Kingdom Come.

..to the praise of His glorious grace..

People keep asking what I want to do with my life.

I don’t have the details, and quite honestly, I don’t have to. All I know is that I want to know Him and make Him known. I don’t care about money or recognition. But the mere thought of being able to serve Him and make Him known until my dying breath gets my heart racing, my blood pumping, and it fills me with indescribable excitement. It’s something I can’t stop thinking about. Walking with Him to the very end. That’s all I want and that’s what I dream of.

Surround yourself with the people you want to be like.

How to fix a sermon:

I was up late a while ago working on a sermon I’d been struggling with. I went to sleep not have a clue how I was going to put it together. When I finally fell asleep, I dreamt I was with my preaching professors- Maclean, Marino, Dippold, and Baker- sipping tea while they all critiqued it. After they dissected it, they gave me every point, how to organize it, as well as a myriad of ideas to make it more creative. 

Voila. Sermon fixed.

That happened.

All for a pearl.

Treasure. There’s a universal longing to find it. A hunger to find something of value. I’m pretty sure a half of my childhood was spent digging for treasure in the backyard or running through the woods looking for dinosaur bones. I’d freak out when I’d find quartz in a rock. I remember running home, jumping up and down, convinced I’d found a diamond and just cause I was a nerd, I made flowcharts of how it was going to affect my future. Think about how many stories from our childhood have to do with treasure. Everything from a pirate’s chest to the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow to Indiana Jones. It exists beyond books and stories. The search for treasure has appealed to the innocent imaginations of children for all of time. And not just to kids, but grown-ups too. Think about the gold rush- where people gave up everything- sometimes even their lives- to strike it big. The Ark of the Covenant. The Fountain of Youth. Atlantis. We’ve searched for them for decades. I went on Wikipedia to look at this topic and I found a list of lost treasures we’re still looking for. And it fascinated me. It drew me in. Why? Not just cause it’s Wikipedia and it’s strangely addicting, but because there exists within us an innate desire to find treasure. It’s the nature of man. Be it greed, curiosity, the need for adventure- for whatever reason, the desire exists. And Christ understood that.

He spoke in stories (which I’m eternally grateful for). And because he knew that the search for treasure was something his audience understood, he used it to tell one of the greatest stories of all time.

It’s found in Matthew 13:45 – “When he found a pearl of great value, he went away, sold everything he had, and bought it.”

At first glance it looks as if the kingdom of heaven is the pearl, and once we realize its worth, we sell everything for it. We chase after it. We give up everything for it. Because after finding something that valuable, how can we go without it, right? It’s value is beyond compare. But see, there’s a twist. Look at it again and we see that we are the pearl of great price. That desperation, that eagerness, that excitement- that belongs to Christ once he finds us.

This verse is found in the middle of a lot of Jesus’ parables about the Kingdom of Heaven. The verse right before it talks about its worth. It describes the Kingdom of Heaven as a hidden treasure that a man stumbles upon one day, and that he sells everything for. It’s about being willing to give up everything for Him. I mean, that I can understand. That makes sense. But what doesn’t make sense is the verse that comes next… that He is the merchant and we are the pearl.

But why? Surely it’s the other way around. I mean the Lord is above all things, beyond all things, and his value is beyond compare. We should be selling everything to have Him. Us, the fallen sinful creatures that are nothing compared to him. Why are we the pearl? 

That, my friends, is the divine mystery.

And I’ve been thinking about this a lot (especially since it’s Easter time)- the story of the heavenly merchant who changed the course of history with his search for the perfect pearl. Three things that really came alive to me from this verse: how he sought us, bought us, and called us.

First, He sought us.

I love this.

The word merchant means traveler, and merchant would travel a great distance to find something of value across lands and countries, until he found what he was looking for. He was a lone traveler and would embark on a long, often arduous journey to find his treasure. But the journey was worth it if he found his prize.

All of Scripture, Genesis to Revelation is the story that one man’s journey. He left his home, his father, where he was his delight. He took a journey from absolute glory, to a manger, and eventually… to a cross. His road was one of humility, hostility, and humiliation. He left the harmony of heaven and came to a hostile world where he was mocked, hated, and eventually, killed, nailed to a cross. All this for the pearl.

For us.

Like Luke 19:10 says, The Son of man came to seek and save that which was lost.

We often look at the story of eternity as a constant search for God by man. But try to shift your perspective on it for just a second. And see the search for man by God. This story here isn’t about sinners seeking God, it’s about God seeking selfish sinners.

