"My love, my love I don't want to go home now" or The God of the Desert Places
So I arrived home, super late from Spokane and it has taken until today (four days later) to actually sit down and write about my crazy adventure home. There are several reasons for this, one being that I was too emotionally raw from some crazy processing that happened on the way home and two being that I spent a few days recovering from being SOOO tired. At any rate here it is, the tail end of my trip to Spokane.
So taking 11+ hours to drive home from Spokane I had to leave super early. I left the hotel by 6am and started my long trip home. I almost ran out of gas in my haste to make as few stops as possible. I calculate gas mileage to a town but failed to remember that miles were 2.4 kms each. Thankfully I discovered this in time and was able to make a quick stop in a town I didn't expect! I also decided no matter how long it set me back I needed to stop in the desert just outside of George, WA a place that has become a spiritual home for me.There is an awfully long story about this but since it is important to why I stopped I will try to be as brief as possible. 8 year ago when I went to visit Deanna I had a mini breakdown that resulted in me surroundering my all to God in frustration only to hear the beautiful comforting words which left me shaking with awe that God was good, and safe...when I had been so sure that he was not. What happened was this I had been to TWU for 4 years learned so much, was filled so much and grew so much that when I returned to my home town of Courtenay I didn't know how to fit the new me into an old environment. I started to get apathetic and tuned out my inner world and got really busy to drown out a part of me that was dying from lack of spiritual food. I was in a dream job as a residential youth outreach worker had money and time to go on a holiday, but right as it came down to crunch time my car broke. I fell into a fairly significant depression, but because I wasn't ready to face it I surrounded myself with people so I wouldn't have to face it. The first part of my epiphany happened when my roomate came home and said, "why is it that you are never alone when I come home?" or something to that affect. I burst into tears and cried for so long. Needless to say my roomate and the friend I had over at the time were a little confused. I tired to explain it as best I could, but in the end I am sure I did a poor job. The next day I stopped, stopped running from God, stopped running from the yucky emotions inside of me and just surrendered. I prayed and gave the trip I was supposed to take to God and finally told Him I would follow him even if it meant being alone and spending sometime at home. I also spent sometime reading the Bible. I turned to passage set out for my by a reading guide I was using at that time and the verse I read just snapped me. The verse is Hosea 2 and the part that leapt off the page for me was a verse about "Therefore I am not going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her" v.14. I had assumed that my shutting out God meant that I had to give up my trip to get back on track. When I read that verse I knew that God was giving it back to me as a gift. The remainder of the verse is about how Hosea's prostitute wife (which is an allegory for Israel) wold chase after her lovers thinking that they had given her food, clothing, shelter and love....God takes away all these things (not to punish her, but to show the depth of love for her and that He would do anything for her to get her back. This verse broke my heart: "I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but forgot me". I couldn't believe that God cared how I felt and wanted me so badly that he woudl literally chase me down. This sounds like a really negative story, but the good news come with the verse I quoted above. God allured me to the desert. He did speak tender words to me. I learned that he coudl be trusted and that even the un-fun stuff was done out of love. The further good news comes from verse 15 and on but for brevity sake I won't go into it. I will just quote the last bit which is "I will show my love to the one called 'not my loved one'. I will say to those called 'not my people' 'you are my people' and they will say, 'You are my God' "
I hit my favorite part of the desert about 7 or 8am. It was so beautiful. The sun was rising over the hills and the air was cool and fresh. i stopped at my favorite rest stop viewing area and walked out towards the river. I saw a little lizard but other than that it was perfectly still. I sat on a rock jutting out near the river and read my bible, and prayed. I was just so thankful that I was there and so thankful that I had that story to remind myself of the faithfulness of God. I was also thankful that God is a God of the present and that He continually speaks. As I left the view area I began to compose a "fairytale version my story in my head. I wanted a way to tell what had happened in a concise way. I seem to have lost the motivation to sit down and write it out like that though so this narrative version is what you get instead. Somehow I think telling it as a fairytale might make it clearer but I've lost the high I had on teh road. I was listening to a CD by Bebo Norman on the way home and was so crushed by the beauty of the words he sang. He has always been a singer who for me speaks so personally and deeply. A song called, "The Middle" came on and I was blown away. I had an epiphany (seems to be my word of the year...). I have been listening to this song, and feeling it resonate in my heart. I had felt I had felt the feeling the song talked about before but I couldn't think when, and I couldn't quite tell what Bebo was going through onlly that I loved it and that it was deep and important. After sitting in the desert I realized that it was EXACTLY the feeling I had felt pre-desert melt down the first time....I WAS running away and yet I wanted so badly to be set free. Here is a link to the song....
I played the CD on repeat belting it out all the way down the I-90...I was just so giddy, that the trip seemed to fly by. I made such good time (impossibly good time I turns out). I got to the border at noon and had a ton of time. I stopped for gas at TWU after crossing in Aldergrove to stop at the Coquitlam IKEA for a friend who needed a dresser. As I hit Trinity I was further overwhelmed by how far I had come since the day I had landed on campus at 18 a broken and significantly damaged girl looking for love, but unable to get it. So much garbage fell away during those years in the furnace of TWU. I was almost weeping as I ran around campus on an adrenaline high. I must have looked like an idiot as I grinned at all the students going to class, secretly yearning to be right back where they were. I posed at every meaningful place I coudl get and used my alumni discount to by stuff at the bookstore. I was just SOOOO high on life. I was mistaken for a student at one point which made me even happier!!!! I continued to listen to Bebo Norman all the way to IKEA singing it at the top of my lungs until I felt like my heart was going to burst from teh sheer joy of it all. I literally ran around IKEA looking for the dresser Esther needed and then got back in my car to go to the ferry. Sadly I had to wait for an additional ferry and completely lost my momentum as the tiredness hit and the adrenaline high crashed. I was still thankful for the day, but it was more of a contemplative high and less of a speedy high. I made it home quite late and then crashed....it has taken four days, but i was finally ready to talk about my experience in the desert. As personal as it was, it is so dear to me I wanted to share it. I hope you can all find some joy and some hope in it.