It was a night painted in blackened canvas across the sky, pinpricks of light poking holes and blinking greetings in the shape of the little dipper and others I wouldn’t be able to point out.
God’s creation. Unfathomable.
And yet He loves us. Created us to love him with a passion and a drive that is almost startling. That we could and would fall in love with Someone we have never seen.
And yet I only continue to fall in love.
There was a group of us young people gathered around a blazing campfire. Often standing too close, stretching out cold fingers and puffing the smoke of our breath into the air. Laugher ran rampant like a wild thing. The comforting promise of home cooked food in cast iron over hot coals tempted growling stomachs.
I stood on the edges, smiling, the fellowship filling a hungry void in my soul that had long gone unfilled. And all that ran through my head was: I’m so blessed. I’m. So. Blessed.
Blessed by these people.
Blessed by their love for God.
Blessed by their desire to honor Him.
Blessed by the sheer fact that they have accepted me into their group. Given me their unfettered friendship.
Musical instruments appeared from their hiding place behind the fatness of tree stumps hauled over for makeshift chairs. We settled in closer, shoulder to shoulder as the guitars, mandolin and banjos were picked and tuned.
Slowly, gradually, gently, the words of long-favored hymns filled the air between the tendrils of smoke and the warmth of the still-blazing fire. And the voices of a dozen people, in love with God, rose in unison.
Awana favorites. Modern praise and worship songs. The old hymns often forgotten in today’s typical services. These were our campfire songs of choice.
Emotion clogged my throat, bubbling in my chest and an overflow of gratitude welled in my heart that I can’t, still, put into words. Gratitude for the hearts of the people around the fire, the sound of our voices and the knowing that even as we poured out praise to our Creator, I, at least, was being filled up immeasurably.
We take these kind of things for granted. Maybe you are part of a church family already—have been for years. We tend to forget the impact this has on those looking in and those on the inside. We get caught up in emotions and politics. What one person has said or done that we didn’t care for.
Those things don’t matter.
From someone who never, truly, had this promise of fellowship before, every petty, unimportant thing falls completely by the wayside and only Jesus in the center of the relationship still stands.
I love this group. I thank God that I have found and been found by them.
It’s the day after Thanksgiving. My heart is reflectful. My mind (and not just my stomach) is full.
We have so much to be grateful for. I have so much to be grateful for. This is the season for these two little words that to me, always seem so shallow to truly touch on how deep my gratitude lies.
But they will have to do.
It's just going to have to be good enough.