Alaska’s bitter wind and sweet sunshine have filled our days for almost 2 weeks now. After 21 hours of travel last Wednesday (May 23rd) and a 3 hour time zone difference, I think it is safe to say we are finally caught up and back on track now.
Our first few days we enjoyed seeing familiar faces again and catching up with people we haven’t seen in nearly a year. All the familiar sights of Kingdom Air Corps greeted us, as if we had never left last August. Our hearts have been refreshed, listening to stories of all that God has done, and sharing some of our own.
It has been both bitter and sweet to be back, but if I am going to be completely honest, it has been mostly bitter.
I told myself I would not let the blog go silent the way I did last year. That I would write of our time in Alaska, and I would write it with honesty. I would write the things that are hard to admit, harder to write, and even harder still to share.
And I would write not because I needed the rest of the world to know (though I do believe that in sharing our hearts and sharing our stories, God can do incredible things).. but I would write for me. Because I needed to see it with my own eyes– I need to see the redeeming grace of God at work this summer.
We have seen time and time again the way He uses our stories and experiences not just to change our lives, but to touch the lives of those who listen and read and join the journey with us. And so that is my prayer this summer: that with journal and pen and coffee in hand, He would use these words for His purposes, and give me the courage to keep writing.
Alaska is hard. I do not know that there is a way to share just how hard it can be, until one has experienced and tasted it for themselves. My days are more than ‘a little boring’, which is an easy assumption to make. These months are harder than that ‘camping lifestyle’ people like to make silly jokes about. How I wish those were our biggest problems, because they would be such easy fixes.
Alaska is my battle ground, and very quickly I feel like I am losing the war.
I battle here with enemies I never realized I had. My greatest fears and doubts, my insecurities and sense of worth, my faith and my trust, my marriage, my hopes and dreams… nothing remains untouched.
As the days pass, I am draw back to the story of Jacob from Genesis 32. I read it again and again with each new day.
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel because you have struggled with God and with man and have overcome.
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
“But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.
Much like Jacob, the night is long. Much like Jacob, I am full of fear for what tomorrow holds. And much like Jacob, I find myself a God-wrestler. But there is never a length too great that God won’t go in pursuit of us, and therefore I find myself in the wrestling match of a lifetime. No, I do not want this. This is not what I signed up for. This is not what I had in mind.
He does not waver amidst my anger and my bitterness, or my hurt and my fear. As we wrestle, I question who He is and doubt the goodness of His plans.. yet the grace of God pursues me even still, as I find myself saying again and again, “I will not let You go, until You bless me.. I will not let You go, until I see You here.. I will not leave this match unchanged by You..”
And so that’s where I find myself this summer. Surrounded by airplanes and aviation and a world I do not know how to be a part of. Wrestling. And somehow believing that He will show Himself to us this summer, and that we will not leave here unchanged.