The Joy Dare- A Gift Sour, Sweet, Just Right

Sour.

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I miss the nations. I miss traveling to places that do not have access to the Gospel as I do here in America. I specifically miss this country, China. In the sourness of my longing to return to these places and make a life of it with my family, there is no bitterness, just a reminder of part of my heart’s desire. I’m reminded of this text:

Acts 17:26

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place”

God has determined that my family and I should reside here for now. I am glad to do so! It is exciting for me to be a helper to my husband as he finishes his degree and flourishes in all else God wants him to prior to us leaving the country. I also know that it is a good thing for us in our sanctification to serve where we are now. We have seen God’s sovereign hand working through all things at our church and with the relationships we have made. We have learned about conflict resolution within the church and how this is a necessary work of the Holy Spirit. God has also located us almost directly in between both of our families. As we are still grieving the loss of my grandmother on my mother’s side, it has been a gift to be near my parents and sisters. I love hearing Norah go through the family names and smile with glee as she does soJ, sometimes even looking out the window to see if they coming to play with her. I also think it is a great blessing to raise our children in their earliest years here near family and with the technology our country provides. That means so much to a mother.

I end this “sour” gift with an image that so captures my affections toward God- much like the Great Wall of China, this eternal race is a glorious one. God’s grace beautifully surrounding me as the wind pushes my hair back. I know that great gust is the 3rd Person of the Trinity. But the journey is pressing. With each step forward my soul aches in longing to attain the goal. The ebb of flow of my pace gets discouraging, but then I look up and remember: Christ my Lord! Submission fully encompassed. The Father gleams in His eyes. My heart rekindling grace in the Gospel. My spirit renewed. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

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Sweet.

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My husband. I love him so much and his care for me as flesh of his flesh has been a true gift from God. Sweetness at its finest is wrapped up in this man. Just a few of the ways I would define him: a follower of Christ desiring the glory of God to resonate from his life, a preacher of the Word, my most favorite preacher to hear, my secret keeperImage, a skilled carpenter (you can’t see it from the angle of the picture, but he’s actually carving something out of wood), a romantic, comedianImage, an amazing father, selfless provider, diligent worker, bookworm, most handsome man made for my eyes, the dearest companion, my greatest lover.  These verses envelop the man of which my soul longs:

Proverbs 18:4

“The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
  the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.”

Song of Solomon 2:16

“My beloved is mine, and I am his;
  he grazes among the lilies.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures”

Colossians 3:1-4

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is you] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

I conclude with this passage from Colossians because while we were dating, Josh challenged us to memorize all of Colossians 3. These first four verses have been paramount in our marriage. To be fully identified and hidden in Christ is something that will take an eternity to fully grasp, but what a joy it is to pursue it now with my love!

Just Right.

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The melody of spring echoing in my ear. I am looking forward to the leaves again. With them will come my son, Owen West. That is just right. Knowing this in my heart, my mind brings the sweetest music to mind. It brings the sounds of Vivaldi to life. It brings dancing with my daughter in the living room to mind. It brings long-distance runs to mind. Change is a gift I’m looking forward to in 2014, and we will surely embrace it. 

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