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appalachian trail

Courage. {New Adventures and an Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike}

Last year, I wrote a series I called “Undaunted.” I wrote about a period in my life when God broke down everything familiar to me, every single thing I considered a “strength,” and worked through my own brokenness to show me just how “God” He is.  This week, I watch Him working in a new way, as once again He removes what is familiar and “safe” from my perspective, and dares me into a new place of trusting and courage.  He’s got better views, harder climbs, and deeper love to introduce me to.


My second son begins a tru-hike of the Appalachian Trail next week.  After three years of study, preparation, and straining against the “yoke” of still being a child while becoming a man, he sets off on half a year of adventure and agony, of hard work and infinite reward.  He and a friend, with whom he made a pact shortly after they met as boys to take this journey together, will set off on a walk that may transform everything they knew about hard work, and sacrifice, and loyalty, and hearing from their Creator through the magical artwork He’s placed all around us, if we only open our eyes to see.  Practically speaking, he’s throwing off the expectations of those who love him and even of his own mind, to dive into an experience of a lifetime.  It’s the culmination of an early education in which we tried to instill a sense of value for learning, of attention to the Truth as expressed first through God’s word and then through His creation, and of being willing to go against the grain for a higher calling.  When we named our boy, I prayed and hoped for a man of courage to grow from that baby, and he is taking steps to flesh out that prayer in a way I couldn’t have imagined.  He will have the opportunity himself to yield to the shaping of His Papa, to listen and learn what He has to say through this walk.


courage and the appalachian trail


When I wrote about our journey to the east coast, I dug into the story of “Sarah, Abraham’s wife, as retold in 1 Peter 3.  Most telling to me was the mention, as it applauds her honor of her husband, that we will also be lauded if we “do what is right and do not give way to fear.” (1 Peter 3:6).”  I thought, “How the writer must have known that desperate, raging desire that simmers ever, to either control our circumstances to our standards, or else give up and run and hide.”  I still struggle with that desire, as I suspect we all do, to either take matters into our own hands, or to duck and run when things seem too hard.


As our second-born stretches his wings and prepares to leap from the proverbial nest, I’m feeling dared, too, to do some stretching.  I’ve long sensed an urge to write harder things, with more boldness.  To address thoughts and conversations both in our family and in the world itself, the faith-world in particular, in a way that comes from the deepest place in my heart that wrestles with them.  I’m inviting you, if you’re reading, to come with me on an adventure, where we’ll traverse hard roads that have twists and turns, steep pitches and deep caverns.  It’s my desire always to continue that “dancing with my Father…” to seek His wisdom in understanding hard questions.  I’m painfully aware that I’m the girl who will often get it wrong, so I’m hoping for a conversation (with my Papa and with you, friend!) that challenges me when I do, and for humility to admit it and to go deeper for more answers along the way!  But I’m longing to make the conversation bigger, and braver, and in so doing, inspire others to be brave, too.


So if you notice a turn to more daring things, will you come along with me?  Will you answer back and ask more questions; will you dare me to go deeper as hopefully, I will dare you?  I’d love for you to share thoughts you’ve had, questions that make your brain spin, and issues that make your blood boil.  I’d love to still giggle together at the wild and wonderful moments that make up this life, and the small celebrations that give it light.  To that end, I’m also starting a second blog called Sal et Lux, where I’m planning to share recipes, home-making, and ideas for creative hospitality.  I’ll still do that some here, but I’m going to listen to what I think is a call to the next phase in being undaunted.


And if you pray, would you lift up my second son, as he does so in an even more tangible way?  His Papa loves Him more than I do, so I know He will only allow what is best for his good and His own glory.  But still, this mama-heart aches in a good-hard way to open my arms and cheer for my boy as he runs, in the way we’ve always prayed he would, to what is hard and wild and bravely-wonderful.


Much love, friend!  (And please do share your thoughts below!)

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