I can hardly believe that this time last year I was kicking off my final month in Japan, nursing a sprained ankle over a missed step because I was so overcome with tears all while wearing a beautiful kimono (a memory I’ll never forget marked by my deep emotions and His deep love)!!!!
And now, I’m back in the desert with much CONTENTMENT. Ah yes, I unwrapped this precious gift a couple months ago shortly before this selfie was taken.
My Father surprised me with this one. In fact, when He gave it to me on top of this mountain, I wasn’t even sure what I was receiving but I responded with tears of joy hidden behind those big sunglasses! I’m so grateful that He knows exactly what I need.
And apart from His love, this could be the second greatest gift I’ve received.
Being back in Arizona has been nothing short of amazing…simply because when you have received the gift of contentment and circumstances would try to dictate otherwise, you cling to it with all that you have and amazing is all you receive in return.
So that being said, the last few months have had its struggles…
My job challenges my mind and emotions on every front. I deal with people at a level like never before. The financial need I tend to wears on me bringing out some ickiness within…and the ickiness I have to face in others can bring me to tears like nobody’s business…effectively dealing with mean people is a skill I’m cultivating in my new line of work!
And last month, I said good-bye to the very best of friends here. She moved on to a beautiful and exciting adventure, which took her and her husband to another state…
I decided to give e-harmony [another] go round. My three-month membership expires this Friday and in the last three months I have had no dates and am still single…that’s the short and sweet update on that!
So on the heels of my last post, with all sincerity, I can say that I am full of so much joy and peace because these are the gifts that contentment brings…
Sidebar: Except when I’m on social media…HA! Without getting into too many details but enough to keep things real here…between all that is going on in the world (since sadly, this is mainly how I know what is going on in the world)…and all that is going on in the lives of others (which of course always seems to be moving along in such a more desirable way than my own), social media can really overwhelm me with questions, and pain…and comparison and envy…and just lots of icky things…
But I’m not giving up on social media because He never gives up on me. And all those icky things surfacing through my many circumstances are working themselves out because my Father is the Giver of Grace and I am Grace’s greatest receiver.
He has given me new eyes to see the beauty of the desert like never before. What used to be dry and desolate now represents much beauty and life.
A most remarkable friend so sweetly encouraged me that “some beautiful things only bloom in this place…the cacti (so prickly) bloom too” and shortly thereafter shared this spectacular picture posted by our mutual friend on Facebook (another reason to not give it up…there is good to be had there!).
And I rest in the hope of that…that in the ickiness and prickliness within and around, beauty blooms…
There is so much life in the desert. There is so much joy found in contentment. I’m beyond grateful.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. -Hebrews 12:1-2