Here is Love as Vast as the Ocean
Long distance is just plain hard sometimes. While I am grateful that Stephen and I have been able to see each other every 2 to 3 weeks, it has not come without challenges. We have numerous stories of delayed and canceled flights, crazy bus stories, and long hours of driving.
For a girl who values routine, I have lived out of my suitcases and stayed at countless homes these last nine months. While I am very grateful that so many wonderful friends and family who have opened up their homes to us, it is not the same as being in your own home.
April was my month of moving. Hours upon hours spent packing up all of my earthly belonging to be moved to Boston. More hours were spent on our house yard sale. And even more hours were filled with moving from Herndon to Ashburn to Woodbridge. The result was more suitcase living.
This spring was incredibly busy and eventful. Long distance relationship and travel, teaching, moving, wedding planning, and job searching. Yet God continued to show Stephen and I His goodness and how He is in detail of our relationship. Most importantly, God continued to bring us closer together and prepare us for our upcoming marriage.
For months, everyone has been asking where I will be working in Boston and where we would be living. The questions were well-meaning and asked out of love, yet it reminded again and again that I had no idea of what our future would look like in Boston. I barely had time to job search. We didn’t know where we wanted to live until we found out where I would be working. Did I mention that I barely had time to do any job searching?
Months and months of uncertainty and unknown. Yet at the same time, Stephen and I had months and months to pray, wait upon God, and trust Him fully. He had brought us together and He would provide for us. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I would look to God and be reminded of who He is. He is God Almighty who created this world, who parted the Red Sea, and who brought down the walls of Jericho. There is nothing impossible for God. He is also my Abba Father who cares deeply about every detail of my heart and life.
Today is exactly three weeks until our wedding. This week God has been displaying His provision and goodness in our lives.
Wednesday, I accepted the lead second grade position at Park Street School. I am still in awe of God’s goodness in providing an amazing job that I am excited and passionate about. This job was completely of Him.
Thursday, we stop by my school to drop off boxes and sign my contract. While we were there, someone literally dropped an apartment flyer into Stephen’s lap.
Friday, we checked out the apartment. WOW. Exactly what we were praying for… great christian landlords, two bedrooms (a guest room for visitors!), reasonable rent, an easy commute into Boston for me, a study for Stephen, located in a quiet and safe town. And if that was not enough, the apartment is literally right across the street from the ocean. The OCEAN. We would have an amazing view of the ocean from our living room. After months of traveling expenses to see each other, we could have romantic evenings by the ocean for free.
The week before, my friend Rebekah had given a special birthday gift. It was a picture of me staying by the ocean with my arm’s outstretched. She had written on the picture frame “God’s love as vast as the ocean”. That picture and statement capture why I love the ocean. The beauty, the grandeur, the vastness, the fierce waves all remind me of God’s deep, powerful, and unending love for me.
As I stood by the ocean in front of the apartment, I began dreaming of living there. I felt God speak to my heart. That this picture was not simply a reminder of His love for me but a foreshadowing of His gift to me. A home by the ocean. Where I would be daily be reminded of His great love for me. Love as vast as the ocean.
Stephen and I contacted the landlords and were excited that this apartment could be our first home together. And then it came. The realization that we had wanted to wait until August 1st to move in. We didn’t need a place to live until August and we were not planning to pay for a place until then. The landlords had another couple who were interested in the place but they graciously sent us an application to fill out.
Later that night, Stephen and I were about to send them the completed application. I was so upset. I had gone from the emotional high of dreaming of living in this beautiful home by the ocean to the realization that humanly speaking it did not look like it was going to work out. Why would they be willing to work with us about the finances when they had another interested couple who could move in immediately? I so desperately wanted this place. I wanted to feel settled, to create a home together, to have a sense of order and beauty back in my life. I wanted to take control of the situation and pay the July rent to secure the place. Yet, I knew deep down in my heart that would not be wise financially. But even more importantly I knew that I would not be trusting God and walking by faith. In my heart, I knew God was asking me to SURRENDER what I so badly wanted and to trust Him. Through tears, I poured out my heart to God as I prayed with Stephen. Surrendering my dreams and desires, declaring by faith that God is able to give this place to us, and trusting in His goodness no matter the outcome. Afterwards, such peace flooded my heart.
Saturday morning. I went for a short run and I marveled at the work God had done in my heart. I felt full of faith and expectancy that this was the home God had for us. That the ocean picture was a glimpse of what He was going to give us. My heart was full of faith for there is nothing impossible with God. Yet at the same time I had complete peace. That no matter the outcome, God knew what was best for us. It was such an unique tension of great faith on one side and complete peace and surrender on the other side. A tension that is only possible by God.
Saturday afternoon, we received news that the landlords were willing to work with us. The place was ours and we could move in our boxes anytime we wanted. Stephen and I were completely overwhelmed by God’s goodness to us. How much does He love us? He has provided the perfect first home for us and He threw in the beautiful ocean just because HE can do that. He can lavish His love upon His children.
Later, I found out that landlord agonized over the decision and had a sleepless night. We had been praying together late the night before. The reason we received this place? How did God move her heart towards generosity? Because I was a teacher at Park Street School, a school dear to her heart. A school I have been a part of for exactly 3 days. wow. Only God.
Lovingkindness as the flood
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days
On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast a gracious tide
Grace and love, like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love
No love is higher, no love is wider
No love is deeper, no love is truer
No love is higher, no love is wider
No love is like Your love, o Lord