I want to share all the ways I was overwhelmed by the goodness and grace of God.
1. I got to spend Valentine's Day with some very dear friends. Here is a photo of some of the decoration and these are the friends I got to spend it with.
I am amazed at the goodness of God for friends like these. This photo was taken several years ago.. and since then... I moved to Europe, Kristin survived some health scares and went back to school and has a new job; Sara spent 3 years in Burundi, Africa; Jamie got her degree in Interior Design, Bekah lived in Prague, Czech Republic for a couple years, then got her teaching certificate and is now teaching. All amazing women whom no men have snatched up yet! The men are missing out! And I am so blessed to have dear friends like these.
2. I got to be up on Mt. Hood on a sunny day as I drove over to Prineville, Oregon. I am amazed at the majesty of the mountains.. and even more amazed that God gave man the ability and creativity to figure out how to play on the mountains. God did not have to do that.. but for our enjoyment He did!
In Prineville, lives my adopted Dad Barry and his lovely wife Pam. I am so blessed to have them in my life. My biological father left our family when I was 12 years old. And although that is still a great loss that I feel in my life, I am so amazed that God has given me a father figure who shows me how a father should treat a daughter. It is a great physical representation of what God the father does for us. I am amazed again and again at how God fathers me!
3. I was privileged to attend the woman's retreat from my home church in Oregon. It was one of the two times that I got to see the Oregon coast this time in the states! The theme of the retreat was the Goodness of God. And I was asked to share about how I see God's goodness in the pain of being single longer than I desire to be.
I shared how I recognize the lies that Satan tries to get me to believe and how I combat them. I shared how God has shown me how He delights in me and how He comforts me and walks with me when I am just plain sad. It was so good to connect with the women in this way. We all have unfulfilled longings in our hearts and we need each other to help lift our eyes to truth.
4. I got to see the Oregon Coast TWO TIMES! There are few places more compelling for me than the Oregon coast. The ruggedness and the power of the scene draws me into praising the Lord. This photo is in Newport.
Where do you feel most drawn to praising the Lord? Do you stop and marvel at His creation?
5. My grandfather turned 90 years old in early March and I was with him on that day. 2 days later, he and my grandmother celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. There marriage is not and has not ever been perfect. But 68 years???!!! That is a long time! I could not help but stop several times and thank God for them and for my being able to celebrate with them.
One of the things that I love about my grandpa is that he very intentionally taught me how I should be treated like a lady. To the point of making me get back in the car if I got out before he could open the door for me.
Living overseas, I do not know when I will see them next this side of heaven.. and that is sad to me. So I am thoroughly grateful to the Lord for the precious time with them.
6. Also in Southern California are my Uncle Bill and Aunt Bev. Several years ago when I was wondering what God had in store for me, I seriously considered moving down to be near them. It has been two or more years since I last saw them, so it was a huge blessing to spend some time with them. Here is a photo of us, with my brother and my mother. I love it when God gives us time to connect with those we love!
He did that a lot for me this time in the states. A lot of old connections and some really great new connections. While in Southern California, my mother and I got to go to the 60th birthday party of friends that we have not seen in ages! We kids were all young together years ago. :-) So good to see you Kirkpatricks!
7. have I mentioned the amazing beauty that God gives us to see all the time? So much creativity and so many different colours! Have you ever stopped to realize that every new shade of lipstick or paint or the new season clothing colour.. is simply an imitation of the variety and brilliance of the colours that God created in nature?!
8. On my last night in the states, I went to a worship service at my home church. During my time in that service, I was completely overwhelmed by the goodness of God. I could not stop crying. Several people came and prayed for me. I was overwhelmed by the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. I was overwhelmed that I get to share this message of hope with Europeans! I was overwhelmed by the numbers of people who love me and pray for me. And how precious of the the Lord to allow me this experience before getting on a plane back to Germany.