And that’s the beauty of it. He saw us when we were dead, rotting, steeped in sin. When we were nothing. When we are nothing. But he doesn’t see us as that. To him, we are a treasure. Of priceless value. Even when we look at ourselves and see a failure with nothing to offer, the Lord sees a treasure he longs to have. No matter our sin or our past, he doesn’t see a lump of coal, he sees a pearl. In our sin… he still sees a pearl worth everything. That is how much we’re worth to him. He doesn’t see as man sees. He sees beauty, potential, and immeasurable value.

This is the way he pursues us now. Even now when we create a barrier of sin between us and Him. Even now, he desires us. Even though we turn our hearts away and bury ourselves in a sinful mess, then Lord points us and says, “She’s worth it. I want her. He’s worth it. I want him.” 

It’s the value of one. The parable he told said it well- he is the shepherd that would leave the 99 just to find one.

He holds the pearl in his hand “I’ve finally found it!” the merchant says. “After searching so long, I’ve finally found my treasure.”

It’s encouraging to know that when Jesus finds us, we’re not someone he’s just stumbled across in his travels. Rather, He’s been diligently searching for us and sees something valuable enough to pay for with His life.

Charles Spurgeon put it like this: “Sinner, remember that Christ is willing to receive thee, for he came all the way from heaven to seek thee and find thee out in thy wanderings, and to save thee and rescue thee from thy miseries; he hath given proof of his hearty interest in thy welfare, in that he hath shed his very heart’s blood to redeem thy soul from death and hell. If he had wanted the companionship of saints, he might have stopped in heaven, for there were many there. Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob were with him there in glory; but he wanted sinners. He had a thirst after perishing sinners. He wanted to make them trophies of his grace. He wanted black souls, to wash them white. He wanted dead souls, to make them alive.”

He sought us.

Second, He bought us.

Name your price. Whatever it costs, I’ll pay it!!” he says.

Now what it is about this pearl… I can’t quite say. But it’s clear to the merchant that it’s an absolute steal. Even though the price is steep. Even though the price tag says he’ll have to sell everything he has just to have it. But he doesn’t hesitate. No bargaining or haggling. Deal,” he says. He runs as fast as he can, sells everything, and in sheer joy and anticipation, claims his prize. To him the pearl is of more value than anything else.

The cost? His blood.

No longer a prince at the throne of glory, no longer surrounded by multitudes of angels proclaiming his praises, no longer in the splendor of his heavenly kingdom. No… the price stripped him of that on earth. And gave him a crown, one that bore deep in his skull until blood poured out. A body broken and torn and beaten beyond recognition. This was the price tag.

Even in light of our sinful state, Christ was willing, no, eager to give all for us. What love… Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

No one else could have afforded the pearl’s price, but He could. Oh the great lengths our Savior went to have us. Though it was steep, now we are His. We belong to Him. We have that security and identity and we belong to Him.

The more I think about it, the more in awe I am. It just makes his grace and love and mercy that much more brilliant and real. 

Lastly, He called us.

It doesn’t end here. It only begins. He sought us, he bought us, but he also called us. This glorious story… it calls for a response. It requires us to live in light of that price tag.

He’s the one that calls to us from the pages of Scripture and seeks us out, but once we’ve been found it’s up to us to follow Him and to seek out the kingdom of heaven for ourselves. Like it says somewhere in 2 Timothy, we’re to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. We’re called to live a life that glorifies Him. And we get to know Him more. And not only that, we get to make Him known. That just makes me excited.

And this whole thing, it’s not just that one time event. That process, that journey doesn’t end with salvation. This isn’t just a word for those who haven’t heard. This is for all of us. The pearl is a picture of that beautiful cycle of grace we experience on a daily basis.

I’m not saying any of this to build us up or make us to be anything great. Because the truth is, there’s no reason why Christ should desire us. We give Him no reason to pursue us. But yet, he does. This just gives testimony to the greatness of our God. His love is truly beyond comprehension. God does not need us. But still, He claims us.

I always used to see this parable with Christ as the pearl, but upon looking it again, I can’t think of a more beautiful picture of what Christ did for us. And it doesn’t make sense. But so it is. That’s the beautiful part.

 

I wrote about this last year, but it’s been on my mind since then, and especially so for the past few months, that I wanted to put it down here again as a reminder for myself.

There are a lot of things that terrify me, the future being one of them. I’m graduating in a matter of days, and the unknown is scary. Feeling like you don’t have a specific call or direction to go in is even scarier.

