Sounds fancy smancy, huh? Well, we've got a lot of history with Hawaii. My family and I lived there for about 4 years when I was younger, during that time we became actively involved in an awesome church their on the island called Word of Life Christian Center. After my parents made the decision to move us back to Texas, we ended up here in San Antonio, where I met Brandon. When Brandon and I got engaged, we decided to spend the same amount on a smaller wedding in Hawaii with close family and friends, rather than a large one here.
While we there, we were given an opportunity to come work with the church my family had been involved with years before.
7 months into our marriage and me 4 months pregnant with Asher, we moved all of our belongings across an ocean. Away from our family and friends. It was hard. Yes it was "paradise" but I was pregnant, and did I mention ultra emotional? I'm very close to my family and it was heart breaking to me to think my first baby wouldn't grow up around my sisters and family.
We lived in a condo on the 18th floor, with no ac and open windows, so all of our stuff was constantly getting blown off shelves. We slept on a blow up mattress for the first month. Our neighbors above us were rather "loud" if you know what I mean. I won't elaborate. There was no Taco Cabana's or Chikfilas. The grocery store didn't have my favorite peanut butter, we had to take our laundry to a laundry mat
.....Big major issues here ya'll....You name it, I complained about it.
We've learned a lot about perspective over the years since then.The amazing oppurtunity that it truly was never stood a chance against my crummy perspective.
4 months after we made the huge move, we made the equally huge move back to Texas. Just in time for Asher to be born here.
That decision was one of those that we've often thought "what if" about.
What if we had stayed, even just a year or two, or three....what could we have learned from this amazing church?
What if we had stayed, where would our ministry be?
What if we had stayed, could I have an amazing tan and become a pro surfer?
Obviously we know God works all things together for our good. But I can't help but still wonder, what if.
Brandon and I have gone through some incredibly hard times over the years. Particularly about 3 years ago. We got ourselves into some very tough situations by trying to live and make a life we wanted and thought we needed. We landed in one of the most challenging and trying times of our life.
But, we learned so much from it. I leaned in to God like I never had before, and he showed me some things. He kept bringing me back to the story in the Bible where the israelites wondered through the dessert for 40 years, on a journey that should have taken 11 DAYS.
11 Days, yall.... but it took 40 years
They'd circle a mountain. Complain the whole way, question God, thinking they knew better.
.....Back around the mountain they went.
See, I know God gives us all oppurtunities and open doors. He sets things up for us---for our good. His perfect plan. There's just one thing that often messes it all up.
Our selfish needs. Our selfish views. We think we know better. We let our emotions make our decisions for us.
We get so caught up in the mediocrities of our present circumstances. Wind blowing through our house...messing things up. This can't be the right way, it's not easy. God wants things easy on us, right?
Nope. He does have a good and perfect plan for us, but that doesn't mean it's going to be easy. In fact its in the hard times, the difficult ones, that He's really watching.
Watching for how we will react. What we will decide. What our character will say about it. Will we tough it out, staying rooted and grounded in Him. Trusting Him? Or will we complain the whole way through like the isrealites did and then have to go back around the mountain.
I praise God for his mercy and grace. I think back on our life and I am truly blown away by his love. His enduring, never failing love that sustained us.
The beautful thing is that that same grace that held us up when the journey took longer than it needed to is the same grace that gives us more oppurtunities and open doors. More favor and blessing. Because He truly does want the best for us.
I used to keep the "what if's" to myself. The story of our long journey. I didn't want people to know. But keeping them to myself, denies everything we learned through them. And I never want to do that.
In fact I cant deny them. They've defined who I am today. I may only be 28 years old, but I often think that mentally I'm much older. And I only say that because of what I've faced, not just what I have faced but how I faced them and what I learned from them.
Thats what God is looking for- how are you going to face the journey and what will you learn?
I never want to stop learning.
With the trip coming up, I've been thinking alot about those what-if's. I have to say, I am thankful for every step around that mountain that we took. The journey may have taken much longer than it needed to. The lessons have been tough. But it brought us right where we are today. On the other side. Ready to keep moving forward in whatever God has for us.
Leslie from Top of the Page asked me to share a story on grace for her "Grace on a Thursday" series. If you haven't read my "Calling Grace Mine" post, head on over to her blog to read it and tell her hello for me. She is super sweet. You will love her.
Happy Thursday My Sweet Friends!