Life Lessons At Dawn

It was one of those experiences that I knew would be awesome, but I didn’t expect it to be quite that intense. A quick recap for those just joining. I love the outdoors. It’s truly my happy place and where I hear God most clearly. He’s taught me dozens of lessons using His own creation. This last one was the most multi-faceted thus far, and I want to try and convey parts of it to you.

In my nearly 44 years on Earth, I have never made the intentional effort to sit and watch the sun rise. While I love the outdoors, I love it more in the evening, y’all. A morning person I am not!

So, one morning, while staying in a cabin atop a mountain, I finally paused and witnessed the day dawning. God revealed more to me in a single sunrise than He has allowed me to clearly understand in a very long time. No doubt it helped that I literally came to the table with an expectant heart and open hands ready to receive. I’ve learned that short periods of solitude are essential for my spiritual, mental and emotional clarity. A pray-cation. Isolation and quarantine are not at all the same, my friends. Not even close.

So, there I was on the mountain-top. Just me, God and the sun. Well, the sun got there a little later, but that’s kinda the point.

Notice the dark, sleeping world under a blanket of blood-red redeeming light. The sun has not yet officially risen… That could be another post altogether.
Now the Earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:2

The morning mist was so perfectly placed, as if the Spirit of God was hovering over something barely created. Like a brand new day. A fresh start. A clean slate. A do-over. Mercy. It was a new mercy created and handpicked just for that day. Not the same mercy from yesterday. Nothing left-over. It was made new.

I sat there at that secluded picnic table with a building anticipation. I wasn’t sure exactly when the sun would first breakthrough the oppressive darkness. I started to feel a stirring deep within my soul. I had an excitement for what was about to be revealed and the glory of light piercing the dark. And I couldn’t help but think that this is how we are to live all of our days. Focused and ready for the time, that blink of an eye when the Son will return to claim the ones who love Him.

While we wait for the blessed hope- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13

Who else is waiting for that day with more and more expectation? Especially this year?

As the light began to swell on the horizon, it became more apparent where the sun would appear. I held my breath and began to think of what it will be like to finally see Jesus’ face. My savior, redeemer and friend. The one who makes sense out of all the 2020-ness. I thought of all the heartbreak we’ve all endured over the last several months, the disappointments and rattled schedules. I thought about social unrest, anxiety and conspiracy. All the mistrust, misdeeds and missed opportunities.

And I was so thankful to have Jesus on my side through everything. There’s no way I could have gotten through without Him as my great advocate. My light guiding the way.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Sound like the sun to anyone? We must have it to sustain all life on Earth.

And then it happened. The sun burst forth among the darkness and light spilled through the trees. The sky lit up with indescribable colors as light cast out the night and woke up my soul from a deep sleep. I sat in awe for a moment, basking in the glory of something I’ve never seen, but happens every single day. Faithful. Loyal. Beautiful.

So beautiful I couldn’t stop gazing. And yet, there was no way to safely look at it directly.

What a lovely parallel. I find it so marvelous that God finds ways to point us to Himself that are so simple and so complex. The sun is readily available to all mankind. It’s so magnificent, but to look at it directly is impossible. Just like God himself.

He alone is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light. No one has ever seen Him, nor can anyone see Him. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen! 1 Timothy 6:16

I couldn’t see Him. But I could certainly feel His effects. His attributes are obvious in the sunlight. Warm, gentle, exposing truth, steady, brilliant, dependable just to name a few.

I don’t feel I have given the experience justice through words. But isn’t that just His way? Relationships are personal. And there are parts of that moment that are meant to be held between me and my Lord. But I knew I needed to share some of this beauty with all of you. This world is filled with so much ugly it can be overwhelming. If anything, I hope it helps you find Him in the every day things. Like a steady sunrise.

This is why it is said; Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Ephesians 5:14

 

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Making Mountains Out of Lemonade

It was really hard to look at all of your beach vacation pictures this week. I had to cancel my own trip to the beach for this week. It is 2020, after all. Over the last 2 years or so, my husband and I have had to cancel the last two vacations we booked. Neither of those reasons were COVID related. It’s just life. Nothing is to blame. 

Over our 21 years of marriage, we have learned that life is so much sweeter when you learn how to perfect your own lemonade recipe out of life’s lemons. And I kinda think that is what I love the most about us. Our personal lemonade recipe. We like things simple, uncomplicated and peaceful. We work hard to filter out the complicated, stressful, pulpy bits in order to enjoy a smoother, more refreshing lifestyle. 

So when this year’s vacation was cancelled we switched gears and turned inward to our own hometown goodness. We’ve lived here most of our lives and have never taken advantage of the mountain top state park located just 20 minutes from our front porch. So, we booked a cabin for two days. My husband could still go to work, I could still get the solitude my introverted soul craves and we could still gather in the afternoons for some down time. It was a smooth, simple lemonade recipe with lots of sugar.

Now, if you’ve followed me over the years you know that I connect with God the most in the natural world. Outdoors is my happy place. And while it’s true that God is everywhere, I believe that He’s much more tangible among His natural creation. I can almost physically feel Him when I am outside. He’s big and diverse. Outside is big and diverse. He moves. Outside moves. I can’t harness Him and there certainly is no way to harness the wind. To me, it just seems to correlate.

Deer outside our window one morning.

While I am an outside girl, I am not typically an early riser. I am almost ashamed to admit this, but I have never in my nearly 44 years witnessed an actual sunrise. Sure, I’ve been up with my babies as the sun came up, had to be up for early flights, or wrestled all night with insomnia until the first morning light peeked through the blinds. But, I have never made the point to be up to watch the sunrise. When I was a kid, I vividly remember my older brother (an early riser) trying to coerce me to get up to watch the sun rise over the mountain during a family camping trip. I refused. And I refused once more when years later, a friend tried to get me to do the same thing when I spent the weekend with her at her family’s cabin. I value my sleep, y’all.

But I realized this week that our cabin overlooked the Eastern bluff of the mountain. Sunrise side. So when my husband got up early to leave for work on our “vacation”, I decided to go meet with God outside before dawn.

It was one of the most spiritual events in my entire life. God spoke volumes to me during those few brilliant moments. So much so, that I have decided to write an entire blog post about it. If you’d like to read how God uses the sun to point everything back to Jesus, His son, join my other 1,300 subscribers so you won’t miss the post.

In the meantime. Enjoy your vacations, your lemons and the people in your life God gave you to love. Find ways to make the most of this one life. Put God first. Your family second. Ministry and life happens third.

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