My weekend in the mountains of Asheville was the first vacation I have ever taken by myself. I’ll admit I was squeamish. I have wrestled with fear over the past two years. Anxiety is actually just fear, which if you break it down, is simply the enemy. As July approached I realized my anxiety had reached almost unbearable limits. July is a huge month. The Fourth of July, second to Christmas, was our favorite family holiday and this year I would be alone. July also marks the two year anniversary of my husbands death. It also would have been our 30th wedding anniversary. Emotionally the enemy was having a heyday with me. I decided “no more”.
This I did know: I had allowed other people’s actions to dictate my response to life which had resulted in anxiety i.e. fear. I had not allowed who God says I am to define me any longer. So I made a reservation in Asheville at the last place Robin and I stayed, as husband & wife, while he was still able to walk. I needed to spend the anniversary of his departure to heaven gaining earthly closure. I needed to hear God’s voice. I needed to declare the Blood of Jesus over the enemy! Also, 1-40/Old Fort Road takes my breath away…as in terrifies me. I needed to tackle that mountain ⛰ literally and figuratively!
What made the last year of Robin’s life so beautiful was the fact that we intentionally submitted fully to God. We found wonder in the immediate. We forgave. We let go of the past. We welcomed in. We loved unconditionally. We offered grace upon grace. I allowed Robin to lead as a biblical husband, something I had never done before, because I wasn’t willing to give up my voice, pride or control. He was my earthly bridegroom. He spoke words of affirmation. He was my center that year even in the midst of dying. When he died I lost my center. My love for the Lord had not changed; however, I was worn down and the enemy waged war.
Off to Asheville I went to find God’s voice again. I shot skeet. I sat in a field & watched geese. I talked to horses. I spent an evening watching lightening bugs light up a meadow. I sat on a bench at the inn observing families and couples come and go. I watched the clouds roll over the mountains and roll back out. I listened to babies cry. I watched couples fully engaged and couples completely miserable. I listened to live music. I watched a fierce lightening show which cancelled my horse back riding expedition. I went to bed early and woke up without an alarm clock.
It occurred to me that all of these things are God’s courtship with us. He is always there. Of course, I know that. When was the last time I really looked at lightening bugs with wonder, as if the Lord was saying “Elizabeth, I’m lighting up this dark season to show you new light”? I hadn’t. I listened to those babies cry, not out of annoyance, but out of thanksgiving. So thankful that God gave me two beautiful daughters. I shot skeet. Robin & I just loved it! Our family of four loved shooting. I’m so thankful to God for those memories & that season. I spent time at the horse stables. It brought back memories of my husband & I pulling a horse trailer all over the south for our youngest daughter to show. It was as if God and I were on a first date telling each other about ourselves. I would give him a memory and He would show me something magnificent that He had created. It was a lovely 48 hours where I just let go of burdens. Pain became memories of love.
What did I learn? I learned that Jesus is my Bridegroom. He is my center. My words of affirmation. He desperately loves me. He desperately loves you. He lights up our skies to get our attention but we are too busy on our phones. When we are in a dark place he sends us lightening bugs to magnify his love and light our way. He exalts His love in the sunrise and the sunsets but we simply do not see Him. He sends us rain storms to wash away our pain. He gives us magnificent lightening shows to demonstrate his fierce blessing on us. He is literally all we need.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation so why should I be afraid?”-Psalm 27:1