Monday, September 27, 2010


Last spring, The Westie Crew met up with a bunch of friends way out into the wild blue yonder to camp at one of the most remote, yet absolutely beautiful, campgrounds in Alabama. It's called Payne Lake, and as you can probably guess, the whole park is built around a serene, picturesque, medium-sized body of water.

Right around daybreak, the flowers on top of the lilypads would gracefully burst open so I was determined to get a photo of these lovely things in all of their glory before the blistering sun caused them to clam up within themselves again.

This is the first shot I took:

It's blurry, but you can still see how pretty these delicate beauties are. I only have a little point and shoot, and I've learned that if I'm not standing on one foot facing north while the stars are perfectly aligned, I'm not going to get that extreme close-up without blur, so I adjusted my shot by zooming out just a little. Quite the pro, I am. ;)

If you are familiar with a standard camera, once you've honed in on your image, usually you can press the shutter release button just a little and it will auto-adjust the settings to get you the sharpest possible picture (well, at least for people like me). Once I made those modifications, this is the picture that I ended up with:

I LOVE this photo. In fact, it is my desktop background here on my beloved laptop. It's just so crisp and clear and it makes me delight in God's beautiful creation even though I can't behold that particular scene, in person, every day. I'm also reminded of a wonderful time with people that I love so that makes me happy.

Last night, Mark and I took the Crew and my mom to Mississippi to drop off our camper before the big move (which, incidentally, takes place on Thursday). After we put it where it will be stored, we drove on over to the apartment so that we could get a feel for the potential set-up, and to simply see where we'd be living for the next 6 months.

I don't know if it was that we'd just left our church for the last time, which had me pretty emotional already, or if it was pure exhaustion or what, but all of a sudden, the reality of this move hit me square in the face and I kept thinking:

We are leaving Alabama. And this apartment is utterly miniscule. Not only that, but it smells weird. We are on the third floor which is *extremely* high up, and I am terrified that someone is going to fall off of the balcony... or what if there is a fire? And did I mention all of the TINY? My kitchen is the size of a closet in our present home and I'm not even kidding...

Anyway, I sucked it up and tryed, with everything in me, not to be an ungrateful pansy. After all, it's FREE. And TEMPORARY. But then we walked out to the parking lot and I caught a glimpse of my license plate which reads "Sweet Home Alabama" and I bawled. Then my Mama bawled. Then we went to Cici's Pizza and ate about 40 cinnamon buns and bawled some more.

But, as I laid here not sleeping in the wee hours of this morning, I remembered my picture. I've realized that the first view of this new chapter in our lives was saturated in provision and protection. In other words, we were just thrilled to have employment. The move was pretty far away so I didn't have to, and actually could not, process fully all that this new chapter would entail (I'm sure I still don't). Things were sure, but still unclear.

Now, I feel like I'm in that place of auto-adjusting. A place where the view is extremely blurry and perspectives change about 50 times in rapid fire. The house that we've been so comfortable in is looking more and more like it's shell. Plans are being made that we most definitely would have been a part of, but obviously cannot, because we'll be gone. All that we've been accustomed to is about to change. Different church, different faces, different scout troop, different job, different home, different e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. And it's hard.

I know better than to rely on my emotions, though. I know things will be more than alright. I know that God has a plan that is as beautiful as the crisp and clear picture that I love. And I know that I'll get there because I definitely trust Him with this and wouldn't go anywhere else BUT to Mississippi, because He's made it so clear that this is where he wants us. But, I also know that my Father is compassionate. He knows our frame and He knows that change is tough sometimes, even when it is moving toward His will.

I think of Jesus coming up on the scene of poor Mary and Martha, in John 11, after their beloved brother had just died. He was about to perform one of the biggest miracles of His ministry to the glory of God, and He knew it! He knew that they'd be a million times more than perfectly fine in mere minutes, yet, He wept. Why? Why would Jesus cry when he knew he was about to bring Lazarus back to life? Because He loved them. He knew that they were nothing more than dust and that, in that moment, they couldn't possibly understand, so He he had compassion for them. Their pain, as temporary as He knew it was, hurt Him. What love.

