Tag Archives: unexpected

Surprise Twists and Turns!

It’s called the million dollar highway. Some sources also call it one of the world’s most spectacular (and dangerous) stretches of pavement. However, when traveled carefully in good weather, it’s a breath-taking experience of incredible vistas.

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Each one just as amazing as the last.

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One after the next, so incredible you scan constantly, not wanting to miss a single moment of the beauty.

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Sometimes you have to climb out of the car to see it all.

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But here’s the thing. This road is full of hair pin curves.

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They happen unexpectedly, usually with abrupt drop-offs on at least one side.

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We drove this road last May, our borrowed van full of our son’s stuff. A dresser, bed, clothes. You get the idea. We moved him from his college apartment to his new home and job. It was a full van, and I am not great at driving with decreased visibility out the windows. My husband drives a work van full of stuff every day, so I requested the passenger seat.

The problem with the passenger seat is you have absolutely no control. You can’t hit the brake when you want to slow. You can’t control the position of the vehicle, no matter how close that sheer edge looks. You have to trust your driver. (And as most of you know, a nagging, fearful wife is not very effective in these situations. Your man knows how to navigate the terrain and will likely not do it your way just because you catch your breath and spout advice.)

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But the great thing about being in the passenger seat is you can more fully enjoy the view without the responsibility of navigation.

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If you can just let go of your fears and go with it.

The problem is that while you’re exclaiming over yet another incredible panorama, you don’t see that sharp turn ahead. Suddenly you’re upon it. Disequilibrium makes you gasp and grab something to steady yourself. Fear hits.

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The twist is not only sharp and quick, the grade is also steep.

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Even in the moment I felt the stirring as we drove last May.

The need to pay attention. The prompting to trust my driver to navigate the unexpected turns in the road, to let go of control, to enjoy the glorious ride.

And to remember.

Remember how it felt to trust and enjoy beauty instead of micro-managing.

To drink in the wonder and excitement instead giving into fear of what is around the bend or how suddenly the change came upon me.

Of course I’m not talking about navigating Route 550 from Durango through Silverton to Ouray.

I’m talking about life.

Maybe you relate. Maybe life has thrown you some curve balls, not necessarily bad, but certainly unexpected.

Or maybe you’ve chosen an unknown road. One you’re breathlessly excited about. But you feel insecure. You don’t know the appropriate speed or how to navigate the next bend. You don’t know how much fear you must face to take in all the glory and wonder of the choice.

The weeks following this trip I had both experiences. A breathless choice and an unexpected curve ball. I keep reminding myself to trust the One who guides me on the best pathway for my life, who advises me and watches over me. But sometimes I gasp at the steep road ahead or feel the disequilibrium when the sharp curve redirects.

I’m not ready to write much about the unexpected curve. It’s still unfolding. Right now all He has asked of me is a mindset change, a readjustment of my thinking, plans, and dreams. That alone is a sharp turn, one that causes me disequilibrium.

But I am ready to write about the choice to adventure. To stretch. To follow where His Spirit calls even though the journey is unknown, and I have never done anything like this.

This choice is exciting. A bit scary. Full of joyful wonder. Poking at my insecurities and inadequacies but breath-taking too. Beautiful. New.13903190_10154455712793179_4641395257159691296_n

I was chosen to serve with a women’s team traveling to Afghanistan later this summer. The eight of us will meet with several groups of beautiful, courageous ladies who have worked tirelessly to better their communities and build toward a hopeful future for their children and their country. Our team seeks to build relationship, to encourage, to believe in the hope they possess and to share our own for them.

As I step out into this journey, I am stretching. It’s not just the miles I will travel or the insecurities I posses about navigating an unfamiliar culture. It’s not even the pain and fear that arises when another bombing rocks the world of the people I already think of as my friends. It’s the longing to be better than I am. To love more. To have more strength. To serve well.

What about you? Where are you stretching? What call up your deepest longings and passions. Where do you feel a prompting to something new, something bigger than yourself?

