abiding

The big island return.

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Aloha! Some have asked the reason for my return to Hawaii to which I have mostly responded with, "I have no idea what I'm doing with my life!!"

Flying out to an island just seemed like the next logical step for a 20-something to do, right? (kidding.) I am a little more responsible than that. 

a little backstory...

Last November, I had a deep yearning in my spirit I find hard to explain. Not understanding what to do with this, I paid it little attention through the winter months.

With the new year came a full-time job, friendships I had long prayed for, and my first relationship. Although I know circumstances do not define our level of joy, I acknowledged life was good; I was working in an incredible company, socializing often, and of course, being pursued by my handsome boyfriend. 

As the weeks progressed, life continued to look good.

However, I was soon met with the same yearning I experienced months back. Not to be confused with discontentment, (as I was pretty happy with my life), this restlessness was like an unshakeable hunger for something more.

I had already succumbed to my full, new schedule so I kept balancing and navigating, thinking maybe then that total peace would come. During this time, my relationship unexpectedly ended—an added chaos I was completely unprepared for.

My heart unraveled, leaving me with a wound exposed for all to see. Thankfully, I received genuine support from friends and family who constantly called me higher, providing ample grace, patience, and chocolate as I began to heal from my first heartbreak.

The relationship was gone, but the yearning remained. 

I knew this stirring inside was from the Lord and it required a response, but I wasn't sure what to do in the midst of my pain and confusion.

Someone once told me, "If you are having trouble clearly hearing what God wants you to do, think about the last thing He told you or put on your heart. Maybe that's the thing He still wants."

I thought back to what He had last spoken. It didn't take long to figure out what that was: return to Hawaii and get with Him for fresh vision.

Through events only orchestrated by the Lord, He clearly confirmed I was to go. My dear friends immediately welcomed me to stay in the Ohana (studio apartment) of their home, I booked a one-way ticket, turned in my three weeks' notice, and packed my belongings.

Leaving Melbourne was the hardest right thing.

The small beach town I once dreaded now held precious friendships. Saying goodbye to my family with no set return date made the leaving far more bitter than sweet. But deep inside, I knew this was right. Knowing I had an amazing group backing me up in this faith journey allowed me to board the plane with more confidence.

and now, here i am...

The first week of acclimating to living in Hawaii again was strange, lonely, and exciting. Everything is the same, yet different.

It's awkward not having a specific title or ministry involvement like I once did. I've felt pressured to prove to you how I am doing something great, something worth flying miles away for, something, you know—to really write home about.

Putting it plainly, I am here because God called me. And it was time for me to be obedient.

Right now, I believe I am to not attach myself to a schedule, but rest instead. To be surrendered before the Lord. To allow Him to work with me on some serious heart issues. Through His kindness and grace, I see Him sewing me back together, rediscovering who He has made me to be.

This is such a unique time in my life where I am able to live in community and seek after the Lord's heart. That might be spent in the prayer room, interceding for the nations, or sitting on the lanai taking in His beauty.

I believe as He breathes life into my identity, He will reveal vision for future ministry.

I have no idea how long I will be here or what I will be doing, but as I take each step, I am thankful God's ways are nothing like my own.

His ways are far higher, and for purposes much greater than what these eyes can see. 

YWAM | University of the Nations Kona Campus

YWAM | University of the Nations Kona Campus

What wildflowers teach me.

As I write this, five hours remain until my day off comes to a close. The weekend will then be brought in by a 6 o'clock morning shift and a few thousand marriage conference attendees needing their coffee.

Life has sped on by, leaving me with hardly a breath to catch.

All the busyness has further proved my lack of talent in multitasking or handling schedules. Perhaps it is an art I have not yet learned. In the past year, many others besides myself have expressed how our days seem to be flying, which got me wondering...     

What happened to the quieter and slower side of life?

I love the calmness I experience when chirps and warbles are the only sounds to be heard. I love walking around my neighborhood before most people step out their doors or carry trashcans to the curb in the morning. I love watching clouds and pointing out their unique formations. I love sitting in the dirt to smell flowers. I love taking the time to know someone's heart beyond a plastered smile. I love writing without interruption. I love elongating the length of a meal preparation. I love sitting in silence, whether alone or amongst others who are comforted by the same. I love being able to hear God's voice unhurriedly. I love the memories of my Hawaiian days and cherishing all that holds a special place in my heart. I love setting down my phone and penning a letter to a far-off friend.

And I have not done those kinds of things lately. At least not enough.

I am notorious for picking weeds out of grassy areas and bundling them together. Nearly every time, I am instructed, "Those are just weeds, Erika." "Oh I know!" I would chime in, thinking there must be something wrong because I find them to be so enchanting – weeds or not. Similarly, while what I mentioned above could seem like just silly ways to waste my time, I know the value it means to me. 

Last Monday, I read from a book that I highly recommend called "Hinds' Feet On High Places" by Hannah Hurnard and felt moved when I saw this paragraph:

Nothing my Father and I have made is ever wasted,” he said quietly, “and the little wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach. They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly, even if it seems that there is no one to appreciate them. Just as though they sang a joyous little song to themselves, that it is so happy to love, even though one is not loved in return.

A smile stretched across my face when I realized there was a reason I loved wild flowers so much.

It is quite okay to soak in these treasures and meet with the Creator in them. As I slow down, I begin to notice the details of life that God Himself is behind.

To me, the quieter and slower side of life does not necessarily require a drastic change in schedule, but a renewed heart that views life with vibrance and appreciation.

While it isn't wise to stay yes to everything like I have been, I can say yes to doing a few things that really bring life. And I can say yes to slowing my heart and mind down to praise God for the simplest things.

Like the wild flowers and His still, small voice.