In February I was blessed to travel with friends to Hawaii. For me, to travel from a cold wintery place to the heavenly warmth of another is bliss all wrapped up in goodness! To be greeted every evening with an amazing sunset, and awaken to a sunrise that brightens the sky feels like a gift to me!
My friends and I left full of anticipation and excitement, and we were not disappointed. I love to travel and Hawaii is one of my favorite places to go.
I’m going to post a few pictures of the highlights of this trip. We went to the Big Island and there’s a lot to see. We packed each day with a fun adventure, and I enjoyed being with my friends very much. Last time I went to the Big Island I was with my husband and we discovered a wonderful coffee shop in Captain Cook. Sacred Grounds has the best coffee on the island and the best company. Bill is friendly and always eager to talk about Jesus. He is searching for more of God, and I love that. So, we all loved visiting at Sacred Grounds and also soaking in the view.
From beaches, flee markets, cruises, volcanoes, car rides, and incredible food; it was all so good!
For me, everyday was a day filled with the goodness of God. And, for me, everyday here at home is filled with the goodness of God! He gives us so many opportunities to see it. This is not to say that problems do not exist, boy do they ever! There are some pretty challenging days that I face and those that I know face. Sometimes I find this hard to understand, but then again, this is life. I just finished up a study of the book of Acts and one of the dominating factors that came out was that Paul was in a cycle of troubles. Wherever he went, he faced tribulation. Yet, he didn’t focus on the problem at all. Through everything he was able to keep his focus on the goodness of God. He spent a lot of time in prison, yet he focused on all the beauty God was bestowing. He was shipwrecked, bit by a snake, beaten, and abandoned. Yet, he considered himself favored by God. This has been a big lesson for me over the years. I choose to acknowledge the issues that come my way, but I’m not going to let them dominate. I have to choose this everyday. The trials can circle around and around in my life, but God is so much bigger!
Like Paul, I’ve decided today to see the favor of God. There are times I have to hunt for it, but yes it is there. On a recent trip to Scotland for missions, I recognized the favor even more. It was in the little things, and some big things.
So, I was home from Hawaii a couple of weeks and then off to Scotland. Thank you to all who contributed to this mission trip and made it a reality in my life. Scotland is far from Hawaii, yet the beauty in this land is immeasurable. I wasn’t greeted with a blast of warmth at least not weather wise. I was greeted with warmth from the locals. Everyone we encountered was warm and helpful.
I was with a team of students and leaders from Bethel. I could see in each person the love of God resonating from their hearts. It was a good team, yes, more goodness leaking out! We ranged in age from 18-to somewhere in the 70’s. I was given the opportunity to know several on the team a little deeper, and felt blessed because of it.
I flew into Edinburgh, arriving late morning. A kind woman was waiting for me at the gate and escorted me to my car. The driver took me directly to the hotel where I settled in then ventured out to find some coffee. My driver said that coffee is more common in Scotland than tea. This surprised me.
There is a mysterious beauty in Scotland; it undefinable. The land is soaked with the presence of God, and the ongoing goodness He brings to life. Even in the places where there was once evil from sacrifices, or war and death, I could feel redemption. The Hand of God covers this land in a different way than I have experienced before .
There’s something about tradition, values, history….it all resides here and I feel like God honors and favors it. The churches we worked with were so full of hunger for God and appreciation for us. They were also close-knit together and clearly filled with the love of Holy Spirit for one another. They were welcoming, kind, eager to please, and fun. I enjoyed seeing the goodness of God shine through them. One of the tasks I volunteered for was to visit a recovery center. I went with another team member and we sat down with two women recovering from addiction. We heard their stories and they heard ours. It was such an honor to be there. This center sits way out in the country by the seaside; it’s small and so beautiful. It is a place of love and acceptance. Friendly. Hopeful. Even though I was there to minister to them, I left feeling inspired and loved. There is a peace there that does not normally occur in recovery centers. A goodness that spills out of every corner and whispers hope for the days ahead—even with the knowledge that there will be trials. I thought again of my own life and the many trials that have come my way, and the God who has never failed to cover me in goodness. God is goodness and He sees goodness. When he looks at me and at you He isn’t focusing on the problem, He is lifting up the goodness and bragging about all His children. Think about it—He sees goodness because that is who He is. The problems of the world, and those are beyond count, do not change His focus. He is not confused, flustered, angry, or faltering. He is the Sovereign God and He knows what He is doing. He only asks that we believe Him! It is phenomenal to think about and so freeing.
I am thankful for the opportunity to travel, and even more thankful that God travels with me. I feel favored in so many ways. I love how He shows me little treasures about His character as I go from place to place. I look forward to so much more.
Next trip: NYC stay tuned for the lessons of goodness in a place that is full of chaos!8