May God bless us all.

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PS Would you partner with me in this new adventure, my friend? If you’d like more information about the Afghanistan service trip, let me know. I’ll add you to my list of people getting updates. You can contact me by email: Paula at paulamoldenhauer dot com.

Freedom to Move Forward Part II

south sudanI did something brave.

Different.

Unexpected.

(If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, this one won’t mean as much, so check it out!)

Just over a week I was surprised by the desire to visit a third world country as part of a team reaching out to spiritual leaders of a new country learning its freedom.

While I have long desired to serve others and even wished I could meet special people, like my World Vision “daughters,” I’ve never been one to jump at the idea of this sort of thing. Europe I’ve dreamed of visiting. Third world countries? Not so much.

But I couldn’t resist the truth: I was interested, longing to go, even.

But my mind went other directions, and I let the thought drop for over an hour until I “accidentally” stumbled right into the informational meeting about this trip.

Again intrigued, I stayed. Longing. Wondering.

I came home and went on-line to check out the application procedures. My computer wouldn’t let me into the system, and I walked away frustrated. Ended up in bed sick the next day and dragging for several after. But always in the back of my mind the desire lingered.

I prayed. Asked friends to pray. It seemed too big a decision to make without one of those huge, red check marks in the sky beside the “yes” (not that I’ve ever had that exact cosmic direction, but you know what I mean).

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As real life got in the way I assumed this, like many of my ideas (I’m pretty impulsive and interested in many thing!), would fall away.

Until Sunday, the deadline for that application.

Sunday Jerry and I took a drive in the mountains, lingered over a picnic lunch, and explored all the stuff 20140629_132412of yesterday’s post. As we descended back to the Colorado plains in our little silver car we were freer than when we began the climb. Hopeful for next steps. Excited about living outside the fear of getting it wrong.

We hit I-70, just below Genesee where the view opens up and reveals Denver far below, and I caught my breath.

“South Sudan,” I whispered.

“So it’s back to that,” said Jerry.

“I don’t have to wait for a cosmic sign. I can apply.”

And so I did.

God had revealed the freedom to move forward, to follow that desire inside of me calling out for attention.

To do something brave.

Different.

Hard and unexpected and adventurous.

To do it with His blessing even without a shocking confirmation of His will.

I could simply go for it.

Something that might turn out breath-takingly beautiful. Something that might hurt. Or even be dangerous. Certainly uncomfortable.

Something bigger than me.

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I came home, and my stupid computer (I say this with great affection) still wouldn’t let me into the application process. I stumbled a moment. Was it a sign I shouldn’t do this? I shoved the thought away and went with the forward motion of my heart.

Jerry offered me his computer, and I was in on the first try.

I don’t know yet if I will be chosen to even interview for one of the spots, much less as part of this team.

But I had the FREEDOM to try. The FREEDOM to reach way beyond who I am to do something I’ve never once before imagined.

The tears pool in my eyes as I type.

Where can I go in my newly-understood freedom of forward movement? What possibilities lie ahead that I never before dreamed? I have a catch in my chest where the breath should come out. It seems so crazy wonderful big.

This blog started as an inside-out journey to physical weight loss.

And that freedom plays into this one.

About a year and a half ago I was out for my walk. The pounds had dropped away. I had another 20 to go. I trotted downhill when blindsided by the urge to run. I couldn’t resist. I let those feet fly, pounding the pavement like I hadn’t done in years and years and years.

I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to run! “What in the world are You doing with me, God?” I whispered. “What are you preparing me for?”

I heard no answer, but felt his chuckle in the breeze upon my face.

At 210 pounds the idea of the sort of venture I applied for on Sunday would have been immediately dismissed.

But I am freed for forward movement. Free in my body. In my heart. In my mind. In my spirit.

I couldn’t sleep Sunday night. I just kept soaring.

Wishing you a freedom discovery of your own,

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(South Sudan pictures taken from Wiki.)