2018 Travel Plans – Guess Where We’re Going??

Guys, I have a problem.

A big, wanderlusting, list-making, suitcase-packing problem.

The travel bug bit me HARD last year! In six months’ time, Daniel and I got to travel to three places neither of us had ever been before: Alaska, Colorado, and Las Vegas. For almost a year, I consistently had a trip to look forward to, and ever since we got back from Vegas last October, I’ve been dying to go somewhere again. Thankfully, we have a few plans in the works for 2018, and I’m so excited to finally share them with you!

Ever since Daniel and I got married, one of our goals has been to travel together as often as we can. It doesn’t have to be a luxury vacation or anything, but we’ve made it a priority to get away from home and spend extended time together at least once a year. Getting to visit new places or travel with other people we love is just the icing on the cake.

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Vacation Plan #1: Jacksonville, Florida

After my family went to Colorado last summer, it wasn’t long before my dad started talking about making the trip again this year. But then my brother moved to Jacksonville last December to become the newest meteorologist at Action News Jax, and even though my dad has never been a big beach person, I not-so-subtly suggested that our vacay plans should be to Florida this summer – and he took the bait!! I haven’t spent much time on the East Coast and I’ve never been to Florida before, so I’m really excited to get my tan on.

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Vacation Plan #2: Royal Caribbean Cruise

When Daniel and I took our first Caribbean cruise, we both said at the end of the week that we would love to go on a cruise with a group. We enjoyed the time away, just the two of us, but we kept thinking about how fun it would be to eat, lounge, and explore with some of our friends. We FINALLY booked our trip to Honduras, Cozumel, and Costa Maya after months of talking about it, and I’m freaking out a little!! So ready to go on a friendscation.

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Vacation Plan #3: Beaver’s Bend State Park

Equally as much as we want to travel with a group of friends, we’ve specifically been wanting to travel with two of our best friends for several years now; it’s just never worked out because of conflicting schedules and new babies. But I think the stars have finally aligned, haha! Spending an extended weekend in a cabin is actually on my 30 By 30 list too, so I’ll get to kill two birds with one stone. Please spam me with any cabin recommendations if you’ve stayed in the area before!

I can’t wait to start packing! Where are you going this year?

He’s In the Waiting

“I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope.”
— Psalm 130:5 (AMP)

In 28 years, I haven’t met a single person who enjoys waiting. I am convinced that patience is one of the hardest fruits of the Holy Spirit to integrate into our lives. We live in a world full of microwaves, text messaging, and fast food, and I’ll admit that I have a difficult time sitting still and waiting for anything. We want things NOW. The God of the Bible, however, does not fit into the mold of NOW. To Him, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousands years are like one day. He is perfectly capable of giving us what we want when we want it, but just because He is capable doesn’t mean He will do it. And that doesn’t mean that He is not good or that He doesn’t love us. In fact, it means exactly the opposite.

God isn’t a vending machine. We can’t view our relationships with Him like a mathematic formula:

[Prayer + Bargaining + Crying + Impatience = whatever we want from God.]

There are several flaws in this train of thought. First of all, if that’s truly what God’s nature is *supposed* to be like, that’s a completely different god than the One I surrendered my life to. The God I follow is the one with the power in the relationship, not me. He doesn’t bend to my will; I bend to His. Second, if God really was like that, we wouldn’t have much need for Him, right? A relationship wouldn’t be necessary or possible, because the only time we would talk to Him would be if we wanted something. Third, consider parenthood. Is someone really a good parent if they just give their kids whatever they want all the time? The kid might think so! But I think most of us would agree that this is not a good parenting strategy. Kids don’t actually know what they want a lot of the time, or they don’t realize that what they want is dangerous or not good for them. In our relationships with the Lord, we are the kids who either don’t know what we really want OR want something that would be harmful for us, and God is the good Father who – in perfect love – does not always give us exactly what we ask for, but cares for us and provides everything we need.

When we pray, God answers our prayers in one of three ways: yes, no, and wait. Waiting forces us to slow down. It makes us think about what we’re asking for and whether or not we really want it. Waiting is also one way God draws us closer to Him when we choose to trust Him even though we aren’t sure what’s going to happen next. Learning to wait patiently is a sign of maturity – as I mentioned before, it’s one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and living proof that God is transforming our lives! It takes hard work to develop, but most valuable things do.

I want to leave you with one final thing to think about today, for wherever you are in your own wait. Have you ever thought about how many people in the Bible had to wait for something? Jacob waited for his wife for 14 years after he met her. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, and many others waited for a baby, and Sarah in particular turned 90 years old before God gave her Isaac. The Israelites waited for 40 years for God to lead them into the Promised Land. David waited to become king, spending at least 15 more years in the pasture as a shepherd after he was anointed by Samuel. There are countless other examples, but my point is that although many of those waits lasted for decades, God was never late, and every single one of His promises was fulfilled at exactly the right time in history. We can take encouragement from these true stories of God’s faithfulness and know that as He was faithful to those early believers, He will be just as faithful to us.

“Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting, He’s in the waiting
Hold unto your hope, as your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing, He’s never failing”
— chorus from “Take Courage” by Bethel Music

“I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good.”
— Psalm 52:8-9 (ESV)