… beauty & paradox …

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We went to bed early and woke up early.  Breakfast on picnic benches.  Walked into a forest in less than 2 minutes with grass you can walk on.  Walking trails followed by swarming mosquitoes circling and buzzing around your ears.  Fog and mist rising up from the lake, smoothing away the edge of everything.  Quietness that was not irritating because your heart was also beating in the same humming of stillness inside you.  Two of which formed a symphony when you drenched yourself into the roundness of silence.

It was a mix between structure and freedom, a mix between the messiness of wiping gravy off your child’s face and the “remain still before our King” time.  That one hour every morning becomes the prize of a treasure hunt.  We sneaked under a tree, sat on a dry patch of withered branches and pine leaves.  We bowed our heads and prayed.  Prayed for His revelation.  Prayed for Him to speak.  Prayed for our eyes to see.  Prayed for our ears to hear.  Prayed for our hearts to swing wide opened to welcome the King’s homecoming. We held our hands and walked in a pace of leisure drinking in the air and the physical company of each other.  We picked each other up, like we picked up our mugs, and without words ‘clink’ them together. It was a week that looked like this of rubbing shoulders and sharing stories with like-minded people who could ‘clink mugs’ together and create arts on grass with each other’s children.  We acknowledged we understand each other without words or long winded explanation or translation.  We shared our faith stories with one hand pushing a swing high up to the sky with the giggles of our children, with a hand on our shoulders.  That’s a community of people from around the world, literally, who understand the struggles and the victory, who could identify with the losses and gains, the tears and the joy — “BLISS”!!

An hour every morning of uninterrupted time spending with my other half near the lake was such rich grace for our minds to fathom, let alone for our physical bodies to immerse into such quietness and stillness of the surrounding.  We didn’t expect that extra hour every morning could leave us restored in ways we know not in years.  Vibrant and simple worship with a guitar and a violin, singing praises to our King with songs that pretty much on our repertoire playlist.  Freedom to worship raising up my hands and heart in that small family room with a group of people whom we have never met, yet our yearning for more of the Lord mixed with our focused intention to bless our family exclusively allow our paths crossed, our lives influenced, our convictions affirmed, our faith encouraged.

We walked on that big green patch of land, still in awe of what we just heard, and breathed out the same sentiment, “I think we are on the right track.” Not because we are smart to discern the difference between a track and a trough, but because it was not our intention to find grace in the midst of all these.  He found us!!  His grace found us like an arrow shooting right on the bull’s eyes.  Where can we hide from His presence?

Little did we know by being there was to receive the blessings from the Lord.

Little did we know by driving 2.5 hours to an unknown place for the sake of our children was to be encouraged immensely by other followers of Jesus whose walk shares so much similarity with ours.

Little did we know we would see an immense web of the Kingdom sprawling everywhere making a difference, changing lives, loving lives, adopting lives, fostering lives, embracing lives through blood and love.  I for the first time witness Kingdom Living on earth.  Each family has an intricate focus to bring upon the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.  Each family has an unique calling from the Lord who sends them out to the ends of the earth and also, at His opportune, calls them back to serve where they are.  They obey without resistance.  They obey knowing the Lord knows best.  They obey knowing it’s better to obey than to sacrifice.

Little did we know we would meet the {Joy} that has been such a significant fabric of our lives when we pay attention to every little details forming itself around us.

Little did we know His outstretched arms are holding us gently and laying us down in the cradle of His hands showing His faithfulness throughout the week.

Little did we know everywhere we turn, we would be interacting with people whose obedience serving the Lord is impacting life after life after life from which the next generation of leader is rising up and blessing them in return.  A decade of long obedience in the same direction was playing out before my eyes and inviting my heart to agree, finding myself on my knees, marveled at His faithfulness and lovingkindness to witness His fragrant calling.

Little did we know that we thought we would enter into this weeklong adventure from a distance, on a side-line, and yet we actually entered into His presence.  His love and presence was palpable to my skin, up close to my nose.  His grace fell flat on my lap.  His beauty flew like a 3 year old enjoys the motion being on the swing wanting to fly upper and higher.  For all that a child, for we are only His children, could see are trees and air, sand and water, laughter and prayers, sharing stories and sharing lives, walked journey and untraveled path.

Eugene Peterson wrote,

“Everything in the gospel is livable. And that our task was to get it lived. It was not enough that we announce the gospel, explain it or whip it up for enthusiasm for it. We wanted it lived – lived in detail, lived on the streets and on the job, lived in the bedrooms and kitchen, lived through cancer and divorce, lived with children and in marriage, lived through pain and sorrow, lived in celebration and farewell.”

We witnessed the gospel being lived out, lived out in details.  His grace is in everywhere, in everything.  His grace stands in all circumstances.  His grace fuels in every heartaches.  His grace is in the fork of the crossroads, seeking and touching our way through without sight when we are standing on the height of a mountain, finding our ways to come down.  His grace pours like monsoon rain in Cambodia and leaves not a strand of hair untouched.

It wasn’t a week of thunder-clapping revelations, but rather a week of confirming what we have been seeking, both prayerfully and life-living out, are normal to many people with whom we are journeying on together.  By being up there intentionally for a week reminded us that our work is not over.  God has a magnificent plan we know not at the moment, to which we feel completely secure by not knowing,  but simply waiting.  And not only does He have a plan for later but He’s here with us in the now; and gracious in giving us months of time and lavishing space to transition and integrate into a state of ‘new’ horizon.  That He is waiting for us to swim up to the shore and greet Him, especially when we are all wet and tired but we are alive all because of His grace we breathe in and the praise we breathe out.

We were being ministered, renewed and refueled and to allow absolute strangers (yet we are all in the Body of Christ) to share our hearts with and to know that our stories were heard.  We are so grateful for all that are coming, for the good, the great, the bad, and the ugly; the full paradoxical story only our Lord could have written out and put our names alongside His.

 

It’s there in the newborn cry

It’s there in the light of every sunrise
It’s there in the shadows of this light
Your great grace

It’s there on the mountaintop
It’s there in the everyday and the mundane
There in the sorrow and the dancing
Your great grace

Oh, such grace

{From the creation to the cross
Then from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me}

It’s there on a wedding day
There in the weeping by the graveside
There in the very breath we breathe
Your great grace

Same for the rich and poor
Same for the saint and for the sinner
Enough for this whole wide world
Your great grace

Oh, such grace

There in the darkest night of the soul
There in the sweetest songs of victory
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

Your great grace
Oh, such grace
Your great grace
Oh, such grace

So I’m breathing in Your grace
And I’m breathing out Your praise
I’m breathing in Your grace
Forever I’ll be
Breathing in Your grace
And I’m breathing out Your praise
I’m breathing in Your grace
Forever I’ll be
Breathing in Your grace
And I’m breathing out Your praise
Breathing in Your grace
For our God, for our God

Yes, Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

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