We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
Sometimes you have to travel many miles before arriving home and finding yourself in the exact spot God has been calling you to all along.
I just returned from a 12 day prayer mission in Israel with Bridge for Peace, an international ministry called to healing for the nations through Jesus Christ. My husband and I joined a team of 23 passionate believers from the U.S. and Australia. We prayer-walked the streets of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount; we offered healing prayer on the ancient walls of Acco, and in Nazareth, city of Mary’s Annunciation.
As we planned for this trip, the Lord promised me joy. A spirit of heaviness had been burdening me for several months. God was true to that promise. Our team meetings in Israel bubbled over with laughter—holy laughter—that washed over me like refreshing streams of water. Private prayer times with my husband at the Pool of Bethesda in the Old City, in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, beside the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and at the top of the Mount of Precipice in Nazareth were precious and powerful. Prayers for peace in the Middle East and peace in our family were tucked into fissures in the Wailing Wall. Prayers for Jerusalem, Israel, and the Middle East lifted like incense as our team prayed together daily.
Our entire pilgrimage was soaked in the presence and favor of God.
Since arriving home three days ago my husband and I have been greeting the dawn with steaming cups of coffee in the kitchen garden here at Cloudland. The gardens around the house are in full bloom, and the pastures burst with coreopsis yellow, bachelor button blue, coneflower pink and poppy red. Families of robins and Baltimore orioles sing praises to the Creator. My favorite little wren, who reminds me of my grandmother, bobs and weaves as she warbles, trying her best to drown out all of the competition.
Sitting in the garden this morning, after a walk with my coffee through the wildflowers, a deep knowing wells up within me. I am exactly where God wants me to be.
Right here. Right now. Cloudland.
Yes, the Lord wanted to give me more joy in Jerusalem. He blessed me beyond measure there. I made friendships that will last a lifetime. I laughed until I cried.
But Cloudland is where the Lord has planted me. It is here my roots sink deep, soak up living waters, and bask in the Sun. It is here I find my True Self, that precious gem at the very heart of who I am. It is here I come to the deep, abiding knowledge of who I am and Whose I am. Here I blossom like these wildflowers, each one started by seed, today flourishing, waving, shimmering in the golden slanting light of morning sun.