Blue Arrows

A couple of days ago we visited an underground city called Derinkuyu. We bought our tickets and began the descent into this place that at one time could hold 30,000+ people as a refuge and place of safety. Refuge? Safety? Who doesn’t want that?

If you follow the red arrows, you will descend three stories, underground, through tunnels and stairwells and corridors carved out for people to live and move about. Ventilation systems kept the air clean and small tubes carved from one floor to the others served as a communication highway. If you follow the blue arrows, you will ascend to the surface; to the light.

As we continued to descend, down a narrow stairway, I could sense I was beginning to panic… just a little… so I thought. The walls were so close, our shoulders scraped the chiseled rock on each side of us. It was only wide enough for one person and I found myself saying, “I can’t see any blue arrows” “Where are the blue arrows?” I told the small group I was with I think I needed to turn back. But I couldn’t. I felt trapped. There was only one way to go. Forward. Down.

One of our team members squeezed passed me as I hugged the rock wall so he was in the lead, and another team member, a therapist, was right behind me coaching me to feel the ground under my feet – grounding me to the present. Bob from the back of the group of five encouraged me, “If we make it down the stairs, we will come to an open area and you will see a blue arrow.” I remember saying out loud, “I’m ok. Jesus is with me” and kept walking down one step at a time. I focused on my breathing – centering myself as best as I could.

Then, without any notification, we came to the end of the narrow stairwell into an opening, and… a glorious blue arrow! My body‘s response was immediate relief. There it is! There’s the way out!

As I reflect on this I can’t help but think, how many times do we desperately long for those blue arrows to show us the way out of somewhere we don’t want to be? We feel stuck, trapped and unable to move. But this I know – there is always a way. Our job is to keep moving forward, stay grounded in God and keep our eyes open for the blue arrows showing us the path to take. We will find them if we don’t give up.

“Through it all, my eyes are on you; and it is well, with me” ~It Is Well, Kristene DiMarco

Still Walking

Today I woke up in Turkey. Don’t worry, I planned to be here. 🙂 But if you would’ve asked me a few years ago? I would not have predicted this.

It’s been a while since I’ve written. This past season of life has been filled with ups and downs, sharp corners and surprises that weren’t welcomed or foreseen. I know I’m not alone in this. We, as humans, are not immune to these roller coaster rides of life. It’s something we all have in common.

Nicolas Herrmann was no stranger to this. But there was something that he figured out along the way. He figured out how to walk in peace. To have peace with you, whether you are washing dishes or in prayer, is something I want to learn. I drift away from it so often and have so much to learn about living this way. This man, also known as Brother Lawrence, “lived his life, as though he were a singing pilgrim on the march.” (The Practice of the Presence of God)

The purpose of this trip to Turkey is to go on a pilgrimage called the Footsteps of Paul. We will be traveling throughout Turkey and Greece to walk where the Apostle Paul has gone before. I hope our travels teach us to walk in the peace of His presence. To learn from those gone before us. I hope as I share the journey, you too will be inspired as we learn together.

Thanks for walking with me. For being on this life pilgrimage too. For not giving up. I wrote in my journal this morning:

Still wondering

Still hurting

Still healing

Still walking

As I sit in the courtyard of our hotel here in Turkey, I am hopeful that as we move along, we will learn how to settle into that place called peace as those who have gone before us have done. And we would know without hesitation, that everything is going to be worked out as long as we are still walking.

Just One More Step

Yesterday I read a book. Yes, a whole book. It’s a luxury of  being on a solitude retreat overlooking the North Shore of Lake Superior.

The book, titled The Long Walk, is a true story written by Slavomir Rawicz. He was arrested in 1939, having committed no crime, and sentenced to prison for 25 years. His spirit could not remain caged. He escaped with 6 other men from a Soviet labor camp in the middle of Siberia near Yakutsk – just south of the Arctic Circle. They walked by foot for thousands of miles to reach freedom in India. They had each other – and even let a young girl who was also escaping persecution join their tribe. The book fascinated me as I read about all they overcame; the bitter cold, the fear of being caught, the heat of the desert, the impassable mountains, the starvation and the lack of water. Week after week after week, they showed ingenuity to survive and a determination to never give up. When their tanks were empty, they dug deep and took just one more step that was needed to move them forward. I couldn’t put the book down. The resilience of the human spirit inspires me – always. 

