Overwhelmed. All I can do is smile and look on in awe. Tears stream without relent from my already swollen eyes. I sigh as the view before me becomes blurry. Hundreds of miles of Atlantic Ocean lay before me, as still and smooth as the glass like water of a small countryside lake in the early morning. The roaring engines and propellers of both departing and landing of 22’s is drowned out by the silence of this moment, this serenity, this suspension of reality. Normally standing here on the gallery decks that jet out over the water just below the flight deck, it is pitch black, but tonight the entire sky is illuminated by a glowing red full moon that sits high and majestically above billions of stars. You can clearly see the white splashes of Milky Way and Sirius gleaming. Somehow here we are passing through miles of ocean waters at 15 knots, yet the world and night sky are unchanging. No matter where we are at, what part of the world we are traversing, every single night the moon rises as it was made to, the stars shine as they were created to, and the beauty and glory of all that God has orchestrated paints the skies, just as it was designed to. That fact alone astounds and humbles me where I stand. And it never gets old. I have stood here in this same spot every night these past two weeks, and rather than grow tired of this view, instead the wonder and reverence has only intensified. The splendor of God’s glory has only become more grandiose.
I still cannot believe deployment is ending. I can’t believe the unbelievable growth and maturity God has done in me throughout these past six months. I can’t believe the amount of unreal experiences God has blessed me with or the number of truly incredible relationships he has entrusted me with. I can’t believe the beautiful, world-spinning love he has poured into my heart or the joy he has overfilled my cup with. I thought I knew what love was when I looked into the brilliant blue eyes of the love of my life at 18 years old. I thought I knew what love was when I cried my heart out saying good byes before departing Bahrain. I thought I knew what love was when I sat in a bus full of complete strangers who despite being lost in translation had become a family driving back from the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. I thought I knew what love was as I said the hardest goodbye of my life with a hot pink Scotland soccer jersey clutched in one hand and a carry on bag in the other. I thought I knew what love was as my arms wrapped securely around a recon Marine as the dive and jump devices pressed into his bare chest and his lips pressed firmly against the top of my head. I thought I knew what love was until I stood there looking out at all that God had created and through the sobs, God’s voice overcame me and cut through the sorrow. The words of MercyMe’s “Even If” drowned out all pain, all fear, all hurt, and all the noise around me. All I heard was the comforting voice of the Lord reminding me that even if all else fails, even if the sun doesn’t rise tomorrow, even if nothing in life works out the way I want it to, he is my hope alone. He is everything. His love, His presence, His grace is sufficient. I don’t deserve any of what I have but still here I am. I have squandered so many good gifts that He has blessed me with, yet He continues to work in and through me, though I don’t deserve any of it. God loves to use the broken to make something beautiful and my life is surely a living testimony of that.