I pray you would clap your hands in anticipation as you sit down to read it and experience this written love.