But I found one verse in Psalms that I didn’t ever remember reading before. It keeps coming back each night and morning.

“On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”

I love this verse. It’s changed a lot about the way I pray and try to approach things. I’ve been reading this verse each night and choosing to put my focus to just that- meditating on who He is and what He’s done.

Who He is… now that’s something that makes my head hurt. I’m sitting here, completely overwhelmed. Where do I even start? How could I ever even begin to comprehend who He is? I’ve got this tiny idea of Him, but it doesn’t even come close. He’s far greater and more powerful than everything I can think of. He spins universes in His hands. He creates out of nothing. When I think about who He is, it keeps me up. Now, I’m definitely a faucet. When I start to think about who He is, the tears start coming. And if you know me at all, that’s not hard to imagine at all. But thinking about who God is, it really does keep me up at night. I just remember sitting cross legged on my bed, moving back and forth from anticipation, laughing and crying out of happiness and awe, asking God a million different questions about who He is.  I want to know. I want to know. I want to know more!! When I think about just who He is, suddenly all my fears and problems are eclipsed by who He is. I have a God who is far greater than the universe, much less my fears.

What He’s done… now that. The cross. His sacrifice. His Son. How can we just talk about those things so casually? It’s Easter weekend and even though we talk about it a lot, I feel like we still don’t get it most of the time (I’m including myself in this). I really don’t think we’ll ever understand the magnitude of it this side of heaven. And it’s not just the fact that the God of the universe stepped in our fallen world to save us from eternal death… it’s what He’s still doing now. It’s the daily bread, the daily provision. It’s the miracles He’s worked. It’s everything He’s done in the past. The reminder that He’s always provided and He’s never forgotten. He’s never late, nor is He early (like Gandalf). When I sit down and think of all He’s done for me? When I remember… how can I doubt? I am reminded that my God has never forgotten me or failed to meet any of my needs in the past, even in the midst of all the stupid situations I’ve gotten myself into (don’t even get me started). No matter the situation, never once has He failed me. He’s never not provided. He’s Jehovah-jireh. And when I just take the time to remember that, all those fears and doubts diminish and are replaced by perfect peace.

I’m still terrified, and honestly, I’m completely embarrassed by my lack of faith a ton of the time. But choosing to focus on these two things, it starts to realign your perspective. And it’s absolutely beautiful.

 

“On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”

This past summer, a pastor in Austria asked me this question: “If money wasn’t an option and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?”

It got me thinking about the future. Actually, right about now, everything‘s got me thinking about the future. Graduation is months away, the semester’s wrapping up, it seems like everyone either has a job or a direction that they’re going in, and here’s Alexandra, who still hasn’t got a clue of what she’s going to be doing five months from now. I’ve thought about art and teaching and speaking and about a million other possibilities… and it just got me asking myself… if I could have anythinganything at all in the whole, wide world, what would it be? If I could have just one thing in this lifetime, what would I ask for?

I just want to know You.

I really don’t care if it sounds cliché. This is the cry of my heart. I want to know You more. Deeper. Deeper. And deeper still. I want an ever-increasing, overflowing love for walking in the Spirit. To walk in step with Him. To move where He moves, come as He calls, go as He sends. This desire, it eclipses all the others. It’s stronger, richer, and just more real than anything my heart has ever longed for.

I want to know You and make You known.

That about sums it up! In the end, when I dream about the future, it all just comes back this.

 

A while back, I wrote about the phrase “walking with God,” and since then, it’s got a habit of finding its way back into my mind. I could go on and on about it, but since I already have, I won’t, haha. If you’ve met me, you know it’s far too easy for me to start rambling. (So, to make things as painless as possible, it can be can be found here!) All I know is that I just want to know Him and faithfully walk with Him until my dying breath.

No matter what I end up doing in life, this is what I dream of.

“Word made flesh. No shortage of words in our world, God. Seems like everyone has an anonymous comment to add. But your Word, God, not letters or syllables or syntax, but you, speaking yourself into the world, your will, your voice, your vision. Our fountain of words only obscure your one. We don’t much like your Word, it lacks the irony and detachment we crave. It says just: do justice, love mercy, walk humbly. It says just: I love you just as you are, whoever you are. And so, since we didn’t like your Word, you tricked us. You hid the Word inside a person, and you snuck him into the world. But you slipped him past our fear and our suspicion, with little fanfare, and lots of mis-direction, in a tiny body, in an almost inaudible infant cry. Your Word should be like an earthquake, a fire, or storm, a sharp shake of the foundations, a flash, a crash, a shockwave. If all this could happen, O God, then you could be, and are, anywhere, everywhere, waiting to be born this night in the most unbelievable places. Perhaps even in our hearts.”

