When the road stretches almost as far as heaven

When I was young, I always dreamt of owning a Combie and for a short time I did! It wasn’t the one you see below……

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Mine was the good old split screen.. in Canary Yellow.

 Those of you that know ‘Combies’ will know just how cool that is! I paid a whole $600 for it. A steal at that price! It was so old and needed so much work but it was mine and I loved it….well I loved it long enough to realise it was a dream that wasn’t so important and I could let go of it, so I did.

Dreams

WE ALL HAVE THEM

Big ones, little ones.  Some realised, some awaiting fruition and some we’ve had to leave behind for one reason or another.

Happy to leave my ‘Combie Dream’ by the wayside, I QUICKLY moved on to a more reliable means of transport as this was going to take a labour of love to keep alive.  I decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

The Combie in the photo below was much newer than mine and belonged to my daughter’s friend. Here they are setting off to follow their dreams. An adventure that took them across the other side of the country.  

Young ones full of hopes and dreams, fun and laughter seeking a future of their own.

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I love that about Youth

When we’re young the world is our oyster and anything seems possible. So much to do, so much to see. It’s all just one brilliant adventure!

In no time at all, daughter number one had made a new life in the east, met the man of her dreams, returned later to the West to marry ‘said’ man under  Mulberry tree found deep in the South. Then together, travelled back east to buy their first little home of their own,  2000 miles away from where their lives began.

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A lovely little real life fairy tale!

I look at them and wonder at their story, almost a mirror image of my young adventures. When I was young I did the very same thing. Leaving what I knew and venturing alone into the world, searching for my own dream.

Living in the east I was about to follow one of my dreams to ‘sing for Jesus’.  Ready to set off with a group called the Continentals, when suddenly I was interrupted by ‘the man of my dreams’.  Another dream shelved in order to take up the ‘get married, settle down build a house dream’. Very exciting for a young 22 year old.

Here we are almost 30 years later and still in love

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I married ‘the man’ and before I knew it, son number one arrived.

Although I left behind the ‘singing dream’ I’ve been blessed to sing my way through life. Nothing fills my heart more than this but these days most of the time it’s just me sitting by piano bearing my heart in song to a loving Father God, ….worship keeps me close. I never want to be too far from him.

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Italy cottage

But the cottage dream never came and the next 25 years is history. A life in ministry.  Cottage dream took it’s rightful place down the ladder of importance as following ‘the call’ rose to first place.

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Along came Son one, daughter one, two, three and finally son two, five in all. Little happy faces to fill my cottage dream.  Life rolling on, ministry highs and lows, family adventures, weddings, funerals, holidays and then ‘the dreaded accident’. An unexpected curve in the road.

persevering through the promise

I desperately longed to have a home of my own like all my friends but somewhere along the way I lay it carefully down in the heart of my ‘hope’ drawer, trusting it into God’s care. Over the years he’s reassured me that ‘he sees’ and ‘he knows’.

And now, I sit at my computer in this new little borrowed home in the city, i’m half a century….. Looking back, not regretting and even thankful for the journey. I don’t understand it, I wouldn’t choose it, but I’m thankful because he knows best and he can be trusted.

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But then the questions?

What if I’d worked harder for a cottage dream, a little less for other things. Does God really care about this? What if I’d pushed it up the ladder of, ‘what about me priorities’ then maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t be living in someone else’s cottage dream. Better still, what if I could really ‘let go’ I wouldn’t have to sit here trying to turn down the sound of this old broken record sounding out discontent, discontent, discontent.

I tell myself again

“it’s not important, let it go, lay it down, bury it once and for all, lay a flower by it’s graveside”

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And yet, on too many occasions to count, I’ve felt encouraged not to lose hope. Not to give up. The ‘God Promise’ is real, wait for it…

tho it tarries, it will come

Maybe you have a promise.  No matter how big or small, trusting God for what seems like an eternity isn’t easy.  You know all too well that right next door lives a dreaded enemy, ‘hope deferred’.

Maybe you too have struggled to hold onto your promise, to persevere through adversity, to trust that God is able, to trust Him to keep you when your heart feels sick, hope deferred sick.

Maybe like me, you’ve watched joy leak away

year by year

tear by tear

but don’t you know he bottles your tears?

“You keep track of all my sorrows….
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.”      

Psalm 56:8

 DON’T GIVE UP….he sees, he knows

For me, leaving it all behind, spent years labouring in the vineyard and coming back to my home town, seeing family and friends who have prospered in earthly possesions unearths this ‘hope drawer’ dream and makes my lack ‘seem’ larger and this journey just a little harder. When I hear conversations of new homes, renovation plans, plans to build or buy yet again my heart hurts with an all too familiar ache and I try to hide the way I feel, telling deferred hope, again, to take a hike!

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I can remember when we started our life together, my lover and friend would say “we’ll build God’s house and he’ll build ours” and so that’s just what we did. We chose God’s house as our abode and I’m still choosing every day to say to deferred hope

“that choice was the right choice”

And despite words of doubt that try to steal my peace and my confidence in Him I’m holding on to hope looking at all the good he has given me here and now! If I open my eyes wide enough I can see it and the sound of the broken record grows

weaker

weaker

weaker

And I can hear hope growing

stronger

stronger

stronger

Not in the sense that I’ll get what I want, but that whatever the outcome, it will be good. He is always good.

