best and hard, hard and best

Why do the words best and hard go so well together? Why is it that the pairing of bitter and sweet make so much sense? It's a delicious intensity - where all the moments hold more weight and all the minutes hold more heat. There is a cumbersome madness of more that is crowding my last days in Iowa and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Coffee dates and backyard parties, rooftop adventures and state fair strolls, breakfast meet-ups and star gazing gatherings, living room laughter and back porch devotions - with each last thing, more of the best and hard and bitter and sweet crowd my days.

I cannot remember leaving a place I did not love. What a fortunate thing to say! The Lord's provision in my past has always been beyond what I can rightly appreciate or enjoy. From the farm to Michigan, Chicago, Austin, Honduras, Ames, Des Moines and back to the farm again, the Lord goes before me and stays with me. He is my first and best delight and He has never sent me to bed without a healthy helping of His grace and peace.

His provision is always more than I need because His provision is always Himself.

Always more, always Himself, always abundant. Always.

There are few things about which you can truly say "always" or "never" and feel confident about the assertion. God's provision is one of those things. It's not an unnecessary superlative or an excessive affirmation...

He truly is best and most and always.

And that is why all these last Iowa things are more complex than a trite phrase about bittersweet goodbyes. I consider it a blessing to love what I'm leaving as much as I love what I'm starting. There is too much joy surrounding me on all sides to get bitter about anything, even if it is both best and hard.

The memory verse for this week from Fighter Verses is from Proverbs 22:1, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold." And, as I reflected this morning on the devotional from Verses Project, I thought about what is best and most in this life. All other measuring systems and scales shrink in view of eternity. The only way to wake up (in whatever state or country) is with eternity in full view and the greatest inheritance in mind.