As I was hiking the other day near Gooseberry Falls, in my own little world of peace and comfort, I noticed the different obstacles along the way. The roots in the path I had to carefully not twist an ankle on, the steep inclines and, even more difficult, the slippery, muddy declines. There were detours to avoid large puddles deeper than the top of my boots and times I had to guess where I was going because I didn’t know exactly where I was at the time.


I noticed how I got tired and wanted to turn back. It’s human nature to think about quitting when we get tired – when our tanks our left with only fumes to fuel us.

Where are you in the walk?  Has the path been inundated with things to step over and maneuver? Are there landmines that make you afraid to move; or maybe there has been a detour you didn’t see coming? Has it been exhausting? Has your soul grown weary? I want to encourage you. God wants to encourage you. Take just one more step.

Maybe it leads to rest, maybe it leads to action like calling a friend, telling someone your story… wherever it leads, take the step, don’t give up.  

It took Slavomir and his friends 12 months and 4000 miles to get to freedom. It was not without some of the greatest hardships of his life. At times, they didn’t know the way. At times, he felt like he was at the end of himself. But he did make it. He was able to take another step!

When we don’t know the way or when we get to the end of ourselves, lean your ear towards heaven and hear God say, “I am with you. Stay close and we will find a way.”

Who do You say I am?

We all have an inner longing to know that we have a people and a place – somewhere we can go to be known and accepted. Do you have that in your life? Do you need that in your life? When I sit at my dinner table on a Sunday evening, when I walk the halls of my church, when I video-call with my sister….  I can now say, “These are my place and my people.” It wasn’t always like this. Something else needed to get settled first.

The majority of my life I have been fighting to find my place, my purpose, my people. But, by the grace and engagement of Jesus in my life, those moments rise up less than they used to. One of the tools in fighting this battle is going to the right source to answer the questions of who I am and where do I belong.

In the gospel of Mark, chapter 8, we see a conversation between Jesus and his disciple Peter. Jesus questions who people are saying he is and then turns and asks Peter, “Who do you say I am?”  This leads us to reflect on this question for ourselves. And to notice, who are we asking?

In order to get the truth, we must ask the source of all sources.

God has declared, as recapped by Paul in Romans chapter 8, that he is our God and we are his children. We have a place! We have a people! It is with him! When we settle into this certainty that we are his – that we belong – the world’s assessments, criticisms, judgments and accusations dissolve away and we begin to clearly see the truth.

Leo Tolstoy says this, “Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”

To get to the truth, we posture ourselves as his child, crying Abba! Father! Then, in this settled, firm foundation stance, we ask, “God, who do you say I am?” and “What do you want me to know?”

Try it. Get up. Get into your super hero pose and talk to God about who HE thinks you are.


In response to this recent sermon at Bridgewood Church, a friend mentioned the song below. I’ve heard it before, but it wasn’t on my radar when preparing the message. Now it’s on my playlist…

Enjoy the words, enjoy the truth…

“You Say” – Lauren Daigle


First Discoveries

This week I did something for the first time. What I did won’t seem too exciting for many. But to me, it was a big deal.  Discovering, experiencing and overcoming things for the first time feeds my soul. So this week I celebrate. After a year of NOT doing what I set out as goals for myself I finally did it. I woke up at 6:30 am and “walked-jogged” four 5K’s in a row.

Now let me be clear before we imagine what is not true. When I say I “walk-jogged” I mean I walked most of the 3.1 miles and jogged for 20 seconds every 1/4 mile. And to be more honest, when I say jog? My jogging means a pace where my 27 year-old daughter Rachel walked fast next to my “jogging.”

The more important part of this endeavor was noticing that doing something for the first time – even after 50 – is good for my soul.

Life-giving experiences compel us to keep going; to keep looking for things that bring joy. This could look a million different ways. Even though I’ve walked hundreds of miles, to add “jogging” like this was a first. Even though I’ve taken a lot of photographs, to post them publicly is a first. Or, perhaps its going somewhere you’ve never been, meeting someone you’ve never met, eating somewhere you’ve never eaten before. Take a class, learn new skills, study and teach something, volunteer somewhere new with people you don’t know. You get the picture. Discovery comes in many shapes and forms.

