Through Dawn & Dusk

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Photograph By: Brandon Fair

Where I Find You
Where Your wind rages
And my reflection fades
That’s where I find You.

Strangely, I remember my third birthday…
It truly amazes me that through many, many, years,
I can still remember my third birthday like it was yesterday!
Even though I can’t remember everything about that day,
there is one memory that explicitly stands out to me.
I will never forget the moment on my third birthday when my parents gave me a bouncy ball…
… I can never forget one of the greatest gifts I’ve received being a little, yellow bouncy ball.

Even though I do not remember anything else that day,
I remember as vividly as I can see my fingers type this on the keyboard in front of me, running out the back door of 132 Grace Lane unto our wooden back porch,
smiling so large watching the little ball I received fly up beyond all of my tiny expectations…

I remember my little hands throwing it down with all the force my toddler arms could muster up and laughing so hard at seeing it launch up toward the sun.
I remember being so drawn to that little yellow bouncy ball
and like that little kid in amazement,
to this day I am drawn to anything yellow

You were with me through every dawn & dusk in my life.

Laughter and excitement filled the hot summer air that I shared with my two older brothers…
Like a taste from a sweet drip of honey,
Like a refreshing lemonade on a warm July afternoon,
I remember the excitement and joy I shared with my brothers
as the three of us sat on skateboards and scooters
and joyfully prepared to race one another down the cul-de-sac
where we grew…
Nothing can take away the memory of the wind blowing against my face
as we were racing down the street.

To this day, I can vividly remember turning to my left
only to see my older brothers innocently smiling and laughing
as we were racing, kicking, and pushing each other in attempt to make the other one crash
all as an attempt to win the “high-speed race”.
The sheer delight that we shared in that moment was beyond ourselves…
Goodness,
I honestly would do anything to relive that memory.
And like that little brother, to this day I try to relive the laughter of those evenings
I shared with my brothers…

You were with me through every dusk & dawn in my life.

I never was so nervous before in my life…
I remember vividly the moment I took the hand of my best friend,
and to my surprise,
my “well-rehearsed” words escaped my recently confident heart.
I remember every nerve in my body dropping to the ground
as I somehow crafted up words to express the love in my heart
in between the desperate prayers for courage and clarity
as I reached into my pocket and took a knee…

Oh how in that moment I still see that little kid
I still see that little brother
Who in every memory
was amazed by something beyond myself.

Through the good…
Through the bad…
Through the happy…
Through the sad…
Jesus, You were & You are with me through every dusk & dawn in my life.

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Who then is the one who condemns?
No one.
Christ Jesus who died
(more than that, who was raised to life)
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
No
in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither
death or life,
neither angels or demons,

neither the present or the future,
or any powers,

neither height or depth,
or anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
-Romans 8:34-38

I read a quote recently:
“If you could hear Jesus praying for you then you would not be afraid”
And you know what?
Goodness, that is so true.

It’s so silly…
I waste SO much time during the dusk moments of my life WAITING for the dawn
as if the dawn, or the “good times”, will make it all better.
Why don’t I see that by doing that I am being caught in a constant cycle of day and night?
Why in the hard times do I look for the things that only provide temporary relief to what I feel I lack?

Personally for me, recently I have caught myself feeling overwhelmed and far away from any sense of familiarity or comfort. For the last few years I’ve felt called to move from South Carolina to Michigan as a missionary, and now that I have moved in obedience…
I have felt myself begin to feel what seems like the “dusk” of surrender.

Recently,
I have been tempted to hang my head in defeat and lament in self-pity and to constantly reflect on what appears to be the dark state of affairs that I’m in…
Miles from familiarity
Miles from comfort
Miles from “safety”
And before I know it…
When I do that I’m caught in the day and night cycle that so often so many can fall into…
The abundant life in Christ becomes:
Phases of happiness
Phases of contentment
Phases of intimacy with the Lord.

However, something happens when instead of giving into the “dusk” of pity and loneliness, I instead begin to look back on my life as a whole I can see both the dawn & dusk for what they are…I can objectively see:

The good
The bad
The happy
The sad
In Every dawn,
In Every dusk,
I begin to see the overwhelming faithfulness and brilliance of a Creator who was not only relentlessly pursuing me in all situations like a black bear, but I begin to reflect on what passages such as Romans 8:34-38 and Psalms 139 reminds me:

Our Creator and Savior not only is actively, presently, and relentlessly involved in days past…
But He is involved now!

I have a God who prays for me
I have a God who loves me
I have a God who pursues me
I have a God who partners with me
I have a God who uses me
I have a God who seeks to AMAZE me
I have a God who wants to be involved in my life
I have a God who took my punishment in order to BE with me
I have a God who wants to spend eternity with me
I have a God who teaches me
I have a God who leads me
I have a God who goes ahead of me
I have a God, who no matter the darkness, provides direction for me
I have a God who speaks to me through His Word
I have a God who KNOWS me
I have a God who created me
I have a God who dwells in me through His Spirit!
I AM not alone
I AM not abandoned
I AM not forgotten
The same Savior who I surrendered my life to on my knees,
Is the same Savior who prays for me to stand.

And now, even as I sit in a place far from my comfort…
Far from what is familiar…
Surrender still applies.
How easy it is to miss the reality that:
Our safety does not come from anything that is temporary
Our security does not come from anything that can leave us
Our familiarity does not come from a place or face we recognize
They come from the intimacy we have with our Creator.

So here is my confession,
I spend too much of this life that has been to given me chasing mere cycles!
Day in and day out…
chasing,
chasing,
and chasing endless sunrises and sunsets that only temporarily satisfy a deeper longing that only our Savior and Creator can fill!
As I look out on the beauty of The Creator’s creation,
As I look out on the beauty from even a normal sunset,
Remind me Father that I am just as important, special, and beautiful to You
as Your creation is to me,
I am Your Beloved.
And You will walk along side me all my days…

As I sit here and reflect on my life these last few weeks,
I can’t help but think about Your faithfulness to me these many years…

And I’m humbled.
I stand at the beginning of this new chapter and I so often sit and lament
that my heart is and has been all over the place…
Please forgive me.
Hold my wife,
Hold my family,
Hold my heart,
Daddy, You have shown me Love through proven Trust…
And I can trust You.

Take us farther.
Hold us tighter.
Break us more.
Replace our heart with Yours!
Father, make our lives an open book
May we stop trying to hide ourselves from You!
You already know us beyond what we know about ourselves…
Take this book of our lives
and Take this pen from our hands.
May our lives be defined by YOU and YOU ALONE!
May we leave a legacy that reflects You always,
In every sunrise,

In every sunset,
In every dawn,
In every dusk.
Through every memory,
Through every laugh,
Through every tear,
Through every moment,
Our Father, Creator, and Savior walks with you!
And as He has walked with us in the past,
He is with us now.

Jesus,
Woo this tired, scared, heart…
We surrender our present and future to the One who walked with us through our past.
You are with us through every dusk & dawn of our lives,
You are with me through every dusk and dawn of my life.

Wherever I Go

Wherever I go
Close to me You remain.
When chaos calls to me
May a song of eternity I sing.
Where my heart is in pieces
Close to You I’ll cling,
Wherever I go… Stay…
Stay with me.
-J


For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake,
I am still with you.
– Psalm 139:13-18

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