For quite awhile, going to England had always been a desire and dream of mine. You never do know just what dreams may come true, as long as you keep believing. Here it is, the opportunity arises and so, I take it! Not only do I get to take this journey to the U.K. and Europe with my Grandfather, but with two of my close friends, Natalie and Ashley. It’s going to be an intensive twenty-one day trip of filming. We’ll be constantly on the go but we’re ready, we’ve prepared…but did we prepare for the unexpected? Before I left, I would say, “I’m going to expect the unexpected.” Perhaps it prepared me to have my mind already set on that. On the other hand, no matter what, the unexpected still seems to sneak up from behind and jumps out at you, testing your combat skills when eventually all you’re running on is this thing called adrenaline. It’s like an emergency generator when everything else is fried. The trip ended up being really successful although we definitely had a few unexpected things happen along the way. In the end, we all came out stronger than before!
On the eleventh of June, the four of us boarded a plane for London, Heathrow airport. We would spend fourteen days making a circle around the U.K. through Wales and Scotland filming for a history documentary and another eight days in Western Europe traveling from Belgium to the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and then lastly, France. If you had looked over our itinerary you would have guessed we’d be gone for a good three months. We squeezed a full-size laundry load into the tiniest washer ever manufactured. It put us through some rough spins and at times it rang out every inch of water we had left in us. For such a large amount of laundry, it had to be put on full speed and took a few extra rinses. Yes, comparing us and our trip to an enormous laundry load stuffed inside a little washer is the best analogy I have come up with yet. At times I thought we’d never get through the rinsing cycle. It was just before I thought “surely this is over”, we were slung into a vicious spin cycle that shook us bare. Don’t get me wrong, this ride was extraordinary and perfect. It was also emotionally, physically and mentally exhausting.
DEFINING MOMENTS IN LIFE ARE OFTEN TRACED BACK TO A CHALLENGE.
In this post, I’m going to share and touch on a few stories and significant moments, seconds, that made the world stop and time stand still. I knew God was going to do something big in my heart and that’s where the miracle truly lies. It’s the deep, hidden areas that get touched by the light and began to glow with a burning joy and are made secure by the names of peace and comfort. It’s God’s love poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). That’s what makes you come alive. It is what surrounds you even as the air surrounds you. His love has been poured into our hearts. Poured. Not dripped, not sprinkled, not dusted but poured. On this trip I was drawn close and held tight by this perfect love that remains steadfast. It’s not that during the hard circumstances things were made easy but that in them, God was there. Jesus was all I would ever need. For me, it was only Jesus…and He was more than enough. I can’t go into detail on everything that took place and the many stories that increased my trust and faith in His love for me, but that just means you’ll have to come over for a cup of tea and I’ll tell you all about it until your ears fall off. Usually it was the small, momentous actions that meant the most to me. Looking back, it was the tiny things that spoke volumes to my heart. To me, they were moments of signifacnce, whether it be a smile, hug, touch, or a simple word spoken at the right time. It was the German stranger who reached his arms out to you for a hug during an intense moment of complete distress. You’re standing on the side of a London highway, shaken and scared for your friend’s life as she lay in and out of consciousness on the cement of an S.O.S pull over. It’s in that very moment, the embrace of a hug is enough to say, “It’s going to be ok.” It was the poverty-stricken Hispanic woman on the bus whom you offered the little change you had with you (although not much at all) and a half-drank bottled water for her thirsty three-year-old boy. A soft smile sweeps across her young face that says “I’m grateful for you, I’m grateful for you being in my life at this very moment.”. Before she passes by to leave, she holds your face in the palm of her hand and gently looks into your eyes for a few seconds with thankfulness. A wave of satisfaction and contentment pick you up and wash you to shore, away from the unrealities of your mental absence and into a real world with real people in it. It was the little boy in the refugee camp in Germany who passes by with a German “Hallo” backed up by a curious smile, wondering what you must be doing on his side of the fence. Perhaps it’s when you’ve missed two nights of sleep and it’s about to be three because your mind just won’t settle. So you and your friend (who also can’t sleep) take a walk outside to appreciate the starry night sky. Maybe it’s the moments of laughter you have with someone that completely prohibit you from breathing and you don’t even know why it’s funny but it is when you’re a combination of sleep deprived, hungry and exhausted. It’s during those times when joy becomes your strength to keep on. It’s when you and your two friends wash clothes in the sink and hang them outside to dry only to return and find that the wind came and scattered a portion of it across the yard. It was that moment when the doctor passing by notices that you had been crying from the weight of a tough decision and stops to talk with you unprofessionally, but with sincere support and warm advice, comforting you with a hug. Because sometimes a hug from a stranger is all it takes to relieve the discomfort you feel. All of these things happened along the journey. Of course, I am unable to tell all of them but I believe these were some of the most important moments that turned the gaze of my heart and brought me closer to His heart. The heart of the King of Kings. In every situation, good or bad, Jesus is enough. When you are left with no other option but to stay the night in a McDonalds parking lot, or you’re frantically trying to get through the craziest airport in Paris and you have 45 minutes to board your flight with four-hundred people in front of you, Jesus is enough. When you’re on a narrow, winding Swiss road trying to find your next night’s stay. It’s dark, raining and your hostess won’t answer the phone, Jesus is enough. I am continually blown away by how the Lord took care of us in some difficult situations. He’s always there and it amazes me just how near He is to each of us. We must believe that He IS good. Once we truly believe and accept that He is good, it will change our perspectives and shed light on the lies we have buried deep within our souls. It sets us free from guessing, trying and striving. You can rest, because you are confident in who He is. Because it’s only Him, Only Jesus, who we truly need. I am beyond thankful for every one of these moments of joy and of chaos that brought me closer to the reality of His goodness.
WE CAN’T AFFORD TO LIVE WITHOUT KNOWING HE IS GOOD.
A song titled “Nearness” by Bethel Worship declares these words, “My heart will stay steadfast, I know that you are good.” When you don’t know where you’ll lay your head or what your next meal may be, do you know that He is good? When life hands you a bad card and your’e flawless performance is given a major plot twist, do you know that He is good? Knowing is one thing but believing is another. What we believe about God has a tremendous affect on how we live and treat other people. On this trip, I was able to taste of His goodness like never before. I was made to rely on His goodness. On this trip, my assurance in God as a Father who knows me intimately was strengthened. I am confident that this God we serve is familiar with the intricate details of our lives. He is deserving of the name “Father”, it’s simply who He is.
That’s a glimpse of the journey, but more so an expansion of the things that continue to stir my heart. I am still seeing the smiling faces of children at the refugee camp, the young mother’s eyes that searched for belonging, the truck driver who didn’t speak English but was able to give us the emergency number in a time of need, the contagious smile of the born again nurse from Zimbabwe. These faces and many more will forever be remembered.
THERE ISN’T MUCH TO BE COMPARED WHEN IT COMES TO SEEING THE FACES OF THE WORLD. TO BEHOLD IT, IS A BEAUTIFUL, FULFILLING THING AND EVEN MORE SO, TO HAVE A MOMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE WITH EACH.