-Ian Oliver, former Bucknell Chaplain

More than enough.

I dream. A lot. Most of them are absolutely ridiculous, and I love every bit of it. I record all my crazy adventures in a small book by my bed in hopes of someday entertaining my kids with some pretty epic (and random) bedtime stories. I mean, come on, what kid doesn’t want to hear about racoon-hybrid men battling it out with their mom in the isles of Wal-mart with an army of all the “people of Wal-Mart” at their side? **Spoiler alert: their mom wins. With a spatula.**

I don’t really like to share any of my dreams unless they fall into the ridiculous category (which most of them do), but there’s just something about the one I awoke from this morning (or afternoon, if you’re being specific. Hey, it’s break. I can sleep in if I want!), that I haven’t been able to forget.

I had a very strange dream.

A lot happened. Jesus’ followers are turning on Him one by one. He’s on trial in this bookstore, and people are coming from all over the world to see what the verdict is: is He for real or not?

I’m walking through rooms in a bookstore as people are preparing their cases. There’s this one room, a dark cold room, where people are preparing to argue against Him. They won’t budge. “I made my choice,” one says, his words laced with anger and bitterness. The room is filled with darkness, demonic twisted ungodly entities screeching and shrieking in fear and in unison when a Bible comes near them. It’s crazy. And it’s heartbreaking. It’s chaotic and so loud. 

I enter the next and last room, and it’s suddenly so quiet.

It’s a small room. Bright. Warm. I hear voices saying the words joy and peace and warmth over and over again. I look down. My body is that of a child. I look up. There’s a small crowd of people. Just a handful.

I see Christ among them.

I run to Him. Run into Him more like it. I embrace Him. Hold Him as He holds me so tightly. I won’t let go.

I’m sorry I’m not everything I should be,” I say through my tears, “I’m sorry I’m not everything you want me to be.”

In that moment, I think of all my inadequacies. I’ve felt distant so many times, and even now I’ve been in a desert season, struggling to have faith and persevere. I think of all the ways I fall short. All the reasons Christ wouldn’t want me. Or any of us for that matter. Surely He’s made a mistake. We don’t deserve to be here.

I’m so sorry I’m not more.

He holds me tightly as I cry.

You are enough.” He whispers.

All of us are, he tells me. He tells us that it’s true, we don’t deserve it, we couldn’t be good enough. But He was. None of us should be here. We haven’t done anything to earn it, but we’re here because of Him. He is more than enough.

I look around and see that wherever this room is, it’s not in the bookstore anymore. No longer in that place I used to call home. They are worlds away from this place. There’s no pain here.

I am with Him. It’s perfect. It’s enough. He’s enough. I’m not sure much time passes. An eternity or a few seconds. Time doesn’t make much sense. I don’t know. I really don’t care. I just stay in that beautiful, warm, divine embrace. I just stay there holding on to Him. Until finally…

It’s time now,” he whispers. “It’s time for you to go back.”

I refuse to let go. Not yet. Not so soon. I don’t wanna leave. He gently pulls me away and I look up at him as the words sound through my head: It’s not your time yet. Don’t worry, I’ll see you laterYou need to go back,” He says, “You need to tell them. Tell them I’m enough.

He smiles at me as He reminds me, “Come on, it’s time… you have to go back now.”

I nod, wiping the last tears away. I take a step back slowly and look at Him one more time before I turn to leave the room. I take a step.

I wake up in my bed.

A lot of times, we put God in a box and think He’s only capable, or interested, in doing certain things.

Big things. Grand things. Ya know, important things.

But I’ve been reminded time and time again this past year that my Heavenly Daddy, He cares the things I care about. He’s interested in the small things too. Those seemingly inconsequential things that while they don’t have a profound impact on the course of my life or the universe, they’re a way to let us know He loves us.

He’s not this distant omnipotent Being. He’s a Daddy who just sometimes just likes to spoil His kids. Who takes pleasure from our joy. Who loves to surprise us. To see us smile. 

He does it a lot.

It’s often in the small things.

And I think we’re so distracted we often miss it.

I was reminded of this on Christmas morning.

It’s a small thing, really, but to me, it was big. Let me explain.

When I went to Venice this past summer, I found a handmade mask I absolutely adored. There was no way to get it back home because it would get crushed in my backpack. I must have gone back to that store 10 times, holding it in my hands and wishing I could find a way to get it. I was so sad when I had to leave it.

