Lately I have been so distracted. I don't think I have ever felt this kind of distraction in my life. I don't mean that I have been procrastinating or just simply pushing things off, but rather I have had such intense thoughts running through my mind that I have struggled to keep them all on the right track. I'm sitting at my computer (immense amount of work ahead of me, lingering work still behind me to be caught up on) trying to do something productive today, and I catch myself gazing off into the distance thinking about the lyrics to a Phil Whickam song, or a hurting girl in the house I'm currently in that I need to pray for, or a multitude of other issues that have nothing to do with the report on my computer screen that has yet to be written. And, in the midst of trying to fill my day with the busyness of work in an effort to intentionally distract myself from anxiety, I have found myself wrestling back and forth with myself on why I can't just keep it straight. Okay, one thing at a time.

I'm going to try to explain myself in some kind of organized fashion, so that even though my mind is a jumbled mess, you may in the end come out understanding what it is I'm talking about. I'll share two things that keep surfacing among all the other thoughts and have weighed heavy on me recently.

God is huge. Yes, He's always been huge -- Creator of the Universe, all knowing, never changing, promise maker and keeper, could destroy me in an instant but mercifully chooses not to -- and yet for some reason His strength and power never really hit me. It's like bricks now and it's hit me hard. I can't stop thinking about How powerful God is, and better yet, my time in His word recently has been cut short because upon reading a few verses I am stuck in a thought processes that I only come out of when ten minutes later I suddenly realize I'm sitting in a hotel lobby. It's like His words have become so much more amazing to me that I can't even comprehend all of it, so I end up processing through a tiny portion of it for days.

I'm desperately restless. Currently, I have stopped twice already while writing this to process through a conversation I just had with a good friend and how God is moving in her life. Suddenly a new thought: God's grace extending to Haiti that He would allow a place of suffering to suffer more in order to bring attention to it, and in turn, God is glorified by people suddenly reaching out to serve a place that has always been in need. New thought: I have so many notes to type up and a meeting in 20 minutes. Next thought: I'm heartbroken... asking God to be my everything. Next thought: I wonder what time my flight is on Monday? This is seriously how my mind has been functioning for the past 2 weeks, see what I mean by jumbled mess? I think this goes back to my realization that God is bigger than a quiet time, a worship song, and definitely bigger than my emotions. "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). He is before us, knowing our steps before we take them because He's the one who placed them there, yet simultaneously, He is with us, in the thick of it with each of us, holding us together because we are too weak to carry it on our own. The Christian life is one of constant breaking and mending back together. Breaking and growing. Breaking and maturing. I am broken as I realize that physical death and the shedding of blood of a human man (who also happened to be fully God) paid the price for my sin. And yet I am perfectly stitched up because He did this out of love. Like I said, God is huge, and way beyond what my mind can comprehend.

"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." CS Lewis

How appropriate. I am constantly on the road, from hotel to hotel to chapter house and back to a hotel, living out of a suitcase and eating bad oatmeal for breakfast, all so that God can refresh me on the journey with something so pleasant as snow fall on the mountain. Snow like powdered sugar dusted on pine trees and campus buildings, my lungs breathing in cool and clean air. Those are the kind of moments that I live for on the road. The times when I can stop and thank the Lord that I am in Arizona and it is snowing, filling me with so much joy because in the midst of beauty also came altitude sickness and fire alarms at 2 am, at which point I know all I can do is laugh, because my life is good. But even among the adventures and the challenges I'm reminded by CS Lewis that God will not encourage me to hold this place too close, mistaking it's beauty for a place far better -- home.

Even though I long for home, I have to remember that in His infinite mercy, God chooses not to end it all now because there are still others who do not know Him. Others that will have their lives transformed by the redemptive truth of Jesus Christ. The fact that there are so many still who do not know Him reminds me what I have been called to, why I am in Arizona, why I am flying to Alabama on Monday, and why I was redeemed by Christ. "You received the Gospel because it was on it's way to someone else." I fail daily, but I hope I can bring the Gospel where ever I go for the rest of my life. That's about the only thought of clarity I've had all week.
Natasha Red