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Overwhelmed by God’s Goodness

July 21, 2018

Are you ever overwhelmed by just how good God is to you?

Tonight I took a quick stroll down memory lane (this is really why I post pictures on Instagram and facebook – they are great for holding and keeping memories for me when I want a quick peek back.) As I’ve gotten settled into American life again, I’ve been doing this strolling less and less as each month goes by. I’m not really sure why. But whenever I do look back I’m blown away by the life God has graciously allowed me to live. I mean really, really blown away. Typical American thinking inside the box doesn’t really look at singleness as a gift but oh how it has been. When you look at life through different lenses, you see things really differently. What if all the years He gives us to travel and live around the world and to volunteer and explore and to have are-you-freaking-kidding-me-this-is-amazing experiences before he gives the normal, routine, pay-the-bills, work 9-5, take care of the kids and change diapers routine are a precious gift? 

I wish I could wrap up and put into words all the incredible, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping moments I’ve experienced over the last 5 years. All the moments where God felt so close in certain situations I almost felt like I could reach out and touch Him. The moments where I was so incredibly blown away by all His majestic beauty around me all I could do was smile and whisper “you are amazing.” And there have been so, so many of those moments. This is the kind of love and relationship and closeness with Jesus I wish for everyone. Once you have experienced that kind of closeness, that kind of overwhelming sense that He is completely in control of everything and He knows you, you won’t want anything less.

If I’m completely honest, finding that complete closeness with Jesus while being back in America has been challenging. Not impossible, but definitely more challenging. There are more voices around me drowning out His quiet voice. More distractions. More busyness and less stillness. Less time completely alone. Less time surrounded by a million stars overhead and the crash of waves on the beach. Less time immersed in His beautiful creation. I think that’s why I love getting away and getting out in nature now. It takes me back to seasons of a thousand conversations with God while living overseas. Those were good times and I wouldn’t change them for anything.

Sometimes when I’m surrounded by people, voices just chattering small talk, I slip away in my mind to a place where the friendships were formed simply because of a common language (English) and the conversations were deep and thought-provoking. Where conversations often turned to spiritual things as we all reveled in God’s love for us and what He was doing in lives around us. Where we shared funny and sometimes frustrating stories of expat life and the challenges that only we could understand. I don’t expect anyone other than another expat to understand these sentiments. I’ve written before on the challenges of coming back and reintegrating into one’s home country, I don’t need to rehash that here. That was a consequence of life abroad that I never could have expected  – I didn’t know I’d come back forever changed. And yet, even with all of that, I wouldn’t trade that season of life for the world. God knew what I needed and I’ll be forever thankful for those years. They were a gift that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I recently read something by a girl who said she struggled with having an amazing life, traveling the world as a single person, knowing that someday she’d meet someone special who wouldn’t have gotten to be a part of those stories, those adventures. She was disappointed that all those special moments would be hers alone, not theirs shared. And I understand that sentiment completely. I wish I could play every single moment of my life overseas someday for someone special, so he would understand who I’ve become. So he would get to experience a thousand once-in-a-lifetime experiences and feel the same things I felt in those moments.

But you can’t put your life on hold waiting for someone to show up so that all your adventures can be shared ones. You have to get out there and live the life God meant for you, even if it looks different than you might have imagined. Go see the world. Live your life to the fullest. Dream dreams and chase those dreams. Swim in a hundred seas. Climb mountains and wish on a thousand shooting stars. Make friends on every continent and share Jesus with those you meet. Be daring and courageous. Be adventurous and curious. Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, because at the end of yourself is where the true adventure starts. And that’s where Jesus can meet you and show you that He is enough for wherever you are.

Sometimes…sometimes I get the urge to run free again. But I don’t think the time is right for that anymore. At least not for now. I look back on those 4 years abroad with the biggest smile and the fondest of memories. They were a gift and the time was right. God’s plan was perfect and I’m so thankful I said yes to the great big unknown. The uncertain future. The long dark tunnel with no map. It was a crazy wild ride. It was the ride of my life and there’s no way in a million years I could have written a better plan.

And the God who perfectly orchestrated allll those details in my life, is the one who holds tomorrow. That gets me excited when life seems to be at a standstill. When it seems so mundane and normal. The same God who knew I would leave pieces of my heart in 54 countries on 5 continents, even when my 21 year old heart thought that just getting married and doing normal sounded like a pretty good plan (while simultaneously not thinking that was a good plan due to lack of stellar godly guys to actually marry) is the same God who knows what’s best for all my tomorrows and who knows that if He does give me a husband, I really hope he has beautiful brown eyes. 😉

Whenever I stop and focus on all the good things God has done for me, I’m overwhelmed by His goodness. How faithful and loving and all-wise He is. You can trust Him, friend. He is a good God. And the more you step out in faith, the more room He has to show you just how good He is.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2018 11:14 pm

    Wow! Jen, this made me close to tearing up! Seriously though! I’ve been following your blog for quite awhile now (maybe four years? when I first came across your blog you were nannying in Australia). Can I say how much I look up to you? I am 18 at the moment, and your faith, and wanderlust, and intimate love for the LORD is so inspiring and I wish I knew you in person. I’ve had that burning in my heart for travel for quite a while, and was able to go to Jamaica on a missions trip back in March (my first time out of the States) which was so amazing! Thanks for sharing your life and your faith! Much love from Texas, -Rachel ❤

    On Sat, Jul 21, 2018 at 11:11 PM, wrote:

    > jenmarie33 posted: “Are you ever overwhelmed by just how good God is to > you? Tonight I took a quick stroll down memory lane (this is really why I > post pictures on Instagram and facebook – they are great for holding and > keeping memories for me when I want a quick peek back” >

    • July 22, 2018 12:30 pm

      Thanks for sharing that, Rachel. And we can totally be friends. ☺ I love meeting people who love Jesus and one of my really great friends now is someone who I met through my blog. ☺ Feel free to look me up on facebook or instagram (Jennifer Dunlop /@jenmariephotog). ❤

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