I can’t even begin to describe how amazing a month of traveling abroad was and I never would have been able to afford or survive any of it without the help of my family, both financially and emotionally, my two adopted mom’s for the month, the 10 amazing girls I got the privilege of getting to know over a course of just 33 days and most importantly, the good Lord above. That being said, my last big hoorah before I left the great country of Australia was a tattoo. No this isn’t my first one, and yes mom and dad are not fans of them, however just like my other two tattoos, there’s meaning behind this one and it wasn’t designed or thought of over night but rather over the past few months leading up to this trip. Too often do I find myself stressed out, scared, and/or confused with life and end up trying to solve everything myself. What I forget is just how powerful God’s unconditional love is and that He’s ALWAYS there to help with any problem, big or small, day or night, every second of every day. Yes I’m a Christian but I’m by no means perfect and need His guidance everyday and that’s what drew me to this phrase to begin with.
At first glance, it reads “Let Go” in black ink, but if you look closer it finishes with a “d” so that it reads “Let God”. I love the double message that it gives off – so simple, yet such a powerful reminder. Now my other two tattoos on either side of my ribs are only visible during bikini season but that’s how I wanted them. They deal with special family members and were something between me and that other person. The placement of this tattoo was a tough decision – my ankle was in the running however I felt like this was a message that I wanted to be reminded of daily and with my long legs, I don’t always pay attention to my ankles. My decision to put it on my right wrist came from the fact that I do everything right handed. From writing to doing my hair to eating to sports, my right hand is always in my vision. Another deciding factor was that I shake hands and greet people with my right hand – can you say conversation starter?! Just imagine how many conversations it could start up with all kinds of people, Christian or not. As Christians we’re suppose to spread the good news of God and His unending love, however it’s not always an easy topic. In this day and age, where tattoos are a new crave, maybe this will be an easy way to begin that conversation. Regardless, it gives me multiple opportunities to express my faith and spread His word. “Let Go, Let God”: This phrase was what helped me even decide to take this crazy, amazing adventure over a year ago. May 30th I let go of my family, friends, and everything I knew, and let God take me on this amazing adventure into the unknown. The day I stood at the top of that bridge to bungee jump, strapped in by my legs alone, I let go of any fears or worries and let God take over, protecting me the whole way down. The 33 days I spent with those 11 awesome ladies, I let down my guard and let God take over, helping me to be more open minded and considerate of others. Through journaling, I was able to let go of various things on my mind, things that I had brought from home, and in those 33 days, I let God help me figure my life out. I definitely don’t have it all figured out, nor will I ever, but I definitely felt God’s presence every step of this trip. In the last few days of our trip, the arch of my foot began to hurt (most likely from all of the walking we had been doing) and it got to be where I was limping, trying to tolerate the pain. I instantly said a prayer to God, asking him to take this pain away. Within the next 2 days, I was pain free and it wasn’t by my own doing. Another incident came the last day, as we boarded our shuttle for the airport. Elizabeth, a sweet girl whom I had never met before this trip, however helped to keep me sane those 33 days and has become a lifelong friend, misplaced her new opal ring she had just bought on the trip. She went to pick up coffee that morning and hadn’t realized it wasn’t on her finger until she came back to the bus. A little frantic, she asked around and was relieved to find that some good samaritan had turned it into the front desk. Relaxed again, she proceeded to tell me on our ride to the airport that when she first realized she had lost it, instead of freaking out completely, she “pulled a Kaitlyn” and said a little prayer. Just another example of how awesome prayer is! My favorite incidence of God really speaking to me however came one night in Port Douglas when a few of us girls went out with our tour guide Dan and the guys from his Australian football team (don’t worry, they were our age.) It was fun to meet other people our age and experience their kind of “Saturday night”. While some of the girls went out to the dance floor, I stayed back at the booth, chatting with Dan, one of his buddy’s from his team, and his buddy’s fiancé. Our chat started out pretty simple, his friend asking me to say various words and then laughing and saying I talked funny – apparently he didn’t realize how he sounded to me…. Somewhere down the line of our conversation, we got on the topic of religion and he proceeded to ask if I was religious. I responded with yes, what about you? He answered no and began to talk about how many Australians around that area were Atheist because religion just started war. Inside, I instantly felt sad. The only type of religion this guy probably saw was what T.V. let him see, especially right now with everything that ISIS is doing. Being a communication student, I could have easily came back at him with one of the many persuasive techniques I’ve learned over the past few years, however instead, I continued to listen to his reasoning, truly interested in his way of thinking. Dan’s friend began to ask me how I could believe in God if I’d never seen Him to which I replied sometimes you have to believe in things you do not see. Not satisfied by my answer, I continued by trying to relate it to sports, seeing as though they both were on the football team. I asked, “have you ever done something on the field or in training that you know you could never physically do by yourself, yet you did it? I’ve had that happen multiple times in my life, specifically in my running and I know that it wasn’t my doing, so I guess between those miracles and the little miracles I see everyday, that’s what keeps my faith strong.” He replied with a yes, he had, but his reasoning was that he believed in a human’s potential and that people just meet their full potential and then that’s it. Still intrigued, I asked him how he believed he was created, to which he responded with the scientific answer of first being organisms and then evolving. That’s when Dan jumped in and asked where I stood on the topic. I said that I believed God created me, however I did agree that we evolve over time as human beings – in the end, still being from God’s doing. I then came back with a simple, “what drives you to get up in the morning – what gets you through each day?” Stumped for a second, he responded, “I don’t know, work, my fiancé, I just take one day at a time.” I replied with, “well, I believe that God has a purpose for my life and each morning He wakes me up, is just another part of His plan to help me fulfill His purpose for me.” I got a laugh from that answer but that was okay, I respected each and every one of his answers and I guess that’s why I picked his brain so much. In the end, he asked if I thought I’d ever not believe in God, to which I responded with a polite grin, “probably not.” As I mentioned earlier, as Christians we’re suppose to spread God’s word, however it doesn’t have to be in a pushy, in your face way. Yeah it’s easier to speak of all of the amazing things He’s done in your life or quote bible verses, however when you’re speaking to someone who doesn’t even believe in God or the bible, sometimes just mentioning the idea of God is all you can do. I may not have turned him into a Christian over night, but that could have been the first time someone had ever had an opposing opinion about God compared to his and if that’s the case, I at least got him thinking. Moral of the story, God was definitely with me that night, helping me to let go of my own personal opinions and be open minded to this guy’s way of thinking. For those of you who have been keeping up with me last month, thank you so much! You don’t realize how much your comments, likes, and endless support helped me while being away. I had the time of my life in New Zealand and Australia and through your support, you helped me not to get homesick but rather want to share as much of my adventures with you all as I could. As my trip came to an end, I was sad for it all to end, yet so excited because that mean’t I could tell people first hand all the things that wouldn’t fit into my blog. This trip has been a true blessing in disguise and I can’t thank my parents enough for giving me this amazing opportunity. I know it was hard, letting their baby leave the country for a month, but I have to think that God had a little part in that as well, giving them the assurance that I would be okay. I’d have to write another blog to talk about everything that I’ve learned from this trip, however a pretty good summary is that if you Let Go and Let God take charge of your life, He’ll give you the strength to go to unimaginable places and do incredible things – He sure did for me.