(Originally posted on our former blog site on 05/19/2014)
Youth camps were a big part of my teenage life. As soon as one was over I was counting the days until the next one would happen.
When I was sixteen I had become so fond of these camps that I became a co-counselor and at 17 I was counseling on my own. I don’t know exactly what I was thinking considering I myself was still in high school but those weeks brought some of the best memories I have as a teenager. One of which being the traditional stop at the Pizza Factory in Marysville on the way home. It was such a fun time to defrag from the week with other leaders, laugh at the craziness, and thank God for lives changed. It was the only time each year that I knew we’d all have the chance to sit around a table, eat some amazing pizza, and be in awe of yet another incredible week.
As the years have come and gone we have moved a little further and a little further away from that camp up in Chico, CA but it’s memory will stay with me a lifetime. From time to time I crave the camaraderie I found at that table, the encouragement, the laughs, the memories made, and even that delicious pizza. Oh the pizza! If only it weren’t a five hour drive to get that little slice of heaven!
After being in Visalia just a short while, my husband and I decided to explore our new city a bit and take the boys on a drive up the mountain to the Sequoia National Forest. (Granite we had only made it to the gate before realizing that we had started our trek a bit too late in the day for the boys to really appreciate it without a nap and had to turn back around.)
When we were about twenty minutes into our trip we reached a place called Three Rivers and we were in awe at how charming this little nook of a town was hidden in the mountains. It has the cutest little ice cream shop, antique stores, trails galore, and then- out of the corner of our eyes we spotted it- a Pizza Factory! It was here too!
Many of you who know our family, or have been following the blog, know that we lost an incredible woman last summer. She had a huge impact on not only my life but so many others. She was my youth pastor, my mentor, my spiritual mom. Her words of advice have not only run laps but marathons in my mind throughout each season of life and as I saw the pizza sign that day for one of my favorite teenage memories something she had once said came to life for me...
“God is bigger than [where you are now]”.
I have to say I teared up a bit and had a bit of difficulty swallowing due to the giant lump in my throat that had formed from hearing her voice yet again in my head. Her loss hasn’t been easy and I think of her often. But this piece of advice, this one I’m sharing with you today, holds special meaning. It was one of the last ones she had left with me before leaving this earth and I hope it speaks volumes to you…
We had been visiting after my husband and I had moved to Stockton (about 6 years ago) and she was inquiring as to how we were liking things. “We love it”, I remember saying. “It’s not Roseville, but it’s exactly where we are supposed to be right now and I love it.”
She started smiling and shared with me about how she herself and her husband had faced a similar transition early in their marriage. They were moving from a town she had always known to a place she had only heard of. “It was scary, but I realized afterward that God was bigger than Marysville.” She had moved from a place where she had come to know God and realized that He was with her wherever she went. And not only that, but He was already in that new place working on people before she had even gotten there. He wasn’t tied down to a city or to a place, a camp or a church.
He was everywhere.
He is in the small church down the street and the megachurch on the corner. He is in the town of two hundred and the city of two million. He is present as far as the eye can see and He is present in places our human minds will never be able to comprehend. He is everywhere.
He isn’t your mom and pop hole in the wall coffee shop, He’s Starbucks, and He is everywhere.
So for my friends who are graduating, the ones facing big life changes, and the ones still undecided about what to do next- rest in this, God is bigger than where you are now.
You will see, just as I had when finding that Pizza Factory hidden in the side of a mountain, that God is not so small that He can only be contained to one place. He is bigger. You don’t need to worry if God will provide; He will. You don’t need to worry about the right doors opening; they will. You don’t need to worry whether or not you will make new friends, new memories; you will.
You don’t need to fear the future, any part of it, because God is bigger than where you are now.
Take a big breath and jump right in to the destiny God has for your life, just as a child in a swimming pool. It may be scary at first because you’ve never done it before but don’t worry; your Father is already there.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. NIV
Psalm 46:1 God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very presentand well-proved help in trouble. AMP