I had a tiny taste of what week six here in Kona would be like when early Monday morning I woke up to a glorious sunrise, the morning light sifting through pink clouds and silhouetting the mountain right outside my front door.
I already love sunrises and mountains and mornings, but when you put all three together, it makes for a pretty incredible start to my day, and my week.
I laughed a lot this week. I am loved by some really, really amazing people, whether that’s in my room, in my classroom, on campus, or oceans away, accessible only through heart-fuelling Skype calls or a lovely care package from home.
Week six also brought with it some challenges.
I cried a bit this week. Between missing home, having some things happen that hit really old wounds, and working through some heart issues, I certainly needed those beautiful early morning moments in nature with the Lord to center my heart and restore my soul.
This week, I discovered a whole lot about my identity in Christ, about His heart for me, about His plans for me, and about His heart for His people, all around the world.
God is a promiser. He love His children, and He loves to promise good things for those who love him.
And you know what else?
He never forgets His promises, His people, or His plans.
God showed me a whole lot of promises this week, promises for my good, and not for evil; promises of plans to give me hope and a future.
God showed me how much He loves me, how He lavishes His love on us (1 John 3:1).
He is abundantly generous (Deuteronomy 28:11).
He wants to heap on blessing upon blessing, and gift upon gift (John 1:16).
As we devote ourselves to Him, He throws open the storehouses of heaven (Malachi 3:10).
And as I was processing all this, I kept being reminded of anchors.
I even found one on the beach! Well, I think it looks like an anchor, anyway. Humour me. ;)
But these anchors kept reminding me of Hebrews 6:19…
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Anchors hold ships in a steady place. When there’s a storm, crashing waves, massive winds, or any kind of threat, an anchor is a ship’s protection from moving anywhere it isn’t supposed to go.
This week, I was reminded that I have an anchor, and I can trust that anchor.
Why? Because it has never, ever failed.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
(Some of the girls in my Medical DTS, accompanied by Won, one of the little guys whose family is with us! This was at our BBQ night at the beach; definitely one of the highlights of the week!)
Later in the week, exhausted and emotionally done after the full week, my roomie Dani (on the far right in the photo above) and I headed out for a Saturday adventure around Kona! Basically it was 6 hours of walking, rides on an open-air trolley, shopping, discovering the deliciousness of Sam Choy’s, getting lost in a resort, checking out ruins from the first Kings of Hawaii, exploring churches and beaches and stores… and ended with lying flat on our backs on the tile floor, looking up at the fan, and smiling. We may have been super sweaty with flip-flop tans and in my case a sunburn! What a day.
But perhaps the highlight of my day was this:
As our trolley drove past Wal-Mart (our planned final stop on our adventure day), we were stopped at a stop light when I looked to my left and saw a man standing on the meridian between the streets.
Dishevelled, with mismatched, dirt-covered clothes and a scruffy beard, the man stood with cap on his head askew, holding a cardboard sign.
The sign read:
But when I looked at him, his face weathered, shoulders stooped, eyes looking straight ahead, I realized that
no matter what his sign said, his whole being screamed,
And as I looked at him, the light turned green, and the trolley pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot.
I went into Wal-Mart, heart heavy, thinking of this man with his eyes full of hurt and empty of hope.
And what bothered me was that I hadn’t done anything to change that.
We finished our shopping, and as we walked out to the street, I saw the man bend over, pick up the fraying backpack at his feet, and start to walk down the empty street.
And then I did something I’d never done before.
I dug into my wallet, pulled out a Subway card (thanks to being inspired by my friend Dominic’s Subway card theory),
and I ran after him.
The next few minutes went a little like this:
“Excuse me, sir!”
He looked up. Looked around. Made eye contact with me as I ran towards him.
“Good day, ma’am.”
I reached him, and put my hand on his shoulder.
Handing him the card, I explained that there was around $15 on it, and that I was pretty sure there was a Subway just up the road.
His head came up, and he looked at me.
“Oh, wow. Thank you, ma’am.”
And then he did something I didn’t expect.
He reached out his hand and gave me a hug; one of the tightest hugs I’ve ever received.
As I stood there, his skinny arms wrapped around my neck and weathered face buried in my shoulder, I felt his body shake.
My eyes filling with tears, I hugged him right back.
Somehow, I realized that this man was starved.
Maybe physically starving, but also starved for hugs and gentle touch, and friendship.
Starved for hope. Starved for love.
He let go. And with eyes brimming with tears, looked right at me.
“God bless you.”
he said to me.
And I said it right back.
And I really meant it.
With that, we parted ways.
Somehow, as I walked away, I knew this:
With that simple act, a few minutes of my time and a few dollars from my abundance,
I threw someone else The Anchor.
By serving someone else, by extending myself and loving someone else out of God’s love for me,
I shared the hope that is the anchor for my soul.
And the funny thing is, by giving away a part of my hope, I didn’t lose any.
My hope only grew more.
That’s life in the Kingdom, people. Falling more and more in love with the King ourselves, and then passing it on to others.
I just want to add…
I don’t say this to build myself up; I want to say this because of the impact it had in my heart.
It might not have made a huge difference in that man’s day, or in his life,
but it made a huge difference in mine.
What a good way to end a fantastic week. Here’s to many more discoveries about the love of the Lord and the hope that’s an anchor for my soul, and then passing that on.
Hope you had a wonderful week. I love you faithful readers, and I love to hear from you! Send me a line!
Take hold of the anchor this week. I think you’ll be amazed at what you discover.
My first Hawaiian lei! Given to my by a precious friend who made it herself out of Hawaiian leaves and plumeria flowers! Such a beautiful (and fragrant!) gift! Thanks, Angie :)