On our recent trip to Colorado, I got a day away to Estes Park, CO. Got some real time to connect with Jesus in the mountains. I am thankful for the pictures He gave me of things to learn from and be reminded of truth. This first picture reminded me of how I have been feeling in public as a person grieving. That one dried up, dead-looking tree in the center of the picture, missing its healthy branches. I feel some days as if everything around me is busy and standing tall. Firm. Healthy. I am the odd one. Striving to find life. To stand tall. Firm.
Do you remember looking out the window on family road trips for what felt like days! Especially that trip to find just the right campground, Dad! I took this picture because it reminded me of perspective. I feel like I cannot see clearly on some days. My vision is blurred as if looking out the window at the scenery in the distance from inside the fast-paced car. Those droplets of water reminded of the small moments when God says "I love you". And He does! A text from a far-away friend, Matt's former employer checking on us, meeting new friends/neighbors, figuring out how to repair the flag on the mailbox, moments when the kids and I remember a good memory of their dad and lately--God's Word actually making sense in my head and heart. 1 Peter 1:3-4, "Praise be to the God and Father of Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade."
Although my hike had mostly smooth trails there were a couple spots where branches were in the path of the trail. They weren't hard to pass. But this picture reminded me that sometimes along our trails of life things can block our path or make you feel frozen. If we keep walking, we can persevere in Christ. He has me in His hold and He is guiding me. This picture reminded me to "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds , because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
This next picture reminded me of scars. When dreams of the life you thought you were living are shattered; you are left with scars. This dead tree was ravaged by wood beetles and could not be saved. I was reminded that I have scars. But scars have beauty to them too. Jesus has scars. "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been SAVED. " Eph 2:4-5. And I was reminded that I, too, was ravaged by sin and was dead spiritually. But He saved me so there is hope even when looking at my scars.
Those couple hours of hiking were the most quiet I have heard in months. The rain was even welcome. I couldn't help but remember some friends we made in the Middle East who told us that rain there meant to them that God was bringing times of refreshing. And I just had to stand still for a moment and hear the silence and ask for His refreshing. My sister-in- law was probably wondering why I was lagging behind so much :) . Sometimes you must stand still to hear nothing.
And these last two are just some treasures along the path we saw. The colors inside a box of crayons cannot beat the colors of nature. Being colorful can feel strange for a person who is working through grief. Having fun, smiling, singing, dancing can feel very foreign and almost wrong to a person working towards healing. But it is part of His design for growth. I am letting myself go there. I am trying to guide my kids there.
" We can always be thankful for what we've received rather than resentful over things withheld. One or the other becomes a way of life." Elisabeth Elliot