Saturday, January 3, 2015

the french countryside and God's love

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." -Psalm 139:7-10

By choice and by grace and by the sheer weight of real life, eventually it is love that reveals our true identity.

I know this because as I am on a plane, high above the Atlantic ocean, with my children snug in beds back home, I am a woman shaped by who she loves and who loves her in return.

I slipped my hand into Mr. Fantastic's as we boarded the plane, and laid my head on his shoulder when we sat down. Somehow, we are still young and in love, alit by feelings fresh and new, even though the tide of middle-agedness is pulling us away from the shores of youth.

I wonder how we have managed to do this right, to let victorious love form our souls, instead of all the nasty moments when love has failed us, when life has worn us out, when we have failed each other.

Slowly, slowly, the hard edges are eroded by the surpassing greatness of our God. He is a good Father, indeed.

I miss my little people, hanging here from the clouds encircling the globe. I miss warm hands pressed to my face after bedtime prayers; cheeky laughter at a new, mildly inappropriate lunchtime joke; the way they need me; how they look at me. I am mystified by the way they see me differently than how any other human being ever has and ever will. I'm not a woman or a person or even a being to them. I am just... theirs.

I love that most days. But occasionally it's good to remember that it hasn't always been that way.

Who we are can't be compartmentalized into titles like "mother", "father", "wife", "husband", "friend", or even "woman" or "man". It can't be summed up in achievements or duties or ideas or emotions. We are all so much more than what we do and think and feel. We are more than the perceptions and expectations of others, and than performance or our appearance.

We have been made by a God who is Love, and our existence and purpose are completely wrapped up in the intangible beauty of who He is.

The lesson is beginning to finally sink in.

Love formed the days when I was a little girl full of fears and cheeky laughter of my own. Love birthed the moment when I met the God who would become my everything. Love wove the lonely days of waiting for a man who would choose me every day, for all his days. Love drew the lines along the long nights of caring for babies and the tedious days of schooling children. Love sang the song of the dark days of loss and confusion, the blessed days of joy and epiphany, and every day in between. Love has brought me these days we have in France, and all the days to come after.

We landed in Paris and ate a charming meal at a quiet cafe before taking a train to the south, to Provence.

Today we climbed a mountain with a view of the valley on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. The wind was fierce and great gusts nearly knocked us over. We are surrounded by beauty, and the view of my soul here is almost as clear as it was from that plane.

I gazed out on places I have never seen before, foreign lands I never imagined I would ever see. I can hardly believe I am here, and yet I know for certain that God is here.

There is nowhere I can go that He is not. The assurance of His presence proves what is most real, and it is only when I know that He loves me, that I know who I really am.

Love weaves and breathes and lights. The darkness can't comprehend it, the unknown lands can't hide from His loving eye. Every day, for all our days, may Love reign over the land of our souls. Amen.

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