The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul
Psalm 23: 1-3a
I spent this week on the Navajo Nation, and it was perfect.
Life has been so busy and upside down for me this year. Nothing fits where it used to, and I keep thinking- who am I in this new life? Where do I fit- in my family- in Josiah Venture- in my church- with my friends. So many people have ideas about how I should fit, what I should be doing, how I should be prioritizing things. Start this, organize that, connect with these people, be more like this, talk about that, share this but don’t share that…
As I made my way up to the reservation from Phoenix, I settled in to the quiet views of wide open skies. I watched the cactus turn into the red rock of Sedona and then to the tall aspens and mountains of Flagstaff.
I stopped to see Meteor Crater- a sight I wanted to see when I lived in AZ and never got around to. I stood in the cold wind and wondered about the day God sent a meteor from space crashing into earth, creating this enormous crater. I touched a cold chunk of the meteor and thought about where it came from- how vast and inexplicable the space surrounding our little planet is….
Leaving Flagstaff, I came up over the edge of the mountains and smiled at the plains dotted with mesas and carved deep with canyons. Almost there.
Very little had changed since I was last in Rough Rock. The tumbleweed was taller- they had a lot of rain this summer. The little blue-roofed house I lived in had sprung a leak in the ceiling of the dining room that Sonny was trying to repair. The kids were taller, the babies walking and talking. But mostly, things felt the same, and I was reminded of all the slow, quiet days of visiting and teaching, of weaving Navajo rugs with Pauline and making frybread with Lula.
I was reminded of my many-months-ago dependance on God for the future. I didn’t know the next steps that summer, but I fully trusted that He did- and I rested there. I had peace.
So in the quiet of long drives and sunlit walks with friends my soul was restored by God.
I let go of all the thoughts and plans and expectations- real and imagined- that I feel heaped over me. I was reminded that the only voice I have to listen to, and obey is God’s- and that HE knows the way through change and busy and new. I remembered again that I have an audience of one to please. All I need to do is follow closely after my Shepherd, and all will be well.
Updates on Rough Rock:
Lavina’s family is growing up! Shenoah (the youngest) is walking and talking up a storm! We went trick-or treating together in Chinle, and I loved sharing a greasy Pizza Edge pizza with them all in the van beforehand and singing along to the radio at the top of our lungs. They were worn out before they even got to the door-to-door quest for candy!
Lavina has a new job at the hospital that she loves and the kids are all doing great in school. Next year Donovan will leave for boarding school in Farmington, which will be a big change for them.
We played SO many games of Yahtzee!!! One of the mission teams that came brought this game along and gave it to the Marianito kids last summer, and it was a hit! We played all afternoon and into the evening. “Heads Up” on my cell phone was a huge hit too and we laughed so hard that my stomach still hurts a little! I saved a few of the videos and you can watch one by clicking here.
Lula made fry bread and Navajo tacos for dinner one night…be jealous…they were soooooo good!!!!!
Lula also made me a Navajo Rug from the extra yarn I’d given her before I left last fall…such a sweet gift…!
All the other people from Rough Rock Friends are doing well- Sonny’s family has grown by one grandchild, and little Mika is almost done with her chemo treatments in Phoenix. She has tolerated them well, and they say that the tumors have shrunk, but they ask we would all keep praying for her. Sonny’s grandson Drey was out trick-or-treating when I snapped this photo…so sweet!
The whole Rough Rock crew was there on Sunday- plus it was 1st Sunday and all the other churches from up on the mesa came to worship together and share a November Thanksgiving dinner. The church is doing well- but I was a little disappointed that they weren’t growing. The head of Rocky Mountain Yearly Meeting came for a visit that Sunday and he specifically shared with them that his hope is for them to not just sustain the people there, but to begin reaching out into the community.
Please pray for this. Please pray that God will continue to raise them up into the leaders of the church that are needed here.
I’m writing this blog at the kitchen table of dear friends- the Armstrongs. I will be here for the weekend and I’m looking forward to joining their family for a few days of football games, soccer practices, keep-away with their giant dog Toby and lots of laughter, joy and wisdom from the people who first convinced me that I actually could walk away from medicine and work full-time in ministry.
It feels like I’ve come full-circle this week, back to the place where I 1st realized that my “I could never” had turned into a “maybe I actually can”. It makes me so thankful that God keeps after us until we listen and follow him to the places he needs us to be.