• Adventure

    A Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

    Photo by Brandon Grinovich
    Photo by American Alpine Institute

    After school ended I went on a quick little jaunt over to Joshua tree with my boy and two other friends. Let me just say, that place is weird. I had never been in a desert before, let alone a strange desert that looks like it’s straight out of a Dr. Suess book. But wow, did God’s glory show.

     

    The park lies at the intersection of two huge deserts: the Mojave and the Colorado. This mix-up of ecosystems at this location led to some unique species developing, like the Joshua tree itself. This tree is technically related to a lily flower, but it looks more like a palm tree/cactus hybrid.

    These trees grow in a desert that is at times completely empty and at times completely filled with mountains and boulders. There are strange stacks of rocks that Jordan and I decided look like a giant tried to make a drippy castle and then just let it dry in the desert heat.

    How cool is it the God is so creative? He can make anything He wants to. There are absolutely no limits on God, and Joshua Tree is just one example of how diverse and beautiful this created world is.

    Now think about this: The God that created this beautiful world also chose to create you. We are each filled with intricacies and differences that we can only scratch the surface in understanding. You are probably less like me than a Joshua tree is like an oak! God’s diverse world allows for each of us to exist, and exist fully loved, while remaining the complex individuals that we are.

    Seriously, how cool.

    I am so thankful for nature and trips and friends for always reminding me of God’s creative power. On a sappier (or cuter, depending on your perspective) note, I am so thankful to be in a relationship with a boy who wants to go on adventures with me and wants to seek out God’s glory in all things. Thanks, Jord.

    Photo by Brandon Grinovich

    To check out more of Brandon’s photography, go to his Instagram.

  • Adventure

    Lessons from a Surf Lesson

    On Sunday morning I went down to the beach at 6 am to see the sunrise. Jordan and I planned on going surfing immediately after.

    It was absolutely beautiful, and every minute the colors had completely shifted from the minute before. That said, it was also freezing. I don’t mean freezing by California standards, I mean the weather app said it was 45-degrees-feels-like-35.

    At 7, when the colors were fading into that early morning yellow glow, we reevaluated our plan. Did we really want to get into the water when the air around us was 35 degrees?

    I’ve been surfing many times this year, and I am never successful. Learning to ride the waves is a dream of mine, but usually it feels like it’s just not in the cards for me. On this day my goal felt particularly hopeless. If I wasn’t a good surfer in September when it was 80 degrees and beautiful, what makes me think I’ll suddenly be able to do it when my entire body is numb from the cold?

    I sat there feeling dejected for a few minutes. I really wanted to surf, but honestly, I was scared. IT WAS SO COLD. What if I put myself through all of that discomfort just to fail again? Eventually, I slipped on my wetsuit (crying when I had to take off my sweatshirt and the cold air hit me) and ran into the ocean. Soon Jordan was in with me, and the surfboard was leashed to my ankle.

    Yes, I fell off a few times. I got tossed around a little bit, and I couldn’t feel my toes. But you know what friends? I stood up on that surfboard for the first time ever. It might’ve only lasted for a few seconds, but I got up! If I had stayed scared and seated on the beach, I wouldn’t have hit that milestone in this goal of mine.

    The experience I had on Sunday is a very cheesy metaphor for life. How is God supposed to teach us and change us if we won’t even leave the beach??? We desire to be grown into new creations, and yet we resist entering situations that would facilitate growth because they’re uncomfortable. (Or in this case, just really cold.)

    This week, I challenge you to say yes to God in a new way and be willing to leave the beach so that He can grow you. Put fear aside, and jump in.

    A small group leader said the following quote to me at the beginning of the year, and I didn’t fully understand it until now:

    When in doubt, just paddle out.

     

    What are you saying yes to, even when it scares you? Let me know in the comments.

    Lots of love,

    Erin