Doing things for the first time carries a sense of awe – a sense of accomplishment, fulfillment and satisfaction. It is the place where we can say, “Look what I did!” and be proud of our capability and our triumph. Trying new things challenges our brains and our hearts to keep working! And discovering things for the first time connects us to a bigger world.

This week, notice the small things that are firsts for you – like trying a new coffee or reading a new book. Celebrate them. And then, take time to think about the things you’ve wanted to do but haven’t said yes to them yet. I’m aiming for a 5K on Thanksgiving Day – another first. Is there something you are thinking about trying? Have you ever said to yourself, “I want to do that.”?

I say go for it. Get up and walk. Discover new things for the first time and notice how it brings joy to your soul.



A Bell Of Hope

For 36 days we have had to do basically one thing: get up and walk. Santiago has called us forward and now we are only 2 days away. I have slept in 36 different beds along the way.

Each day of walking brings with it some unknown territory. Will we get a bed? How much farther? Who will be at the next town? Is there a bathroom close (besides the ever-present nature’s bathroom)? Sometimes it is hard to keep your mind on the present and enjoy what is unfolding right before your eyes. 

A couple days ago, I wrote this in my journal: {When you are walking in an unfamiliar place for a long time and you have no idea how much farther you need to go, wonder, questions and maybe even a bit of worry begins to creep into the space you want reserved only for good thoughts. 

Today’s walk was beautiful. The weather was perfect and the path easy. And still, at one point I wondered, “How much farther?” Then, in that moment, the sound of the next town’s churchbell reached my ears to say, “You are almost here – keep walking.” When I heard the bell, hope rushed through me and landed at my soul. I smiled a content, happy, satisfied smile. That is the power of hope. It dissolves wonder and worry and ushers in trust. Hope says, “You’re OK and everything is going to be OK.” Hope brings Shalom peace, perfect and complete peace, with it.}

The bell let me know I was on the right path and close to what I needed. I pray you hear the bell of hope often and know what you need is close. Keep walking. 

~Buen Camino 

We Walk For The Bread

Bread, bread and more bread. It is a staple at every meal here in Spain. After being “bread free” for a year at home, indulging in the culture of bread here is a treat. One day, as we were walking the way, my son Scott shouted back to me, “We walk for the bread!” And so we walked, thinking of our next meal with the goodness of that fresh, crusty bread. 

We have made great sacrifices for that bread; blisters, an injured knee, stomach flu, sunburn, and a stumble into some itch/burning weed… All that and we are just on our 16th day – just over 30% – of our pilgrimage to Santiago. We have earned that bread!

It made me think, of course, how important it is to know that with God, no sacrifices are required. We don’t have to ‘earn’ the Bread of Life, He is a gift. 

Jesus says, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ Matthew 9:13 (see also Hebrews 10) Jesus doesn’t need us to make sacrifices. He doesn’t want us to live in a posture of having to earn His goodness. 

This is a freeing thought to me as Scott and I begin to walk our way through the wilderness part of The Camino. The Meseta. There is little shade here and the road is long; lined with wheat fields as far as the eye can see.

I hope to remember daily that I can trust the manna we need will be provided daily. I don’t have to sacrifice to get it. All we have to do is get up and walk. 

Buen Camino!

To Walk Far, Carry Less

Some seasons in life are hard. They just are. It feels like there is more weight to be lifted up on our backs. Weights of circumstances, trials, relationships gone awry. When there are many of these that one time converging like a perfect storm, we can wonder if we will make it with this much pressure. How can we make any progress under this weight?

Over the past several years, it has been on my mind that someday God would allow me, call me, to walk a pilgrimage. To walk a distance where he would teach me how to carry less. How to accept his yolk that is light. How to allow my weakness to be accepted so that his strength could be glorified. 

After much preparation, I am on this long-ago-called-to pilgrimage. My son Scotty and I are on day 6 of walking the Camino de Santiago. A 500 miles journey beginning in St. Jean Pied de Port, France and ending in Santiago, Spain. The Way of St. James as some call it. We will carry what we need on our backs. My mochila (backpack) weighed 18 pounds at the pilgrims office in St. Jean. 

