Ciao!

Can I just say . . . I am really blessed.

A week ago I was sitting on a beach on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. And a week before that there wasn’t even a holiday planned. God sometimes likes to surprise us. And when it comes in the form of a trip to my long time dream-destination, I can’t help but feel an awe that His love can be so lavish.

I’d always dreamt of going to Italy, ever since Mary Kate and Ashley’s When in Rome. (Firstly, I grew up on Full House. Secondly, who hasn’t been inspired by America’s favorite sweethearts (okay, they probably haven’t held that title for 10 years or so)). Anyway. Let’s just say, I’d always wanted to travel to Italy. I studied Latin and the Classics in high school – and was fascinated by the Roman Empire. So it goes without saying, I was thrilled when we booked tickets two days before the flights were scheduled to depart.

Here are a few highlights from the trip:

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Throughout the trip we played this little game, to see who could come up with the most random thing at the most random time. We managed to keep up with it for two days before it was thrown aside – But here are a couple of examples:

“Look at those sophisticated pelicans.” And “Have I ever told you how much donuts give me the urge to drive your car.”

We ate pizza and gelato until we couldn’t cope anymore. We drove on the scariest road known to man. (Just look at this video). We had a blast. It was amazing. And I feel super blessed. Because God knows the desires of my heart and it’s in His heart to love me so extremely.

You see, I used to think I had to earn God’s love. That I needed to be really good in order to receive his approval and blessing. It was hard to live that way because no matter how good I tried to be, I could never keep it up and I constantly felt like a failure in my faith. But then God did something that rocked me and that mindset – He started blessing me when I was least deserving of it. And it didn’t stop. He kept pouring out blessing upon blessing. And over time it chipped away at my mentality that said ‘nothing comes for free, you have to work hard and earn it’. Pretty soon it started to sink in that God just loved me because that’s who He is. And it changed me. And It freed me.

And once I was free, my world became lighter.

The reason I say all this is because it’s as true today as it was then in my life. I’ve been at it with this following Jesus thing for almost ten years now, and somehow God still catches me off guard with His whole “I’m gonna love you really generously” stuff. He did it with Italy and He is doing it again this weekend when I head off to Thailand to go to serve in The Place of Grace – another unplanned trip that he blessed me with.

Because, I’ll be honest, sometimes I revert back to my previous mindset, that says I better do more, pray better, be nicer. And then God keeps me in check, reminding me of who He is, with His kindness.

It’s pretty amazing.

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