I never mentioned it to anyone and I completely forgot about it until months later on Christmas day. I opened up my gift and just started sobbing- I see the exact mask I held in my hands. Not a replica… the same one. My sister – who has absolutely no idea – decided to buy me a random mask handmade and imported from Venice for Christmas. And it was the same one I held and wished so many times I could have. 

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Sometimes He just loves to see us smile. 

Even if that means taking a gift I wanted in a small shop in Venice across the world and delivering it to me on Christmas morning. 

 

Let it snow.

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Stan the hand-standing snowman.

 

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.” -George MacDonald

Last week I had dream that I got a job after graduation…

Valley Forge hired me to pull all the incoming freshman’s tonsils out.

With an eyelash curler.

Let’s hope that wasn’t prophetic.

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.

We are far too easily pleased.

-C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

I was looking through a few of my journals and found this gem. A rabbi told me this in Israel a few years ago.

  • The Hebrew word for man is ish, spelled alpeh- yod– shin
  • The word for woman is ishah, spelled aleph- shin- heh.
  • The letters yod and heh combine to form the Hebrew name of God. 
  • Removing the letters yod and heh from the words isha and ish leave you with aleph-shin, the Hebrew word for fire.

So basically, if you take God out of the equation when it comes to marriage, you’re left with fire. Crazy, huh? Something to think about.

I was working on a sermon a few weeks ago for my Gospels class, and the night before, something caught me eye and captured my heart when I read it. I never saw it before and I just started weeping. It was about the woman with the issue of blood. (Remember, because of OT law, and because of her condition, her family would have left her, and years of being an outcast would have stripped her of any worth she once had.) So, fast forward to the end of the story, where she receives healing and comes before Christ.

 

She looks up at him, with tear streaks on her dirty face, as He said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” 

Daughter. There’s something so beautiful about that. This is the only time in ALL of Scripture that we ever see Jesus call someone daughter 

But this title wasn’t just an expression of tenderness. It was so much more than that.

Remember, she would have had no family at this point. And after a decade of being an outcast, she was stripped of any identity she once had. No family. No identity.

But when Jesus called her daughter….

He gave her back all those things. It was symbol of her adoption. At that moment, he wasn’t just The Healer, he became The Father. She was adopted into his spiritual family, and in a way, he became the family that she’d lost. And this woman who’d lost her identity a long time ago, when he called her daughter, he gave her worth, he gave her a new identity, in Him. She was no longer the disgusting diseased woman on the street. She was now a daughter of the King.

He didn’t just heal her body, but he stepped in where there was emptiness in her life and filled it.

Christ’s healing is complete.

 

This is the Jesus I know. And this is the healing I know He gives. That whole, complete healing. Where he steps in to fill the gaps in our lives. Gives us family. Identity. Whatever it is we’re lacking. Where he calls out to us to come to him and says: Daughter… Son… your faith has healed you, now go and live in freedom.

That’s the healing we need.

 

Hiked all day in the Swiss Alps. Finally, at the top of Mannlichen.

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I found Rivendell. No, for real. JRR Tolkien hiked to Lauterbrunnen in 1910 and was so blown away by the beauty of it that he created the world of Rivendell here. He based it on Lauterbrunnen. And his sketches made here were used as concept art in the movie. How cool is that? This is paradise.

I’m lying on my hostel bed, a magnificent view of Stummbach falls out the window. There are 72 waterfalls nestled within this valley, all within walking distance. You can hear the rushing water, feel a cool breeze, hear the clanging sounds of cow bells everywhere you go, and you’re surrounded by mountains on every side.

This is perfection.

It was a more relaxing day as I emptied about 20 pounds of my bag into a locker and biked about 10 miles Lauterbrunnen to the next town. I biked for about three hours because I kept getting lost, but it was worth it- everywhere you turn, the view is breathtaking. No picture can ever capture it. You just need to see it.

I ventured into Trummelbach Falls- the only glacier waterfall inside a mountain in Europe that is still accessible. Grand.

I spent the rest of the evening in my hostel, journaling, drawing the view from my window, and listening to worship music.
Can this be home, please?

(Also, one more thing- what are the odds that you’d run into people you used to go to high school with in your hostel?! For my first night in sketchy Tent Village, in the tent next to mine were five guys I used to go to high school with. In middle of nowhere Switzerland. Seriously. The world just got that much smaller.)

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Day one. 

10:40 pm. In a sleeper compartment in the night train to Zurich, Switzerland. There’s a hipster sitting next to me.

