There’s a special kind of beauty in the stillness of the early mornings. I’m more of an early riser than a late to bed kind of person…. but it’s the returning “home” to Wisconsin and Illinois where I find the moments in the mornings to be the sweetest.
I know this is because I’m tucked away and surrounded by God’s creation and beauty in the form of rolling hills, the Mississippi River or cornfields rustling in the gentle morning breezes. Both Josh and I grew up in the “country” but have been transplanted to the city. Even in Poland we’ll be living just outside the city of Tomaszow… getting closer to what our souls long for. So returning to our “roots” back where each of us grew up provides a sweet resetting of the soul.
I am able to quietly reflect and more importantly, it’s in this time where God speaks to my heart and provides me with Scripture that will be the Truths I will need to claim in the year that follows. One of the greatest things that I heard and started applying in my life was asking God to show me Scripture that I would need in my life for the next 12 months. This isn’t something I’ve been doing but for 4 years, each summer, now. However, it’s been a sustaining grace for me each year. We are fools if we fail to realize our lives are but a spiritual battleground. If Paul gives us such a vivid picture of “wearing the armor of God”, why would I not utilize the best weapon of all: Scripture?!
I was most profoundly impacted by applying this in my life when I discovered (although read multiple times throughout my life, but never fully comprehending this aspect!) that Jesus, when tempted by Satan in the wilderness, always responded to Satan’s attempts with Scripture. What weapon did Jesus first? Scripture! This has been life changing for me.
God’s already shown me that this coming year the Scripture to claim for this year won’t be just “one” particular verse or verses, but multiple verses throughout the Bible. The really great thing about doing this has been how I’ve been like “ok, really? how is this verse going to speak to me this year? this doesn’t seem to make any sense or even “move” me at the moment! are you sure, God? THIS is what I will be coming back to all year to “claim” and press into this next year?!” Yet, it’s ironic how it does become exactly the weapon of Truth I have to claim and press into.
We are almost to the top of this mountain (“going to Poland”) and at the top after a long and strenuous hike, we’ll look back in awe and the sense of accomplishment, yet tired from the challenges we faced. Yet my experience has been after hiking to the top of a mountain, it doesn’t take long to forget the “toughness” of the journey and I become rejuvenated. I think it’s because I take in the beauty of what I see before me and all else is quickly forgotten. Once we get to Poland next week… the “tough” hike in preparing, support raising, etc. is “finished” (although, support raising and sustaining will never truly be “finished” but you get what I mean) but it’s more of the “faith muscle” that’s been worked so hard in so many aspects of our lives that now gets a time to “rest”.
I discovered in my quiet reflection this morning that there’s some fear of getting to the top (arrive in Poland) because I’m afraid of losing this sweet communion and His “showing up” in my life while I’ve been exercising this faith muscle. As if He will now abandon me and say “good luck… I’ve got you here, now off you go!” I mean, how ludicrous is that?!
I guess there’s just so much “build up” with comments and prayers of “God’s got great things in store for you guys… He’s going to use you and your family for the Kingdom in amazing ways… so many lives will be changed because of you…” Ok, I gotta admit… that’s kind of a lot of pressure! Don’t get me wrong, I pray these comments to be true and bear much fruit, but there’s that element of fear that some how or some way I will fail once getting there….. because….. my heart and life is a battleground. The emotions that God has created for us to display can be a tricky thing! The same outpouring of my heart that displays joy and excitement in returning to Poland can in a moment’s notice be stifled by some form of “homesickness”! And I know that although healthy to process and allow the emotions, I certainly cannot allow the emotions to linger too long lest they decide to take root and become a foothold for the Enemy.
SO… this is exactly “why” I earnestly and fervently ask God to show me His Truths found in His holy Scriptures each summer. I will have the most powerful weapon in the battle and, wow, I am just so amazingly grateful. What a loving Father we have.