I was staying at Coffs Harbour in a caravan park near the beach, so I set my alarm to see the sunrise one morning. But before the alarm went off I woke to light streaking through the curtain in my room. “Darn it,” I thought. I missed it.
But I decided to still throw my clothes on, grab my camera bag and start running towards the beach to see what I could see. Having arrived late the previous night, I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew I was running toward the sound of the sea, down a marked track. It was the longest track ever to get to beach. On my way, I realised I had forgotten my glasses, my socks were slipping down to my toes in my shoes which made it all more uncomfortable and challenging, I was now wet from all the thick grass I was wading through, and to think only 10 minutes ago I was warm, dry and cosy in my bed.
I was sure I had missed the sunrise. I could hear the waves. They were on my right hand side. The track seemed to lead everywhere but to them. As I continued to run through the thick scrub, waiting for the track to veer towards the sound of the waves, I was thinking, “What am I doing? I’ve missed it and I don’t even know if I am running in the right direction”. Cleary I was not very well prepared. The kangaroo further down the path looked at me as if to say, “a little late mate”. I barrelled onward as he jumped into the bush to get out of my way.
Part of me felt like giving up, but what the heck, I had come this far, so might as well finish this adventure. Finally I came to the clearing, wet, puffing and hoping I had everything in my camera to even take a photo. At this stage it wouldn't have surprised me what else I had forgotten. The sun had been up for a while but it was behind a thin, but large set of clouds as if to say, “I have started, Tammy, but come on in and watch the tail end. It will be worth it. I am glad you made it. I saved the best till last.”
Then, there it was. His beauty, His cleverness, His light calling me to look, to gaze. It drew all of my attention. I could not look away. I am glad I made it, even if it was late.
Sometimes we might feel we are a little too late, unprepared, hurried, lost, confused, not know where we are going or even uncomfortable. I know in those 20 minutes I certainly felt all those things. But He still says come, enjoy, you’re always welcome.
On my long walk home I discovered I went the long way right around the beach into that next cove. I clearly missed the sign that said “2 mins to the beach”, but it turned out to be the much better view, a much better vantage point to view the sunrise, a much prettier cove to land in. I am glad I did not give up. I am glad that even though I was late, unprepared and a little lost…He still met me. His love still shone on me and said, “Good morning.” His beauty still amazed me and He did not disappoint.
Come to think about it, I feel like this in many aspects of ministry and life. There are not many times when I am about to speak or lead or sing or run something, when I don’t think, “What am I doing here? I feel unprepared (which for me usually means not good enough), confused, uncomfortable.” I just want to turn and go back to my safe, warm alone space. At some point of each day as a mum, parent and friend I can feel hurried, lost, not good enough, wanting to give up and hide. But His love pulls me forward, challenges me to keep on going, to keep turning up, keep bringing whatever I have to offer, as confused and messy and unprepared as it sometimes feels. His welcoming beauty always accepts my offering and is really happy that I show up, even if it is a little late, wet and puffed. He draws my attention. I cannot look away, I cannot quit, I will never leave, because His constant truth and love spur me on. He accepts and loves me just as I am. Thank you for this constant reminder.