Remember how I said 2014 was a year about being free?
"Free to thrive in the now, without worrying about what will be.
Free to run forward, without fear of failure.
Free to continue on in absolute awe of HIS glory and grace."
Well, some of you know this already, but an invitation to freedom wasn't the only gift the LORD laid out for me as this new year began. HE also opened up an awesome opportunity for me to join one of my close friends (and fellow female youth ministers) to go to Hawaii!! (Thank you Allegiant Air, for such an incredible deal on those plane tickets!) And we aren't just going to Hawaii -- like that isn't enough, right? -- but while we are there, we are doing a marathon.
(Yes, I said marathon. It's a big deal.)
GOD has been teaching me so very much already this year, and I have been overwhelmed by the hope and trust I feel in HIM as each day quite normally and yet so extraordinarily unfolds.
We are 10 days away.
In 10 days, I will be absolutely giddy as I drive to Nashville to meet up with Rachel and begin this grand adventure!
A lot preparation has gone into this endeavor.
Running some more.
Eating well and exercising.
Fighting discouragement and the enemy's lies.
Trying to save up some spending money.
And praying some more.
And this morning as I begin the final 10 days of my countdown and preparations, I know that I will be better positioned to receive all that GOD has for me if I intentionally include HIM. So after sitting with HIM at breakfast, I've got 10 things I am praying before we leave. I'm sharing them, because I'd love to invite any of you who are willing to come alongside Rachel and me as we take hold of some deeper, sacred things that GOD has laced throughout this gift.
LORD, I know that Hawaii is only the start.
The kickoff of a new season.
And I want to enter it well, with YOU.
1. Go before us; lay out our path
YOU are the Giver of good gifts, and this trip is a gift.
May we follow YOU and pick up on every treasure YOU leave along the way.
Please prepare each day and position us accordingly.
2. Ready our hearts & eyes for YOUR purposesFor Rachel. And for myself.
Thank YOU for our friendship and for allowing our paths to merge together in this adventure with YOU.
3. the Marathon
We want to do this.
We want to finish.
(And actually finishing in time to get one of those medals would be pretty sweet too…)
Give us strength, LORD.
In our minds.
May our bodies be aligned as they should.
Support our joints.
May we each function as we should.
And may we see the profound analogies YOU intend as YOU bring us to that start line and throughout the 26.2 miles.
LORD, exceed us with YOUR SPIRIT.
4. Expand the hours of our days there
Fill that week in a way where we are filled & full.
YOU did it in Australia.
It felt miraculous..
As if 5 days contained 2 weeks.
No hope left unfulfilled.
More than we even thought to ask for!
A very "5 loaves, 2 fishes" sort of thing.
Do it here? :)
(I think YOU intend to.)
5. Prepare home in our absence
For each of us, we leave things.
May our absence be opportunity.
Opportunity for some redemption.
For hopes fulfilled.
For all we don't even know to ask for.
May our absence clear more room for YOUR movement in the spaces we temporarily leave unoccupied.
Specifically for Rachel.
(my blog is not the place to articulate all my prayers for my friend)
But in every need.
In every hope.
In every hurt.
In every joy.
Saturate her with YOUR SPIRIT.
Specifically for me.
And my new-found discipline.
Help me continue confidently & freely in these better choices.
For the first time I recognize, with far more clarity, the sacredness of my body.
The temple in which YOU and I are housed.
I want to honor it and use it well… fully!
As YOU intend.
And I want to appreciate the wonder of YOUR creation.
YOU know the big, wordless prayers of hope & trust & anticipation that my soul whispers & shouts to YOU.
I pray about those too.
8. People we encounter in Hawaii, as well as traveling to & from
Give us wisdom & discernment.
Help us see opportunities for connection & sharing.
Specifically sharing YOU, YOUR Light & Glory, and how YOU are allowing us to live in it.
Help us see scenarios & situations to avoid.
Give us strength & safety.
Position YOUR armies as a shield from any harm.
We are confident in YOUR provision; free from fear.
Trusting in the wisdom & protection YOU give.
9. Specifically for the cottage owners
May we be a blessing & encouragement to the family that owns the cottage we are renting.
In some way, may they feel refreshed.
Maybe even let us see how?
Even in just a simple way?
And 10. All that follows when we return
For me, that's Girls Retreat.
My 29th birthday.
Mayfair's Service Day.
Grad School make-up work.
Graduation for our seniors.
A beautiful, incredible life with a whole lot of potential.
What a gift!
Keep teaching me how to take hold of it & freely soar with YOU in it!