“And I don’t know where I’ve been…”

“…but I know where I belong; Jesus You are home to me!”

Brief life update- I spent saturday through wednesday in Arkansas with my grandparents, Aunt, uncle, and 2 cousins. It was lovely. It reminded me of how incredibly blessed I am in having a family that loves God and loves one another. It was for my grandparents’ 50th anniversary. That’s right, 50 years. More than twice my age.

We didn’t really go and do that many things, but I found that it didn’t matter as much anymore. I spent time just conversing with my grandma mostly. Sure, I played settler’s of catan for almost a day with my two cousins, and we played the card game “hand and foot” (which I LOVED), but the in between times we just chatted. I went to their Lutheran church with them on Sunday, got recruited to sing in the choir, and enjoyed the hymns and the feeling of… safeness. I’m not sure what it was, but I loved the feeling that my faith was a product of my family’s faith passed down by God’s grace through the generations. I’m always scared I will do something and God will let me have my own way and disown me because I know I don’t deserve any more chances, but He has other ideas. With my grandparents, I looked at them and felt like life could turn out all right, that a steady and patient faith was attainable and enjoyable.

I gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the Lutheran denomination. In the past, quite honestly I looked down at being constrained to a strict denomination, or having a church that literally keeps records. But I felt differently learning my grandfather did not grow up Lutheran. He used to be presbyterian, but all he heard at church was current events and not a word about his soul. He tried out the lutheran church and found what he had been missing. I really admire that.

I also admire my grandma for loving her children and grandchildren who are not lutheran. Her daughter is now methodist, and her son (my daddy) is non-denominational. I asked her about it, and she said that once a woman had asked if that bothered her. She said “They go to church and I know that their children know everything we teach here.” Another woman told her that her own children didn’t even go to church. Grandma told her that if you are faithful in training a child in the way they should go, they will return to it someday.

Can you see how refreshing and awesome it is to sit down with the older and wiser? It’s encouraging and calming. It is a sweet blessing to know that I can come home to people who love God with their lives, and a challenge for what I want to grow into.

I drove home wednesday and was a bit grumpy about how it was longer than the drive down, but I ended up stopping at my aunt’s that was literally on the way home. A way I would not have been by had I gone the other way. My aunt took me out for icecream and we walked around the city square when I got there. We chased the sunset for a good view of it, as well as some of the minor sights of Washington (such as the water cleansing reservoir painted like an aquarium). We had ginger and lemon iced tea, talked about life, shared stories, and went to bed early. I have my own bed at her house- for a woman who lives by herself she has a lot of beds. There are 4 other than her own. It was really pleasant to see her again since she wintered in California with her daughter this year and I hadn’t seen her since… well obviously too long. I left there this morning after a breakfast of whole grain oatmeal with candied ginger, raisins, milk, and pecans as well as a cup of really good tea. My aunt is an excellent gardener, and the pedicured lawn was in full bloom! I am still praying that the peace she has in this life will not be the only one she will ever know, but that’s an entirely different story. I love my aunt and was glad to see her =)

All this driving time recently has given me a lot of time to think about life and reflect on the past semester which was undoubtedly awful, yet inspiring. I very nearly became someone I didn’t know, and I struggled with trying to decide if I had to be this stranger, or if rough patches in life are just that; rough patches. The conclusion I came to was that I wouldn’t be the same without this year. I can’t take back decisions that are in the past, but I can rely on Christ to take my life entirely and change my errors into something for His glory- as long as I want to come back home and own up to it.

I did. I’ve messed up and been rebellious enough to know that fighting with God does not bring peace or credit to His name, and it’s silly to throw a fit about it when all He wants is your good. I have returned home. I am repentant Israel. I am the prodigal daughter. I returned expecting to be discarded, and instead, He delighted in me. That is the kind of peace and thankfulness I want to rule my life.

P.S. Just got new books today! Started reading “Stuff Christians Like” which is based off the website, and have been busting up laughing all afternoon. My mother commented on how much she missed hearing my laugh. I did too 🙂

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