“Store up treasure in heaven where moth and rust can’t corrupt” and I’m not sorry for this life well lived.

so what now

How does one reconcile a broken dream, a hurting heart in the midst of all this letting go, all this giving up? Dream slip further out of reach and yet ‘God promise’, underserved favour is still an ever present truth in the life of one who believes and when I see and hear of promise fulfilled, of His goodness and kindness to others that have gone before. I’m encouraged.

When I started writing this, it was the beginning of LENT and now it reminds me that Resurrection Sunday is coming.

cross

I can vividly remember my last lent memory, almost 2 years ago (2012).  Giving up something we loved for the cross. It was just days before we left for Malaysia. We kept to our ‘lent promise’, that was until the accident.  But I guess, without realising, lent kept going as a natural dying of many things took place.

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For the man in my cottage dream, so much more, but we’ve both watched things go, slowly slip away, if only for a season.  Ministry, career, financial security, familiar friends, a church family,  a wonderful school community and a good life in the country.  Instead of the comfort we knew, we’re staring down the barrel of government support, doctors, surgeons, hospitals, pills, a meagre wage and a tired little cottage with a grumpy landlord and I’m longing for resurrection day.

Will there be a resurrection day for us?

Dreams coming to life – health being restored?

Pope Francis said,

“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.” 

Well I’m awake. Wide awake.

Lent aside, I’m wide awake waiting for resurrections Sunday. 

Maybe this is resurrection?

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There’s joy to be had on any journey if one would just look.  I look and see all His goodness. It isn’t quite what I expected and I’m asking God, “are you sure you got this right?”  Perhaps THIS is the blessing and things are just a little out of focus…..

I’M AWAKE….resurrection awake…looking for You, I’m seeing you.

Help me see more clearly

Dare I believe that a Resurrection ‘Day’ is coming, new life is coming?

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I dare. This is faith. This is hope. This is love. To love Him even in the midst of trials. To trust him even for health, for a silly cottage dream. Dare I even let anyone know that I believe….what if I don’t see things I hope for?

“Come what may, I will love You till my dying day”

Sounds dramatic I know, but I can still see Nicole Kidman on the movie screen singing her song of love and I can remember thinking right there and then “come what may God, promise or no promise, I’m gonna love you till my dying day”.

dare I believe that

“they that sow in tears will come again with joy bringing sheaves with them”?

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“I dare”

Ann Voscamp said in her book 1000 Gifts, “God Reveals himself in review mirrors, and there are times when we need to drive a long, long distance before we can look back and see God’s back in the rearview mirror.  Maybe sometimes about as far as heaven – that kind of distance.”

“even if this road stretches as far as heaven”

 http://onethousandgifts.com

What if my road stretches as far as heaven?

Can I still trust that he knows best?

Life like an open book, I share my heart, I hope His words can be read in me. I’ve made a choice to walk this road with joy and like Kari Jobe sings “even when it’s hurts, even when it’s hard, even when it all just falls apart, I will run to you cause I know that you are, lover of my soul healer of my scars….you steady my heart”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0ip40j82ws&feature=kp
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10 thoughts on “When the road stretches almost as far as heaven

  1. “Can I still trust that He knows best” dear Steph you know that you can. The two thoughts that come to my mind as I read your heart felt writing is a) God is not a God of lack. You will lack no good thing because God is good and He loves you and b) He WILL give you the desires of your heart.

    You and the family are in the palm of His hand and that is the very best place to be. Love you and prayers being sent up right now for your heart to be at rest.

  2. Beautiful Steph…. So honest, raw and poignant… Yet utterly inspirational … We all have times when the road seems long and sometimes heaven feels like brass … And we do sow in tears … BUT … The morning cometh! Thank you for reminding us all once again of His Divine Promises…. Thankyou Jesus that precious bro Noel’s life was spared… And the kids too… And that there’s opportunity at this stage to start afresh … Maybe just for a season … But truly, our lives are certainly in His big strong wonderful hands. His plans are GOOD! The devil tried to steal it away BUT God stepped in! The healing will make everything far stronger than ever before. Continue to trust and obey. As you always do. The rain is coming sister. Trust and obey. Love you guys so much. So grateful the planets lined up so we could meet. The latter is always more fruitful than the former. Xxx

  3. Thanks Shaz. It’s scars me a bit being vulnerable but I figure there are people out there who may need to hear our stories…if it can help and encourage just one person it’s worth it!

  4. Love reading your blog and hearing your story. I to have wondered if I should lay it down, bury it, let it go. But I find peace when I count the gifts and find the essence of the dreams in small ways and in unexpected places.

  5. Good onya Steph for telling it how you feel. You are vulnerable and childlike, stong and courageous at the same time complete with rock solid faith and trust in our Lord. You are inspiring and encouraging to us as we are in God’s waiting room too and have been for around 5 years. This too shall pass. Amen!
    Thank you. Bless you. And may the Lord grant you the desires of your heart or at least convert them to His desires and will.
    Love and admiration, Robin xx

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