Saturday, August 28, 2010


"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have been altered" - Nelson Mandela

Last week I spent three days at my families cabin in Upper Michigan. It was a time of rest and relaxation with no phones, TV, meetings, schedules, or demands. I feel rejuvenated and ready for more of God's work. "The Cabin" is a place in the woods near Perch Lake, basically untouched by time and progress. A place that houses our families history and traditions and place that has changed little in comparison to the world in the 41 years of my life. It is a place I can count on, that is "home" to me no matter the circumstances of the world. I can go there and see life in a clearer way and see myself clearer also. It is a place where the haze of living disappears and I see things from a better perspective. This perspective hit me on Friday night.
As I sat on the shore of the lake on Friday night catching crayfish with my son, I looked up to the sky to see the stars. As I panned to the Big Dipper I thought of looking up at the same big dipper that I looked up at as a child, holding my Grandpa's hand, feeling totally secure. I thought of looking up at the same Big Dipper as a teen, with my cousins and friends laughing, goofing around, and feeling like life could not be any more fun than this, at night, on the shores of the lake. I thought of looking up from this same place and looking at the same stars with my new fiance as a twenty some year old, with an unwritten future in front of us. I thought about sitting on the same shore seeing the same stars with my family, after the funeral services of my brother, grandparents, cousins and so many close to me and feeling the grief of loss. As I looked at my son reaching into the lake from that same shore, the quote above came to mind. I began to see just how I have changed over my own short 41 years. It does become easy to see against the same backdrop. We don't often get that perspective, seeing ourselves at so many stages in the exact same place. I became grateful in that moment, to God, for His blessing. The blessing of the continual love I have known from childhood to now.
You see, that night at the lake as I looked back on countless moments from my own life, I realized that in every memory I had, there where other people with me, who loved me. In each memory I had changed, grown, and matured but what was unchanged was the loving relationships I had in each memory. God has always made sure I have understood how unwavering His love is, in the example of a family who has always loved me. I find it easy to trust God's love for me in large part because I have always been loved. I do not have bad memories of feeling alone, or not accepted, I only know the security of God's love, and the security of God's love through the love of the family He has given me. This security has helped me to trust; trust God and the people He has surrounded me with. In that trust I have grown. I believe that trust and growth go hand in hand. As I trust, I move ahead, in that movement comes God's circumstances to create change in me. It is only in the light of God's unfailing grace that I can grow, change, and become a little bit more like Him.
I have quoted my favorite song many times before, but it is once again appropriate for me sing; Tis' so sweet to trust in Jesus... Oh for grace to trust Him more.


  1. I will look at that great hymn a little differently from now on. I also count it as one of my all time favorites but now I will see it as a call to trust as one of the foundations of growth. My fear has been that I will stop growing closer to God as time goes by but now I know that as I grow in trust, I also grow closer to the giver and sustainer of that trust. Thanks Tony for a great post. It took me down a great memory road. I love you.

  2. I had just commented to Doug when we were there this summer that the cabin is the one place in my life that really hasn't and doesn't change. What changes is my experience when I'm there. From childhood experiences to now giving the experiences to my children. The big dipper will always and forever bring me back to the cabin around the fire. How blessed we are to have had such unconditional love in our lives that we have learned to trust. Especially trust our lean on Him through all we have been through. I love you, Tony. Thanks for the great post, it brought a few tears to my eyes. And, since you love me too, I promise to invite myself over again soon! :)