What I’m grateful for this year:
1. Grace. Continuing my journey being blown away by the infinite boundaries of God’s compassion and care for me. Still trying to wrap my mind around his selfless and passionate pursuit. I can’t comprehend it, but I receive it humbly and gratefully.
2. Nika. I also cannot wrap my mind around this treasure. I was not prepared for or anticipating the great change this woman would bring in my life. I now welcome it whole heartedly and with deep gratitude. God knew exactly what he was talking about when he said that “it is good”. I am a much better man today because of my wife.
3. Friends & Family. I’m beginning to realize just how important relationships are and why God created us with a need to love & be loved. We are meant to thrive through community. We’re happier, stronger, and wiser together. I’m learning to embrace my need for fellowship and friendship.
4. Fun. This year I’ve enjoyed fun music, dancing, movies, games and adventures. It’s important to soak in the blessing of just being alive. Appreciating the beauty of life, culture, and nature.
How long can transition take? Well, a pretty long time it seems. Just when you think you’re over it, you realize you’ve got a lot more to go. I am so eager to get to the other side. And I don’t mean geographically (although we are moving to Seattle), but metaphorically I can’t wait to get past this stage of my life where I’m just: Incubating. Preparing. Waiting. For what & when?
The great promise. I know it’ll be worth it. No doubt about it. I just don’t know what to do in the mean time. Should I be doing anything at all? Do I just forget about it and let it come as a surprise? Or do I prepare and anticipate the arrival?
One thing I know. I’ll never be deserving for it. There’s more going on than I’m responsible for. No matter how many times I feel like I’ve blown it and lose hope, I’m reminded that the promise is not mine to keep in the first place. That’s one of the most powerful things about destiny. It wouldn’t be called destiny if it wasn’t already destined.
Today was my last day of work.
Sorry, I had to just stop and soak that in for a moment :) There has been so much change in the Abalos’ household lately. From selling all of our belongings, moving out of our apartment, quitting my job… and in less than 2 weeks we’ll be heading out west on one of the craziest adventures of our lives.
What all started as a whisper in our hearts that God was moving us on and out of Florida, has taken us to this very moment in which there really is no turning back. We’re not on the road yet, but I feel like the hardest part is over and God has sustained us through this crazy transition.
So many blessings. So much favor. I am blown away how God has provided over and over what was necessary and then some. All our hope is not in vain. Eventually the expectancy and the promise collide, and it is good.
We’re already beginning to see glimpses and glimmers of the bright future that awaits us.
Growing up as a missionary’s kid can sometimes mean growing up with an unspoken expectation to be perfect. And when that pressure hits, sometimes the only thing you can do is hide your imperfections to save face. You start focusing so much on the outward part that others see, but it’s your soul that is a garden and it’s there your true nature grows and eventually pushes outward.
I’ve spent most of my life worrying about what other people think. But the times that I’ve experienced the most growth are the times I let go of my reputation or standing with other people and put priority on my relationship with God. It’s when I choose him and others above myself, that’s when I really learn.
I remember when I heard the phrase “redemption is better than perfection” for the first time, I couldn’t grasp the deep reality of it. For so long I had been chasing perfection, that I forgot that the real goal is God’s redeeming grace. You see this whole life and universe is a story about God and his rich love, it’s not about us. We get so caught up with what we can do and achieve and forget that it will never be as amazing as what HE can do through us. We are creative, innovative, and determined because we are created in the image of God, but that doesn’t mean that we can live on our own. Our story is intertwined with his and without him we are undone, incomplete, lacking.
We will make mistakes. We will screw up badly. But it’s not the end, only the beginning of what God’s redeeming grace can do in and through us. So take the focus off yourself for a moment and pray and let God know that you need him. He is your only help. His lovingkindness and grace is your only hope for peace. Place your trust in his faithfulness and his supernatural power, and surrender your heart and all your cares to him. He will help you through it by taking away the guilt and shame that plague your soul. Jesus paid the ultimate price for you so that you can live in freedom and pursue his kingdom without hindrance or reservation. Don’t let the depths or length of time you spent in sin hold you back, Jesus is more concerned in your growth than he is about you getting what you deserve. He wants to see you thrive, living fully in and for his kingdom. His mercy triumphs over judgement and his love casts out all fear. Love covers a multitude of sin.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t hold anything back. You have nothing to lose.
I could run away, but you’d still be there.
I feel like Abraham, staring at the stars and counting sand
Wondering ‘how on earth’ are you going to bring your promise forth
Just like Abraham, taking matters into my own hands
Growing weary of the wait, tired and losing faith
But the stars won’t stop calling my name
Hope still remains of a promise that’s not mine to keep
I can’t escape the strength of your grace
You know I should’ve been lost by now
Today I danced. That is not a statement to be taken lightly.
I used to dance a lot. Not because I am a skilled dancer (I have absolutely no training at all in the art at all besides some breakdance moves I learned in high school.) I used to dance a lot because it’s what I do when I’m happy, like really happy. It’s how I express my joy when I can no longer contain it. And inexpressible joy was actually a common experience for me at one point because I was head over heels for Jesus. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love Jesus with all my heart, but I’ve been very distracted. By life. It’s taken quite the toll on me over the past couple years and I’ve struggled to find my footing. I’ve been discouraged and very disheartened by circumstances and events that have happened. But God has been moving me forward despite my uncooperativeness. I’ve learned so much in these last 2 years about myself and about God. I wouldn’t give up what I’ve learned through this season, but I totally wish it didn’t have to be so hard.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. Life’s been rough lately. So this brings me to my point. I danced today. Okay, it was tonight actually. At prayer & worship night I was able to let go for the first time in a long time. I was overflowing, smirking and laughing with delight. I let my arms out and danced around the room with the biggest smile on my face. I felt free. I felt happy. I felt content. It wasn’t forced or produced… it was uncontainable. I was too happy :)
That’s the real Zeb coming out. The Zeb that loves to dance… more than he even loves to sing. And more than I love to dance, I love having something to dance about :)