Our Unexpected Journey

I had a special, tender visit with Floyd at the beginning of this week.  He was a bit pale, but alert and focused.  He looked straight into my eyes for my whole visit.

Several times he teared up, crying tears - plural.  It seemed like he was trying to talk a few times.  I told him I was sorry he couldn't speak, but that I understood his heart.  It was very moving.

On other days this week Floyd has been a bit feisty sometimes.  I wish I understood what things upset him, so that we could make adjustments - but it's not usually clear. 

A friend called me this week with a reassuring "picture" of God’s sufficient grace.  As waves come in from the ocean onto the sand, they sometimes bring sea life with them.  Then when the next wave comes, it often takes the sea life back out into the ocean.  

God's grace is similar.  It lifts us from where we are, and puts us where we need to be!  His grace doesn't leave us "stranded" in a place where we don't belong.

I've been thanking Him for His grace and His covering!

"My grace is enough; it's all you need.  My strength comes into its own in your weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:9 (The Message)

"So that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  Hebrews 4:16

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield."  Psalm 91:4

I'm so grateful for His help.

I've had a very full and quite exhausting week.  Managing Floyd's care is a full time job, and I've had quite a number of other things that needed my attention too.  I find all the emotions of Floyd's situation to be very draining as well.

A few of my days were overwhelming in their busyness and activity.  Feeling frazzled a couple times, I felt the Lord's gentle reminder to let Him be part of all the "little" things of my days so that He can help me.  Nothing is too little for Him.  He's a God of detail.  He's even more detailed than me - and that's saying a lot. :)

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered."  Luke 12:7 - Now that's a God of detail!

I've realized that when I include Him in the details, it lifts the tediousness and heaviness of them.  His presence and grace lighten the load.  The more I acknowledge Him in the small details, asking for His help and wisdom, the more He can help carry the burdens.  It makes perfect sense, of course, but sometimes I get busy and forget to include Him.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them."  Matthew 6:26  

If God meets the needs of the birds of the air, how much more is He wanting to care for us and help us with the details and needs of our lives?!

And compared to His awesomeness, actually everything in our lives is "little."  And He cares about it all!

As my days have continued to be busy and intense,  I've been meditating on this verse - "When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul."  Psalm 94:19

How grateful I am for His "consolations."  They come in many ways:

- His sweet, small voice speaking strength into my heart

- an encouraging word from a friend

- drinking in of the beauty of His creation

- receiving strength from the truth of His word

- being blessed by a lovely worship song

- receiving refreshment from a good night's sleep

- meditating on His love and care

- knowing the support of those praying for us

I'm so grateful that He knows what consolation I need, and He sends it my way.  How personal, and how faithful He is.  I truly could not have survived what has come our way this year without His help, His consolations.

"I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."  Psalm 16:8

"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."  Psalm 119:114

Living "near the water" is a constant source of peace, comfort, rest, and joy to me.  Several years before we even thought of moving to South Africa, the Lord put a desire in my heart to be "near the water."  At the time we lived in the middle of the continental US - about as far from the water (ocean) as you could be.  Every time that desire came up in my heart, I just gave it back to the Lord - not understanding it and thinking it must just be some crazy desire in my heart.  I grew up on an island, so I thought maybe I longed for the 'good ole days' of my youth.

Until - we began to explore moving to South Africa and made a trip here!  From the minute I stepped off the airplane in Cape Town, I knew we were going to move here, and that God had been preparing my heart for change.  He had been preparing me to move here and live "near the water."  I think I needed that confirmation.  I loved where we lived, and had no desire to move.  I was tired of moving. :)  I've done that waaay too many times through all our years together.

These days, even more than the past 10 years of living here, I am loving being "near the water."  It daily, many times a day, ministers to my soul.  God speaks to me through it continually.  On my hardest days I look out at the water in the distance, and feel God's peace washing over me.  I love how He uses what He's created to speak to us and minister to us.

One of my favorite ocean scenes is watching the fishing boats go out every afternoon, and return every morning.  They are beautiful as the line of boats sail out - almost like a parade.  Small, medium, and large fishing boats heading out to work.  They always make me think of Jesus calling some of His disciples from their fishing boats to come and "follow" Him.  They had been following fish for years, and now they were going to follow the 'fisher of men.'  Quite a career change.

The colors of the ocean (constantly changing), the clouds, the waves, the dolphins, the whales (when they're in season), the surfers and kite surfers, the sailboats, the huge ships, the mountains, the green trees framing the ocean view - all of it speaks to me and ministers to my heart.  Only God could know and understand how much it would help me through this difficult journey.  He alone knew what I would need, and prepared the way so many years ago.  Someone told me recently that they were praying for an oasis for me.  I think that's what God has given me!

I am absolutely in awe of His planning and direction - His personal care for my needs - His love for me - His faithfulness.  What an awesome wonderful God we serve.  He knew the "details" that I would need, and He put it all into place.

I can't help but wonder if there are other little thoughts and feelings He has sometimes put in my heart and mind, and I easily dismiss them because I don't understand.  This incredible process of God leading me to be "near the water" has given me a fresh sensitivity to the little things He puts on my heart, the little thoughts.  Maybe He's trying to speak something big that I just don't understand.  I want to listen more carefully!!  And how very, very grateful I am that He speaks to us!  

The other thought that's been going through my mind about all this is that the thoughts/impressions we have from the Lord can often seem so "random."  They don't seem to make sense at the time.  They feel like little pieces that don't fit.  Only God can see the big picture and know how the pieces all fit together.  It may even take a while, but He has a plan - He is fitting them together.  I'm trusting Him to fit the pieces of this journey all together.  I can't see how they all fit, but I know He has a plan - and I know I can trust Him.

He speaks to us.  He prepares us for what He has for us.  And He fits all the pieces together into His plan for our lives.  How faithful He is!