Early in June my friend Hannah and I took a day trip to the Wichita Lantern Fest in El Dorado, KS. The experience was magical, to say the least. We spent the better part of the day traipsing around Wichita, visiting our favorite coffee house and local shops. In the late afternoon we took off for El Dorado to set up camp at the festival. We came prepared with a picnic, water, and plenty of bug spray.
The best moment of the festival was when we watched our first lantern launch into the night sky. For the record, it's not as easy or glamorous as the movies all make it appear. Lighting and releasing the paper lanterns takes a lot of coordination and teamwork. Mostly we were trying to not light ourselves on fire accidentally. Both of us were very thankful for the friendship and assistance of the people around us. By the time we lit our second lantern, we were pretty much pros. And, yes, we sang "At Last I See the Light" at the top of our lungs.
During our road trip, Hannah took some lovely photos. Go like her official Facebook page, Sojourn, if you haven't already!
When I first moved going-on-three years ago, I was anxious about how my move would alter my friendships. God in his providence dismissed all my fears one by one and I have learned since then that the people of God never walk alone. Where the worship of God dwells, where his people gather together, there is always fellowship and companionship to be found. If anything, the distance and time between my close friends has only served to strengthen the most meaningful relationships and friendships in my life.
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to sometimes become too internally focused. I can hyper-focus on my flaws, my failures, my lack of direction and seeming lack of a future. It’s easy to superficially validate myself during times like this; to build up my vanity, but ultimately what I need is wonder. I need contentment in Christ, not satisfaction with myself. I need to stop looking at myself and instead crack open God’s Word and marvel at his majestic sovereignty and salvation. I need to take a drive, go on an adventure, and open my eyes to the world and people around me, be reminded how finite and temporary life really is, and how all of my worries completely diminish in light of eternity and the glorious reward before me.
On this pilgrim journey we all need hopeful companions by our side, just like Christian in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress needed his friend, Hopeful, and his unwavering encouragement. My sweet friend Hannah has been one of those Hopefuls in my life. Not only is she always ready to plan or spontaneously endeavor upon the next adventure, but she constantly encourages me in Christ, reminding me of his promises, and how my identity and future are grounded in my Savior.
I have known Hannah all my life. Her and her sisters have always been soul-sisters to me. We have grown up together and in spite of distance and the many ways our lives vary and alter over the years, we always come together again, and just like family, there’s nothing sweeter than the times we reunite.
The other day I was contemplating how fortunate I am, how fortunate I am to have faithful friends who have been there from the beginning, who have withstood tribulation, conflict, loss, and sorrow beside me and who have shared some of the happiest memories and moments of my life with me. I forever anticipate the days when we collide with one another as I ultimately look forward to the eternal reward we will share with our Lord and Savior.
Do you enjoy taking road trips, spontaneous or otherwise? What are some lessons God has been laying on your heart recently?
Photos © Sojourn 2016
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