Just like Mary and Martha's pictures soon became crisp and clear and unspeakably joyous, I have the foresight in Christ enough to know that ours will too very soon. Yet, for this moment, I'm so very thankful to have a Jesus who knows our frames as we go through our adjustment period. A Jesus who loves us and stores our tears in a bottle when we are hurting. I can't imagine doing "life" without Him. He is so good.



DonDee said...

You made me cry. What a sweet privilege to watch you through this journey and watch you cling to your heavenly Father. Love me some Westovers!

Caroline said...

Your perspective gives the FATHER glory. He is faithful. I might have to steal your picture as my desktop and remember!
It is a privilege to know you, my friend, and to walk this journey with you.

Love you!

DaNella Auten said...

As I was reading this, I thought, I bet you are the one that made DonDee cry... I was right.
We will all miss yall, but I wouldn't want to stand in the way of the people God has there for you to bless. You'll just have to BLOG more often!!!!
Love ya, DaNella

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

Gayle - I do love your perspective. And I love your analogy of the camera and things coming into focus. I look back on our moves and it's still not 100% clear on why. But God's provision and love for us through it all is.

Keep praising. Keep giving Him the glory. And maybe don't eat 40 cinnamon rolls next time. Just sayin'. ;)

Just Me'n Mine said...

This is a test to see if I can now leave a comment cause last one didn't go through.

Just Me'n Mine said...

Oh sure, now it works. Nevermind.

Anyway, what I said before was:

I think I love my Gaylefriend so much it hurts!

Perspective is everything and I'm glad that He is giving you a clear one. Because we are also going through some similar transitions...I know how strange it feels to see those activities going on without you, and wondering how in the world you are going to "fit" in your new situation.

I must add though Girl, that I see God pouring out blessings on the Westies in God-size proportion...and I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to see what He is going to do next.

Emily said...

This made me tear up. Beautiful perspective Gayle. What a testimony you're going to have for us...

and on a side note. For 9 months we lived in a 3rd story apartment with OUR 4 children after moving back from Arizona.

I cried often. I was grouchy and frustrated. But ya know what? There was a walking path right by that apartment and I got nice and fit! and they also had a swimming pool, so I got tan.

So, I could have focused on the crazy smokers below us or the teenage lesbians also below us, but instead I choose to remember the walking path and the pool.

and boy, are you gonna have some blogging material. :)

Halfmoon Girl said...

Oh gosh, that made me cry. Such a beautiful perspective that can apply to so many tough life situations! Can you imagine doing this without the hope and comfort that a faith in Christ brings?!?
Praying for you...that there will be many bright spots (such as pools and walking paths) in your future.

Reformed Grits said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reformed Grits said...

Gayle, Panera will never be the same. I'm sooo gonna miss you. :-(

Tonya said...

So I google you and the first thing I get is a tear jerker!?:)

I remember moving from GA to Alabama and feeling SO uprooted. It's hard but you will LOVE how God uses this situation to cause complete dependence on Him. When everything else is stripped away, He's all you've got and the result is something you won't trade for anything.

All us Kissack's will miss all you Westovers.

A Payne Lake trip is a must. Okay?

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

Sigh. Is it weird to miss you even though I haven't seen you in a year?

BIG JOHN said...

we have had to move like this several times. It will probably end up being a favorite part of your life. wow how do you get so many comments???? no one comments on mine lol

EEEEMommy said...

I so appreciate the wisdom and insight that the Lord has given to you! What beautiful perspective! I am looking forward to watching and seeing the picture sharpen until this new backdrop, in the center of God's will, becomes a new favorite picture of God's faithfulness and grace!

Sheryl said...

I know it must be hard...CHANGE. God must love it because He is working to make us more like Himself. He loves us into it.

Praying for you.