June 20, 2006

Canaan Bound

The words with which i long to write this entry have continued to escape me, but i MUST go ahead and announce the greatest, newest, most amazing change that has come into my life. I left Hawaii, prepared only to take that next step i knew was before me...i traveled to israel. My journey there led me through lands i'd traveled before...And prepared me (though i unaware) for what would meet me in israel...or should i say...who i would meet? I think it best to say we met each other...for though friends in college...i did not expect in the least what happened when Geoff Carroll came into my life again.

It would be fair to say i'd been his secret admirer in college...though commitment to other situations kept me far from more. We ran into each other throughout our times at ACU, though we were continually passing each other as we hoped countries. My earliest memory of Geoff was hearing his name when a friend, frustrated at my inability to stay around long enough to hang out, said, "you and Geoff Carroll, just when we think you're in the country, you're leaving again!" I'd laughed then, but heard his name often enough. Considering all, we're amazed at how long we avoided each other. But let me just say...We don't plan to do that anymore ;)
Geoff is an amazing man of GOD. I have admired him for years, for good reason. Whether noticing him study in the library, or laughing at him in our Kajukembo class, or hearing of him MOST often through my friends (he has no idea how desired he was by the ladies in college...i'm SO okay with that!!), or running into him in the Bible building for inspirational conversations with friends...to my favorite...watching him overflow with joy and Love as the worship leader at Hope Church in Abilene. He is a man who seeks the heart of GOD with as much passion as anyone i've ever known. I love that about him. My common yearning for the LORD'S Graciousness draws me to him incredibly. He's a good man. I don't mind telling more about him...you'll have to call for details ;) but more than anything, i am drawn more into the LORD when around him than with anyone i've ever known...and i've known some amazing people, sisters and brothers alike! The pain of past struggles is overwhelmed when i am with him...i'm allowed to dream about all i've ever longs for...and he LOVES for me too! it's so refreshing...Redeeming even. I see JESUS in him...and that's what...rather, WHO, i long for. Blessed be HIS NAME!!!!!
Please keep us in prayer as we pursue our Master's direction. We feel very assured of HIS leading thus far (though we laugh that we had all that time at ACU and had to go to ISRAEL to figure it out!!!), and TRUST that HE will continue to make straight the way before us, as we ask for those Ancient Paths!
"...take me by my arm, Tomorrow we are Canaan bound...Where westward sails the golden sun, and Hebron's hills are amber crowned. So bid your troubled heart be still, the grass, they say, is soft and green - the trees are tall and honey-filled - so come and walk with me..."

June 10, 2006

Aloha, Hawaii...

As the sun set on my last day in Hawaii, thoughts, reflections, hopes and dreams compelled me onward to face goodbyes and "see you laters" that were harder than i could have imagined. After graduating from ACU last Spring, 2005, i had asked the LORD for time to seek HIM for healing, inspiration, direction, and vision. Considering my options i longed for either time in the mountains, or maybe the ocean; overseas, or in the states.

Dolphin Quest offered me the job in Hawaii...and i suddenly, my "retreat site" was revealed! Overseas, but in the states, i relished time in the mountains and down on the beach! Working at DQ was a valuable challenge, and resort life and i were too well acquainted very quickly. :) Though days off were relished times with the LORD, i was not making enough money to afford the VERY high Hawaiian cost of living, and Grace stepped in and i found another job...this one at night! As i've never been very good at sleeping enough, i jumped at this chance and found myself in the very hilarious situation of working with the higher class proper types by day, and cleaning grease out of kitchen hoods/filters with the most modest by night! Never have i seen guys double take so well as when they nodded a casual greeting to the hood cleaners, and then returned quickly to stare at...what? a GIRL??? honestly guys, girls can handle getting dirty every now and then. (in fact, i tend to enjoy it...although this stuff was a bit more challenging as the chemical we used BURNS!!!) Just for one more odd job, i also was blessed to entertain kids (old and young at birthday parties and such as a clown! Fun times. :) It wasn't too hard to balance these jobs, although they sometimes got scheduled a LITTLE tight...as the picture below, left illustrates. The precious japanese woman who saw me hauling in grease cleaning equipment in my classy bibs, boots and gloves while covered in clown make-up was a bit more than entertained. :) i would have cleaned my face, no doubt, but had nothing to help in my car as i changed on my way to the job! i had been at the resort next door doing a birthday party for the head chairman of Nike guy (which was hilarious) and barely made it over in time to clean my least favorite of the greases...asian food...eeeewwww...much better to eat than to scrub! Trust me!!

