Friday, May 21, 2010

A Day Dream Vacation-Destination: Prince Edward Island




So, maybe it's the cold and flu meds that I've been pumping in my system, but lately I've been day dreaming in vivid detail the idea of my perfect vacation. Actually friends, I think that all this mental space has been freed in my brain after being freed from the confines of school and studying, and now taking it's place are happy thoughts of totally unrealistic vacations for this time in my life. But hey, a girl can dream, right? Right.



It's the fairly early A.M., and my suitcase and bags are packed. I slip on a pair of khaki linen draw string pants, a clean, crisp white v-neck t-shirt, a navy blue zip up sweatshirt, and navy blue flip flops that show off my pink toed pedicure. I throw my hair into a pony tail, and head out the door. On my way to the airport, I stop by the local Caribou coffee and order "happiness in a cup": half the milk and syrup of a latte, with straight dark roast and an extra shot of espresso. I even spring for some whip cream, because today is the day that I'm headed to my dream vacation.

Once I park my car, I leisurely walk to my plane ride; destination: Canada. Once I'm seated in the plane, I read a novel by Francine Rivers and say a prayer or two as I'm watching the Lord's creation lying below me. Once the plane lands, the rental car that I arranged is waiting for me...almost as if it were saying" Here I am Sarah, I am here to take you to your happiest of all happy places." I hop into the car, following my GPS to the destination in which I will drop off my car, and board the local ferry. Upon arriving, I board the ferry, which will bring me directly to Prince Edward Island. I stand on the deck, arms propped on the railing, as I breathe in the Lake of Shining Waters. The greens, blues and greys of the sea enchant me, and it is at this point that I realize that I have stepped into the world of my childhood hero: Anne of Green Gables.


You see, even though Anne of Green Gables is fictional, we are quite tied by the hearts. Ever since I was a little girl, I've identified with Anne on so many levels, and so wished that I could enter her world. No matter how difficult things became for Anne....losing her parents to Scarlett fever, being physically and verbally abused by multiple people, and living with very little, Anne always remained optimistic about life and herself, because she believed in the power of imagination, and the simple fact that everyone is good at heart.

Once the boat pulls ashore, I grab my belongings, and walk to the Bed and Breakfast that would serve as my home for the next two weeks. As I walk up the cobble stone path, I can't help but smile when I take in the view of an old, historic white house with navy blue trim, shutters, a white picket fence and a porch swing. I knocked on the door, and the sweetest woman in the world welcomes me by name, extending a hug as if we were truly "kindred spirits". "You must be so tired from your trip!" she says,as she takes my bags, and shows me to my room, fitting in a little bit of history of the bed and breakfast here and there. She opens the door to my room, and I feel as if I am in a dream. a single bed with a beautiful navy, cream and pink quilt, a distressed white dresser and matching vanity and a bouquet of fresh flowers greet me, with a window overlooking the sea. "Dinner will be served promptly at 6:30 tonight, and breakfast will be served every morning at 9:00 a.m." says the kind, matronly boarding lady. I thank her, and she leaves me be. "Is this really happening?" I ask myself, as I take in the wonderfulness of this moment.


For one whole week, I am on my own, enjoying the beauty of solitude combined with the exquisiteness of Prince Edward Island. I spend my week exploring the Island, visiting little shops with character and charm, spending hours with Jesus on the beach, pen and journal in hand, marveling at His presence and provision in my life. I become fast acquaintances with the other boarders, enjoying the opportunity to meet new people and hear their stories.


After a week by myself, three of my dearest friends join me for a week of pure "togetherness". Coffee and scones on the porch by day, and lobster and red wine on the beach by night, we enjoy each other's company and authenticity, without worrying about schedules, responsibilities and those things that weigh a woman down. We wade in the water as if we were small children, realizing that we have always been small children at heart. We laugh just as hard as we cry, our existence feeling at peace while surrounded by the beauty of Prince Edward Island, and the beauty of friendship.


Alas, all good things must come to an end. Renewed by beauty and friendship, real life doesn't seem so unbearable. In fact, I'm reminded that we must indulge in some of those day dreams to make real life seem a little less harsh. Sometimes we need to focus on the truly beautiful things in life to remind us that those beautiful things are always there...sometimes they are just harder to see. Is it a possibility that day dreaming can help us see things more clearly?


I think Anne would whole heartily agree.

Friday, May 14, 2010

He's Been Where You Are Going


Ahh.... what a welcome relief to be in my "happy place" (AkA a Caribou Coffee House in Red Wing, MN.), sipping an incredible customized latte, taking the time to process and write about all of the recent events that have happened in my life. Things have happened so quickly, with life feeling like a literal hour glass, each day that passes representing another grain of sand that falls to the bottom.




