O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Psalm 63: 1-2
Last August my husband and I went on a totally random trip. It was unplanned and spontaneous. Actually we had discussed the possibility of going on a camping trip but being practical we decided that we just could not afford it.
So………we had spent the weekend at my sister’s babysitting nieces and a nephew. It was 2 weeks after having received some very devastating family news that we knew was going to drastically change our lives. It was late on a Sunday afternoon. We got in our car with newly washed laundry and packed bags. We had our laptop and two changes of clothes in our bags. Neither one of us had a job to go to for a full week. We looked at each other and as soon as it came time to make the turn to head home, my husband looked at me and said, “Do you wanna go home?” and I said, “No.” So he turned right instead of left and we both started laughing.
It was the first time that we had done anything spontaneous like that in many, many years. Our lives had been filled with one responsibility after another for as long as we could remember. All we had known for so long was responsibility. It had almost gotten to the point where if we did not have an obligation or duty that was calling to us we would try to create one. Well, in about 2 hours we were in Oklahoma. We spent the night in Oklahoma and the next morning my husband asked me… “How far do you want to go?” and I said, “I wanna go to Maine.” So we bought a U.S. atlas and off we went.
We took pictures at every state line with me standing or sitting beside the state marker. It wasn’t until we reached Ohio that we finally faced the fact that we could not make it to Maine and be back home in time to meet the obligation that we had on Sunday. We had our limitations and after a certain amount of driving every day we had to stop and rest. We considered canceling our Sunday obligation and continuing on to Maine but then we decided to turn back South. I don’t know why it is so important for me to chronicle our journey but on the way to the North we went via Oklahoma-Missouri-Illinois-Indiana-Ohio-Pennsylvania. We started heading South in Pennsylvania and went back via West Virginia-Virginia-Kentucky-Tennessee-Alabama-Mississippi-Louisiana and back into Texas.
What are my best memories of the trip? My husband and I talking and talking about things that we had never talked about before in our many years of marriage. Praying with my husband at a ratty motel in Ohio that smelled like Lysol and in my mind’s eye as we prayed seeing a bright yellow laser light shining from heaven and illuminating us. That is the night we decided to start heading back South. Crying for a long time and getting so depressed when we turned back South because I knew that again I was not going to make it to Maine. Reading Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts and starting my own list of gifts. It was so easy to work on that list on the way North but then when we turned South it became very hard.
One of the things that really stood out with me was the change in the scenery. We started in Texas where the temperatures had been in the high 90’s and 100’s for months and there had been very little rain. Texas landscape at its best is not very pretty. The trees are short and the vegetation is dry and dead unless it has been purposely watered.
As we went North, the temperatures became milder and the vegetation became more beautiful, fuller and taller. As we drove, we passed field after field full of tiny white flowers. I had never driven farther North than Arkansas.
After we turned back to the South, the scenery became less and less luxuriant and the temperatures started to rise again. When we crossed the border back into Texas it felt to me like we had entered hell. Somehow God broke through my self-pity and I wrote in my journal “Thank you God for this dry, thirsty, ugly land”. All of a sudden I heard Him speak to my heart and say, “You were once a dry and thirsty land”…. At once I was very humbled and realized that I had been and still am “dry and thirsty land” in so many ways. In need of the “living water” that only He can give me. It also reminded me of Psalm 63. Here is the rest of the psalm….full of promises not just for me but for all of us in whatever situation that we are in.
3 Because Your loving kindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
8 My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.
May you be filled with the “Living Water” today. May those dry and thirsty places in your heart be satisfied and beautified today.
Godspeed to you,