I've mentioned before that I've made two trips to Israel. I often hear people describe how they felt while in Israel with glowing terms such as these: Holy. Spiritual. Closer to G-d. Full of Peace.
When I visited there in 1996, I was very emotional due to personal problems at the time. I spent almost the whole trip in tears. I will do my best to explain what being in Israel did to me.
First of all, I was just overwhelmed to be there, plus I was keenly aware of G-d's hand in my life. That He had miraculously provided the money for my trip awed me and I felt so humbled by it. He wanted me there, even more than I wanted it myself. Only time would tell the reason. I had no idea at that time that I would become a Messianic Jew and a rabbi's wife ten years later.
Seeing all of the places I'd read about in my Bible since I was five years old was such an emotional thing for me, too. I had memories of looking at the maps in the back of my little, white Bible, and of trying to imagine what it would be like to walk where Jesus walked.
The thing that impressed me most, though, was how G-d has kept His covenant. Just prior to going on my first trip, I had done an in-depth study of covenant by Kay Arthur. I read and absorbed many scriptures about G-d's faithfulness to keep His promises.
Those scriptures went with me to Israel, and they convicted me of sin in my life. This added to my tears. He promised to bring Israel back from the destruction she had experienced. He promised to bring the Jews back from the countries to which they'd been scattered. He promised to make Israel a nation again. I was seeing the prophecies fulfilled that people had waited on for over a thousand years. It overwhelmed me. I cried the whole time. Tears of joy. Tears of sadness. Tears of conviction.
My tears of conviction were related to marriage. I grew up in a home filled with alcoholism, abuse, anger, and mental illness. I made a vow as a very young child never to live like that again. Unfortunately, I married into a similar situation and lived that way until I was divorced eighteen years later. Another bad marriage followed and ended quickly.
While the men had plenty wrong with them, I had something wrong with me, too. I was not as committed to marriage as I was to not being abused. This became crystal clear to me in Israel and it caused me to cry the whole time. I learned a valuable lesson, and came home a much wiser woman.
I never thought I would marry again, so I didn't even go out with anyone for ten years. But G-d had other plans, and that is the subject of a book I'm writing.
|Rabbi Jem and me at our wedding in 2006|
I usually journal every day, but I didn't write while I was on my trip in 1996. Part of the reason was that we were very busy, but mostly I couldn't put my feelings into flowery, spiritual words. The only word I could identify was "misery". I was miserable the whole time. When I left the country, I said I never, ever wanted to go back. That changed over time. I was amazed to see my love for Israel develop, and also my desire to return to the land. He gave me the desire of my heart when He opened the way for another trip in 2013.
My prayer is that every one of my dear Gail-Friends will have the blessing of aliyah - going up to Israel.
I'm linking up today with:
Modest Mom Monday Link-up
Growing Homemakers Link-Up
Titus 2 Tuesday
Tuesdays with a Twist
Share Your Stuff Tuesday
A Hope in Every Season Homemaking Link-Up