A D V E N T U R E

I made a sign for my room this week. I think it’s laughing at me.

Adventure-0219

I’m living in Plymouth this summer. It’s new – but it’s also been hard. These first few weeks I’ve been trying to figure out how I fit here. I’ve spent a majority of my time at home, applying for jobs. I don’t want to complain about it, because I’ve had some really lovely times over the past few weeks. But it’s tough sitting in a small town with few people who really know you and trying to deal with the all-star Instagram feeds of friends on faraway adventures. [Comparison sucks.]

My heart yearns for adventure. My eyes want a fresh view, a novel experience, something that takes my breath away. Untouchable beauty. Something to remind me that I’m alive.

I came home hoping for adventure in a new place. But what happens when things don’t happen the way I expect?

I pout. I feel sorry for myself. I want adventure. My adventure.

But that’s not how adventures happen, do they? I think of Frodo wishing the ring had never come to him. Steve Rogers missing his dance with General Carter. Susan and Lucy crying as Aslan is killed. Things are so different than I expected! My heart then yearns for somewhere safe, arms that hold me secure: home.

Maybe home and adventure aren’t mutually exclusive. His arms are my home. He leads me through each twist and turn, and we twirl and dance together. I let go, trip and stumble. He brushes me off and picks me up, the rhythms of grace alive in our dance.

Alone in our new house, I whittle away at the tree bark. Down in the basement, I carefully collect the shavings once I’ve scraped away at the branch with my blade. I think about adventures at camp, jumping off the zip line platform, and telling kids about Jesus. I think about seeing Germany, the mountains of Switzerland, the Eiffel Tower. I think about Plymouth, Indiana, full of people whose faces I might come to know and love.

Solomon said, “In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” [Prov. 16:9].

If adventure is just exploring faraway places, thrill-seeking, or checking something off my bucket list, is that enough? I don’t think so.

A few years ago, I started trying to write down little memories from each day on index cards. I remember the little moments of each day with joy: my very own adventures. I look at my memories from yesterday alongside the memories of yesterday-last-year and the year before and smile. There is still adventure right here, right now.

2012: 1st time belaying!, 2013: big event at Touchdown Jesus, 2014: Worship @ the Living Room

Adventure is being held in the arms of my Creator, led forth with peace into the great unknown… or maybe just into my small town. He directs my paths as I trust Him. I venture safe in his arms into the sweet and turbulent moments of the day. Every morning when I wake up, I want to remember that this adventure I’m on is His, not mine.

I don’t want to miss a single beautiful view on this path.

Adventure Sign in My Room

moving – and longing for a heavenly home

our house in South BendIf you haven’t already heard, my parents are going to be moving to Plymouth, Indiana sometime this year. My dad accepted an associate pastor position at Crossroads Evangelical Free Church, and I really think this is a good fit and a good move for both us and our home church. At the same time, change is weird.

South Bend and CEFC are home to me – my parents moved here from our home in Bremerton, WA when I was four years old, so really, this is all I’ve ever known. But I’m extremely thankful for God’s goodness in allowing my parents to have an effective ministry here throughout my whole K-12 education. What a blessing to not have to move and make new friends during my awkward/formative years. I also keep reminding myself that Plymouth is only 40 minutes away from here, I’ll be at school anyways during the year, AND I have my own car.

So why does it still feel weird, and a bit unwelcome, this change intruding on my life? I would consider myself a pretty easygoing and adaptable person, but the one thing that’s stayed pretty much the same for me is this place I’ve come to call home. But nothing on this earth is permanent. This is not really my home. Bremerton wasn’t, South Bend isn’t, Grace College isn’t, Plymouth won’t be, if I move to Haiti or Paris or Timbuktu one day, they won’t be home either. My home is in heaven. I am a citizen there, and it’s kind of inevitable that there will be times when I just feel like a wanderer on this earth. It kind of reminds me of something Jesus said:

“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matt. 8:20)

Jesus’ home was with his Father, as is mine. So I’m thankful for this weird feeling that is reminding me of that, and I’m praying that God will use this change to get me out of my comfort zone and kick out some apathy, too.

relentless love

Went on a walk with Dad a few nights ago to spend some quality time. What a guy.

Went on a walk with Dad a few nights ago to spend some quality time. What a guy.

This weekend is a pretty big one for our family – today is my dad’s birthday and my parent’s 35th anniversary, and it all falls on Father’s Day weekend! Yesterday we all celebrated together with 4 dads – my Dad, Grandpa, brother-in-law, his dad – and the rest of our family members. We went out to eat, had WAY too much dessert, and just had a really nice time. In the midst of all this, I think it’s pretty important that I stop and thank God that my family is not only intact, but seeking to serve Him as well.

I don’t know what it feels like to have parents who hate each other, or siblings who’ve completely dropped off the map, or a father who was never there. I know this isn’t the case for many people I know and love, and when these kind of family times roll around and everyone posts the mandatory Facebook photo of them enjoying these moments together, I can’t help but feel for people who are left wondering what happened to their family. I can’t even imagine what life would be like without mine. But I think something I’ve realized during my time at school is that good relationships are intentional relationships. For most of my life, without me consciously realizing it, my parents have cared for ME, set up times with ME, pursued ME. They’re not perfect by any means, but they’ve given me an awesome picture of God’s love for me, intentionally pursuing me even when I mess up.

Away from home, I had to realize that it’s my turn to be intentional. I realized that I have to make more of an effort to connect with people if I really desire a deeper relationship. As an introvert, sometimes that’s pretty hard for me. Sometimes all I want is to curl up with a good book, watch a movie, or finish a craft project to recharge. But then I remember that it’s people that matter. (Not that recharge time is bad – it’s actually pretty dang important.) In the end, it probably doesn’t matter if I knit a hundred sweaters or finish all my homework the day it was assigned or check everything off my to-do list on a particular day – but if I can encourage someone, show them I care, make them smile, point them to Jesus with my time, it’s worth it. So, so many people with hurting families don’t have a reference point for that relentless love that I’ve gotten a taste of through my family.  So Jesus calls us to love them. They may not have earthly families, but we can “adopt” them into ours and show them what it feels like to be wanted and pursued. Just little things like sharing a meal, giving a ride, asking more than surface level questions, and opening your home can make the gospel relatable. Often times these little things are really big things when you look back at them. Sometimes in the everyday I lose sight of this and slip back into my happy little snow globe of comfort. But Jesus didn’t come to earth to be stifled in a glass bubble. So today, I choose relentless love.