The washing machine is chugging away and Christmas music is filling the air as I sit down to compose lessons learned in the past three months. I was convinced while Hannah was volunteering and travelling in Europe she would be the one to come home with life lessons. She did arrive back to Syracuse in the wee morning hours today after travelling for twenty-six hours…safely I might add. I’m sure she has experiences she will take with her all of her life and if you ask her  I know she will be thrilled to answer everyone of your questions and tell you about her life these past three months. But that’s her story to tell, not mine. Little did I know God had some things to teach me while she was gone. 

Aren’t you worried? a question I entertained deep in my own heart and from many family and friends. Aren’t you worried for safety, for being a young, and beautiful(in my humble opinion) and all american girl travelling alone, worried for a myriad of things that could go wrong? Hannah planned this trip for almost a year, just ask her sister who was living with her at the time, she lived and breathed this trip. So I had a long time to digest what she wanted to do. Yes, she sought our counsel and wrote up an entire proposal for us to consider, but in the end, she was going. I told myself the day she left , I will not worry, I will not be extra baggage for her as she chooses the path she wants to take in life. I would not be the the extra sweater in her suitcase believing I was the only one who could keep her warm and safe. I entrusted her to my God whom I KNOW is good and He does what is good. There was not a day or hour for that matter, that I did not think about her or wonder ‘where in the world is Hannah, since she shut off her phone when she flew out of the United States. It was no strength of my own to lay my head down every night and rest peacefully, it was all by God’s grace.

Isn’t it dangerous? to travel alone? to fly or take a train or walk through the red light district in Amsterdam? Yes…and no. Isn’t it dangerous anywhere? In the time Hannah was gone how many shootings took place on the south side of Syracuse? For those of you who don’t know Syracuse, it’s not a very nice part of town. How many robberies took place? And so sad…how many young lives were cut short in car accidents because someone was drunk or high on heroin? Tragically, that has happened here in the last month. A young man helping someone else was hit and killed and a young mother was killed in a separate accident leaving her children and husband to grieve and weep this holiday season. Add to that the deadly train crash outside of NYC this past week and the helicopter crash in Scotland. Yes, life is dangerous. We encouraged Hannah in every text or phone call or email to be safe, to be aware. But in the end I would not burden her with ‘is it safe?’ God is the author of our safety. I can finally say after several years of having my blog byline…Life is too short to play it safe…what this means.

God is the author of our safety. I do not want to idolize safety. I want to follow God wherever that may take me or wherever that may take those I love the most. Living this way brings freedom…and no baggage.

There are other lessons, but for now will agree with Paul Tripp

The daily goal is to let go of the hold on my life, stepping willingly into what is dangerous, unpredictable and costly, because I value grace more than I value comfort.