When M and I daydream about vacationing, our thoughts go quickly to visions of blankets, fireplaces, coffee, coffee, and more coffee, trees, and seclusion...the kind of place where you can see stars at night and actually hear crickets chirp. This lends itself nicely to celebrating birthdays and our wedding anniversary in the late fall/early winter months (our wedding date was chosen with this in mind...we obviously didn't get much say on our birth dates, but are not surprisingly both winter babies).
We recently found ourselves brainstorming locales to look into rental property outside of Texas. This is not to say we're rolling in the dough and relish the thought of another mortgage. But rather, we're thinking ahead and both tend to do better with a realistic goal in mind. It's easy enough to have lofty dreams of owning multiple homes, but the reality of things can quickly take the wind out of our sails if we get too far ahead of ourselves without a reality check. Looking at the soaring costs of cabins and homes in some of our favorite destinations--Redstone, Colorado Springs, Portland, Seattle, Redcrest--we admittedly found ourselves a little overwhelmed and discouraged.
Then, I got a healthy dose of perspective...
This morning, I set my alarm a little earlier than usual (and set the timer on our coffee maker as an extra incentive to actually get my butt out of bed...it worked) to spend some quiet time with The Lord. I headed out to our front porch in my robe, cup of coffee and daily devotional in hand, and sat for a while in silence. I need the silence that only morning can afford me (in absence of the discipline to shut down my busy brain after a busy day) to really listen. To hear the sweet song of birds, the gentle creak of my rocking chair, and to receive the whisper from My Heavenly Father.
And then it came to me. That wisdom from On High. ' Look! You have what you seek. Now. Available to you, every day.' I looked around, took a deep breath, smiled, and felt my eyes well up with tears. He is right. Every morning, I have the ability to sit on my front porch and experience that sense of peace: fuzzy robe, coffee, and all. Sure, it's a choice to ignore the landscaping that needs attention and the fence that needs mending (neither of which are concerns when on vacation and staying at someone else's place...even if those needs are present there as well). But even years in, there is something about that space in front of our home that feels like a haven. Some of my favorite conversations have taken place on that porch, and we've shared that space with some of our favorite people.
When I get down to it, we seek locales that make our hearts stir. For us, that generally comes in the form of lovely vistas of trees and mountains (bodies of water too, if we can swing that mix), great beverages, and cozy digs...amounting to our version of peace, really. However, I've been stirred many times while seeking His face just a few steps from our front door. With my eye focused on sites states away, I missed that.
It reminded me how often I make excuses for putting Christ on a shelf. I've developed a bad habit of waiting for just the right moment to spend time with Him, but like waiting for other aspects of our life to slow down before feeding into our relationships, we end up forsaking those we love and fail to honor or even represent where our hearts lie. What a sweet gift we've been given, and what a blessing to realize that a get-away is as close as our front porch. This little girl needed the reminder that He never leaves, and He doesn't need a majestic backdrop to show up. Indeed, any space can be made infinitely more beautiful with His presence. We need only show up.