For years the thing I wanted most was to go to Africa. (You already know this.) I wanted my fair skinned little kids sitting on little benches next to those gorgeous African babies! I wanted to walk her dirt streets and love on her people. I read about it. I watched videos about it. I thought about it. I talked about it. I prayed about it.
I wanted it. I wanted it bad.
Then, in a glorious move, my GOD gave it to me! And I'll never get over it. Every moment of my 14ish months there was rich. I treasured it.
I am in Lisbon, Portugal. It's a beautiful city. I can see a panoramic view of the ocean from many of the windows in my house. I can walk down clean streets to a little cafe for a freshly baked pastry and coffee. I can walk through spacious parks with breathtaking gardens. There are ancient ruins, castles and a history that predates the Romans. There is even an Ikea (which any reasonable person knows is a thing of beauty).
So why do I feel so...so..I don't know. How is one supposed to feel after their dream comes true? What do you do in the season after you get something you really wanted?
I've been thinking about my friend CB. She had a good long love affair with her husband. She was comfortable. She was settled. Her husband was attentive and spoiled her rotten. She was involved in her church and her community. She took care of her aging mother and in-laws like a champ. She had a good circle of friends and she was content in her life. She was a good woman and a good church girl.
Then, GOD called her husband home...too early (in the opinion of our frail little hearts). Then her mother in law.
As a fairly young widow, no one quite knew what do with her. They were used to her being on his arm. His disappearing-eyed smiles wormed their way into everyone's hearts and put people at ease. But CB on her own? That made people uncomfortable or at least, complacent. They probably thought that a fiery red head like herself would be fine.
Some widows get the royal (biblical?) treatment. But not CB. Not even in the beginning. She sat in the funeral parlor to make her husband's burial arrangements while the funeral director scolded her for not being easy to work with. Then in the weeks and months that followed, her church allowed her to fade into the background. When she hadn't been in service for 4 months they finally made a phone call to see where she was. And since a single woman makes outings with couple friends a little awkward, those faded as well.
CB was confused. She thought she had her life. She had her husband. She had her role.
But... there was a sleeping giant under all that: a hunger for the real living presence of JESUS.
And when GOD hears that cry from a church girl heart, HE charges in, sword drawn, like a prince on a white horse to rescue her from the safe and settled, from the religious and the routine. And thank GOD HE does!
So there she is, a single woman doing a new thing. She is a wild lover of GOD trying to figure out who she is in this new season.
So here I am, a post-Africa woman doing a new thing. I love HIM wildly and I am trying to figure out who I am in this new season.
But in this I have hope no matter the season: JESUS CHRIST is alive in me and HIS promise that HE is always at work. So, perhaps Portugal holds the adventure and wonder I've come to love in my walk with the FATHER? Or maybe it's just a quiet time to explore the country with the world's 3 coolest kids? I don't know.
Or is it possible that the richest part of my life...and CB's...is still to come?
That would be just like HIM, you know.
Just when we thought HE couldn't get any better...