This past Christmas some of our closest friends offered to watch our kids for us so that we could have the opportunity to get away together. Sweet right??? I know what you’re thinking…we have amazing friends to take on 5 kids….and you’re sooooo right! We owe them BIG TIME!!!!
A few weekends ago Matt and I took them up on their sweet offer and decided to drive up the coast. We’ve lived in CA for almost 5 years now and still have so much to see!
Prior to the getaway a lot had recenly changed concerning people, circumstances and financial support for our little church plant. Church planting is a scary thing sometimes…especially when you consider how temporary it can be. We weren’t sure if what we are doing now would continue to be a viable option anymore and had planned to use the time away to discuss all that had happened and and talk through the possibilities.
But before we could leave town Matt and I had go to a meeting together. Matt had been attending a church planter’s conference that week and the final day (which was the day we were supposed to leave) ended with a private interview/assessment of us. The results of that assessment, in many ways, would play a critical part in us determining how we would move forward with our conversations during the weekend, help us discern where God might be leading us, and give us some direction on praying through what to do next.
first stop: los alamitos (assessment location)
We’ve been through assessments before so it’s not that I am unfamiliar with this process, but each format is different and the people that fill the room are different every time. I found myself getting more and more nervous not knowing what to expect.
But it went far better than I ever could have imagined. We left the meeting and sat in car in the parking lot and just stared at each other in amazement.
The men that filled that room were unbelievably encouraging. They see in my sweet husband what I see: They see a man that loves Jeus and is a strong leader, a gifted preacher, and one that’s been through some very difficult trials. They see a man whose heart breaks over lost people, for the Church and for the people in his city. They see a father and a husband who cares more about his family than his dream of a successful church plant and they took every opportunity to encourage him, build him up, give him their full support, and let him know they are in this with him.
We sat there together and thanked God for His grace, those men, their encouragement and the clear direction He has given us to stick this out and not give up…
After we left the assessment we stopped at a little restaurant called Fish Bar. We ordered the mesquite grilled artichoke, pan sauteed crab cakes, and the chicken club quesadilla. I won’t do a food/restuarant review here but I will say that I highly recommend this place if you are ever near the area.
on the road to santa barbara:
We had a hotel booked in santa barbara for the night but the drive up the coast was brutal. By the time we got on the road it was late, very dark and there was a huge rain storm that had rolled in.
But the conversation all along the way was some of the sweetest ever. We talked through the meeting, homeschooling, kids, some challenging extended family struggles…and all of the many built up topics that have been saved on lists in our phones.
Somehow, toward the end, we got on the topic of “wants” and “desires”. What is it we really want? As a couple? As individuals? As a family? What do we desire? What are we passionate about? What should we be praying for? Loaded questions, right?
And for me, deep down, in those tender places where I’m most vulnerable…I desperately long for a home. I’m not just talking about a house, or a bigger space….I’m talking about a place where we can settle down, create a home, and have some stabilty. My heart wants a place that’s ours and a place where I can truly make it our own. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine and a lot that goes into this desire, but I’ll write more about this in another post… someday….
Matt asked me why I haven’t been willing to pray about it….
“Well,” I answered, “I guess it just sounds selfish. I know we don’t “need” a home, because I surely know the difference between needs and wants… and there’s plenty of other things that deserve our time in prayer…and I know that the Bible tells us that this world is not our home and we are pilgrims in a foreign land…and Jesus, the second member of the trinity didn’t have a home when he was on earth….and ultimately I don’t ever want my longing for a home to supercede the way my heart longs for Jesus…but…I guess if I’m really honest….I’m just scared to ask…
I’m afraid……….that He will say……no.”
“Meg,” he said, “He is a good Father who loves you. You are His child. You need to talk to the Lord as a Father, a perfect one, one who cares about you, just like you would want our kids to come talk to us….”
We drove in silence for a long, long time.
Can I trust the Lord with something so fragile to me? Am I willing to hold my desires with an open hand to let Him do with it what He would wish? Can I wait on the Lord? And can I accept His answer no matter the outcome?
As the rain continued to beat down on the windsheild I finally closed my eyes. Tears began streaming down my face as I began to pray out loud. I confessed my fear and repented of my lack of trust and…I finally began asking the Lord for a home.
