Cynthia's Thoughts

Have You Ever Heard of Freedom From Every Sort of Slavery

Listening to: Kolohe Kai – Paradise

I was listening to prayers being prayed over my family and myself for the next part of our journey. People who I love dearly were praying for God to bless our time, for God to reveal Himself to us, for God to help us grow closer as a family. That’s when the weight of these next six months really settled on me… My good, good Father has already blessed me with the opportunity to live in this place, to rub elbows with locals who have captured my heart, to explore the beauty of these islands that He created.

That night I realized that we have a chance to allow our six months in Hawai’i to be a flag in the ground kind of moment, we can use this time to call upon the Lord for wisdom and direction and ask for our hearts and eyes to be open to His plan for us here. I won’t have a schedule and I won’t have many responsibilities, both of which I can use as an excuse to not spend time with God.

On the first morning in our Airbnb rental, I was acutely aware that we’re standing on the precipice of the next phase of our journey—maybe even our lives. I was wondering what kind of work God has planned for us here… I was worrying if He even has work for us to do here. I was wondering what that work is going to look like… I was worrying if we would even hear Him as He called us to the works He has prepared in advance for us to do. I was wondering why God even allowed us to come here in the first place… I was worrying about wasting this time away for our own benefit, rather than using our time for the benefit of God’s kingdom.

I was sharing my thoughts with Luke and he mentioned that we could still be loving these islands, or we could be sick of them. We could still be loving the beautiful provision that God had for us, or we could be selfishly expecting another change.

I was reminded of the Israelites, who were rescued from slavery and led by Moses to their promised land. Their lack of faith led them on a long detour in the dessert, but God still fully provided for them and fully sustained them…

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.” And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat. These are the Lord’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.” So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers.

Then people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” Then the Lord said to Moses, “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the Lord heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. You will eat it for a whole month until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it. For you have rejected the Lord, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

~ Exodus 16:4-5, 13b-17, 31, Numbers 11:4-6, 18-20

After they complained about wanting to die in a land in which they were enslaved, after they spoke about their delusional longings for the food they received while in slavery, God laid manna on their desert land every morning they needed to collect it. God provided and sustained them. He proved Himself to be all they needed while they waited entry to the promised land. But that wasn’t enough. They grew tired of God’s perfect provision and they wanted something different—they complained against their provider and sustainer for something different! God gave them something different, he gave them quail in such quantities that they would come to loathe what they thought they wanted. This made me think about our manna and our quail…

At the end of these six months, we could look back on our time in Hawaii as our manna or we could look at it as our quail. We could still be loving these islands, or we could be sick of them. We could still be loving the beautiful provision that God had for us, or we could be selfishly expecting another change.

Our feelings about these islands will be greatly impacted by what we choose to do here—which is where all of our struggle lies. We know we want to experience this place and take full advantage of God’s allowance for us to be here—the extraordinariness of this opportunity is not lost on us. We also know that we will only get the most out of our time here if we allow God to make our plans and allow Him to impress them upon our hearts.

I don’t know what God has planned here for us, but I do know that “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” I have faith that God will allow us to accomplish something during our time here that will be fulfilling to our souls.

And I don’t want to see Hawai’i as my quail.

Cynthia's Thoughts

Then Sings my Soul

Listening to: Carrie Underwood – How Great Thou Art

As I was growing up, I rarely identified with people my age. I was always looking to the future, to this longing that I had, but could never put my finger on. That longing made me different, it made me think of my teenage friendships as fleeting, not something that I should hold on to. I felt as if I viewed life differently than all of my peers… I always felt ahead of them somehow. These feelings made me feel like I never quite fit in.

I can’t say that this is truth, but I can confidently suspect that God was present even in those years of unbelief—at work in my life, stirring up my heart to yearn for something greater than I whatever it was that I presently settled in—stirring up my heart to not quite fit in.

Cynthia's Thoughts

Don’t You Wanna Curve Away

Listening to: Coldplay – Strawberry Swing

After seven months of travelling, I grew weary of thinking about Brooklin as we drove more and more north. I was apprehensive about coming back to our friends and family after such a short time away. I felt like we weren’t done travelling and I wasn’t done learning what God was trying to teach me. I didn’t know how to explain how we spent our time over the last seven months, I didn’t know what conclusions to draw for anyone, I didn’t know how to respond to everyone’s reactions over our homecoming. Honestly, I was more excited to see my Auntie Janie (Who was fostering our cats… And I say “was” because she informed me that they’re officially her cats now and won’t let us have them back. I knew that would happen, she loves cats too much and our cats are the best cats in the world. And I don’t think you’re understanding me—they are literally the best cats in the whole world.) and our cats than I was to go back to Brooklin. 

Cynthia's Thoughts

Pressed Between the Pages of my Mind

Listening to: Elvis Presley – Memories

The night before I visited Graceland, I could barely contain my excitement. I couldn’t fall asleep because I was too darn excited to be at Graceland the next day. I couldn’t figure out why it was too much for me to handle… I wasn’t huge Elvis fan, I wasn’t counting down the days until I got to visit the mansion… I racked my brain for reasons why I would be so excited and then I realized that this was 26 years in the making.

Cynthia's Thoughts

For the First Time in Forever There’ll Be Magic

Listening to: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel – For the First Time in Forever

Before Christmas, we took the kids to Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I knew it was going to be an overwhelming experience to be at these parks at such a busy time and with our three excitable kids. I even asked for prayer the day before our visit to Magic Kingdom. I was terrified that we were going to be in such a magical place and I was going to be so Sneezy, Dopey, Bashful, Sleepy, Happy, Doc, GRUMPY! trying to control my children from running around like crazy people.