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus sends out his disciples and tells them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have 2 tunics.” Luke 9:3. He goes on to tell them how to accept and rely on the hospitality of others. Carry less than you think you need. I wonder what they thought of this. Why did Jesus say this?

Jesus knew they would see the goodness of the Father provide all that they need and in that, God would be glorified. 

Our willingness to carry less gives way for generosity to happen. On the Camino, we have experienced this generosity among the pilgrims and among the people who live along the way. A pilgrim carries as little as possible in order to make the journey. People know this. And when they see it, the goodness of humanity shows up. A space has been created for kindness to happen. From shelter, to a meal, from clothing to caring for blistered and tired feet… kindness shows up. 

When we are able to admit our fears of not having enough and are willing to carry less, God has space in our lives to step in and provide for all our needs. 

It begs us to ask, what are we carrying that we don’t need to carry? What fears and burdens weigh us down? We are all pilgrims – sojounrers in this land. As we make our own pilgrimages through life, as we walk the distance before us, we will walk far if we carry less. 

~Buen Camino

Trusting The Better Way

Have you ever been so convinced of how something should be that it absolutely floors you when it doesn’t look, sound, taste, feel like you thought it ought?

Maybe it’s a home project, a craft your working on, the driving time to a place you’ve been a million times but today traffic is jammed unexpectedly. Maybe it’s how you would like a job to be going or how things and relationships “should” be in the home. What do you do when you discover things are not going according to your vision?

I get mad. A determination to make it right begins to rise up from my gut; to make it how I envision it in my mind. “It must be different!” I tell myself over and over and over. This insistence hides behind self-righteousness and an ego a mile high and a mile wide – because my way is the best. I’ve got this figured out! Can’t everyone see that?

Pastor Graeme Sellers explains it this way:

“Once we’ve seized upon a scenario of our advancement, we insist it be realized. It seldom is. When it’s not, the demands we’ve placed on ourselves, others and God to make it come true become an accusation against the very life of God in us and against those whom God has provided to walk this road with us.” [1]

Then, with loving grace and discipline, our perfect Father shines a light on our wayward ways so we can see truth. We get a divine course correction.

When we begin to accuse, point fingers and demand with that internal fortitude that only we are aware of, God gently leads us to release control and trust that He’s got this.

Our ways are not the best. They are not the highest. Our understanding is a grain of sand on this long path of life. Truth be told, humility lessons of The Father can be some of the sweetest seasons. When we begin to release our grip on control trust begins to be the guide, not fear. Peace replaces inner turmoil. Joy instead of anxiousness and love instead of accusation.

We may go kicking and screaming, but Jesus doesn’t care about the how, He loves us as we are and cares only that we walk with him as he leads us down a better path bringing us to healing and refreshment.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

~Proverbs 3: 5-8

[1] Graeme Sellers, The Dangerous Kind, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-4750-3587-2

Get Up and Walk

April, 2014. This is the date of the first journal entry that mentions starting a blog. We all have had ideas that we don’t act on – thoughts we never take the first step towards because it feels too risky, too unstable. But sometimes, we find the courage to get up and walk. With our eyes closed and our fists clenched, we risk, hoping we find solid ground underneath us as we take one step after another.

In the synoptic Gospels, we find the story where a paralytic man is lowered through the roof to be near Jesus. (Matthew 9, Mark 2 and Luke 5)  Jesus says these words to the scribes and the Pharisees, “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”

The concept is simple, “Get up and walk.” The reality is not always easy. There are things that hinder us – paralyze us. We don’t know if we can. We don’t know if the ground will be stable. We don’t know if someone will catch us if we fall. We begin to dismiss the call to walk and settle for the mat.

“Get up and walk” is what I hope these musings help us do. I hope this is a place where we capture thoughts about God, life, faith and navigating the journey. I hope we find ourselves strengthened and empowered. I hope we grow in our capacity to trust God and our obedience to follow him. I hope we learn through vulnerability and testimony that we are not walking alone.

I hope we hear the call from Jesus to Get Up and Walk.