Sunday, February 8, 2015

Treasures in Darkness in the Green Pastures

“A black night seems to make the moon brighter. Purple irises brighten yellow daffodils. And a dark gray Kansas sky makes the wheat look truly golden. So it is with us. It seems that God best displays the brilliance of His grace against the backdrop of our darkest and even blackest moments."—Joni Eareckson Tada.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the dads at my church approached me and said "I have to ask, I've been seeing all of your pictures of you being outdoors and hiking and active, did you find a miracle drug that's caused all of this?" I grinned and told him, "Nope, I am still doped up to my eyeballs, but the Lord is allowing the current combinations of meds to stabilize my symptoms and my body isn't fighting back as much as it was."

This morning, after service, he and his wife approached me and he shared that Lord wanted me to know that "He is leading you through green pastures right now, this is part of His goodness for you". He opened up Psalm 23 and read from it, and shared that he knows the love of a father for a daughter (he has 3) and he knows that God loves me even more. Of course I started crying then (both of them were pretty teary too) and thanked them; it was affirmation of something that I felt the Lord has been trying to convince me of for the past several weeks.

I had brunch with a friend yesterday, and she mentioned how excited and happy she was to see me active and able to plan some of the trips I am planning. I confessed to her that I was excited too, but every single day I had to battle fear that this respite, that this period of feeling better, was going to be taken away. 

One of the biggest treasures that I have discovered in my periods of darkness are the lessons of trusting in Him, despite everything. Those lessons were painful and scary and hard, probably because of my stubbornness and resistance. But by His grace, I have grown to trust Him more and more when faced with challenges.

Never did I think that I would struggle with trusting Him when things are going well. How funny it is to even type that! 

But it's true. I fear this "easy" season because I fear it being taken away. I can trust Him to carry me through hardship and pain. But can I trust Him to carry me through green pastures and still waters? That makes me sad to realize that, because it prevents me from truly enjoying this time of increased health and energy. I am preparing myself, girding myself up for when (if!) this time changes, when symptoms increase and when I'm confined to a house and my bed again. I'm not trusting in His grace to sustain me in that transition and instead depending on myself - this useless and needless future preparation is diminishing my ability to be joyful and fully celebrate this good season. Oh how backwards and twisted is that!?

I opened up Psalm 23 when I got home today and the first verse says this:

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures"

I started laughing. "He makes me…" not "He allows" not "He blesses", but He makes. He knows how stubborn I am, He knows my heart and my fears, and He knows that what I would have thought would have been easy, is not for me. So, He brings people into my life to remind me of His goodness, of His action. He allows my heart and mind to connect the dots, and then sit here and share this revelation with you all…He is making me lie down in His green pastures, despite my protests and reservations.

Oh the goodness of my God! By His grace, may I stop questioning, stop feeling guilty for enjoying being well instead of preparing to feel bad. Just stop. And bask in the glory of Him. Of this current goodness in my life. 

One thing I have come to know of my God - He is faithful. He didn't just show me all of this to point out what I was doing and leave me in the same place. I know He is going to grow me and teach me to trust Him in both the peaks and the valleys. 

"Oh the depths of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!" - Romans 11:33

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ice, Ice, Baby...

Yup, I went there. Because it perfectly describes the day we spent out at the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. It was one of those days that just kept getting better and better with each introduction to what we were doing next.
First look at the glacier…and I thought this was cool

Whoa, even cooler! The Perito Moreno glacier is HUGE. It is one of the three glaciers in Patagonia that is still growing. It's 3 miles wide and rises about 240 feet above the water you see (Lake Argentina).

The glacial lakes created from the melting glacier are so blueish green due to the amount of copper (and other minerals) in the water.

You have a good view here of the rocks and dirt the glacier has picked up as it moves

Crampon time! Crampons are the metal spikes being tied to my friend Erin's show here. They are absolutely required to get a good foothold in the hills of ice we were climbing.

Glacier climbing! (done sans pickax, just a prop to make it look even cooler ;-))

Our guide showing us where NOT to step

Looks like these folks are standing on water, doesn't it? Slightly unnerving.

Our guide mentioned that they have to change up the trail/hike they do about twice a week because the face of the glacier changes that quickly. What was once safe, is now dangerous.

Nothing like a glacier inspired kick line to cap off an amazing hike!