You see, I had lost my desire to write anything at all. I mean not a single string of words made sense, and they certainly didn't seem to have any merit for sharing. Grief can do that to a person. My heart shut down for a season while I grieved the loss of my bonus daughter. (Before you get worried, she is in perfect health.) Unfortunately due to reasons I'm not at liberty to share, she has moved out of our house and into her grandmother's home. To be honest, the surrounding details of her address change have many layers which are only fully known by my family and the Lord Himself.
Time after time, I sat down to write something worthwhile on this blog. However, what was on my heart was not only my story but also hers and those related to her. I could have vomited out my hurts, my anger, and my gut-wrenching grief, but I just could not figure out how to share my heart without seriously damaging the hearts of others. Adding to my frustration, the only thing I wanted to write about was exactly what I had decided not to write about. So my writing mojo went on hiatus.
As the days and weeks have turned into months, my heart has begun to heal. I'm beginning to cherish the ideas God is planting in my heart. The very act of mulling over an idea or a section of Scripture is a gift to be treasured. After such a creative drought, I am humbled that God might possibly see fit to use me again, in whatever capacity He may choose.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
- Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
Out of the blue, my loving Father gave me a gift today that I just couldn't wait to share. (This vacation has been a loooong time coming! Our family needed this time together to heal and reconnect. . . .BIG TIME.) Anyway, back to the gift. . . a month or so ago, we had planned to see the sunrise at the summit of Haleakala, the dormant volcano crater here in Maui. We made reservations to enter the Haleakala National Park to view the sunrise and started planning accordingly for our sunrise viewing experience.
The first and most important decision we had to make was what time we absolutely had to leave our condo in order to have the full sunrise experience. Sunrise would be "around" 6:03 AM, and the GPS apps predicted a 3 1/2 hour drive to the summit from our condo. Having learned the hard way at Camp Goddard, we knew that God often starts the sunrise with a pretty spectacular pre-show. So we reluctantly agreed that a 2:00 AM departure would ensure sunrise viewing success. (Be advised that out of all of the Bacon clan, only one could ever be described as an "early riser," and that was before he became a teenager!) So John and I steeled ourselves for what would likely be a difficult sell the next morning.
Second in priority was planning our wardrobe for the day. All of the websites and brochures claimed that the temperature at the summit would be 30-40 degrees colder than at sea level. But come on. . . who really believes that the temperature in HAWAII, of all places, could ever be 40 degrees Fahrenheit? Despite our doubts, we insisted the kids bring layers, including long sleeved hoodies, purchasing two sweatshirt hoodies here the night before. Yet I just couldn't wrap my brain around the fact that my three layers might not be enough on a Hawaiian island to keep me warm, sunrise in the clouds or not. So my layers were three thin shirts (two were long sleeves) over flimsy joggers and my Chacos. No, I did not wear socks to protect my feet from the cold. I mean, how cold could it possibly be?!
This morning my alarm went off at 1:30 AM. I dreaded waking everyone up and dragging them out of bed. To my surprise, they all got up with much more energy than the time warranted. We were all ready and in the Jeeps by 2:07 AM. This was our first Haleakala miracle. Everyone was excited to see what God would show us in a few hours. The GPS now predicted we would arrive 1 1/2 hours early, but we just decided we could take a nap in the cars until the light show began.
(Yes, you read that correctly. We rented two Jeeps because six people don't fit into one Jeep. Minivans have no place on a Bacon Hawaiian vacation. You do you; we will do whatever it is we do. But you can bet we will be doing it in fun rental cars on vacation!)
(Also, you should know that in our family of six, only John and I are over 25 years old. Thus each of us is the designated driver for our respective Jeeps. This means I had to be awake enough to drive this crazy drive each way.)
To describe the road to the summit as curvy would be a gross understatement. Some of the road signs that depicted each upcoming curve actually made spirals. These hairpin turns were given speed limits of 15 mph for a good reason, especially since it was pitch black and we were driving through the clouds. The "crossing" signs were comical, as they included deer, cows, and the nene birds. (Nicholas saw three cows standing on the shoulder of one such tight turn, while my eyes were glued to the lines - just focusing on staying inside the lines. I'm so glad I didn't see them! If I had panicked, we would have gone over the edge of the mountain.)
When we were almost to the top of the crater, we stopped at the first and only bathroom available. Half of us were fighting carsickness, and the other half were just exhausted and sleepy. As predicted, we did arrive very early, at 4:37 AM, to be exact. So we all settled down to try to sleep a little bit. Just as I had dozed off, my daughter knocked on my Jeep's door. God was showing up early. She said, "It is starting." To my mixed emotions of dismay and excitement, the sky was beginning to change color.
We all got out of our Jeeps and were met with extremely cold temperatures, coupled with freezing wind. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the cold was surreal. It just didn't belong here at the equator. Yet my teeth were chattering, and my toes were quite possibly in danger of frostbite. (So maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but it was really cold!)
The cold could not freeze the awe we felt watching God show us His glory. These pictures are not of water or waves, but of clouds. As the colors began erupting through, above and below the clouds, I began to weep over the absolute beauty our gentle loving Father was painting right before our eyes. (I have seen painting demonstrations that have moved me over the years. LinDee Loveland rocked my world at a recent ladies retreat with her gift for artistic expression. However, even she could not compare to the amazing skill with which my God brings His canvas to life.) I just kept thinking about heaven and how absolutely gorgeous it must be if these clouds on a dead crater could be made to look like we could walk right across them. The colors were breathtaking, and dear reader, the sun had not yet even risen! The red, pink, coral, and purple hues were announcing with fanfare the arrival of the sun.
Don't we all need a friend to wake us out of our funk and point out that the colors are already changing? I am so grateful my God and Father loves me enough to show me His love in the small details. Today it was to remind me of His enduring love and care.
You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.
- I Thessalonians 5:5-6 (NIV)
We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things
- 2 Peter 1:19-20 (NIV)
Then I must also point out that we are often the clouds that those in the darkness are watching. God uses His children to paint His glorious love mural of hope for those who desperately need Him. We are displaying the spectacular fanfare, announcing the coming of His Son, Jesus. When we love like Jesus, we are painting a lovely, yet crude, representation of something much better to come. My friend, you and I are the intensely glorious masterpiece that our Lord is painting to describe and prepare those who are hurting for the all-encompassing light of Jesus' love. The gradual color changes this morning prepared our eyes to receive the sun's piercing light. If we don't reflect His colorful love, those who are lost might be blinded by the contrast of His light in their overwhelming darkness. The purity of the Light may seem to overwhelming in their darkened state.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
- John 13:34-35 (NIV)
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house."
- Matthew 5:14-15 (NIV)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
- John 8:12 (NIV)
What a gentle and loving Father my God is! He has intentionally helped my heart and my eyes to adjust in the darkness by using friends and loved ones to encourage me. In my darkest moments, just before the colors began to change, He was working behind the clouds, above the clouds, and through the clouds.
If you are in the midst of your own darkness, remember that He is working. He loves you and wants to paint vibrant colors across your landscape. As your patient, intentional Savior, He will paint your canvas in His own timing. Don't rush the Master Artist. His design plans are the most beautiful when painted on a prepared canvas.