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This post marks my last writing from Bahrain. Soon we will be on our way westward, back to San Diego, after right about 20 months of adventure in the Middle East.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. Both a physical journey of miles, and an emotional journey of making amends with myself. Thank you for entering into this adventure with me and for being a companion to me when I was in a foreign place.

If I could—yet again—beat one drum in our collective ear, it would be this rhythm: We don’t always know what God is doing from beginning to end. AND YET, he is making all things beautiful in its time. This is the crux of my faith. This is the essence of my hope. That God has loved me enough to take me on a journey—deeper into the world, deeper into myself, deeper into Him—and He has walked with me through a mysterious unfolding. One that I don’t always understand or agree with. AND YET, looking back, I can always see a certain kind of beauty that unfolded against all odds.

Emily Dickinson wrote that “the truth must dazzle gradually/ Or every man be blind.” This is the profound and subtle work of God. A gradual dazzling. We do not see all the beauty all at once and up front (it would blind us if it came to us that way). We are gradually dazzled—one tiny faith-step at a time.

This is found art. Not necessarily gorgeous on first glance. A gradual dazzling. A subtle mystery. Beauty-in-the-making.

I want faith large enough to always believe that the beauty is around the next bend, and—even—here in the mess, too.

I want to believe that bougainvillea can grow from the dumpster. Free. Wild. Alive. Because beauty is always that much more beautiful when it’s growing despite the garbage.

I believe in your capacity and my capacity to discover such truth. To live in it and out of it and through it. To bank on God and his broad grace. I believe in our capacity to begin again. I believe in our capacity to heal and breathe and become. I believe in our capacity to find beauty, even when it seems beauty has left for good.

So, I invite you to join me in this next chapter. Undoubtedly, it will be rocky. Re-entry is a strange beast. And I will have to walk through it. No short cuts. We’ll talk through it together, and we’ll meet on the common road of needing-God-in-our-humanity. Most of all, we’ll help each other scout the beauty.

All my love,

Leeana

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