I am still full from such a rich weekend. Somehow 48 hours at the beach with friends seemed more like a few weeks. The depth of friendship and heights of fun are a rare yet valuable combination. These people are my people and I cherish each friendship immensely.
This weekend couldn’t have come at the a better time. In the next three weeks the three of us roommates will turn into six or so roommates paired with various parents and visitors. And then just as quickly as our apartment seems to fill, a wedding and a few graduations and a trip overseas will empty it back down to two or three.
Before leaving last Friday I was encouraged that it would be a weekend for the books. Indeed it was.
If I knew my countdown until graduation or Malawi I would tell you, but to be honest, I just want to enjoy today.
Last weekend I flew back to AR to join my mom in putting on the 2nd Annual Building Bridges Pediatric Family Fun Day following the inaugural Forts and Fairytales last year.
Based on the heroic characteristics of so many parents of children with special needs that go unseen, we themed the day “Heroes in Hiding.”
Parents were refreshed and encouraged.
Volunteers were envisioned.
Siblings were celebrated.
Everyone walked away a hero.
From hero training to creative play, cupcakes, a concert, a lot of silly string, and duct taping a few volunteer ‘villains’ to a tree, everyone had a blast!
I am so excited to see this day continue to encourage, equip, celebrate, and refresh the families served!
Think of a time that you moved… what did you do that made your house your home?
Today this was the question in class.
And I was challenged.
I was ‘home’ with my parents this summer, but I didn’t decorate my room (or at least not within the last 8 years).
I felt at home while living with friends in the spring, but I didn’t even unpack my bags.
I spent months in Mexico without hanging pictures of friends or family, but each summer I was without a doubt at ‘home.’
But then I realized.
Even before I arrived in NC, I called my friends from Waco who had also recently moved to the area. This summer I lived with my family, and in the spring it only took a few days with friends to feel like home. Months in Mexico were spent in close proximity to children that stole my heart and parents I claim as my own.
I value relationships immensely. People matter to me more than I knew.
My house isn’t my home because of what’s inside but because of who is. Its where my closest relationships take place.
Sometimes that also happens to be my house, but as relationships grow I find myself calling entire cities home to encompass all the people dear to me. As relationships develop and deepen where I live turns into the place I call home. An address expands to include a city which grows to the whole state and has also included an entire country at times. [oh the challenge of expressing where ‘home’ is!]
In reflection of all of these and the meaning they each hold, I can’t help but imagine the utter PERFECTION of my ultimate home in heaven. The mere difference between space and place is the presence of meaning.
In perfect relationship with He who is most meaningful to me, what a beautiful place it shall be.
The ‘What if?’ game.
You must know it. We all like to play it. I primarily like to use it to stay comfortable.
And packing and moving brings it to an Olympic level.
It’s through playing this game that I now have more clothes than I can wear and more stuff than I want or need.
Its through playing this game that I have things I ‘can’t bear to part with’ that I haven’t used in years and even forgot I had.
I have enough t-shirts to wear a different one every day of the month. After giving dozens away. Multiple times. But what if I get rid of that one from that time and then miss it? Or what if I never think of it again?
I forgot about half my clothes until I found them in storage last week. But what if one day I go to that one thing with those people during that time of year when it is that weather? Or the more probable, what if it sits in my closet for the next 4 years like it has for the last 4?
If you don’t do the same thing, please tell me the way out.
What-if’s can rule your life if you let them, and I wish I could say I only played the what if game with clothes and possessions. However that would be far from truth. I can easily justify my way to ‘the best decision’ with a few good what-ifs. Like what if its awkward? Lonely? Uncomfortable? Too hard? Too easy? What if I fail? Or what if I succeed? What if its not safe? Not fun? Not challenging?
What if its not? Shall I risk all of those in one… or shall I risk missing out on what might be the most important decision of my life.
What if its all of them? Is it worth it?
This is where I should probably have some solution or wise revelation. But I don’t think I do except to ask God. Life is more comfortable when it is ‘safe.’ And you can always find justification to keep it that way. Just as you can find justification for risk that has no purpose: foolishness. Or to take a risk with great purpose. Life doesn’t fit in a grid. And there isn’t a simple solution. The What-if game can keep us in a world of safety and comfort apart from who we are created to be… or it can lead us into the greatest adventure of our lives. It all depends on which what-ifs you lend value to.
Right now my what-ifs are very logical: what-if I have to move all this stuff halfway across the country? Oh wait, I do.
Last night my dad and I spent the evening on the dance floor at my cousin’s wedding as he tried to teach me to foxtrot and jitterbug.
When I was little I knew the steps and loved our time spent dancing in the den or at father-daughter dances. However, years have passed and I found myself with little… er no recollection. Nevertheless with a father happy to teach, I was eager to learn.
Everytime I thought I had the steps though, I found myself messing up . I couldn’t quite get it. Until I realized. Everytime I thought I had the steps, I stopped following. My dad was leading me well and all I had to do was follow. But in the midst of an independent spirit, my mind immediately wanted to learn the steps to be able to do it on my own.
What. Wait. Why do I even want to do it on my own???
Life with my heavenly father isn’t that different. It seems every time I think I ‘know’ the steps, I find myself stumbling. He is leading me so well and I all I have to do is follow. But in the battle over my independence, my mind immediately wants to learn the steps to be able to do it on my own.
The question that arises in my heart and startles my soul is this… if I knew the steps, would I still choose to follow His lead? Or do it on my own?
Proverbs 16:9 reminds us that In his heart, a man plans his course, but the LORD establishes His steps. And Psalm 139:16 reminds us that All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Its usually pretty easy to admit that the center of God’s will is the best place to be. Its actually walking out in it thats the difficulty. When out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, I often find myself eating my words due to a lack of synchrony between my head and my heart.
This summer God’s will for me was living at home. It was apart from most of my friends. It was a camp for kids with autism.
And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Not for a month overseas caring for orphans.
Not for a summer spent hanging out with friends.
Not for a vacation spent relaxing at the beach.
Not for MX, China, the Middle East, or Africa.
I could not be more grateful that God’s will for me this summer was 7 kids with autism filling my mornings with excitement, a precious nugget filling my afternoons with laughter, and my parents filling my evenings with food [and quality time of course].
I just returned from a weekend in Waco with friends. What a refreshment to be around people my age that offer a different type of excitement. I love them all deeply and miss them all greatly. However there is not even an inkling that wonders if I missed out.
Its with complete confidence that I say I have spent my summer in the center of God’s will.
And the center of His will is truly the best place to be.
Tomorrow starts the last week of camp.
In honor of it, a picture from my first week of camp.