NOTE: We are now safely in Nebraska, so thanks be to God!
As I write this, we are crusing toward Lincoln, NE all snug in our cozy van. We are surrounded by a thick fog as we drive through the flat land of Iowa. This my dad's home state, so this is my heritage. Farm land, corn, and ice cream (Blue Bunny ice cream is made here in Iowa)!
Thanks for your prayers. So far our trip has been safe and peaceful, except for the hail storm in Minnesota (read my article about shelter at my family's blog). We are pretty healthy, still mending though. Mal is taken care of, so are the cats, at home.
I always pack WAY too much stuff to do on the trip! Oh well. At least I can't complain of being bored! I have spent most of the day reading, looking out the window, and doing computer stuff. The book I have started reading is "Mountains of Spices," sequel to "Hind's Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard. I loved the first book and I enjoying the second one. You find yourself relating to Much-Afraid/Grace and Glory throughout her journey with the Shepherd. You also cannot help wondering what your name would be if you were placed in Hunard's allegory.
As I read the story of Grace and Glory's relationship with the Shepherd, I can't help but long for a better relationship with my Lord and Savior. I want to grasp hold of the forgiveness offered to me, but I feel so underserving of His love and grace. How can such a holy God want me, a stumbling sinner bound to fall again, for His own child?
I remember a while ago I had not honored my mom and felt pretty rotten about my actions and words. I spent the evening trying to avoid anyone because of my guilt. Sitting in the library on the couch all by myself, I was full of shame. Mom called from the family room, inviting me to join the family. As I grudgingly entered the room, Mom said some kind comments to me, nothing about the situation an hour or so before, no hint of anger in her tone. I almost burst into tears. How could she speak so nicely to me? I didn't deserve to even be in the room!
I shared my disbelief and unworthiness with her and us older ones discussed the subject of forgiveness for a while. Whenever I have done something wrong, I have thought I become unlovable. But Mom shared that nothing I would do can take away her love for me. I haven't understand the unconditional love that my family has for me. But I am beginning to see the depth of their love and God's love. I just need to say to myself, "I am loved. God loves me. My family loves me."
In Isaiah 43, I am reminded of God's love and care for me through verses 1-3:
"But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
And again, the Lord says specifically in verse 4, "...you are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you..."
Dear Lord, help me to fall into Your tender arms of love and grace and rest in the peace found in You. Take my shame and throw it into the sea of forgetfulness. Immerse me the well of forgiveness and drench me in showers of mercy. Cleanse me from the sin that so easiy entangles and give me a single heart. Thank You for all You have done for me and enable to accept Your all-surpassing love. Amen.