Sunday, January 12, 2020

God Makes My Life Complete

"God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him." 
2 Samuel 22:21 MSG

When I was six years old our family traveled cross country from Oregon to Maine to visit my Mama's family for the first time. I fell in love with the people and the place. When we got home from Maine, Mama and Daddy's already rocky marriage continued to disintegrate. Mama spent some time in the mental hospital due to depression. Daddy eventually left Mama for another woman. Maine became a place I escaped to in my daydreams. In my little girl mind I was convinced that Maine was the place where I would feel whole and complete again and less broken. I suppose it's because it was the place where my happiest memories were before everything fell apart.

As a young girl I dreamed of being a lighthouse keeper's wife in Maine after reading a book about that life. As I grew up and visited Maine a few more times my dreams became only slightly more realistic. I imagined living in a little cottage by the sea. I can still describe to you every detail of the cottage I created in my mind. Fast forward to recent years and my dream shifted to the possibility of retiring there someday-only I haven't been able to figure out how to convince all of our children and grandchildren to move there with us!  Last October, for the first time we visited Maine in autumn-previously we'd only been there in the summer. While I loved every bit of our time there, real life confronted my decades of imaginary life when we had several days of rain during our vacation. Goodness! It rains in Maine just like it rains in the Pacific Northwest! I now realize that it would probably be a good idea to see what it's like to experience winter weather in Maine before I decide to sell everything and pack up my bags to move there!

The truth is, Maine is a place of only happy memories for me while my real life is a mixed bag of highs and lows, joy and pain, victories and defeats, highlights and ho-hum ordinariness. My dream of living in Maine is actually an inner longing for a life of wholeness and completeness, of inner peace and rest. It's an unrealistic dream, as unrealistic as expecting that it would never rain there, to think that relocating my real life will make me happier or somehow make me more complete and whole. I've fallen for that lie so many times in so many ways. I've sought happiness and wholeness in various ways-through relationships with other people, through my home, through vacationing, through buying things, through creative outlets, through food, through exercise-for a while there is temporary satisfaction, but then the reality of my own emptiness and brokenness returns. There's only One Place that I've experienced true peace, true wholeness, true completeness, true lasting joy. Physically, whether I'm here at home in my old familiar favorite chair in my kitchen nook, walking beside the sea at the Oregon coast, on the deck of the little cabin overlooking the Umpqua River, on a lanai at a vacation rental in Hawaii, on the porch of the retreat center in Kumasi, Ghana, at Villa Esperanza in Nicaragua, or even in beautiful Maine - of all of the places I've been I have found that it's only when I come into God's presence with my pieces, my emptiness, my brokenness, my failures, my not enoughness, there I find where I truly belong and Who truly satisfies the longings of my heart. His presence is wheere I'm truly made whole and complete, where I'm truly at peace, where I'm really at Home.


  1. Beautiful and true! Our inner dreams are longings for something other and more. Only in Him do we truly find "home".

  2. Thank you for sharing these words. I can identify with the feeling of 'if only I could move to'. Knowing contentment that comes from God makes anyplace with Him complete. Thanks, dear friend, for sharing. And I'm really glad you aren't moving to Maine - I would miss you desperately!

  3. So sweet to read-- and you are reminding me of the C.S. Lewis quote: "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."
    The Maine that we inhabit on the New Earth will likely have a little cottage made just for you, Elizabeth!


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