Painting Pictures

We love a good “cwaft” at our house. Recently, the boys and I painted some sea creatures and shells. You have never seen a more colorful or glitter-covered turtle or whale before in your life. Eli named his the “blue glitter spotted turtle,” a fitting name for such a strange little creature.

But that’s not all I have been painting lately. I wish I could say I have been catching up on painting bathrooms or bedrooms, but I have been doing no such painting. I have been painting mental pictures lately: of apple orchards and cool weather and close friends close by. Maybe it’s been the 100+ degree heat in September or the fact that life has slowed down enough to let the reality of moving across the country sink in, but I have find my mind and heart wandering from where we are to where we have been.

Sara Groves has a song called Painting Pictures of Egypt that perfectly describes what I realized yesterday that I have been doing this week.

“I don’t want to leave here
I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me either way.
The places I long for the most
are the places where I’ve been
they are calling after me like a long lost friend.”

It’s not that we don’t love it here. We love our church and it is a great fit for who we are and what we do. We are learning so much here and God has met our stepping out in faith with so much more of Himself. It’s just that it’s not comfortable yet. It may never be. It’s not the mountains, and we can’t just hop in the car to see family and friends who have known us through so many seasons of life. And having your children ask about their best friends and when they will see them again is enough to break any momma’s heart.

But we didn’t sign up for comfort or normal. We want to follow where God calls us and live for a different kingdom. We want to be on the edge of the kingdom of God, we want to see His name and fame push into new places, new hearts, and into our hearts in new ways. I love the chorus of the Sara Groves song:

“I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacked
The future seems so hard and i want to go back.
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I’ve learned
And those roads were closed off to me when my back was turned.”

It’s okay to miss home and comfort and the familiar. But the lord reminded me yesterday that I have been romanticizing it in my heart and mind. It’s okay to visit there in my mind, but it’s not okay to live there. My mental painting has kept me from enjoying God and others right here where He has me.

Like the ancient Israelites, I have been looking back and forgetting all He has done to bring me out and start me on a new journey to an even broader place. Oh for eyes that gaze long into His eyes and are enabled to see what does not yet exist, for a heart that trusts His gracious plan to bring us into more and not less.

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