New Everything: Leaving Familiar Behind

We arrived in Arizona yesterday; the first time in my life I won’t live in California. I left the familiar behind and moved into the uncharted water of new everything: streets and freeways, landscape, people. It’s exciting. . and a little scary.

God’s Presence in New Places

As I navigate a new state, city, neighborhood, house, and church, apprehension dissipates when I read God’s Words in Jeremiah 23:23, “Am I only a God of nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God of far away?” God travels with me from California to Arizona.

I know there will be plenty of times I feel lost. Literally. I have no sense of direction. GPS helps, but it will take me a long time to go anywhere with confidence.  And  questions rattle around in my heart: where do I fit in this new community? In this sea of new faces, who will be my friends? How do I serve in my church? What do I do with my time now I’m retired?

I moved to a new everything, but the most important thing-or rather, the most important person-God, went with me. “Who can hide in secret places, so that I cannot see them” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 23:24). He fills the heaven and the earth, whether I’m in California or Arizona.

God Moves in the New

Already I see  Him moving, preparing the way. His Word is written on the foundation of our home, verses we prayed in every room. So far, every bump in the road has been straightened out. Questions answered. Tasks completed. There’s been nothing to stress over.

But even if there was, God always knows what I’m thinking and feeling, rejoicing over and worried about. Psalm 139 reminds me:

Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

New Brings Grateful Expectation

And so, I look forward with grateful expectation.
I start my first day in Arizona with Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

My Special God Place

My Favorite Place

If you ask me what my favorite place is, I’ll answer the beach. San Clemente to be exact. There are few places that fill me with as much joy. The sight of the many blues and greens and grays the water holds. Palm trees reaching up into a sky so blue it takes my breath away. Pelicans soaring and diving. Kids shrieking and laughing as the water laps at their toes. The water lapping and crashing on the shore. Seagulls crying “Mine! Mine! Mine!” I spend part of the day sitting in my chair, breathing in the sights and smells, reading, staring at the beauty everywhere and thinking my own thoughts. Then I wander, sticking my toes in the water and feeling the champagne like bubbly foam. Finally I gather my things and go to the restaurant on the pier to watch the sun sparkle on the water, leaving a trail of light as the sun goes down, turning the sky brilliant shades of pink and orange.

Place

Place

Place

At this special place, I feel close to God. I see Him everywhere in His creation. He fills my heart to overflowing with praise and thanksgiving. When I feel downhearted, I head to the beach. Somehow, in the depths of sorrow or anxiety, I focus better on the truth of who God is. I listen more closely when I meet God at the beach.

Finding a New Place

Soon I’ll leave the beach behind. No ocean in Arizona. Lakes, yes. They hold their own beauty. But it won’t be the same. And that’s OK. God doesn’t call me to one place.

That’s one of the beauties and mysteries of God; unlike me, He isn’t limited to time or place. Wherever I go, He’s there. Even when I get stuck in traffic, God is there. Reachable. Listening.

I don’t have to be at the beach. Standing at the kitchen sink. In front of my computer. Sitting on my front porch. On the shore of the ocean or in a kayak on the lake, God is with me.

I look forward to exploring my new community. I know without a doubt someplace will become my special God place.

Where is your special God place? I’d love to have you share with me in the comments.

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith of Fire, Dance with Jesus, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings