How Big Is Your Brave?

Lately, something has been bothering me about blogging and other online messages I put out there. It’s usually after a solution to the story surfaces. I don’t talk much about climatic conflicts while I’m swimming with the sharks. I want to be safely on shore looking back in reflection of warfare.

I call it ‘protecting my privacy’ but personally, I have a problem sharing some stories that don’t have resolve, yet. I like to have the answers!

I think a lot of people are like this because as soon as a problem presents itself, the ‘fixers’ get happy to help and come back with an abundance of advice. They want an ending to the story too.

Sometimes we don’t need a plea bargain to a problem as much as we need patience to wait uncomfortably on God.

If He can part the Red Sea, flood the earth, rescue His people from Egypt, turn water into wine, raise men from the dead, and revive a field of dry bones, then He can certainly handle our headaches. I am confident that His hand is not too short to save.

The reality is that growth requires us to remain in challenging, troubling, sometimes burdensome places for lengths of time.

I can stir Him with my prayers, but it’s His power that matters most. And if nothing changes at all and the darkness closes in, I am convinced He is still in control with purposes far greater and more wonderful than I can know and understand. Whether or not I see the effects of prayer, God is God and I trust Him for an ending.

braverySo I’ve decided to get a little braver with my biography and begin blogging about wrestling matches rather than only the resolutions. And I promise to work on being open to your opinions 🙂

So how big is your brave? What are you holding back?

The Beauty Behind Your Hardship

Sorrento at sunsetSimply stunning, right? Believe it or not, as I held the camera staring out at this sunrise, I could not see the striking beauty captured here because of the circumstance I was standing in. My vision was clouded by a veil of the immediate hardship, which pulled on my heart more than the perfect smudging of colors blending across the sky. The depth of perspective in this scene was jaded by  where I had been standing. My eyes could only see the surface; a tired spirit and sweating body. The enemy had manipulated a worn out marionette, swayed by the difficulties taking stage.

I was alone. Afraid of the things I could see. Frustrated this wasn’t the fairytale journey I had planned. I was caught up in my conditions, instead of the captivating craftsmanship the Author had been drawing my attention to. I wish I had the perspective of Paul, to see my Maker’s grand masterpiece in the present day portraits instead of its imperfections.

Don’t get me wrong. There were times I experienced the supernatural force of praise so powerful, rising up from the pit of my disparity to help me stand strong in faith even when my thoughts or circumstances were tempted to come against the truth. There were images that evoked such vivid depictions of God, I fell on my face in such deep adoration for the Almighty Artist. I believe this was the most difficult part, because I only wished I could live captivated in awe by His artistry every moment.

Is it possible that the way out of hardship is to abandon our bad attitude and negative thoughts by surrendering to praise? One of the toughest things to do in the face of adversity is to take off our frames that are focused on fear and fatigue, and replace them with the lens’ of God’s love. We have a choice to pick up praise, when our life doesn’t live up to expectations or finds us surrounded in a situation that we can’t seem to get out of. It’s hard to be negative when you are declaring the goodness of God!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Are you missing the beauty in today because a veil of hardship comes between you and what’s on the other side? Is your circumstance covering the portrait God has been drawing before your eyes?

Backpacking My Burden

I’ve been home for a week from my Italy excursion during the month of May. My brain has since been ruminating about the journey and I have found more reflections than I have time to write about. Even as I type, I am juggling several tasks between typing the title and actually transcribing my thoughts in this post.Several friends have asked, so here’s a quick take:

Favorite parts: I loved Florence the most. It had charm, rich history, a kaleidoscope of colors, rolling landscapes, a vibrant culture, and a taste of everything that makes Italy so appealing (my opinion). But really, I enjoyed each area for different reasons. Tuscany was simply stunning during every hour of the day. Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast were lined with trails that weaved along the water.

As a ‘foodie’, I plotted my pilgrimage according to every ‘must try’ by the culinary circles. I’m not even going to start on all the pasta, pizza, pastries and gelato or we’ll be here forever. Italy has cultivated the fine art of anything that comes in a cup. Simply put, the country is king of the kitchen!

So the worst part? Moving around so often. Before I left the states, I planned my priorities like most people; ‘I need to see it all’. As soon as my feet hit foreign ground, I realized it was goinBackpackingg to be a lot more work and less of a vacation. I left my suitcase at home and opted for a backpack to prevent being preyed upon by pick-pocketers. This would have been a wise idea if I hadn’t packed 25 pounds worth of “necessities”.

It seemed like I barely had time to get acquainted with the street grid of a new city before I was packing up and catching the next train out. With each stop, my bag became harder to zip up, which meant heavier to hold. I quickly realized how I underestimated the burden of lugging dead weight on my back in and out of trains and bus stops.

Then it hit me. This is what I do in my personal journey through life. I try to pack in as many activities or friends in a short amount of time so that I can ‘do it all’. In the end, I wind up stressing over all the busyiness instead of being grateful for these moments. I want to absorb the leisure of one or two places and enjoy the depth of relationships with a few people instead of living with regret that I only brushed the surface of it all.

So my recommendations. Don’t go alone. There’s too much beauty to see and share with someone and two pairs of eyes are better than one when you’re navigating from the ground in a new city. Second tip. Tell yourself you CAN come back. That you don’t have to be everywhere and do everything. And in the end, your trip will feel more fulfilling with fewer stops. Lastly. Remember, there are no calories in anything when you’re on vacation, so enjoy it all. Just make sure to get to the gym when you get home 🙂