We’ve all heard the phrases, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” and “You don’t know you need something until after you’ve gotten rid of it.” I’ve said both of those many times, myself. But recently, it occurred to me that it’s also true that you often didn’t know you needed something until you have it. No, I don’t mean all that stuff they sell on HSN or on infomercials (though I use my veggie chopper at least weekly). In fact, you can’t buy the thing I acquired and now can’t live without, but my life has never been the same since the day I received that call.
A little over two years ago, I entered a lottery on the radio. I told my husband about it, assuring him I would never be picked. He hoped I wouldn’t. Those who were chosen would be able to go to the Holy Land, and the cost was not insignificant. Knowing I had little to no chance of being chosen, and even less chance of being able to pay for the two of us to go, I quickly forgot about it. Until the day I got the call.
Did that person really just say that I was among the lucky ones? Am I really being given this opportunity to go to the Holy Land? If only…
I knew the cost was high, and I knew that Ken would never be able to take off, and completely unplug, for ten days. I told him, with a fair amount of trepidation, certain he would say it was not possible. And at first, he did. He knew he couldn’t go, but maybe we could find a way to pay for me to go and take a friend. But before I left the room, he said, “Wait. Where exactly would we be going?” I checked my email, and the official itinerary had arrived as promised. Within no time, Ken and I were booked to leave in eight short weeks, with a group of strangers, on the trip of a lifetime.
Two years later, I’ve traveled to Texas three times to see friends we met on that trip. Ken met up with friends in California. We’ve visited New York countless times and gotten together in Annapolis, Philadelphia, and Boston. We’ve attended funerals and birthday parties, gone to women’s conferences and retreats, sang karaoke, and celebrated my book releases.
This past weekend, we attended a weekend-long celebration in Dallas where the son of one of the couples was confirmed. I can’t remember the last time either Ken or I spent an entire weekend doing nothing but having fun with friends. When we said goodbye, there were no tears. Instead, we hugged and said, “See you in August if not sooner.”
On the plane ride home, I sat and thought about the way my life was forever changed in the Holy Land. First, there was the awesome knowledge that I was walking in the footsteps of God. There was the profound experience of sharing this for the first time with a group of people who shared my faith. And there was a mingling of hearts and souls that bound us together in an inexplicable way.
From phone calls and visits to texts and facebook messages, not a day goes by that I don’t communicate, in some way, with multiple people I met on that trip. They are not just friends. They are as much family to me as my own flesh and blood. I cannot imagine life without them. And as that thought hit me at 38,000 feet above the ground, I realized that I might never have known before how much I needed these people in my life, but now, I can’t ever imagine my life without them. In much the same way, I believe there are many out there in need of something, and they have no clue what that something is. Over and over, I’ve heard people say that they didn’t know they needed God until they found him. He is there, waiting to be found, and He is a friend who never fails, never falters, never turns His back on those who love Him. Even more than my pilgrim family, God is a a shelter, a treasure, an elixir of life. Once you have found Him, you will realize that it was He that you needed all along.
What I was writing about this time last year: Do You Believe in Miracles?
Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017)