Life can be difficult living in the present; we human beings tend to dwell on the past or strive to jump forward into the future. Today, I am reflecting to the past but as a way to remember all God has done. In a positive way, sometimes looking back to His faithfulness helps me to live a better present season.
When my best friend and I were growing up, we always talked about doing a trip to the United Kingdom. Having read the books and watched the movies of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and numerous other British classics, we wanted to visit such a picturesque land with so much history to explore. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be visiting someday because I was falling in love with my very own Englishman.
In May 2009, I made my first trip to visit Charlie and his family in London. By the last sixty minutes of the ten hour flight from San Francisco to London, I was getting butterflies in my stomach. I landed at London Heathrow airport and was so thrilled to be greeted by Charlie with a beaming smile and lovely bouquet of flowers.
He spent the next two weeks showing me around Central London as well as Greater London and more quiet suburbs. It was a fantastic trip! I really started to appreciate seeing Charlie in his home environment and meeting his family and friends, as well as seeing where he grew up.
Perhaps, one of the most pivotal moments for me on that trip was hearing God gently whisper that England was where Charlie and I were going to begin our lives together. With one of us being from London and the other from San Francisco, it was always going to prove difficult in trying to figure out where we were to be. However in our case, God made it very clear. In such a distinct, yet soft and gentle way, God’s peace, which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), overwhelmed me and specifically spoke to my heart that London was where I would come to live as Charlie’s wife. My heart was at rest and without reservation, I accepted this course of action for our lives and have done now for eleven years.
Though at difficult times I have questioned us being in England, God has always been quick to show and remind us that there is blessing because we listened to Him speak into our lives and obeyed. Knowing this land is where God wanted me and us has been grounding throughout life’s storms.
My best all time trip was surprising Charlie on my second trip to England. It was August 2009 and I had arranged with Charlie’s mum and dad that I would fly into London and completely surprise Charlie for his twenty-fifth birthday weekend. I had convinced him that I was preparing for a very important meeting at work. I had even left my mobile phone with my dad to send some previously drafted messages to Charlie at specific times, so that he wouldn’t become suspicious.
Meanwhile, his dad secretly picked me up from the airport and his mum had arranged for us all to meet at a lovely country pub restaurant for lunch. It was absolutely perfect and Charlie was genuinely surprised. I had successfully convinced him that it was impossible for me to be there on his birthday, and yet, here I was right before his eyes. I was smiling and we both embraced each other with the biggest grins. His happy tears and beaming excitement were well worth the crazy journey and coordination for a rapid five-day surprise!
It was certainly a bit of a whirlwind, but God was fully bringing us together, so it seemed a natural progression to be intentional with our relationship. Neither of us wanted to waste time across the long distance, so we decided quickly that our relationship was a worthwhile investment with marriage in our future.
And in that season, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways sure did make a lot of money off of us with airfare and Verizon Wireless for ridiculous phone minutes used. Still every mile and minute was worth it! We were really falling in love and it was becoming harder and harder to not be together, in the same country and city.
As I left from London Heathrow airport, which has now become so familiar to us over the years, Charlie and I both experienced the deepest heartache we had ever encountered. The months to come were challenging but having to wait to see each other again helped us to develop patience, character and appreciation.
When I am frustrated with days that can seem quite repetitive of the duties I need to do each day, I don’t have to look very far back to gain appreciation again. There once was a time when Charlie and I weren’t even in the same place! Heartache was real and we couldn’t quite see how God was going to work our story out. When I think of those times, I can praise God that we are together. That come what may, we are in this life journeying together with our two sweet little ones as well.
How magnificent You are and worthy of all praise!
Thank you for your faithful love and walking life’s journey with us.
Please forgive us when we grumble in our everyday lives and forget to appreciate all of your generosity.
Help us this day to be Spirit-filled, ready to embrace our lives as opportunities to do good in your world.
May our hearts overflow with gratitude and thankfulness for the many blessings in our lives.
Please fill our hearts with peace, grant us your wisdom and keep us focused on You.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.