• Jill Jarrell Newsome

One And Done

On the way home from vacation I always tell Mike how much fun I had and how glad I am I got to see a new place and mark it off of my bucket list. Then I almost always say, "that was one and done." That means that even though I like it, there are very few places I would repeat. I love to travel and see new places. I have said before that travel is in my blood handed down from both of my parents.

I feel I am so blessed by traveling. It brings me closer to my family (or my cousin) when we travel together. I have a better understanding of the world. I am able to learn new cultures and make new friends all over the world. Memories are made. The more I travel the more I realize how much I haven't seen. Kind of like the more I know Scripture, the more I realize I don't know about Scripture. I think traveling makes us more humble because we see what a tiny space we occupy in this world. I have learned that all people from all areas cry, laugh, love, eat, worry and die. By meeting these people it has helped teach me to love the whole world. The best education I have ever received is through travel - whether far or near.

For me traveling is always a spiritual journey. By getting out of my comfort zone and my surroundings I find myself gazing up at the stars more. I notice the waves and the sand more. I am more in tuned with my surroundings and there is a new clarity and fullness to life. It is like going to a revival when you spend time every day seeing what God has done for you. Feeling how much God loves you. Philippians 2: 15-16, "...so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain."

Seeing God's handiwork makes me reflect on how blessed I am to have seen different corners of the globe. Knowing that the Creator of the universe created all of the artwork for us to enjoy! Psalm 19: 1, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Jesus reassures us that our Father cares for the little sparrows and he cares for us. Matthew 10: 29, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care." This verse takes me back to South Africa where we were blessed to mingle with so many animals including giraffes, zebras, elephants, penguins and, my favorite, baboons. These animals were so beautiful and special!

Nature reveals to us God’s beauty, glory, power, wisdom, presence, creativity, and, most of all, his loving care. This is why we’re drawn to spend time in the beauty of nature and to enjoy animals. Genesis 1: 21, "So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." The beaches there were some of the most beautiful with the backdrop of massive mountains. One day we saw a huge great white shark washed up on the beach. I put my feet in all oceans but did not go past my knees there! God's hand was all over this beauty!

God nourishes my soul with his loving presence through the beauty of nature. When in the Holy Land this verse continued to come to mind. Psalm 121: 1-2, "I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." I had never pictured the mountains in my mind that were there. Wow, the walking and climbing those people did! While the Holy Land was not beautiful like South Africa, it was special because I walked where Jesus walked and that is unexplainable!

Yet in all this beauty we know there is something greater. Ephesians 2: 10, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do." God's greatest masterpiece is you and me. When the Lord created the heavens and the earth, He rested and said all that He made was good. Then He made man in the image and likeness of Himself. Man and woman were created to have fellowship with God. We were not an afterthought, we were the finishing touches. God looks forward to the day He will gather us, His children, and we shall be with Him for all eternity!

I love the quote, "Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer." It doesn't have to be traveling far but it does have to be getting out of your home and gazing up toward the one who created it all! God's creation preaches a sermon about its Creator. Creation reflects God's wisdom, power and beauty. Next time you are out in the world, pay attention to God's amazing work. Praise Him for the beauty of His creation. Praise Him that He chose you to be His child!