Below is a a short, yet refreshing chapter I wrote for my book- Tattoos, Tutus & Jesus. I added some questions at the bottom to ask yourself when you are done reading.
I hope you love it.
Field of Dreams.
For a long time I have been intrigued and in awe of nature. Growing up in California, I got to see giant mountains, beautiful beaches and deserts with large dunes for miles. My favorite beach to venture to on the weekends was Torrey Pines. I loved that once you came up over the hill you could see the whole beach and the cliffs that overlook it. There’s something about nature that creeps up on you. When it appears out of nowhere it can make your heart flutter as if you are walking into a room and there’s a surprise party for you. All over this planet God has placed surprise parties for us to walk in on.
When I moved across the country I experienced so many new types of nature that I hadn’t ever known before. Snow was a difficult concept for me to grasp. It was truly picturesque, but it was so darn cold that I struggled to appreciate it for a while. I’m still working on this after years of living in Virginia. I’ll let you know when I’m 40 years old if I have adjusted yet. As we settled into Virginia and explored the areas around us I noticed there were so many vast fields. Most of them had not one single tree and laid as flat as a piece of paper. I had never seen anything like it. Every time I drove past one of these fields I looked out the window and longed to just run through the field as far as I could run. I wanted to take off across the flat uninhabited land until I could run no longer. You don’t see things like that in California. Most everything is built on and developed. The ground in California is also not suitable for crops due to the drought issue. It turns out the East Coast has lots of water and lots of fields that reap harvest because of it.
As I got involved with Student Ministry in Virginia, I also got to go on a lot of retreats and trips throughout the year. It was tough being that I was still in college and finishing my degree, but it was always worth it. I would take my studying with me on our trips and stay up late to get everything done. One of the trips we go on takes us all the way to Florida for a conference called BigStuf. This is by far my favorite trip we take with the students because we get to spend the week on the beautiful beaches of Florida. There’s something else that makes this trip so special, and that’s the drive down. As we drove from Virginia to Florida in our 15 passenger vans, I had plenty of time to look out the window and take in my surroundings. I couldn’t believe what I saw. For miles and miles laid fields full of crops, some with flowers and some with just flat grass. I think my jaw was dropped the entire 15 hours down. Every time I would see a beautiful field I would text Natalie, one of our Student Ministry leaders who was in another van and gush about how awesome that field was that we just passed. Sometimes I would text her and ask to stop at the next breathtaking field we see because I really want to run through it. It never happened. Mainly, because we were going 80 mph on a major highway and we also had around 20 students with us, so that wouldn’t be in our best interest to stop. We had to stay the course. For over 3 years of doing this trip I would just look out the window and wonder if I would ever be able to run through an open field.
Fast forward to the year after I graduated college. After years of working hard to achieve one of my proudest accomplishments, I felt like I could finally fully appreciate everything God was throwing at me. I started dating the man I that I would marry and he is full of adventure. When we first started dating we took a long trip to the mountains to hike a specific mountain called Old Rag. The drive is about 4 hours without traffic. For the most part you are on an interstate surrounded by tall trees. As you approach the base of the mountain, there’s a 20 minute span of time where you are driving past beautiful fields. It was sometime in September or October maybe. The air was crisp and it was the sunniest day I had experienced in a while. I was smiling ear to ear as we passed these wide open fields that stretched for miles. As we came upon this one specific field, I yelled at Zack to stop the car. He slammed on his brakes in fear that something was wrong or I was getting sick. I looked over at him and said, “I want to run through that field.” He smiled and asked if he could too? I opened the door and took off. I felt bad that I had invited Zack to take on this adventure and then left him in the dust. But, I had this built up excitement brewing in me for so long and I needed to run through that field and I wasn’t going to wait one more second. I ran and ran and ran. When I got tired I stopped, I looked and Zack wasn’t far behind. I stood there and took it all in. It was so quiet that all I could hear was my heavy breath and my heart racing. After years of working on my degree, putting in the time, and passing so many fields that never got to experience my footsteps, I finally got to enjoy this moment. I could have stood there forever.
I recently did a devotional from the book of Exodus- so joyful, I know. I came upon the chapter about the Laws of Justice and Mercy. In this chapter were the Sabbath Laws. To be honest, I didn’t quite understand what these truly meant. In verses 10-11 it read, “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.” I smiled as I read this. Most people would pass the verse perhaps without thinking twice, but this verse had real meaning in my life. It took me 6 long years to complete my Bachelor’s Degree because I changed my major- twice. For 6 long years I worked part time jobs, most of the time 2. For 6 long years I stayed up late at night to make sure all my assignments were complete. For 6 long years I went on trips with teenagers who were going through life changes and puberty as we passed fields that I never got to experience.
A year after graduating, I got to run through to most beautiful field. On that day, God threw me the most amazing surprise party. I think He had a feeling that in those trying moments during my years of sowing I wasn’t going to be able to fully enjoy the harvest of those fields. It’s in the moments of the unexpected when we are most surprised to feel God’s presence. He is the master of surprises and when they are ready to be experienced he just wants to you to slam on your brakes- run at him as fast as you can- and don’t look back.
Questions for the road:
- What has been the greatest surprise you have experienced in your life?
- Have you ever had to spend days, weeks, or years to finally reap the benefit or reward of something?
- What is your “field?” …. What is that moment you are waiting for in your life? Are you letting God hold the reigns, or are you trying to rush the process?
Thank you for letting me share this with you.