G’Joe and I got home Monday morning from our trip to San Diego (after our first red-eye flight; now I get the nomenclature). We were so thrilled to be home and see the boys who were just languishing without us (think weeping, gnashing of teeth, and other dramatic signs of sheer depression). Oh, wait, the boys told multiple people that we missed them “a yot” but that they did not miss us yet. That, combined with the facts that my mother told us they hardly even asked about us and that the first thing they said to us was, “What are our prizes?” led us to believe that contrary to our fears, the boys were just fine without us! Although, I must say that it was so sweet to have both Ty and Eli, at separate times and on a few occasions, run up to me, hug me, and say, “I miss you.” Either way, one thing is for sure, we missed those little boys!
As I look back on our time in California (which was spent mostly meeting with and getting to know members and pastors of Harbor Church to prepare for some spring break trips out there) one verse keep coming to mind. Psalm 16: 3: “As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.” I don’t mean saints in the Roman Catholic way (though I do laugh every time my mother repeats, “Sister Mary Bonaface, Help us find a parking space”… once Catholic, always Catholic). I mean it more in the sense used in the Scriptures (all those who rely on the Lord for life, those far from perfect, but trusting in the Perfect One). The couples and families we met there were no different than any other Christians, in the sense that they were fallen, human, limited; however, it was so sweet to travel all the way across the country and find people who were fellow saints and strugglers, desiring to live out the life of faith modeled by Christ in the heart of San Diego.
The Lord was so gracious to bless our time with Stephen and Bradford Phelan and their three kiddos. We loved getting so much extended time hanging out with them, laughing, talking about family and faith, and getting to see their city and their lives. A few highlights from our time:
1) It was restaurant week (who knew?) which means we ate at ridiculously awesome restaurants (think overlooking the Pacific Ocean) for less ridiculously high prices! Sushi, Italian, authentic Mexican food, you name it… definitely gained a few lbs; totally worth it!
2) Seeing God’s handiwork. We hiked in Torrey Pines (which is right next to the golf course where the PGA Championship will be this week, I think). Unbelievable (except for the part where G and I lost track of time, thereby having to run the entire trail back to the car because we were, quite literally, running late!). Looking from the top of this cliff, you could see so much of the city. Made me think of Nineveh.. that great city, where people do not know their right hand from their left. Heartbreaking.
3) Worshipping at Harbor Mid City. It was so sweet to see what God is doing in San Diego. He truly is bridging cultures and socioeconomic and racial lines. We sang half of the worship songs in Spanish, half in English. There were wealthy people there and also homeless people. Challenged me to ask, “What risks am I taking for the gospel?” Sweet little glimpse of Heaven where there will be every tribe, every nation, every tongue!
4) The seals. We saw seals in their natural habitat. The biology nerd in me was totally foaming at the mouth. Hundreds of them, just hanging out on the beach, playing in the water. Is it weird that I was more excited than Ford and Milly (the Phelan’s 4 year olds)?
5) So much time getting to partner with my husband (obviously, these are not in order of importance!). What a treat to get to meet students together, explore a campus together, travel together. Definitely a gift, not a right.
I am so thankful that, from time to time, the Lord pulls us away from the normal flow of life in order to refresh us, renew our perspective and send us back in.