obedience

This word has been floating around my head all morning. 

It’s not something I use very often in talking about my relationship with God and I had a feeling that it may be the next season to come through this year. So far, I’ve been going through a heartbreaking and heart-lifting season of adventure. The Father has stretched my heart beyond the limits I thought it could bear and I’ve seen myself nearly fall apart many times. 

Then, He sent me this through a written testimony today:

“You continue to get your heart broken because you’re holding the pen of your life and trying to write your own story. I am the Author of true love. I am the Creator of romance. I know your heart’s every desire. I want to script a beautiful tale just for you, but first you must give the pen to me. You must let Me become the center of your existence. You must let Me have total control of your love life, and every other area of your life as well.”

2015 carried with it three distinct seasons of life: surrender, preparation, and adventure.

Each season, with the understanding that Holy Spirit gave me, I had expectations. In each season, those expectations were beautifully changed despite my lack of faith, trust, and obedience.

2016, grow my heart. 

seeking you | day seventeen

I couldn't wait to go to Yosemite and see all the beauty in person that I've been seeing in photos forever.

The day was really overcast and as we started our hike up the Four Mile Trail it started to rain and for fear of getting caught somewhere we weren't familiar with at all in a storm, we headed back down after a mile or two. 

As soon as we got over to Glacier Point, the sky started to clear up and the view was insane. Half Dome is so full of majesty. Seeing how small the falls were in comparison to the peaks around them just made it all the more incredible.

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This night we ended up sleeping in my car because the person who was supposed to keep us in San Francisco bailed at the last minute, which at the time was rough, but also was really all part of an adventurous experience. We had super expensive pizza and coffee at a random place we found in San Francisco and I drove around while Emily slept until I found somewhere safe to park and then I kept watch throughout the night. 

This was definitely one of the toughest nights of the whole trip, but looking back, it was worth it.

s small as I think I am compared to everything around me, I'm actually smaller

Sometimes more than one thing will go against your plan

Staying up all night in a car in San Francisco is mandatory

When people tell you San Francisco is covered with hills, you won't understand until you're traveling on them

God has a plan and it's better than yours

When you have time where the whole world is silent, spend it with God

Time spent in nature is time spent growing

Life is a bunch of choices


ever free, ever true, ever kind. 

seeking you | day sixteen

This is important. The first thing that we did when we got to the west coast was grabbed Chick-Fil-A. We thought we had lost the chance to taste Polynesian sauce back in Salt Lake City, so we almost cried when we saw the billboard sign. 

Now, back to the stuff you're here to see:

In the middle of our drive to Highway 1 (the scenic highway up the coast of California), Emily and I found out that the person who was supposed to be hosting us actually couldn't. We'd find out later that both of our California hosts were sort of flaky, but that gave us an opportunity for hotels with hot showers and no pressure to socialize with new people, so it was a blessing in disguise. It also meant we didn't have a set check-in time, so we could enjoy the coast for as long as we wanted. 

Oh, how I missed the ocean and the crash of salty waves. The smell of the Pacific is absolutely different from the Atlantic; the onyx sand and the teal sea was incredible and I loved how rocky the coast was.

Being next to the ocean definitely made me homesick, though. 

We took a little five-mile roundtrip hike to Pfeiffer Beach which is famous for the keyhole rock and it was just as beautiful as you would expect from the pictures taken by so many. 

Sitting on the beach, gave room for quite a bit of reflection of the lessons that came on this sixteenth day:

Things never work out exactly the way you plan

The hike is worth the view

Stopping for Chick-Fil-A is never a bad decision

You can take the girl from the ocean, but you can't take the saltwater out of her heart

haco sandals can take you anywhere

If you didn't climb on any rocks, was it really an adventure?

Rest again and again


ever free, ever true, ever kind. 

seeking you | day fifteen

Emily and I woke up before the sun rose at about five in the morning to head to Zion and the Grand Canyon for day fifteen. It was incredible to watch the golden/pink glow of the sunrise come up over the mountains on our drive. The drive was so weird because the morning started out at 70 degrees and every thirty minutes, got 10 degrees hotter until we reached Zion National Park and the temperature was over 100. 

Being from Florida, you would think that I would be used to that sort of heat, but the whole time we were driving through Zion, all I could do was marvel at the colors of the desert and lament for the people who call this place home. I mean, at one point we saw a guy skateboarding in full jeans. FULL JEANS. What even!? I was sweating in shorts. 

I wish I could explain in words how beautiful Zion was. It was so different from anywhere I'd ever been before.

 There were different plants, the grass was different, the colors were no longer wet greens and ocean blues, but rust oranges and dry sand. The sky felt different too, like it was so pure and open. 

