not all who wander are lost... july 2014.

Nothing is ever as it seems with us, it seems. Who knew a baby would lead to a cancer, would lead to healing, would lead to choosing to live without an actual home, would lead to wandering to and fro from closer-than-I've-ever-been-to-the-tropics to well within the arctic circle, and from many high mountains and deep oceans to dry deserts and stormy seas.

After a more than two week detour to the north, where there is a shocking lack of turquoise waters and white, sandy beaches, we are at a loss for what to do or where to go next... no longer having sufficient time to do the things we'd hoped and intended to do when we departed from Jerusalem. We spend the last week of Spring and the first week of Summer in the freezing cold, considerably less prepared than we'd been for the freezing cold a few months earlier and therefore infinitely more miserable. But as we head south, my heart starts to thaw out, along with all my fingers and toes, and we see night for the first time in weeks, and my hope returns, and though we still don't know where we are going or what we are doing, we drive on.

For weeks now, we pray as we drive -- out loud and almost as if we are talking to each other -- we pray for towns and cities, for governments and countries, for freedom and justice and breakthrough. We head to Prague, if only for an afternoon. We drive around the city while Little Buddy naps soundly and a gentle rain falls peacefully over the city. It is beautiful. We managed to stumble upon the John Lennon Memorial Wall in Prague while making our way up to the big park overlooking the city, which a random American told us was his favorite place in all of Europe while selling us a few pints of fresh berries somewhere in northern Sweden when we stopped for gas.

It is cold and grey and the park is deserted and perfectly situated. We eventually happen upon just the right spot to worship. Little Buddy sits atop The Music Man's shoulders and intermittently sings along with us while The Music Man strums the guitar. Time passes quickly and as we sing our last song the sun breaks through the clouds and shines down on the city and warms us well. The boys toot their horns (rams horns from Jerusalem, called shofars) loud and long and, work well done, we all tromp off to the van and Austria.

It's strange to go so far for seemingly so little. To work so hard to do something so simple as to sing for so short a time, only to turn around and drive away. My reason says it's foolishness, but my heart knows that to go and worship and declare the truth is real and accomplishes something that cannot be undone. There is so much weight and power in our words -- there is life and death in our tongues. Our present European adventure is the antithesis of all our many adventures past. We are experiencing the country, the earth itself, and not experiencing the culture of those who dwell within. We barely stop in world class cities -- Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Berlin, Prague, Florence, Rome. We camp on countrysides and the shores of lakes and the sides of highways.

We make our way from Prague to Lake Wolfgangsee in Austria -- you've seen it in the sound of music. We decide to camp at an RV park right on the lake and are not disappointed to live for a few days at the water's edge... turquoise waters with white, sandy beaches! The water is freezing cold but delights us nonetheless. A full rainbow hangs itself over our van and again, we agree we must be in the right place. We clean up and settle in. We cook real food and relax for a moment. We walk through fields of big brown milking cows to a passenger boat that takes us across a lake to a train that takes us up a mountain to the meadows that Maria twirls around in when she's playing hooky from church at the beginning of the movie. We picnic and worship and pray and toot our horns and cuddle up for a nap in the freezing sun. It is all so strange, so surreal.

We carry on before long and venture to Venice for an afternoon on our way to Rome. We do the things people do when the go to Venice: feed the birds, eat gelato, ride a gondola, eat gelato, check out the cathedral, eat gelato, worship in the square, eat gelato, grab some Italian food for dinner, etc. It's good to be back in Italy, we know how to do Italy reeeeeally well. We've been here several times before and twice together. We aim for Rome, but are open to stops on the way. We hit Florence for a few hours and worship in the park overlooking the city. We continue on and decide to go by way of Lake Trasimeno. For no real reason, I feel deeply compelled to go to a certain portion of the lake that stands out to me on the map -- so much so that when The Music Man drives us around the far side of the lake (with the intention of going around the entire thing, but without telling me so) I am inexplicably furious! We eventually make it to the little beach I just have to go to, only to discover they are setting up a huge stage and lights, with a DJ doing a sound check for the raging party they anticipate having that evening. We marvel that here, in the middle of nowhere, God can give us what we love and were just saying we longed for: a dance party! I cook up an Italian dinner fit for kings and we feast at the waters edge, dance to our heart's content while the sun sinks low, and drive away sweaty and satisfied...

Not all who wander are lost. We have not, do not feel lost. We don't know where we're going, we don't know what we're doing next, and we don't know why we're doing what we're doing... but we're not lost. There is so much freedom in letting go -- letting go of what you want, letting go of what you think you're supposed to be doing, letting go of your way. It is so hard, but it is so freeing. This season of learning to trust his purposes and his leading has taught us so much and stretched us so far. I haven't always weathered it well, but I know that he is doing something big in me, even if I've yet to understand what that thing might be...