Journey Back Home

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 (NKJV)

I got up this morning at 5:30—a good hour and a half before my scheduled “rise and shine” time. At first I thought I’d go back to bed after my bathroom trek, but my already too-long do-list got longer yesterday when I added an ambitious project with a Nov. 30 deadline. So I knew snuggling back under the covers would be futile. I’d just toss and turn and think and think and think. Body tired, mind wired. You know the feeling.

So I made my cup of caffeine, dressed, and headed to my study.

Since I was up early, I decided to have my quiet time, which, I’m ashamed to admit, has been sorely lacking. I opened my prayer notebook first. My last entry was Feb. 10. And the time before that was Jan. 17. Well, at least it was this year. When I opened my spiritual journal, I was aghast when I saw the date of the last entry: Dec. 14. My Bible study notebook was just as pathetically neglected. I used to write in them every day.

No wonder I’d been feeling adrift, mentally and spiritually.

Last year I blamed my dwindling time with God on life issues, particularly health challenges and family relationships, the latter undergoing tumultuous changes.

Have you ever felt like you’re standing in the midst of fallout you didn’t create? Yet there you are, stuck in the middle of it all, hanging on to a diminishing sense of direction. Well, that’s where I was last year.

This year, as those issues began to smooth out, a monster project took over my life: planning a month-long trip with our fifth-wheel camper to the Pacific Northwest with two other couples. Not an undertaking to sneeze at. Coordinating schedules, planning routes and stops and meals and clothes, getting the camper and truck ready for a 7,000-mile trip, downloading and learning to use travel apps we’d use on the journey—chunk by chunk usurped my time. Small wonder I’m way behind on my novel-writing schedule.

But I shouldn’t blame busyness for not taking time with God. I mean, who really sets my schedule? I’m my own worst taskmaster—slave driver is a better term.

But the more I got done, the less fulfilled and more empty I felt.

You can’t replace God with busyness, no matter how urgent or necessary your activities are. Only God can satisfy your soul. And if your spirit is empty of Him, your entire being—physical, mental, and emotional—is affected. It’s like you’re on a journey with no destination, without a map or app or plan, and are running on fumes.

So this morning, when I finally took quality time to meet with God (and not with one eye on the clock), God met with me. He had, after all, been patiently waiting for me to stop manufacturing excuses and make time with Him my top priority once again.

I opened my Bible to where I’d left off with my personal (and also sporadic) Bible study two months ago, Psalm 37: “Consider the staggering fact that the Creator of time and eternity loves you,” I read in the warm up section. “Write down 10 things you can think of about the love of God.”

Wow! What a place to begin my journey back to God—His love for me. The first three came easily—I’d been pondering them all year: Unconditional. Undeserved. Unlimited. Then, like water sputtering from a hand pump, more words to describe God’s incredible love for me poured forth: steadfast, eternal, healing, unchanging, sacrificial, reliable.

God’s love—the more I meditated on it, the harder it was to wrap my mind around it.

I hadn’t been faithful to Him, but He’d remained faithful to me.

As I wrote the words of Lamentations 3:21–23 in my spiritual journal and the words of Psalm 51:10–12 in my prayer notebook, I knew I’d finally returned home.

Thank you, Father, for Your steadfast, unlimited love. I don’t deserve it, but that’s what unconditional means, doesn’t it? Thank You for pouring its healing grace into my thirsty, travel-weary soul. Amen.

Read and meditate on Lamentations 3:21–23

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

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Moving On or Settling In?

My Presence will go with you. Exodus 33:14 (NIV)

Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. –Exodus 40:36–37 NASB

I’m a city girl born and raised, but a country girl at heart.

This truth was never more apparent than on our vacation this summer—not a rest-and-recharge vacation, but a “see as much as we can in the four weeks we have” vacation. We pulled our 29-foot fifth-wheel camper nearly 7,000 miles through 15 states. We rarely stayed more than one night anywhere. Most of the time we stayed at RV parks.

I learned there’s a difference between an RV park and a campground.

An RV park is where you park your RV. It has electric, water, and sewage hookups. It may have a fire ring (a place for a campfire), but it may not. It may have a picnic table, or it may not. You don’t have a campsite, you see— you have a parking space, and most often a gravel one. Not grass.

It’s not a place to set up and settle in. It’s a place to park your RV while you visit the sights or just spend the night between long stretches on the road.

A campground, on the other hand, is a place to settle in and relax. You have grass, trees, fire ring, and a picnic table on a site that isn’t merely a parking space.

Oh, you can probably guess which one we prefer.

But travelers need both, depending on the journey.

Isn’t that just like life?

Just as God guided the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land, God leads us through this wilderness we call life to our Promised Land—Heaven.

Sometimes He has us stay in one place for a while. Sometimes we want to settle in and stay there. But eventually we have to move on because that is not our destination. God has much more for us to see and experience. More than we could ever dream of.

Sometimes we don’t’ want to stay. We’re itching to get out of there and move on. But God says, “Not yet.” In His time—His perfect time—we will move on.

Other times He pushes us forward, mile after mile, day after day. But, remember, we travel on His timeline, His route, His map, His agenda.

He has a plan and purpose for our sojourn on earth that go far beyond what we can imagine –“far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 TLB).

Although it wasn’t our style of vacation and the entire trip extended us beyond our comfort zone, we had a fabulous time. We experienced parts of the country we’d never before dreamed of visiting. We learned more history on that trip than we have our entire lives—history that will stick with us because we were there.

We are campground folks. We like the wide-open spaces, the slower paces. We like to settle in and explore the area.

And so we shall. We’d like to spend a week or so exploring Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And visit as many lighthouses as we can. (I’m a lighthouse freak.)

And I want to spend time in the Colorado Rockies and see the sights on horseback.

Dreams don’t die as we grow older. Instead, they grow bigger and better.

And they challenge us to step out of our comfort zones, push aside the fears that hold us back, and live to the fullest the life God has given us—whether we’re moving on or settled in.

Thank You, Father, for both the moving on times and the settling in times. Thank You that You have a purpose for each one. Amen.

Read and meditate on Exodus 13:21; 40:36–37

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.