Looking Back

Trip Start Mar 27, 2009
Trip End Apr 11, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Indiana
Sunday, April 12, 2009

With each new journey comes more lessons I learn about myself and this incredible world which surrounds me. I see great places, meet lovely people, and know more about who I am. It seems that each travel experience shapes me, challenges me, and teaches me to trust my Lord in new ways. This journey to Australia is no different.
Before I came I had not traveled on my own. Although I was sure it would all work out, I was also challenged to leave behind my old way of doing things. My mind had a tendency to rely on others for comfort, companionship, and direction. Alone, I find myself tuning in more to my Lord, His plans for me, and how I will walk alongside of Him in my journeys. It is definitely different, but oh so good. I find new ways to see the world, experience new situations, and broaden my horizons. I have a feeling traveling solo is something I will again embrace.
I've learned much about strangers, and how quickly they can turn into close friends. In one moment you know nothing of them, yet you meet eyes and know that you will experience connection, conversation, and companionship. You smile, you laugh, and you fall for each other. Not a falling in love kind of thing, but a falling into friendship. It's precious, it's real, and it challenges you as a person.
The challenge comes because in this new friendship you can be whomever you choose. There is no one to set boundaries or determine personalities. Will I be my age? Will I be young and in love? Will I be married but separated? Will I be me? Will I be the me I have always dreamed of? What if the me I am is the me I have dreamed of? Maybe I will be her. Petty questions, but ones that bring new life.
With each encounter, I was able to shed a layer of me, leave it on the table, and maybe even let my new companions examine it a bit. Do they like me? Do they not? That has already been determined at first glance, after that initial meeting. Our friendship is already determined, not dependent. So I do not have to be anything else but the woman I am, the woman I desire to be. Me. Realizing more and more, I might even like the me I see.
Being away also forced me to think about my life as a whole. I am perplexed at how I got to this point, but realize it's not such a bad place to be. Even though My Love is gone, the life I have yet to live can still be full and rich. My love can be content because my love can be found in My Lord. He will meet me in a cool dark night, he will meet me in a lonely street corner, or even a deserted beach. He will surround me not just with His arms, but with His world. A precious world I am grateful to see. How can I not be content in that? How can I not stand before my God thankful for His abundance.
Circumstances, they will change throughout the course of my life. I will have years of joy, and seasons of sorrow. I will be able to stand on mountaintops, and fall tumbling into valleys. Who am I when I get to the bottom? Am I the same person who was standing at the highest peak? Does it matter who I am? It does, it definitely does.
Life is short, the last several years have taught me that. In a blink of an eye, time passes, life changes, foundations crumble. What I thought was real, can seem only an illusion. I can sit in the theater downcast and broken, I can wallow in the valley, or I can learn from it all. I can allow defeat to destroy me, or I can realize that the battle is not my own. I can stand up more determined than ever. As I stand I am not bruised and beaten, but somehow stronger than I have ever been. My God reminds me that things are not always how they seem.
Hillsong reminded me on Good Friday, that the reality of what God is doing can be confused by what we think is happening. As Jesus died on the cross those looking on had to feel like it was over, their hope demolished. When I look at my life, that same despair can set in. My hopes, my dreams, my love, somehow gone in the blink of an eye. Nothing makes sense, nothing feels right about it, but from the details we can see, things do not look good. God, has He turned His back on my life, on the marriage He designed, on the family He put together? Everything in me shouts that my Lord does care, He is working, and He has not turned His back on me. In fact everyday He beckons me with the question, will I believe? My reply, Oh Lord, Help me overcome my unbelief. Teach me to have the faith You long for and desire.
I'm thankful that I know that Jesus did not stay in the grave. I'm thankful that I know He is alive and at work. The perception of His defeat, was not reality. This is also the case in my life. How good it is to know the hope of my salvation and the way my life rests in His constant care. Nothing is out of His control, even when it appears that Satan has won.
It is in this knowledge that I now better understand Jesus when He begged us not to worry, not to be anxious, and to continually pray and petition Him for our requests. It makes sense that a world designed by the hand of God can also be orchestrated by him. I don't understand why He allows us to make such destructive choices, or why He allows pain and suffering, but all I know is that He is God and He can be trusted.
So my time in Australia was filled with reminders. From the moment I got off the plane He showed me the body of Christ is everywhere and is reaching out on His behalf. He taught me to step out in faith, even when the actions might go against my human nature. He taught me that tears, can be okay, and I don't have to always run from them. In those moments He talks to me, He guides me, and He shows me the way He wants me to go. When I listen, instead of screaming out in anguish, He blesses me. He gives me exactly what I need, and He blows me away with His goodness.
Australia was not a trip filled with unbelievable sights. Instead it was a trip filled with an unbelievable God. I was surrounded with His captivating love. He knew the exact thing I needed. I didn't need incredible pictures to hang on the wall, or romance to tickle my heart, I needed to be shown the mighty hand of God and the incredible way He can be trusted with my life.
Sydney was delightful. The Great Barrier Reef was incredible. White water rafting was a rush. Cape Trib was interesting. Yet, the Normans were a gift from God. Rachel was a complete blessing. The experience of walking with my Lord, something I hope to never forget. As I head back home, may I remember how to breathe in and out in line with my Savior. May I be the Kelli Anne Curtis He created me to be, and marvel at the way He can transform me into His image. Lord, let me look like you. Wherever I may be, let me look like You.
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