I like hot weather. I always believed I needed to live by the beach to feel sane. Ballarat, my love, you're (literally) freezing and the nearest coast is an hour's drive away. You don't have good salt and pepper squid, or a shopping centre with an indoor playspace, or people I'm related to, or anything I grew up with or believed I wanted in a home for myself and my family of littles.
Nonetheless, I love you.
I'm not putting down roots here - but only because I'm not putting down roots anywhere on this earth. There's somewhere else for me. But for now, while the Lord sees fit to bless me with it, Ballarat is my beloved.
Is it the glorious green of a countryside bursting with life in spring? The magnificent autumn display of golden tree-lined leaf-paved streets? The crisp fresh air of a cold, foggy winter's morning?
Sure, I enjoy those things immensely. But I love this town because the Lord put it into my heart to do so. Because this is where He wants me, and his grace gives me everything I need.
There are towns by the beach that have a vibe that's much more Me. There are places closer to family, more convenient, maybe even more beautiful.
But this here is love. It's love, because God turns "despite the cold" into "because the cold is stunningly beautiful". It's love, because God turns "even though it's utterly landlocked" into "because it's completely surrounded by natural beauty".
God takes a nothing much, applies His love, and turns ashes into beauty. He loved me when I was nothing. He loves me still, and I'm still nothing much. His love - beyond and over and through all my flaws - is humbling and fills my heart with joy.
Cold brings snow, and snow is unspeakably beautiful. Weakness means I need Him, and leaning on God reminds me daily of His grace. Less of what's Me has taught me more of what's Him.
I'll set down roots, one day, when He decides it's time. Until then, His gifts are more than sufficient for me.
It doesn't have to make sense. It's love.