TRAVEL LIGHT  By Lori A Alicea

The final pages of December, 2020 are being written as we speak, concluding the chapter and volume of another year of my life, as well as yours.

In two short days, accounting will close out the books of these last twelve months we’ve lived, tallying the debits and credits, the giving and taking we have experienced from January thru December of 2020.

Regardless if your annual report shows you in the negative financially, emotionally, relationally or spiritually, you’ll always find a faithful word of encouragement from our Lord in the questions,

You can trust Me.”

Returning to the table of contents from this particular volume of my family library, I recall and remember, revisit and remind myself, rekindle and reminiscence the goodness of God in the pages of joy, the pages of laughter; still trusting His goodness in the chapters of trial and yes, the chapters of tears.

But you can trust Me”, says the Lord.

Regardless of the findings from the most recent three hundred and sixty-five days of your life, God entreats you to follow and trace a father’s heart with His sight, as eyes in the natural might miss those holy hand-prints left behind as evidence of Him

Never leaving us nor forsaking us

In the sentences of good and not-so good;

Whatever is true,
Whatever is noble,
Whatever is right,
Whatever is pure,
Whatever is lovely,
Whatever is admirable—
If anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
Think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 NIV

God has been a faithful God to David and I and our family this year.

God has celebrated with us at the summit of our magnificent mountaintop experiences.

That same God was found as a tender father comforting and resting with us in the valley.

From whatever posture we found ourselves reaching for God this past year, whether looking down from the glorious view of the mountain or eyes gazing up from the valley below, God has been a faithful God wherever our circumstances plotted our foot’s position.

In leaving this year of 2020, I inquired the Lord for anything learned of our journey these past twelve months; a word of wisdom for 2021.

God’s word and lesson was rooted from our address change four months ago:

Travel Light.

After three long years of praying and seeking God’s perfect will for our next address, dreams and expectations were caught off guard with God’s reveal, a 960 sq. ft. single wide manufactured home.

IMG_5896 IMG_5900We sought Him and found Him.
We trusted God with His eyes until we could see with our own.
Finally, David and I were home.

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Interestingly, this home checked off every box on our wish list:

A brand new place to accommodate David’s allergies; ability to pay off quickly as retirement is approaching; close to David’s work; close to the kids; and closer to church.

Prayer that God’s perfect will in a house for us would stay hidden in the hot housing market until we stumbled upon it.  That He did, as this address we now call home, was up for sale four longs months before we ever purchased it.

Moving in though, you realize quickly with only two small closets for storage, and neither being the walk-in version,

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That everything we own will remain in our two storage units, except the bare essentials.

david storage

Travel light”, God says.

It’s amazing to realize the peace in living this truth,

Travel light

As

Less is so much more.

Less to maintain.
Less to store.
Less to look at.

Getting rid of all these boxes is a completely different story; another blog and episode to share.

Beyond boxes, I believe God wants us to

Travel light financially, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

Travel light financially.

Keep finances from the entanglements of debt.
Embrace generosity; be a giver.
Find the poor and feed them, clothe them, and love them as Jesus did.

Travel light emotionally.

Love yourself.
See yourself as God created you; fearfully and wonderfully.
Hand out mirrors for those who see their reflection “less than” wonderful.

Travel light relationally.

Forgive others quickly.
Fight for restoration.
Be a peacemaker.
Love to the moon and back.

Travel light spiritually.

You’re never lost; the Good Shepherd leaves the ninety-and-nine to find the one who strayed.
There is room at the cross for you.
God’s heart weeps for the broken.
Look for the light in the window; the Father waits for your return.

Travel light in 2021.

Give your burdens to the Lord
And He will take care of you.
Psalm 55:22 NIV

Cast all your anxiety on Him
Because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

Let God do all of the heavy lifting.

“Travel light”, thus saith the Lord.
As less is so much more.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS By Lori A Alicea

I’m listening Lord.

You said for your children to ask so I’ve been asking.

I know you haven’t forgotten me.

I’m confident you’re working on my behalf.

I’ve been walking this familiar stretch of road for miles heading in the same direction from the last time you spoke.

I’ve lost track of time along this silent path of my unanswered questions, bending my ear for course correction or direction with one word from you.

I’m waiting.
I’m watching while walking.

As rustling leaves from the breeze of my heart it echoes,
“I’m listening Lord.”
england journey walking on pathMany of us have lost the ability to wait, myself included on occasion.

We find ourselves stuck in the quagmire of trust what we don’t understand or see, caught up in the entanglements of our feelings instead of the safety net of God’s faithfulness.

God would have us leave the path of our unanswered questions and wade into the cool waters beside for refreshment and unearth the treasures of Him we have yet to discover.

God is enough for our lives.
He longs for us to…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on our own understanding;
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

The answers to our unanswered questions are deeply rooted in Knowing God.
england journey tree rootsHe is faithful.
He keeps his Word.
He honors his promises.

When roots go deep in God, we can trust Him beyond our understanding, anchoring a wavering faith against the gusts of unanswered questions.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

But one does grow weary on the path of unanswered questions at times.

Prolonged delays can tempt us to follow the dead-end road signs of our impatience, re-calculating the GPS coordinates of God’s best for us.
england journey walking on path 1Always remember that God hasn’t forgotten us with His silence.

Prior to the birth of Jesus, God didn’t speak for four-hundred years.

His back wasn’t turned to them.
Quite the contrary.

In this dark night of eerie silence spanning four centuries, God was preparing the perfect time and place for the arrival of His beloved son.

In his silence, God was in great preparation.
I suppose though a Save the Date would have been appropriate for this grand entrance.

For our encouragement,
Brian Simmons wrote about God’s delays in his devotional…

I Hear His Whisper; Encounter God’s Heart for You
Brian Simmons

What you call delay, I call preparation. Many times I am at work behind the scenes, yet you cannot discern it. I am preparing others so that your destiny may be fulfilled, and I am preparing you even as I prepared Joseph for his season of promotion. Never judge My works by what your eyes see but by the promises I have made to you.

 Hold tightly to those promises.

Instead of lamenting our unanswered questions, may we rest in His promise that the wait will be worth it.
May the overflow of our heart sustain us while we rejoice in the goodness of God.

Goodness of God
Written by Ed Cash, Ben Fielding, Jason Ingram,
Brian Johnson, Jenn Johnson, Bethel Music

All my life You have been faithful,
All my life you have been so so good.
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God.