It was so bizarre and so wonderful to see how differently God can express Himself in His creation even only 1,900 miles away from home. 

And then the Grand Canyon...

This place was incredible. To think that these hues and lines were shaped by a river is even more wild. Emily and I camped here for the night, so we spent some time setting up our tent before we went back out to hike a bit and watch the sunset. 

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One of the most important things to me on this trip was making sure I was living fully in the moments I was experiencing, and I think along with that territory comes a sense of wonder. So, I was the friend who climbed out to the edge of every ledge I found in this place. The posture of humility comes easily when you're standing on the edge of something so much more beautiful and grander than you could ever be. 

After a bit of convincing and encouragement through climbing to her possible death, Emily came out on the rock with me and we soaked in the Arizona sun. We threw rocks to the bottom and talked about our biggest fears and it was good. 

Then, we hitch-hiked back. 

Just kidding, mom! We walked back to my car and headed to a different viewing spot to see the sunset. 

It felt wild and beautiful. Not being able to pass up an opportunity to get away from the crowd, I left Emily with the grapes we had for a sunset snack and climbed out a bit further for some rad pictures of the sunset and the massive amount of people watching it together. 

Lessons:

Growing up in Florida doesn't mean you ever get "used" to the heat

God's expressive creativity is truly more than I can ever imagine

Don't pass up an opportunity to do something different

Sink in to who He is and who you are in Him

Take time to watch the sunset

Gas on Route 66 is $5 and ridiculous


ever free, ever true, ever kind. 

seeking you | day fourteen

Rest is something I've tried to be very intentional about on this cross-country adventure. It's hard enough to deal with the stress of moving out of your parent's home and into your own place across the country, but add onto it the stress of road life and you've got the perfect recipe for exhaustion, emotionally and physically. Day fourteen was definitely a major rest day. 

It started with Emily and I waking up to a sweet letter from Hannah offering (once again) anything we could find to please us. She was truly such a great host and I couldn't ask for a more perfectly weird human to spend time with. Emily was incredibly tired and beginning to really sink into being sick, so I let her sleep and walked to and around Liberty Park.

Anytime I'm alone in nature is such a fruitful time for me.

I probably looked a little crazy having just woken up and walked to the park, hair all bed-crazy and eyes heavy with sleep, as I prayed aloud on a bench. Oh, well! I felt such peace and happiness in my spirit being able to let all the stress go and ask God to carry it for me. Freedom is what this journey has brought to me; the freedom to love deeper, the freedom to let go of control, and the freedom to respond to all things with a posture of thanksgiving. 

Later in the morning, I walked back to Hannah's to find Emily up and dressed, so we went to the breakfast restaurant Hannah suggested. We had the most delicious banana pancakes and I maybe say that each breakfast we have is the most delicious, but I can't help it. You really can't go wrong with breakfast foods. 

It's been a really frustrating experience to find trustworthy WiFi to post updates in the places we've been to. The Coffee Garden was no exception, but it did provide a really wonderful space and environment to just relax and rest - as was the theme of the day. I spent some time in the word and reading up on She Reads Truth devotionals which always help to refocus my heart when I feel off balance. 

After coffee and an unsuccessful attempt to post, we went to our sweet little campsite (complete with our own personal Christmas Tree - see first picture) in Big Cottonwood Canyon. I spent most of that time reading a book I bought in Yellowstone called Yellowstone Has Teeth, about living year-round in Yellowstone. The other half of the time I spent walking around feeling overwhelmed by the amount of people there and trying to find comfort in the shape of the trees and the detail of the leaves.

This night was really the hardest for me. I came the closest to an anxiety attack and only found peace in my car when the noise of voices and drums (yes, some campers brought drums) were silenced. It's weird to see how much of an introvert I've become as I've grown. I find comfort in solitude and quiet. 

I fell asleep to the sound of drums, singing, and children screaming from their friends pranking them, but I woke up at two in the morning to the vast expanse of stars and the still, quiet trickling of the stream that ran near to our tent.  His mercies are new every morning - even at two, when the darkness surrounds you and the breathing of the people around you is overwhelming to your rest-depraved heart. Even then, He reminds you of His love for you. Amen, amen, amen.

Lessons from camping in SLC:

Shaving isn't something that happens often on the road

He always provides

"Oh, well... I'll never see them again" is a constant motto

Going with the flow is a sign living in harmony

Maintaining a shorts-tan is something that happens often on the road

Remember His promises

A four-dollar breakfast can't be beat

People actually read these posts and wonder if you're okay when you don't post, so make an effort

Stay grateful

When you feel like nothing is quiet, close yourself in


ever free, ever true, ever kind.