6:23 am. The hipster is gone, as are all the rest, leaving me alone to admire the marvelous views out the window.

7:30 am. Zurich is lovely. I found a shopping cart in the river. Almost got ran over by a street sweeper. Explored the old city and relaxed by the river. There was a street named Grossmunsterplatz, but in my mind, that translates to “gross monster place.” Needless to say, I didn’t go down that road. Jumped on another train. 

9:28 am. Got lost in Bern. But it’s quite picturesque, so that’s alright with me. Bucket list item. Jumped on another train.

12:07 pm. Hello Interlaken. I’ve been waiting for this for a while. Sat on the shore of Lake Brienz in Interlaken, surrounded by mountains on every side and about fifteen small birds on my park bench. Perfection.

Took a cruise on Lake Brienz. It was so peaceful. Blown away by the beauty. A picture could never capture it. Lord, You make so much beauty most of us have never seen before. You are an artist. Jumped on yet another train.

2:00 pm. Arrived in Meirigen. This is pretty much Sherlock Holmes central. There’s statues of him, hotels, restaurants, and museums dedicated to him. A Holmes fan’s paradise.

Hiked up the mountain to Reichenbach Falls. Took hours but this has been on my bucket list for years. It’s the infamous waterfall where Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty supposedly met their demise. If you know how big a Sherlock fan I am, you can imagine just how excited I got. It was an arduous hike to the very top (mainly because of my 25-lb backpack), but I’ve been dreaming of it for a long while, and it actually happened. I started reading the Final Problem at the top of the falls. Definitely a highlight. There’s something so powerful about seeing something like the falls and just marveling at how God created it so perfectly. Hiking the way down, I got to worship and just talk with Him. Much needed. I was dripping by the time I got down, but hey, it was worth it. Bucket list item. Jumped on a few trains, got lost, and walked a few miles to find my home for the night. 

10:15 pm. An old Asian man is snoring  loudly beneath me and shaking my top bunk in the hostel. I’m starting to fear the bed toppling over. It’s been swaying back and forth, back and forth. And I’m telling you, they don’t call this place Tent Village for nothing. It looks like this place was set up yesterday by someone who got a bunch of plastic tents on a shopping spree at Wal-mart. Either that or it’s an abandoned carnival. Everything, the bar, registration, the hot tub, showers… everything is under those plastic tents. Haha, I can’t believe this place! 

It’s been a busy day. (All this and I only spent $7.) Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

-Alexandra 

Zurich.

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Bern.

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Lake Brienz, Interlaken.

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Meirigen.

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Hike the mountain? Let’s go.

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Many hours later: Mission accomplished. Hiked it. View from the top.

Reichenbach.

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Made it. Made it. Top of Reichenbach, where Sherlock fell.
Still hiked to the top of the mountain afterwards.

 

 

I’m going on an adventure.

It was so hard leaving Vienna Christian Center this morning. It’s become like home for me and everyone there is like a family. I was so blessed when the pastor prayed for me before leaving. And of course, I cried. I can’t express how hard it is to leave Vienna. They’ve impacted my life in an indescribable way. I’m leaving a different person.

But here we go. It’s actually happening. Another adventure begins.

I am here at the train station… about to embark on my bucket list backpacking venture in 10 minutes. I don’t really have a definite plan, but that’s the beauty of it. I’m looking forward to marveling at God’s creation and just getting to spend some quality time with Him. I want to fall in love all over again.

In the words of Bilbo Baggins, “I’m going on an adventure!”

Switzerland, I’ll see you in the morning.

Guten nacht, Vienna.

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I haven’t written about Vienna because quite frankly, there’s too much to say. And I’m not sure how I could ever describe my experience here.

This summer has been unforgettable. It’s been marked by so many crazy divine appointments, personal miracles, answered prayers, and incredible encounters. (And let’s not forget awkward moments. My personal specialty). I can’t really put it any other way except that God has blessed me and He has been so faithful. 

I love what Mark Batterson said in Wild Goose Chase: 

“Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life. I think the Celtic Christians were on to something… Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: adventure.”

It’s so true- when we’re chasing after the Spirit of God, life takes on a whole new dimension. There’s a lot of unknowns and what-ifs and maybes, but every moment, every day… it’s an adventure. Life is never boring.

God’s taught me that this summer. From the moment I boarded my plane, He got right to work, and He hasn’t stopped. I know He won’t. And I’m waiting in anticipation each day, wondering what He’s gonna do next. It’s a beautiful thing.