California Trip: a look in the mirror

God has blessed Brandon and I with the provisions for trips to the Bay Area multiple times a year over the last two years.

We were set up by a couple that schemed to hire me at the wife’s Jared jewelry store just so that Brandon and I would meet. They have since moved to San Jose so that she can manage a store out there. Brandon lived with them for 3 months when they first moved so that he could do an audio internship and help Brenda open the store. At first we made trips out there to help train the new staff, and now it is to visit her and Cary. The biggest blessing is that she will allow us to work at the store so that we can pay for the plane tickets or car rental.

With the upcoming Super Bowl being in San Jose, there is even more reason to go out there! So this time we decided to drive, scheduled support meetings, visited family, had some meetings for RLR, and worked at Jared. Brenda and Cary also blessed us tremendously by taking us on adventures in San Francisco and Monterrey Bay.

It was one of the best trips we have taken, yet it was also one of the more frustrating.  There just seemed to be one situation after another that got under my skin for various reasons. Some of those came from seeing other peoples’ flesh rear its ugly head. But God is always quick to humble the proud! As each situation began bugging me, the Spirit simply put a mirror in front of my face. It did not take long to realize that the things that were the most inherently offensive and disgusting to me are all the things that I myself do.

I was convicted of the poor ways that I treat Brandon and the deflating attitude I hold onto in most situations. The interesting part was not that I was suddenly aware of these bad traits (for I have been convicted of these multiple times before), but that I had not realized how much I detested them until I saw others do the exact same things. You see, I had known all along that I needed to work on those things but I had compassion on myself: these are habits that have been around for a lifetime, I need to work on them but it is going to be a process because of how deeply ingrained they are. Seeing others behave the same way I do, there was no compassion: he should not have treated that person like that, she should have a better attitude, he should have more compassion, she should care for others’ feelings before her own, etc.

There was no thought to the reason they were acting in those ways. In my mind, there was no need to consider those things: they should know better. But what about myself. If I expect others to oppose their flesh with such intensity, why do I not? Especially when my flesh expresses itself in the exact same way?

God made sure to use this trip to reveal more of my ugliness and more of His beauty in specific ways I had not experienced yet. Without seeing the depth of our ugliness I believe that we will never truly be able to appreciate all of who God is, what He does, and how He does it. So my prayer for you today is that you would see even more the ways you are ugly. But that it would not end there (for we may become overwhelmed and debilitated); that it would end by seeing even more clearly how magnificent our Lord is!

Here are some pictures from our trip. I see a lot of His beauty in these, and hope that you do too!

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