I love travel, especially road trips to places we have never enjoyed in the past. I get excited making my list of what to pack, making it all fit in the car, purchasing the perfect snacks for the road, the music we will listen and suffer through, the games we will play and the places we might stop along the way. We have taken many adventures on very limited budgets. We have only flown 1 place together as a family and that was to Hawaii, however, many countries separately. But, traveling the highways and byways of the United States of America has been precious hours of deep conversations about life, jokes and funny stories, singing out loud and many, many warnings from police officers reprimanding my speed. Yes, it is absolutely true and I am grateful for their ability to slow me down, since I tend to want to go faster and faster in life.
The most recent journey was to Rockport, Texas. Months ago I was having a conversation with my customer and Christian sister. She had just returned from Rockport and was telling stories in animated flamboyance about her adventures there. She said God had given her this place as a sanctuary from life. I told her how much I too love just getting away, traveling and enjoying the world. Before you know it she had offered me her house to bless me with God’s place and we penciled in a date.
Hidden in a rundown trailer and RV park on an old farm road was a little treasure of a mobile home made into what she called her little dollhouse. It was freshly painted white with brighter than country blue shutters. She had placed a boat life saver and a replica of a lighthouse on the hitch side of the house. There was a wonderful cabana on the back side with a sunroom and two carports that were painted white with a bright limy green latticed top. It was a hidden gem for sure.
The water at Rockport Beach was crisp, yet calm and tranquil. The fine grains of sand just flowed through your toes, free of debris and shell pieces. Schools of tiny fish would flow through your legs and little crawdads or crawfish were buried into the sand banks. The waves were just ripples that glowed as they flowed in the hot dry sun. It was exactly what the Great Physician ordered for my soul.
One of my favorite passages in scripture is Psalm 23. I memorized the entire passage in 4th grade and the words that God hid in my heart so many years ago comes forth for such a time as this; vs 2b-3 “He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.”
Beside Still Waters
It was a time to relax, to laugh, to enjoy, to contemplate, to communicate, to slow down, to breath in God’s goodness, to pray. Yes, just what the doctor ordered.
Traveling is a journey to experience new places and spaces, people and food, creation and change. Traveling has led us to different climates, different cultures, different belief systems, different loves and hates, different thinking. Traveling has taken us over rolling hills, up steep snow capped mountains, to tropical islands, and iceberg filled waters. This time traveling had led us to the sweetest place, where the spoonbills swoop and the dolphins jump and the crabs back crawl into the waves.
As any journey goes they are imperfect: Arguments, frustrations of small living quarters and swarms of jellyfish coming in with the tides. But, it was a gift, a small point in time where we could stop and listen to God and to each other.
As I sit here a couple weeks post beach, and my sun glowed tan is beginning to fade, I thank God for all of these wonderfully fulfilling journeys we have taken to foreign countries separately and many states together. They have enriched our lives, empowered us to do, enhanced our vision, exposed our erroneous thinking and elevated our excitement about God’s incredible goodness.
As the days have unfolded afterwards my vision is a little bit clearer. The stresses of the year prior have been buried in the sand and the new stresses of the weeks ahead are handled with a new refreshed perspective on managing life. As I sit here in my sanctuary at home, listening to the dog chew his bone, the girls giggling in the other room, exhausted from the events of a wonderfully fun and busy weekend celebrating love and new chapters of life, I am embraced by a loving God who has quieted my fears, calmed the storms raging within, brought rest to my desire and stillness to what I think I need and peace in a world that is not peaceful.
He restores my soul!