The Power of God’s Country

God’s Country: “A place conceived of as especially favored by God; a place away from a city.” Merriam-Webster

Last weekend, my husband and I flew to Virginia to see our youngest at school. She was thrilled to have us there and kept us really busy with her friends and touring around the university. It was all precious, precious time together, but there was something extra special about driving (and stopping) along the Blueridge Parkway.

We have traveled through Virginia for years, heading south every spring break with the kids. Back then, we drove which was exhausting, but we saw some beautiful scenery along the way. I fell in love with Virginia. I can appreciate northern Virginia for its proximity to D.C. and many historical sites. We have visited people and toured Leesburg, Arlington, etc., and enjoyed the shopping and eating. All of my travels there offered wonderful sights, but mid to lower Virginia is just stunningly beautiful.

Maybe it’s because I live in a part of NYS where we don’t have mountains so I’m always captivated by them on vacation. Maybe it’s because I live on five acres with a long driveway and I am a girl who likes open space.

I work in the city and take a deep breath when I hit that part of the thruway that finally parts wide. My town is lovely yet there was something much grander, peaceful and right about standing at the center of miles of valleys and mountains.

My job is stressful. I received a promotion a few months ago which was awesome but my hours went up, along with my stress. I do yoga and try my best to compartmentalize work from home but it’s challenging. Above and beyond is usually a way of life. Sustaining that level of giving and producing at work and then home is depleting. An hour of exercise a couple times a week does not restore me as it may have back in my 20’s.

The breathtaking mountainside along the Blueridge Parkway brought my shoulders back down where they belong. I walked in sneakers instead of heels. I breathed deeper than I do on a yoga mat. My eyes were off data and employee issues, soaking in what I name God’s Country.

“What are men to rocks and mountains?” Jane Austen

Those mountains reminded me that I’m missing time with God. We talk every day but my world shifted when I took on another job. I don’t spend enough time in the wide-open space of His Word. Peace like I experienced at the mountainside is elusive during many work days.

Make no mistake that He speaks in offices, at the watercooler, and has made His presence known during colleague conversations. But I thirst for more. I count this as a good thing. I never want to be comfortable too far away from Him, living lukewarm.

Late Sunday I had to come down from the Virginia mountains, just like Moses when he descended from Mt. Sinai. I reentered work on Monday, having to immediately address poor management behavior, just as Moses was confronted with poor behavior by the Israelites. The corporate culture at my company is unlike anything anyone has ever experienced, leading to high turnover. But God uses me for good in my particular role. I believe that He put me where I am to be a light in a crazy place as well as teach me a few lessons of my own.

He is at work and accomplishes His purposes even when we’re not in bible study. He is always with us but there is something powerful about standing in the literal “mist” and “midst” of His spectacular creation. Being engulfed in endless autumn color, feeling cool wind against my face that also refreshed my mind – and the complete silence in nature – equaled renewal.

There is a reason for all seasons in nature and in our lives. This specific season in my work life is challenging, but the chaos likely helps me appreciate God’s Country profoundly more.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fashion


I’ve always wanted to participate in a word-of-the-day or photo challenge on WordPress. While I think of an idea or even pull up a photo, a busy schedule usually sets me on another path and the challenge is over before I can post!

Today, I’m joining in for Cee Cee’s photo challenge: Fashion. My eldest daughter is a fashion guru and took these photos of my youngest a month ago. It was a particular feat, as my baby does NOT like her picture taken, barely stands holiday and vacation photos, and really protests any form of “posing”. Let’s just say her older sister basically coerced her into this for her own social media needs in her fashion world!

 

The Book of Kells🇮🇪

Moving on to Ireland, one of our first stops was to visit The Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin.

We learned that this book contains the four gospels, created by monks in the 9th century. Historians appear to struggle with where exactly it was created but believe locations were likely in Scotland, Ireland and/or other areas of Britain. Spectacular illustrations. Ireland’s oldest artifact.

As a visitor, perhaps it was the time of year but it was crowded. When I started looking at reviews for The Book of Kells (after we were home), I realized that most people comment about the amount of people and the small space. The room where the one book exists, tourists swarm around the glass-enclosed case and it’s difficult to linger and appreciate the book’s antiquity when your fellow man is waiting their turn for a peek. Something that detailed, illustrated and old is something I would have liked to spend more time with.

That said, the visit is worthwhile, as to see something this precious to a country is special.

Book of Kells

We did tour The Long Room as well at Trinity College and that was incredible…that post next!