I was blessed to work at this job throughout my time in hawaii...and live with the family who owned the business (one of the greatest blessings of all, no doubt). I did not stay at Dolphin Quest as long, which allowed me blessed time during the day for study, prayer, and fellowship. I brought Keoni along though....my dear, dear brother in the LORD whose transformation in the LORD from the day we met to now has become one of the greatest inspirations in my life. I learn so much from him, and if my time in hawaii had been soley for the purpose of knowing him, and then knowing him in the LORD, it would have been worth a lifetime.
I was between jobs destroying this grease on my last night in hawaii when the above sunset was romancing the land. With just over an hour to spare between assignments i was driving fast to get to some of those who became the best of family in Hawaii. Reflecting on my arrival 9 months prior, the loneliness of not knowing a SOUL on the island, brought tears which flowed freely as i was now grieving deeply the impending goodbyes to those i loved - who Loved me deeply in the LORD.
Dinner, prayer, fellowship, lots of laughter...and finally tears at the necessary departure still echo in the most treasured places of my heart. The Love i was given by SO MANY in Hawaii overwhelms me still. We learned what family was, what it meant to fight for one another in the LORD. And then, after hearing more about Jerusalem than ever in my life while living in Hawaii, as we "the distant islands" rejoiced in the L-RD...i found myself on my way to this distant land. I knew not why, nor what i would do there...but was compelled by desires, events, and open doors along the way.

I went to Hawaii to be renewed...and found greater Joy, Peace, Hope, and LOVE, than i could have asked for. As i prepared to move on, i rejoiced through tears at the healing, inspiration, direction, and vision that had been granted MORE ABUNDANTLY than i could have dreamed. The blessed prayers of SO MANY whose names i could fill this page with are still in my heart, inspiring me onward as the direction of the LORD'S leading is revealed. What is waiting in Israel? Nervous, but excited i wondered about graduate school, volunteer opportunities...anything to allow me to embrace the history, culture, and people whose legacy fascinated so many of my thoughts.

Compelled by love, i listened to the song i'd learned to sing as i left yet another "home" (you know the kind..."homes" which give you a glimpse - a taste - of what HOME will be like! FULL of LOVE!) on earth, to"Follow Love" (FFH). "i'm gonna miss..." "but i know it's time to go...i must go and follow Love...i feel my heart movin' on...carry on while i'm gone...this is what i've been dreamin' of...i'll miss you so, but i must go and follow Love."

GOD is LOVE...HE is always only the ONE i follow when i go. Though at times i confuse the ancient paths with those that may appear "quicker" at times...i am learning and ever in training to pursue only that which HE has laid before me. I will fight the good fight...and by HIS Grace, through HIS Power...i will finish the race...and receive the Prize...the Prize of dwelling always - only - in HIS LOVE.

All those in Hawaii still...I miss you more than ever, and though i have seen wonders of the LORD, and returned for now from my trip to israel...i have only just begun to realize the depth to which i miss my life with you. I will post further...EXCITING...news about what events did transpire in Israel in future posts...though you may have all heard from me already. ;) I miss you very much, and long to be with you, though we are always together in HIS Spirit. May God bless you and keep you...may His face shine upon you...and give you peace...

"This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the Crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the Good Way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jer. 6:16