“HOME”

This past weekend I went “home”.  After 18 years of living in another state. I anticipated seeing the ocean, driving down familiar streets well traveled in my younger days, sitting in my the church where I was taught so many valuable truths about God and His Word, seeing buildings that would flood me with memories of days gone by…..but most of all to see the faces of those childhood/young adult friends that got laid aside in the transition of moves, ministry, and family.

The ocean – except for erosion here and there was still as amazing as God created it to be; my heart swelled as I ran along the shore flooded with memories and emotion.  The Coffee Shop that had been a staple in my high school days Mr. Toots ( don’t laugh) looked exactly the same down to the old pillows and piano in the corner of the room.

The streets that had been surrounded by farms and fields now hosted hotels, shopping centers, and new office buildings.  Without a map I might not find my way around as so many landmark buildings are now gone.

I visited my church that had been vital to my growth for so many years.  I longed to walk in and feel those “glory days” only to find a church that looked much smaller and a little tired.

But……the people……..the precious people.  I had the opportunity to connect with friends who had walked me through my childhood, rough high school years, sent me on my mission to Calcutta, India, stood as witnesses at my wedding, befriended Greg and I in our Young Marrieds Group, and then again when we served as Associate Pastors for a season in my home church…these people, these friends hearts had not changed a bit.  Their love and care, their concern for my life, their humorous telling of shared experiences that brought both embarrassment and laughter, and their grace to forgive hurtful behaviors from past interactions reminded me what ‘HOME” truly is.

“HOME” can be found whenever you are blessed enough to be surrounded by those who are precious to you.  “HOME” is when you look a friend or family member in the eye and you know, for certain, that you are loved and understood~ no matter how much time has gone by.

Thank you Watsonville for this great reminder…….even if you did build a shopping center in front of my first little home!!! 😦

NAVIGATING THE ROOTS~

I live in Bend, Oregon where Mountain biking is incredibly popular and years back when our boys were younger, we all went out for a mountain bike ride.  It was a beautiful day and we headed out.  We rode along the Deschutes River enjoying all its beauty, passed wildlife and other bikers as we moved on down the trail.  I loved the wide open spaces where I could foresee a curve in the road, another rider coming my way, or I could simply be ready to navigate the big roots growing out of the old trees out into the trail.  I found it more challenging to maneuver through the tighter spots without stopping, tipping, or bumping into something.

It was a fun ride all in all and we headed down the very last leg of the trail without any real mishaps. However, as I headed around the last corner my tire caught the edge of a large root and as it did I threw on the brakes–too hard—-and flipped myself over the handlebars and kept my face down knowing the bike was going to come down on top of me, and it did.  I didn’t break any bones but I still have scars on my  body from the fall.  That darn root!

Sometimes life can be a bit like my bike ride.  Whether you are navigating a new marriage, being a new mama, becoming an empty nester, changing jobs, dealing with illness, the death of a loved one, or financial crisis,  it takes energy and focus to walk it out. The path is a little easier to manage when we are able to see whats ahead and prepare for the challenges. It’s those darn roots around those tight corners that can catch us unaware and its in those time that we need the Lords direction to guide us; to brush the dirt off our hands, mending the  wounds as we get back up and press on again.

I’ve hit a few “roots” this year, bumped along, gaining some scars along the way. Through all of it I am learning to make a conscious effort to prepare as best I can, but also learning to trust that God sees the “roots” I will encounter and will use them for my good.

I don’t imagine I am the only one who has “tried to navigate the tight spots and hit a few roots along the way”.  For you I wish you renewed joy and peace as you pick yourself up, shake off the dust, and get back on that “bike” and ride again.  You never know–there might be a beautiful , refreshing meadow around the next bend rather than that darn root!  🙂