Yesterday marked 6 months since I arrived in Penang.
So much has happened. So much has been stirred. So many tears have been cried and moments celebrated.
This season has been unique, as each new season usually is. There are familiar aches and growing pains that come along with moving to a new place. This I knew. It takes a while to settle in.
I know that I still have a lot to process. As we look back weeks, months and even years later we can usually see more clearly what the Lord was doing in each in season.
Yesterday as I was reading Bittersweet I began to reflect on particular seasons in my life. I began to remember the emotions and experiences and most of all the people that came along with each one.
The one I reflected on the most was my season in Lake City, Colorado.
When I first went to Colorado back in 2008 “just for the summer” I had absolutely no idea what the Father had in store and what He was preparing me for.
That first month was filled with tears and homesickness and fear and almost everything just seemed to be too difficult. It was the hardest summer of my life. I stepped out of my box in so many ways. Part of the time that was due to just because being pushed out of it by my circumstances.
It was also one of the most life-altering summers of my life. The raw community that I was grafted into took me by surprise, and I got a taste of something real that would leave me satisfied with nothing less from that point forward.
I was having a particularly tough time one week as a camp counselor. Everything seemed hard and overwhelming (and it was only day one if I remember correctly). I stepped away from my kids for a minute to try and gather myself and most likely shed a few tears before sucking it up and getting back out there.
As I sat outside the mail hallway one of the full-time staff that I didn’t know came over and prayed for me. Rebecca, (who would later become my housemate) simply took a few minutes out of her day to care for me, speak some life and encouragement, and pour the Father’s love over me.
This simple act impacted me to my core, and it’s something that I’ve never forgotten. At that point in my life I couldn’t understand how a complete stranger could be so loving and concerned with how I was really doing.
This was my introduction into authentic community among the family of believers. It was one of the things that drew me to stay in that special little nook in the mountains for the next 2 years.
During that time I developed some of the deepest relationships that I’ve ever known. I found more freedom to just be me than I ever had before. It was a time of exploration and discovery and of diving deep.
We had late nights of games, good food, hot drinks, movies and the most interesting conversations during the long and sometimes lonely winter nights that only 9,000 + feet up and freezing temperatures can offer you.
We would drink in the mountain views and bubbling streams while hiking or taking someone’s 4-wheel drive vehicle over the passes during the summertime.
We would enjoy the local live music at Mean Jean’s while sipping hot coffee on the back patio huddling around heaters but loving being together.
We laughed and cried and worshiped and just lived life together.
People came in and out of our little circle over the years. Life as well as death touched us all and knit us together the way that only deep joy and unexpected tragedy do.
At that time my friends and I would talk about how unique and sweet of a season it was, and we knew that it wouldn’t last forever so we tried as best as we could to savor the moments and write the memories on our hearts
I am truly grateful for that season, even though at the beginning I desperately wanted to run back to Mississippi and hide under the covers of my comfy bed. I’m thankful that I didn’t.
My loving Father took my hand and led me every step of the way. I know that His hand is still present where I am today, and I fully believe that He is very present in your life, whether you can feel His presence or not.
It can be hard to appreciate a season when you’re in. It’s a challenge to stay engaged and not wish the past back into existence or on the flip side want to rush ahead into the future.
I’m finding a simple sweetness in just being present lately. I’m trying to enjoy each moment as it comes. I’m taking time to watch the sunset and actually see the people in front of me for the special gift that they are to me in this season, whether they’ll be there in the next or not.
At this 6 month mark I am filled with thankfulness for the goodness of my Father. His provision is overwhelming and His love is deeper and wider than I could’ve ever imagined. I sure don’t know exactly what’s ahead, but I know He’s going to be with me.
Cheers to the next 6 months!