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Ever had that experience – the one that causes you to appreciate home a bit more than before, even if “home” has it’s own set of quirks?

Lot’s of driving and then a little sightseeing with beautiful views so we thought. Who builds a pedestrian only bridge? Big disappointment to the girl who wanted to ride across a bridge taking in the views! The redeeming factors of this tourist fail moment was the specialty coffee shop and sandwich shop within a short distance from the pedestrian bridge. This was much too hot of a day to walk across a bridge, whether it had great views or not.  Back on the road, a few more hours of driving and we finally pulled safely into our own garage. Awe, relief! After eight plus hours on the road we had made it home. Sadly enough, vacation had come to a close. Memories made, photos taken, tan lines to prove we were there and a few souvenirs to unpack along with our luggage; we were home.

We had just returned from Branson, Mo where we stayed in an area called Rockaway Beach Resort. Do not let the name fool you; it was not the five star resort the name may imply. These were little cottages with wood panelling on the walls. Ours had a small kitchenette placed directly across from the bathroom sink and medicine cabinet, that did not quite make it inside the bathroom located behind it. A tiny shower placed below a slanted ceiling and the smallest toilet you ever will see fit in the micro sized bathroom. A queen and a twin bed fit snugly into a small bedroom off of the kitchen eating area, while a futon lounged in the kitchen off to the right of the kitchen table and chairs.  This was home away from home for the Povolni family and we loved it.

What made these unique little cottages a great find was more about their location, situated just above Lake Taneycomo. The windows that surrounded our beds made it a bit hard to sleep in on most mornings – with the sun shining bright and strong – but the view was worth it. Our son could get up at the crack of dawn and head out fishing on the pier. The misty fog that settled on Lake Taneycomo each morning and evening was mysterious and beautiful all at the same time, but there was more that endeared this place to our hearts.

The charm of these cottages was not just the location, but who was occupying the cottages next to ours. There is a sang, “You can’t make new old friends”. Our long time friends that we’ve known for 20 years, their parents and my parents were in the three cottages surrounding us. Now if you have always lived close to your loved ones consider yourself blessed.

If you have ever moved far away from those you’re close to, you will understand the sweetness of having friends and family just a few steps away on vacation. Friends that have become family through time and shared history are treasures. Our children played, fished, tubed and swam together; so many memories made as we shared our summer vacation together.

After a few days our friends and their parents made their way back home and we had one day left in Branson, Mo. That evening we explored an area near the old downtown where there are old fashion candy and ice cream shops, a train station and a fishing pier on Lake Taneycomo. A few blocks up from the old town is a new place called, “The Landing”. It’s a great destination experience for shopping and dining; taking a zipline over the lake; a fountain light show leading up to the lake and it still boast beautiful views of the lake with a pier you can walk along. This was a welcome change that our family enjoyed while relishing our last night of vacation.

It’s funny how many of us welcome certain kinds of change in our lives; we even crave change at times.  Too much of any one thing often sends us longing for something fresh and new. Yet, when we have what is fresh and new then we often desire the old and familiar. As I enjoyed the view of Lake Taneycomo, from The Landing, I was thankful that some things remain the same. In an effort to create something new, they did not remove all of the old. Some things must go, other things must remain. What must remain will give beauty to “the new” if we have chosen wisely.

“It’s funny how many of us welcome certain kinds of change in our lives; we even crave some change.”

The Landing was built around the natural scenery not in spite of it. Instead of blocking the lake views, they enhanced the views with lit up water fountains, seating for all to comfortably enjoy and places to still walk along the misty water in the evening. For us this was a welcome change. Had they blocked the beautiful views of nature, this new destination would not have been as great.

Don’t block out or build over what must remain in your life. Allow “the new” to center around the familiar; never lose sight of the ONE who remains.

There is the kind of change in our lives that we reject and fight against. I’m thankful that God understands our human nature and knows what is best for us. I’m thankful that through uncertain change that He remains the same. “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” Hebrews 1:10

Walking in our home after staying in that little cottage gave me a new appreciation for full size bathrooms, my own full size, stocked, kitchen and of course, my own comfy large bed. Yet, I loved those little cottages because of the memories made with sweet friends and family, the views, the great location and they were budget friendly for families. Even the smallest of changes can cause us to have a different perception and a new appreciation of what we consider “normal” or of what of remains the same. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.

“I’m thankful that God understands our human nature and knows what is best for us. I’m thankful that through uncertain change that He remains the same.”

It’s a comfort to know that not only does God remain the same, but when we remain in Him, we can have a constant flow of His love, His joy and His peace streaming through our ever changing lives. In other words no matter what circumstances we are facing, we will see the fruit of remaining in Him – if we lean into and rest in the God who stays the same.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

As humans we need change. We long for change just as much as we long for other things to stay the same. What we have a lot of, we often then want a break from. Have you ever been in the house for several days sick yourself or with sick kids or a sick spouse and feel the need to “get out”? Do you have days or weeks or months of work or school and a busy schedule that never seems to end and you can’t wait to take time off to relax? God knows this about each of us; he created us to long for something new deep within our beings.

“Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none.” Isaiah 43:19

You may be in a situation today where life has thrown you in a tiny cottage. Maybe this tiny cottage does not have beautiful views. Maybe it’s not in close proximation to lifelong and “life giving” friends. Maybe it feels like you’re stuffed in this tiny place out in the middle of the desert and there is no help in sight. Or maybe you have family too close for comfort and you’re figuring out your escape route. We may not see it at the time, but God is working out our situation. Isaiah 43:19 says, “and you’re about to see it.”

Hold on to what you know, not what you see!

Know this, we serve a God who is always preparing something new for us. Not only that he is a God who desires above all to be in close relationship with us. Lean heavily on him. Grip his hand and know Him. Trust Him even when you can see nothing good. Hold on to hope and focus on whom the hope comes from. See God for who He truly is.

“You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.” Psalms 77:14

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