The Beginning of the End: Fresno to Sequoia

I’m in the last few miles of my West Coast Pilgrimage and my heart is strange mix of emotion. How is it that two very different places can equally feel like home? California is so comfortable. She wraps my spirit in abundant contentment – well with her sun, warmth, beauty, and overall coolness, who wouldn’t feel content?

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I love it here. I thrive in the constant vitamin D and endless hiking trails. But my roots are found in the soil of Minnesota. She has my church family (which, only after being gone for 5 weeks have I come to realize just how important this family is, there is no church home quite like Woodland Hills), my biological family; a bizarre unit of quirky people from whom I find my best friends and my most cherished role as an auntie… Two different places, both provide a sense of home. I don’t want leave. But I want to see my kids. I want to worship with my family. I want to put up my
Christmas tree and sip a cup of holiday tea while adoring my twinkling fake fir…

Bittersweet is the best word to describe the tail end of my pilgrimage. I am all too aware that this is the beginning of the end. FullSizeRender 12So, as I sit here in one of Fresno’s countless Starbucks, I’m giving myself extra time to stay. To reflect. To rest. I know that once I get back into my car, the journey back to Minnesota begins. But I want to be intentional about finishing this pilgrimage well, and to do so I will keep my thoughts on the sweet rather than the bitter. After all, I still have Sequoia to explore.

This Advent season I’ve been following a devotional created by IFequip.com. It’s a remarkable devotional that grounds my focus in the promises of the season. And with the promises of hope ever on my mind, I’m drawn into worship. From the chorus of my pilgrim’s song, Sequoia beckons me to come, to rejoice Christ the King. To praise Emmanuel – God with Us.

“Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool.”

I’ve been called to receive so much of the beauty of God’s footstool, and worship is my response.

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With every hike, I worship. With every long run from coast to crest, I worship. With every mile of driving along the 101, I worship. And now, from Fresno to Sequoia, I worship. Because what is the point of a pilgrimage if you never experience the infinitely gracious source of your worship? Oh, I’ve experienced this source, my friends. Over the past 5 weeks I’ve experienced it in crazy, wonderful, and transformative ways, and I’m going to take them with me back to Minnesota. In the words of Brennan Manning, “I am still a ragamuffin, but I’m different.”  Now, with tidings of comfort and joy, I gotta go. Sequoia is calling. (And I think I hear Yosemite beeping in… I just might try to see if I can answer her call.)

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