She asks this morning what has made the difference and I'll tell you what I said: the nature and character of God.

That's it.

His character and nature never changed, of course, so it didn't swing around and ta-da my faith. No, it was faithful and good all along. What changed is that I began to frame everything else within that knowledge. When my car breaks down, He is good. When I have no money, He is wise. When I am lonely, He is faithful. When I am fearful, He is loving. He is all of those things when my car works, when there is money, when I am surrounded by good people, and when I am brave enough to risk everything. But what changed in me is that He never changes.

So here I am, back in Northern New York, driving roads where I've hugged their curbs, cursing God, passing coffee shops where I hunched over journals asking hard, hard questions, and around people who hugged me hard when I wept long. Here I am where every autumn scene makes me gasp with the pleasure of God and ache at how I never loved it because it was His and only because it was beautiful.

Yesterday our kayaks swept along the Grasse River and I sighed: God is such an amazing creator.

Another attribute. (One that's harder to remember in Texas than it is to remember here.)

The thing about His character is this: it never changes, but we do and so every experience is another opportunity to see Him more clearly, know Him more intimately, to treasure Who He Is over what He does.

Because at some point, your child may die, your boyfriend may refuse you, your car may break down, your wife may leave you, your bank account may be emptied, your sinfulness will surprise you, and your heart will break into a thousand pieces.

But you will not shake your fist at Him, no, because you will understand you cannot put Him in your debt, with your litany of good acts and faithfulness. You will bow your head and weep, perhaps, but deep in you, you will understand that He is doing new things with old character.

He never changes.

This is what has made all the difference in the world.

The view from my kayak on the Grasse River