Isn’t it scary how fast time can fly by? It feels like yesterday I was writing my last post. I never thought I would get a point where my “yesterday” would feel like 7 months ago, yet, here we are. In these past few months, I have been a busy bee! I have navigated through the waters of job hunting, and thankfully I was willing to listen to where the Lord was leading me to be. Nathan, a few friends of ours, and I have also started a small group that meets on Sunday nights, and that has been a bigger blessing to us than words can express. In May, my dear friend Lydia was married to the man of her dreams in the beautiful land of North Carolina. I was fortunate enough to snag my beautiful cousin to have the best road trip ever through the Smokey Mountains to attend Lydia’s wedding. The month after that, Nathan and I boarded a plane to Denver, CO where we ventured to Colorado Springs before making a trek to Yellowstone with an amazing friend of ours. And last but not least, I just returned home last week from traveling to the Black Hills in SD with my mom and to see one of my closest friends! And yet, even through all of the fun, the distraction, and the travel, my ears and my heart had remained open to whatever God wanted to reveal to me through His word and His beautiful creation.
And that, my friends, is what caused myself to wander back to this blog. First of all, I have to thank you, whoever is reading this, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read what it is that has been laid on my heart. I pray over each of my posts before I submit them, and it is no different with this one. The things that I share are the raw side of me. I’m just simply a girl who loves Jesus, and who is trying to be more like Him every day while still stumbling along the way. My prayer for you is that you would feel peace while “escaping” for just a few moments. I pray that you would leave encouraged, hopeful, challenged, and pursuing and loving Jesus more than you were before you came. I take no credit for myself for the things that I say to reach anyone. I am merely a servant who is working in the Kingdom of the most High God. He is the one who deserves ALL of the praise, glory, and exaltation, now and forevermore. It’s because of Him that I was able to breathe my last breath, and it’s because of Him that I am who I am today. The more that I learn about the Lord, the more I realize just how much I don’t know about Him. He is bigger than my thoughts could ever imagine, and He is more Holy and pure than my heart could ever capture. But isn’t that the magnificent mystery of it all? That we are all made in His image, that we are all created to be in relationship with Him. Yet, us being who we are, and Him being who He is, He calls us into a relationship with Him that we broke. That through the wounds of His precious Son, we are made pure and perfect in His sight. And that even though we have turned away from Him countless times, He still waits with open arms to welcome us home to Him. The gospel is truly a marvel.
That is what was flooding through my mind as I was gazing upon the grandeur of the mountains in Yellowstone National Park. The fact that I know the one who made them, and He knows me. While we were winding through the roads of the park, each turn seemed to bring a new surprise. Yellowstone is full of waterfalls, forests, meadows, wildlife, and of course, geysers. Being my first time there, I was trying to soak up as much as I could. While still battling through infertility, the works of His hand reminded me of the goodness of God, that I could trust Him through what we were facing. It’s almost as if seeing the beauty of the land around me was a reminder of who He is.
The geysers themselves were such an interesting spectacle for me to view. They were so unique, so beautiful, and so… stinky. If you have never laid your eyes on these beauties, I would encourage you to A.) go in person, B.) at least check out this link in the meantime. “https://www.yellowstonepark.com/things-to-do/yellowstone-geyser-basins-map” target=”_blank”>Geysers 🙂 It just shows an additional dynamic to the creativity of God. One of the most interesting things about them was their landscape. It almost seemed as if you were looking at a completely different planet. The majority of the area around them is dry, crumbly.. barren. However,in the background, you can see huge trees and even some lush green areas where the geyser area ends. One day, as I was looking upon the land of one of the geyser spots we stopped to look at, I was hit with a bitter realization. The way that the land around them looked was exactly how I felt on the inside. Dry, not fruitful, desolate. And of course, very, very barren. I remember the devil taunting me, telling me that that’s who I was and that it wasn’t going to change. I was always going to be barren. I would never be life giving, and God wasn’t going to change it. Without saying anything to Nathan or Valerie, the friend we went with, I battled in my mind with what I was being told. Instead of giving in and believing those lies, I tried as hard as I could to keep my eyes on Jesus and on His goodness.
A few moments after this had been going on, tears were welling up in my eyes as I saw one of the most beautiful scenes unfolding in front of me. Right smack dab in the middle of this barren land, there was life. Yes, life!! Next to a dried out branch, there laid a lush green patch of grass growing with yellow wildflowers reaching up to the sun as far as they could go. God was showing me something extraordinary in that moment.. that in the most desolate, barren places, He is still the God of the impossible. He is still working beauty in the most painful, dark circumstances. And ultimately, He is the one who holds the victory. I was so thankful that in my moment of despair, I was able to run the Lord and hide in Him as my refuge. And through that battle, He still showed me His goodness.
I don’t know what battle you are in the midst of. Maybe like me, you are battling infertility. Maybe you are in a financial crisis and feel no way out of it. Perhaps there has just recently been a medical diagnosis that you were not expecting. Maybe you are grieving the loss of a loved one. Or, maybe you feel as if you’re coming to the end of yourself, and you are weary and desperate for rest. While I don’t know the circumstances, the Lord of all does. I know that He has promises written to you in His word, I know that He alone can be your refuge, and that He will carry you through whatever battle you are fighting. His word is true, that He does create beauty from ashes. What He asks us to do is have the faith that that is true. No matter what a situation may look like, He is still the God of the impossible. He can calm the wind and waves of a storm to be still with one single command. And He has the power, even in the most barren of places, to make the wildflowers grow.
Isaiah 61:3 -to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
Hebrews 11:1 -Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Psalm 77:14 -You are the God who works wonders; you make known your power among the peoples.
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.