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Fellow Residents of Cyberspace,

English: Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy. The lea...

English: Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And though we’re tempted to despair,

we do not doubt that God is there.

(Dennis J. DeHaan)

I was born with wings instead of roots. My heart craves change, my very soul longs for metamorphosis. I need fluctuation and diversity to feel alive. Stagnation leaves a stale, bitter taste in my mouth.

Over the past few years, since abandoning my nomadic lifestyle, I have been consumed by a restless spirit. Depression envelops me in its sour embrace and emptiness and longing have driven a wedge between faith and me. Intellectually I acknowledge God’s existence and supremacy without a shadow of a doubt, but His presence ceases to be a tangible reality in the depths of my soul. I know He’s there, but I no longer feel Him.

I long for times past: For days when I stepped forth in confidence, directed by His love. For nights that brought both peace and solace, lulled to sleep by His sweet lullaby whispered in my ear. I have entered an endless season of wilderness wandering. The harder I strive to recapture the sensation of His presence, the further I seem to drift. I witness the evidence of His mighty hand and yet I am plagued with doubt. I carry within me a desperate need for deep and complete healing. I refuse to abandon hope and therefore I submit my brokenness to Him who is Sorrow’s cure.

I recognize that God’s presence is inescapable – that there is nowhere to run where He could not find me – and yet I find His existence more palpable in some seasons of life than in others. I find no greater evidence of His ubiquity than in His bountiful creation. I need to escape the distractions and normalcy of life and reconnect with my Creator. I am venturing forth in hopes of experiencing His wonders anew and reigniting the flickering flame within me.

This Saturday I begin a journey to rediscover hope. For the next two weeks I will be sailing among the Sporades Islands of Greece aboard a 90 foot traditional gaff rigged schooner, the S/Y “Encounter.” During this time I hope to experience spiritual refreshment as I am encouraged to grow in faith and be a practical expression of God’s love. “Encounter” was purpose-built to serve as a sailing ship to bring the Gospel to the islands, while sail training and discipling youth along the way.

Aboard the vessel I will experience the challenges of life at sea as a member of the crew. Built as a training vessel, “Encounter” requires all hands to sail her. In addition to learning to sail, it is an opportunity to seek God, seeing Him in that which He has created, discovering Him by His word and experiencing Him through the lives of His people. We will explore a variety of islands and coastal areas of Northern Greece, with a daily schedule that includes sail training, knots, navigation, snorkeling, cliff jumping, and wind surfing, as well as ample opportunity to explore God’s word in an informal and open atmosphere.

At the conclusion of my sailaway, I will make my way to Rome, Italy were I will join the Italian Espresso tour. Our first few days will be spent exploring this city, including the Roman Forum and Colosseum, the Vatican City (St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel), the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon. From Rome we will travel to Florence for another few days. After visiting several museums and galleries, we will tour the Tuscan countryside, participate in a wine tasting, and tour a 16th century Tuscan castle. We shall then move on to Venice. Stopping at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, we will then dine in Romeo and Juliet’s Verona and visit the Roman Arena. The following day we will travel by private boat through the canals and islands and make our way to St. Mark’s Square, but not before seeing the limestone Bridge of Sighs and the Gothic arches of the Doge’s palace. From here I will travel back to Rome and begin my journey home, brimming with tales of adventure and with any luck, a renewed spirit.

I am greatly looking forward to the holiday from technology and will be stepping away from my blog for the coming month. Lord willing, I will resume weekly posts upon my return, including a detailed account of my experiences and spiritual journey.

Until Then,

May You Live Each Moment As If It’s Your Last,

Mandy

Weekly Reflections: (Disclaimer: The great depths of my sorrow can only be justly compared to the impressive heights of my joy. If you stay tuned in long enough you’ll begin to see the silver ray of hope in even the darkest of my reflections.)

One Less Day

I watch the sun melt into sea,

And chills run down the length of me.

I’ve reached the end; another day

Is all but done and gone away.

I’ve one less day to have on earth,

With each breath counting down from birth.

Don’t let these moments slip away,

Don’t keep your heart so far at bay.

This life we’re given is so short,

Don’t waste it locked inside this fort.

Embrace the wonders of today,

The next may never come your way.

We can choose to make an impact,

Let’s make a stand our final act.

No matter what be sure to smile,

Hold on to joy with each new mile.

And welcome rain with song and dance,

Let’s laugh and sing, and even prance.

Let’s change the world with just a glance,

Let’s be somebody’s second chance.

They may just need a ray of hope,

A change of scene to bring new scope.

In dark of night your very touch,

Can offer peace and mean so much.

Do take the time to understand,

The beauty in another’s hand.

Do not forget to fill your days,

With lots of love and endless praise.

Have faith to pray with every breath,

And live life unafraid of Death.

Verse Of The Week:

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:5-6

What I’m Reading:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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