I’ll just say it. I miss the mountains. My faith and outlook on life is deeply impacted by the places I surround myself with. I spent my weekends running from the outskirts of Charlotte, NC to a little family farm in the upstate of SC. I would mow the fields, play in the creek and find arrowheads. I would breathe deep the smell of the sweet grass and listen to Bobwhite’s start their evening conversation and be happy. When I graduated from high school I bought a fly rod and escaped to Boone, NC for college.

I’m loud. I talk too much and probably don’t listen nearly enough. Ironically I crave places of silence and solitude. That is where I meet my Maker. That is where I feel at peace. My church is a live oak and a trout stream . My church is jeans and a dirty t-shirt. My church is fireside conversations with brothers and sisters diving into the good and bad of life. I love church but have never found this unique peace there. The woods were(are) my coping mechanism. The old farm roads and quiet evenings are where I wrestled with my deepest pains and greatest joys.

God gives us what we need and oftentimes there is immense joy attached to those things. He is so dang good. He blesses those that squander blessings. He loves those that ignore his love and are perpetually distracted.

During my senior year of college I squandered this goodness. I embraced the beauty but did not appreciate the source. My heart had no intention of wondering what God’s will was. I was only concerned with hanging with friends and doing whatever I wanted.

Cliches' are sort of beautiful, at least some of them. The age old realization set in around November. “I’m empty. Why am I empty?” I have walked with Lord since I was about thirteen and at twenty-two I still felt this way. God gave me a righteous slap of reality and I realized that I had built a house of cards on distraction. The cards inevitably fell.

God is great because he doesn't leave you where you are. It was still a hard year for many other reasons, but my eyes and heart slowly began to return to what mattered. Solitude is great, the natural world is a beautiful host of something like that. However, it fails. It’s broken. I am broken.

I find myself having trouble communing with God since I’ve moved. The quiet places have had to become headphones at Whole Foods with a book. That is fine. Life is chaotic, you have to find the quiet places in the middle of the storm. I am learning , I am redeemed, I am being made new. Thank you Nashville for being a part of that process. The beauty is in the hills that I love and left. I fully believe that. One must remember who created it. One must remember who created the joys of our heart. One must remember that we are called to a will that may not fit our pre-planned agenda.

I am ready to listen. I am ready to see what you have for me Father.

Grace and Peace

McClain

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