I stood on the jetty last night and watched as the ocean waves came crashing against the rocks in front of me and to the sides of me. I pointed my toes out to sea and pretended like I was on a boat where adventures were a daily commodity and I let the wind slap my clothes against my body. It seemed to me that every rock around me was being drenched by the dark waves except my rock, my safe haven. And as I was breathing in the salty air and listening to the tune of the waves I reflected on a full year since I had stood in that position last. The last time I stood on those rocks I barely knew what an adventure encompassed in all of its entirety. The last time I stood on those rocks I barely knew what it meant to firmly believe in truth and not just know it. The last time I stood on those rocks I was one year younger, and as a good friend of mine always puts it, "I wasn't older then, but I'm older now." I have learned so much in one year and yet as I stood on those rocks I had to remind myself that it was all real.
It's crazy that when you come back to the same place you grew up, things seemed to have stood still. My good 'ole buddy Ben Howard sings, "Seems everything around here stays like stone." We find ourselves tempted by the same demons, we find all of our old insecurities and fears kick in, and we feel governed by what we used to be. I think that's part of the reason why I associate God with certain places. I think that since most of my growth happened in Indiana that is where my strong relationship with God is waiting. And I come home for the summer to my California God, the one that isn't quite as strong or filling. Or for some people they found God in college and go home and it feels like He's no longer around. That tells me now that I was looking to be filled in the events and the people around me instead of by a God in relationship. I stood, watching as the dark waves turned white with froth when they smashed into the rocks. I gazed at the city lights making their own horizon, and had to remind myself of the truth as I felt the old feelings of discontentment, restlessness, and self-righteousness come creeping back.
My God is always with me, in relationship, not in event, not in places, not in circumstance. He is not a God waiting to be seen in adventures, in friendships, in church, in the corn fields of Indiana or the oceans of California. He is a God that experiences all of those things with us, pretty much the best traveling buddy we could ever want. And He reminds us of our growth, He was there when we were challenged by close friends who aren't around anymore, He was there when we experienced great triumphs, great heartaches, and great life moments. He is the Truth that we carry with us at all times and even though things feel stagnant in one place and not another, God is the one who allows life to move, all we need is to look to Him. He speaks the language of love and truth in a broken home flowing with hurtful language. He allows hearts to smile with contentment in old places where anxieties and worries are kings and queens. He gives purpose and hope in the dark tunnels and the ever enduring struggles of past reminders. He breathes life into lungs in the land where exhaustion runs rampant. In places where we have been searching, He is found. That is the reality of our God, and that is the reality of our relationship with Him.
i stood on the rocks not as the same old Amber who has gone to college and is now home, but as the Daughter of God who has experienced lasting change rooted in the Spirit and rooted in Truth. And now the reminding part of the walk begins.