Beautiful Places

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By this time tomorrow I will be holding the newest addition to our family. This journey has been long and rocky, with windy paths that have often seemed to lead back to where they started. Yet, when I returned to the beginning it was with new strength, perspective and wisdom. Our current journey will not end when he lies lovingly in my arms, but his safe arrival will mark a momentous victory in one of the many battles we have faced. Interestingly enough, the day of my little one’s birth will also be the seventh birthday of my eldest son. He was born during a very similar season in our lives. In fact, the similarities between that season and this, which I only recently realized, are almost startling.

However, the biggest difference, besides the fact that our family has grown much, much bigger – is within me. My focus, trust, and eyes are fixed on God. Not that I am righteous – because without Christ I am simple, selfish, self-centered and self-righteous. Not that I am so spiritually strong – because without Christ, I am broken, tired, and weak. Not that I am wise – because when I walk in my flesh, I always regret it. But, through His wisdom and power, I am able to make decisions, according to His will, that lead to beautiful places.

Truly, I am not even able to keep my eyes fixed on Christ without Him, and thus, I find myself repenting daily, and throughout the day for words, thoughts or deeds that do not reflect His nature or His will. But by His grace and Spirit, I can rest in Him, continually choosing to direct and redirect my focus on Christ, His love, power and will.

Embracing the will of God for my life was not a one time decision, it is not a daily decision, but it involves hundreds, maybe thousands, or little and big decisions throughout the day that acknowledge and submit to His will and purpose for my life – and that reflect His image, while pointing toward His glory. It is a task that is only accomplishable through His power and by His Spirit. It is a walk of submission, forsaking my right to direct and guide my life, as well as my understanding regarding what I think might be best, so that He can guide and direct and lead.

I fall short often, very often.

But, when I submit and obey, He leads me into beautiful places. Often, those beautiful places are not out of the desolate wilderness, but, like oasis in the desert, lie unexpectedly and wonderfully, in the middle of them. These are the times of rest and confirmation, where he prepares me for the next leg of the journey. These are the times when His love is so overwhelming that it stands in sharp contrast to the fact that it is love of grace and mercy – and not one that I deserve. Here I find the peace that surpasses all understanding, and the strength to forget what is behind, and press forward to the mark of the higher calling. These are the times when He lifts me up, straightens my back, and prepares me to run the race that has been set before me.

God willing, tomorrow, will be one of those beautiful places. Certainly, the last few months have been full of beautiful oasis places, where God has met spiritual, emotional, and physical needs in abundant and unexpected ways. But, one thing has proven true, even when I find that I have not landed in oasis place, his faithfulness in the past assures me that as long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him, and walk in obedience toward Him, one is most assuredly just across the horizon.

For further study:

1 Corinthians 9:23-25, Hebrews 12:1-3, Psalm 16, Psalm 23, Hosea 2:14-16