There is no doubt in my mind that travel is one of the sweetest gifts from God.
We've spent a lot of this trip thanking God. I know that His hand was guarding us the whole way. I spent a lot of time reflecting on how blessed I truly am. Millions of kids will never get to travel like we have, already. And while I want to just keep traveling, more and more and more, it's when I look back that I realize how truly privileged I am. For many of us on this trip, we've already been to seven different countries this year- and it's hardly April! All the trips my family has taken me on or sent me on, the missions trips and road trips and camping trips and the whole 9 yards- who am I to deserve all this opportunity? And all I can ask is for more. Huh.
Flying for 8 hours can be wearisome, but we got to spend the entire trip in daylight. We soared above the massive peaks and glaciers of Iceland, and I could help but stare in wide-eyed wonder at the incredible mountain regions of Greenland beneath us. The seemingly endless expanse of whiteness covered so much of the ocean and so much of the land, but the cracks in the ice and the texture of the landscape had me glued to the window.
It's been difficult to really comprehend all that we've done in our time here. Looking back 10 days ago and trying to remember what we did is like trying to recall a dream just after you've had it. It's vanishing quickly, but you know that it happened. Even though it is all so recent, it feels like a distant memory. That's what happens when you pack every day with 24 hours worth of itinerary, I guess.
Thinking back to the jaunty cart rides in Killarney... it seems like an entirely different trip. Getting to drive around the Ring of Kerry and standing on the shore in front of the most powerful waves I'd ever seen- that was the day I met the Atlantic. Visiting the castles and walking through the secret pathways and garden routes and envisioning royalty... what a peaceful day that one was. Sipping luxury coffee from a variety of parlours and exploring the antique bookshops was a definite hit. The entire atmosphere of Dublin was so fun, and makes me grin just thinking about the spirit and vivacious life of that city. Then the dancing and the clapping and the singing that evening at the pub- what a night! Having a look at the Book of Kells and strolling through the massive library at Trinity College was surreal. Hiking up to the ruins of the castle in Wales was convicting. Visiting Blarney, Conwy, Endinburgh, Windsor, and Buckingham Palace were such treats. Viewing London from every possible direction was perfect. Being able to roam freely in these brand new places was so freeing and exciting.
There are so many thousands of fragments of memories that are, at the moment, being suppressed by a giant wave of jet lag, so I'll keep it brief. One thing that kept coming to mind every single day was this: Complaining does not look good on Christians. Wherever we go, there will be the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's just life. And for those who profess to believe in the name of Christ but act as though their well-being rests on worldly accommodation simply look like people wearing clothes of the complete wrong size. It just does not look right, and it's noticeable.
As if to bring us to our knees in humility, God showed up every single day of the tour. And I mean He really showed Himself. I can't tell you the number of times our tour directors and tour guides and bus drivers told us things like, "Wow, you guys are really lucky. This never happens..." "Wow- you've brought the good weather with you! It's been flooding and hurricane-ing up 'til now!" or "Blimey, you really came at the right time. I wasn't expecting that!" God parted the clouds, changed the schedules of those around us, closed some doors to open the better ones.
Every single day I felt more and more humbled by His unfailing love and grace. We deserved less than nothing. For our petty complaints and impatience, why should we continue to receive His blessings again and again? Can he not see how pitiful and fickle we are? Is He just blindly handing out these gifts? I don't think so.
James 4:6-8 ~ "And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you."
He gave us ample proof that it is Him who is on the throne, and Him alone who is in control. He gave us countless evidence that He sees, He cares, and He is present in our day-to-day business. How wild is that? We serve a God who controls the movements of every galaxy in the universe, while keeping an eye on the weather for the high school tour of Great Britain. It makes no sense, and it never will. And that's just Grace.
It's so hard to come back. It's a strange feeling to be writing this from my own dorm room, thinking about the week of school ahead. After such a high, it's easy to get trapped into thinking that what comes next will be a low. But while we're going to have a rough time focusing in the morning classes while our bodies are a few time zones ahead, I believe we've got a choice now. I've got a choice. And that's whether I keep the enthusiasm alive.
As we were descending above Calgary and the familiar ol' prairies came into view, my heart sank, at first. Everything was so brown. So dull. So shabby. But just for a moment, I had the thought to look at this land from the perspective of a traveler. Somebody who delights at the opportunity to go anywhere and see anything. That's me- and why should this country be excluded from the list? Why should this province be ignored? Why should this town be overlooked every single day?
The treasure of Christ is everywhere, if we're willing to look for it. So I guess the hunt is on. If I could only keep that frame of mind longer than a couple days, the year would have a very different outlook. If we spent our days searching for the special and unique mercies every morning, how differently we'd go about our agendas!
Yeah, the itinerary is gone and the guides have left, but I've got something infinitely better. The One True Guide and the ultimate itinerary: His Word. Accessible by a whisper, a quiet word, a conversation, or daily devos. Life is the journey, not a world of mundane nothingness sparsely punctuated by excitement.
I want this to be my new mantra. To be the traveler in every moment of every day. While abroad, people know that I'm the girl who searches for every new and good thing. I point out the randomest quirks and the most simple novelties, but this is the passion that drives my wanderlust.
Maybe it's time to give it a shot in this small town. So until the next takeoff or roadtrip or voyage at a yet-to-be-determined date, I'll be touring this ol' town. Maybe I'm crazy to believe that there's more in store than just the mundane, but I do know this. God has placed us where we are for a reason. It's up to us to serve Him patiently, even in our confusion and doubt. It's not our job to call the shots, unless we wanna spiral and crash. No, this is our job as soldiers of the faith. To fight patiently. To live as His Ambassador, daily. Endure the hardships. Be obedient. Persevere.
And above all, Love Him more every day.