This adventure has been beautiful, but deep, with it's fair share of "how the heck do we do this?" that only adventure can bring. At times, to be quite honest, this adventure was dark. Some of my darkest days were here, in this desert where yes, it looks opposite of a desert. But there is not a shadow of a doubt that Jesus led us away from our tribe, into this "desert." Not to be cruel like that can sound. Not for one second did God take joy in the need to have us weather this storm just us two. The thing is though, God knew we had to do it, just Josh and I. Never was I lonely. Was it hard and painful and down right ugly at times? Yes, to be honest it was. I am who I am, strong and full of grace, because of this desert. I know now I could have never gone through this with my dependence on our tribe. This desert was never to be cruel or to harm, it was always meant to strengthen and sharpen, and that is has.
Here, The Lord has refined us, shaped, molded, grown, challenged, and tested both of us individually and together. In ways, our faith came our stronger, in ways it hasn't. That's the truth. The truth is, there are days that the fire of refinement is still burning and God is still molding. But isn't that life here, seemingly always, until we go home? Just like in every great adventure, the darkness doesn't last long, it can't. In the darkness, you took a step of faith, one in front of the other, knowing that dawn would break, eventually. You knew, even in your moments of doubt and fear, that light would come, faithful to rise. The light dawns, the sun rises on you, warming your skin, and you are blessed with this beautiful landscape that you couldn't see in the night when you were afraid of the dark. You gasp and wonder and how you ever could have doubted that light would come and the beauty around you.
My heart and prayer in this move, as so many of you know, or have read along here with me, was to look more like Jesus. I have seen that. I have seen Jesus more. I have been tested to be more like Jesus than I ever thought He would ask me. But He is here. He is working. And He is good. Always, even when it hurts like hell.
Now I see that there is so much of me and of Josh that will be left here. Here, where we found a new freedom. The freedom to be here, right here. The freedom to be right where you are and to only be the real you. That is a gift from The Lord that set us both free. The freedom, to see your spouse in the most honest and vulnerable state, even when you don't agree or see eye to eye, and saying, "I love you, all of you" and meaning it. The willingness to share that truth or darkness, carrying each other through the night...that's true intimacy. We have learned to love each other above all else, more than you love yourself. There is no price on that freedom.