“How is España?” My cousin asked.
“España is a dream.” I said with a smile on my face.
Over the past couple of weeks, whether speaking with family or friends, I am constantly asked the same question, and my answer remains the same. España is a dream. España is my dream, and I thank God for where He has placed me.
I remember the day I left. Connecticut had its first snowfall, and immediately, I thought to myself jokingly, “that’s my cue, it’s time to go.” I was ready for warm weather! However, I was sad to leave my family and friends behind. All of the time I spent preparing for this trip, it did not sink in that I was leaving. The realization hit me in that moment. I was going to “the valley.” When I think of “the valley,” I am reminded of Psalm 23: 1-2, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Now, further down in the scripture, the passage talks about the “valley of the shadow of death;” however, this is one example of a valley. Throughout scripture, there are many examples of valleys that are fruitful, and I believe that I am in a fruitful valley. A valley that is overflowing with purpose, abundance, and love, and I see God’s love in everything.
From the time I wake up in the morning to the time I go to bed at night, God is present with me everywhere. When the children say, “hi” or “hello,” I see the smile wrinkles in their eyes – I know God is with me. When my family and friends call to check-in, my heart is warmed – I know God is with me. When I open my fridge or pantry, I realize how blessed I am not to want for anything – I know God is with me. When I’m walking, I marvel at the orange trees that line the streets – I know God is with me. God has me in the valley, and He is showing me how blessed I am. However, the valley did not come without its mountain moment. I can attest to the fact that my last season was a mountain moment. And it’s funny when I look back now, what I experienced was a moment to God, but it felt like a lifetime. Working in my previous job, I experienced a longing that I did not believe I could get over. However, with God, I was able to climb over that mountain.
I see how that season was for a purpose, but when I was in it, experiencing it, I couldn’t see the purpose – I could not understand it. I could not see past the mountain. I didn’t realize God was strengthening me in one place for the very place I’m in – from glory to glory (2nd Corinthians 3:18). In order to move to the next place, He had to work on me; he needed to work on my heart. I needed to be in a position where I trusted God more no matter the outcome. Now, I don’t doubt that I will experience some moments in Spain that will confuse me, but because of where I’ve been, I know that I am stronger than whatever the enemy decides to throw in my direction because I’ve survived worse. I can overcome because Jesus overcame the cross. I am more than a conqueror because Jesus was more than a conqueror. I am victorious because Jesus was victorious. “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world” (John 4:4). I was built for this.
Suffering don’t last too long – I really love this saying. I know that’s hard to believe when you’re actually in the midst of trouble, trials and suffering, but God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and this is such an interesting statement. To me, this means that God knows all. He knows everything I went through, am going through and will go through, and He keeps me through it all. He will protect me through it all. And He will be there with me through it all. I am not alone. He is my shepherd, I am apart of his flock, and He is overseeing my whole journey. This makes me emotional because God loves me so much that He cares for every detail of my life, big and small. Nothing is too miniscule to God. He wants the best for me even when I don’t see the best for myself at times. He loves me, and all I can say is I’m thankful. I am thankful for the mountain moment, and I am thankful for the valley season. Thank you, Lord.