I’m learning that prayer is not selfishly asking for the things I want, although yes, I did in fact ask for what I want….but it’s actually the opposite. Prayer is giving up control and is putting it where it belongs…which is not in my hands. I want my desires to be in line with what Jesus would want so asking Him for those things I desire will either redirect me or keep me trusting Him…or both….and both are good things.
It doesn’t mean that asking isn’t still scary sometimes. It is a real possibility that I may never get the home I am hoping for. But prayer is taking those longings, those most sincere and vulnerable parts and entrusting them to the creator of all of heaven and earth. Prayer is saying “here is what I truly want,” and humbly holding it up with an open palm to the perfect Father who says He’ll never leave and never forsake.
We arrived at the hotel late that night. We got checked in and went to bed right away. We woke up late the next morning, had coffee and breakfast in bed while watching the fire and listening to the rain storm all around us.
After checking out of that hotel we decided to walk around downtown Santa Barbara. This little town is ohhhhhh so lovely! The shopping is amazing and after buying an umbrella we walked all until we were too cold to go any further. We found a warm coffee shop and sat on cozy couches next to a fireplace. When the rain cleared just a bit we walked over to the court house…which is stunning! The architecture and grounds are so beautiful!
Then we shopped some more, found a hot chocolate bar, then spontaneously went to see a La La Land and just loved it! If you haven’t seen it yet you totally should! After the movie we had happy hour appetizers at Finch & Fork, then grabbed dessert at the Lilac Patisserie….both are definite go-to’s as well! (Seriously, the food on this trip was incredible!)
That night we got back on the road again and drove to….
We stayed at Cambria Beach Lodge which was small, quiet, newly updated and right on the water! We got some rest and the next morning woke up to MORE rain, but also a rainbow in the sky. The wind was strong and the waves in the ocean were huge and the scenery in that part of CA is just unreal. It is hard to even take it all in. I think we said about a bazillion times over how beautiful we thought it was. After watching the waves all morning we grabbed the camera and drove again to…
This was our exploring day! We had lunch at Sebesations, which is a tiny little hole in the wall spot that is connected to the Heurst Winery and has amazing burgers. The pic of the little chapel was right by that winery and after we ate we walked over to see the pier.
Next we went to Elephant Seal Beach where all of the mama seals had just given birth to their new little baby seals. It was absolutely incredible!!!! Apparently we came at just the right time of year when the beach is jam packed with all of these new seal families. It was breathtaking to watch them all interact and to hear the noises and grunts and the barking…the males apparently fight one another for the attention of the females….reminds me a lot of the gym sometimes…. 🙂 …and the females lose over half their body weight in 3 months time.
We had a tour booked to see the Hearst Castle, which is most definitely something to put on your bucket list. There is a short movie and multiple tours…they have got the tourism experience down to the tee that’s for sure. The Castle is simply amazing. There would be so much to share but for hte sake of brevity I’ll just say that Mr. Hearst clearly had immaculate taste and style. I love how they described him…that his joy came from designing and building, not necessarily in the finished product. I couldn’t help but think that’s sort of how life is….anyway, the castle is another definite must see attraction.
That night we were so tired from our busy day. We ate tomato bisque soup and bread with Olallieberry Jam at Linn’s Restaurant and had dessert at the French Corner Bakery…
The next day was spent driving back in more insane rain, but we stopped off along the way in…
san luis obisbo:
Once again we were not disappointed one bit in looking for good food. We grabbed coffee from one of the cutest coffee shops I’ve ever been to called Scout Coffee and breakfast burritos from Splash Cafe.
Our trip was so much fun. The time was refreshing, the scenery and food were incredible, and the conversation couldn’t have been better. It’s one of those trips that goes into the “favorites” list.
As far as wanting me still asking for a home, I haven’t stopped praying for that since we’ve gotten back. And I’ll keep praying for it until God makes it clear one way or the other. One of the sweetest things I’ve been learning these past few years is that our Heavenly Father is not like our earthly fathers. Our heavenly Father is perfect. He is honorable and trustworthy, warm, tenderhearted, and involved in our everyday. He listens and is concerned and cares deeply about even the tiniest parts of our lives-which includes the things we long to see happen. He can be trusted with those parts of our souls we often like to hide. And ultimately I can trust that whatever the outcome is will be for my good and His glory.
Have a wonderful day everyone! And if I might be so bold….don’t be afraid to ask Him for what’s in your heart today…..He sees you and loves you too.