One of the things that I have learned in this season of life is that when I take the time to write, I have an opportunity to visually see and put together God's hand prints on my life, seeing the path that He has paved for me. One of the greatest comforts that I experience as a Christian is that He has already been where we are going. Think about that concept. I like to equate it with the scenario of visiting a foreign country, and having the peace of mind and the comfort of knowing that you have been assigned a guide who knows the in's and out's of the country, customs, traditions, where to eat, what to NOT eat, how to barter, etc. When we have someone who's been where we are going, we can rest in the fact that we are being taken care of; that if we are in doubt or in danger, there is somebody who knows more than we do and "has our backs".


Friends, God is no different.



Yesterday, on May 13th, I became an official graduate from the Ridgewater College Activity Director program. I marvel at how God has so gently led me from place to place, always providing above and beyond what my sinful, scared self deserved. Again and again I have doubted His provision, and instead would cower in fear and anxiety; and again and again He would take my scared self out of the corner, put me on His knee, and show me His strength.
Upon moving out of my apartment at Twin Rivers, I have moved into a temporary situation with a dear, older couple who have hearts of gold, while I search and wait for God to show me where my next residence will be. An opportunity has presented itself, and I wait in prayer and anticipation to see if this is the next step.


I find it ironic that I, a self proclaimed gypsy, is desiring permanance. I used to thrive on going from place to place, and situation to situation. Now, I find myself desiring permanance and routine. For some reason, I had it in my head that I have to find that in a living situation, to which I was so gently reminded that there is no such thing as permanance. I was searching for stability within 4 walls, once again forgetting that the ONLY thing that is stable in my life is Jesus.


Listen friends. The ONLY thing that is stable in your life is Jesus.


Isn't that the hope that we have in the midst of an ever changing world? People change, jobs change, the world changes, technology changes, etc. but the only thing in our life that will NEVER change or lose it's dependability is Jesus. We have to trust Him.... I mean, REALLY trust Him. I used to think that I was pretty good at the concept of trusting in God, but lately I have realized that I am sorely lacking in this department. I'll trust Him with maybe a few things, but those deep rooted things I struggle to give Him, even though I don't want them.

I desire to "Take Him at His word", but often find myself falling short of doing this. Then I am reminded that in my humaness, in my own strength, I can't take Him at His word. In fact, I can't really do anything effective in my own strength, because my own strength is tainted with pride, anxiety and selfishness.

May you take Him at His word, and lean about the comfort of knowing that He has been where you are going. The path is paved, the journey has been made. Now grab your backpack, some trail mix and saddle up that horse. It's going to be a wild ride. :)



Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Resignation of a Gypsy







How appropriate that as I start this blog post, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" is playing in my ear via the wonderful means of Pandora.com :)



It has been such a long time since I have taken the time to process and write the recent events in the life of this gypsy. I will say though, that even though I just moved from my apartment at "The Castle" (AKA "Twin Rivers") to a little room in the basement of the home of a dear, Norwegian couple, this gypsy is ready to hang up her beads and broom skirt, although she is still struggling to give up her crystal ball and let Jesus determine her future.

My new living arrangement with the sweet Norwegian couple is to my knowledge, very temporary. Last night as I sat in my nearly empty apartment, absolutely exausted, I cried tears of fear and exaustion, wishing that I could just be home. I began to entertain the thought of just moving back to Fairmont and leaving everything here in Cannon Falls. I, once again, was trying to do things on my own strength. In my own strength, I couldn't possibly move again for the 3rd time in a year. I desire permanance, consistancy and stability. Work continues to be increasingly difficult, and matters of the heart have also been challenging. I decided right then and there that I was tired of being brave and courageous. I felt like a scared little girl that was lost in a department store after getting distracted by the toy aisle. I was wrestling with God, basically fighting with Him, asking Him why things always have to be so jostled in my life.

After having the generous help of my church family while moving, after pie, ice cream and Hawaiian coffee with my sweet Norwegian couple, a good night's rest, a warm welcome in the morning and extra coffee made just for me, having my mom, sisters, Grandma and Aunt come be with me for the afternoon, having the opportunity to lead worship and listening to a life giving sermon that impacted my heart with such depth and meaning.... I realized how God comforts me in the midsts of uncertainty, pain and confusion of life. I was reminded how He meets us where we are at, even if we challenge him, wrestle with Him and insist that He doesn't know what He is doing. Despite our unbelief and wimpy punches that we try to knock Him with, He extends His grace, He wipes our tears, and He continues to lead the way.


Lord,

Give us the courage to let you lead the way in our lives. Forgive our unbelief, forgive our desires to take control what happens in our life. Equip us with your strength, so that we may continue to surrender every facet of our lives to you. Let us live with the knowledge that our lives are not our own, but they are yours, and yours alone.


Amen~