There are times where God is very simple. And if he can speak to my friend Diana through coffee I guess there’s no reason he can’t do the same for me.
Last weekend we went to Tyler State Park for a silent retreat, four hours to sit and listen. Normally I’m really excited for these type of things because I pack my life so full its hard to find quiet time to just be. However, like many things about my time at Gateway, I experienced something new; I wanted to throw a three year old’s tantrum at the thought of being secluded and quiet for four hours. What I wanted was to go to the mall, to sit in the middle of a Starbucks somewhere and be surrounded about the hustle and bustle of people’s busy lives not go to another place where I would hear nothing but birds and crickets. To say I was going into the retreat with a bad attitude is an understatement and when I saw there was no coffee I wanted to cry.
Arriving at the park my mood had not improved, if anything it was getting worse because now not only did I not want to be there I was also running on empty… coffee is just about the most important factor in my morning. Without it my day is most likely sunk (and yes, I am aware I have a coffee problem and no I don’t intend to change that anytime soon). I started walking around the lake in a sleepy and frustrated haze, when I heard that little voice saying, “Kristin turn around. Go back.” True to form it took about three or four times of hearing this for me to actually turn around and go back towards my starting point. As I was walking back I started to walk towards a dock that was off the path, “No, Kristin, go back,” I heard God urging.
Now, I’ve reached the point in my faith where for better or worse I’m pretty darn transparent and honest with God so when I say I pouted and threw a mini tantrum because I really wanted to go sit on the dock I’m not exaggerating. I’ve also learned thus far in my faith that it is rare I actually win in such circumstances so I turned around and headed back (with a foot stomp or two for good measure, just need to make sure God knows how much I don’t want to go). I think I listen because deep down I know that there is something good for me in his leading, that like a parent who sees more than a child can, he makes decisions for my benefit.
So there I am dragging my feet down this little path, frustrated and tired and I look up and see the beautiful Erin cheerfully walking towards me. I honed in on what was in her hand… a cup of coffee and two thoughts raced through my mind, “I want that.” and “I’m so jealous she got to stop and get coffee.” As the distance between us grew less, my covetous desire of her coffee grew more. And then something glorious happened, she brightly asked, “Do you want some?” Yes. Yes I do. Thankful for that small little bit of Pumpkin Spice Latte she shared I went my way and she went hers. And as I went I thought to myself how kind God really is, how he really does care about the details of our lives, of my life.
I am known. It can be hard living a nomadic lifestyle where everything is always changing; people, environment, location, etc. But one thing I see time and again as I travel and have gone on different adventures the one constant in each is that, whether I feel it or not there is one who goes with me and one who knows me. Over the last five weeks I have felt misunderstood, confined, and lonely. And while I have made amazing friends here, it doesn’t change the fact that inside all of us we have a desire to be anchored and known and that desire isn’t satisfied after a couple weeks, it goes too deep.
An anchor is rather small compared to the size of the ship but it holds strong. And that is why there are times where God stretches beyond the expanse and reaches down into our deepest longing and speaks to us in the little things, because its the little things that make up who we are and being known by them is a small but powerful thing.
The anchor is hidden in the little blue alcove underneath the Africa Mercy name.