Adventure. It's at the core of me. I've known it since I was a little girl. At ten years old I would choose the horse that wasn't broken to ride. He let me climb up bareback and gallop through the countryside until my jeans were drenched in his musky sweat, my face was gritty with field dust and we turned for the barn spent... and glowing. As a woman, that passion has never diminished, but continued to evolve. The idea of open space... untamed, raw, ready for discovery... stirs something in my spirit like nothing else. This is a part of my affinity for my treasured prairies... precious and rare.
But prairies aren't my only wild place. A year ago, I got lost in Acadia National Park. Lost. Nothing but rocky cliffs and evergreen forest. No compass. Sun straight up in the sky. Little means for navigation. Phone without service. Not enough provision for nightfall. Two little boys. There-are-bears-in-these-woods kind of lost. Until the stone piles appeared.
Someone had come before. Each pile was carefully stacked with a pointed rock on top guiding the way. One by one we found them, and I gave direction to listen. We climbed and listened and climbed higher. Sometimes a marker would be hard to decipher and we'd end up backtracking... trying again. Pressing on.
And then we heard it. The magnificent, thundering roar of ocean waves against a jagged shore. We were close. A few more markers and it was as if a door opened to the world... a sea of blue... hard to know where the water ended and the sky began... waves crashing white.
It was one of those moments when I couldn't draw near enough. I couldn't dive deep enough. I couldn't climb high enough. I just wanted to become a part of the breathtaking vision before me. I soaked it in. The briney taste on my lips. The wind whipping my hair. The sun bathing my face. The unmistakable smell of the ocean drawn deeply into my chest.
When we got back to the rental car I realized not everyone felt the same way. Half jokingly, half seriously, my then three-year-old bowed down at the back of the rental car and hugged it with the entire span of his little arms. ... And yet I wanted more.
I was born for adventure... designed for it... after God's own heart. Welcome to "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. "Every woman was once a little girl. And every little girl holds in her heart her most precious dreams. She longs to be swept up into a romance, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, to be the Beauty of the story. Those desires are far more than child's play. They are the secret to the feminine heart."
If you are a woman, some part of you sees yourself in these words. You may readily cheer, "Yes! That's me!" I was recognized as the thrill seeker growing up, and yet at the same time the one who wanted to twirl in front of my daddy in a beautiful new Easter dress and bonnet with gleaming patent shoes. Those desires were never thwarted. I grew up thinking of myself as the adventurous Laura from Little House on the Prairie... and my dad was very much a Pa. I was his Half Pint. Last fall found us exploring the open prairie together. I was alive! My quests and ambitions have always been recognized and supported as a girl, and as a woman. So I can cry out "Yes! That's me!" Do you see yourself?
However, it is much more commonplace in our society to look askew at a passionate, driven, adventure-loving female. We box her up neatly and remove her from the great adventure she was designed to be a part of! So these women's hearts yearn for their design. And husbands constrained from their design, yearn for more. Children, who were designed as little men and little women with these same passions, yearn for more! Until our families are strained and fragile and so often break. Men and women take those God-given desires and bury them where they can no longer be seen by the outside or even felt from within. But in the process of burying them, a hole is left... unfilled... and aching. Through the years the wound becomes deeper and deeper. Do you see yourself?
It's the ultimate fit... perfect design. The perfect love story we all desire... that we were created to live out. "A woman in the presence of a good man, a real man, loves being a woman. His strength allows her feminine heart to flourish. His pursuit draws out her beauty. And a man in the presence of a real woman loves being a man.... She inspires him to be a hero." Do you see yourself?
As the sun rose on that day of adventure, around 4 o'clock, I woke startled at how bright the world was in this amazing territory at such an hour. I wrapped myself in a quilt and softly padded with bare feet out onto the porch of this little guest house on Somes Sound to find a family of deer grazing on the lawn before the shoreline. If I was still, they did not mind my presence. I watched their family's leisurely breakfast in the cool, moist air. I felt like an honored guest. I studied the neighbor's methodical work as he pulled up his lobster traps. I was amazed by this new adventure. And a few short hours later I found what I had desired the whole journey. Precious. It struck me when I first heard that term used for sea glass. This was a large piece, worn smooth by the ocean waves. It was a frothy, pale, aqua blue. Rather rare. And where was it? Not in the bubbling surf or the wet sand. But washed up and hidden at the base of a patch of wild daisies... my favorite flower.
That ocean cliff hike... the deer family... the wild daisies... the "precious" discovery? Gifts to His beloved. At a time when a chapter was about to close in my life, my Most Loved One sought to romance my heart and demonstrate to me His ever-abiding presence.... letting me know that He pursued my heart, and that I was His Beauty.
Did I see it then? No. I saw a storm coming. I saw my inadequacies. I saw my heart alone. But He needed me to come to that point. He needed me to see that I am His beloved... eternally... before He could open the door on a new, waiting world... before I could embark on true adventure. He needed me to find in Him, and Him alone, my compass. And once I did, I saw His gifts. I looked into His face with the expectant appreciation of a bride, and He took me by the hand, and we walked anew.
From my heart,