I didn’t think I would be inspired again, but then you led me to the lake.
Sometimes you make decisions when you are overtired, feeling lonely and unable to sleep and you wish you’d stayed away from your purse, cupboards, screens. Other times, you make a decision that stays with you till morning and walks with you through the day until finally, you know, it has to happen. You click, you send.
I booked a trip to Italy. It wasn’t entirely impulsive, I had been thinking about it and looking at options and financing, but one night I just made a decision. I was going to Italy in the summer, and I was going with Oak Hall.
Before I began investigating holidays, Oak Hall in my mind seemed to flip between a skiing company and a Christian Saga Holiday. All this was unfounded, none of this was researched. I just fobbed it off. It was only when a friend suggested that surely there was a singles type holiday for Christians that I took to google. Soon enough Oak Hall was all over my facebook and free ads – cheers algorithms! Oak Hall is not exclusively a singles holiday, we had three amazing couples with us on the trip. It does, however, offer a great package to those who are wanting a holiday in a group, especially if like me they have no one to go with!
When I wrote Setting Your Goals, at the beginning of the year, God asked me to notice the seasons. As summer approached, God led me to Psalm 1. He showed me that summer is a time of thirst, of leisurely time yet also a time of uncomfortable heat and lessening of layers. During the summer he led me through these thoughts; giving me time to quench my thirst and soak in his word and worship, allowing for me to recharge and refuel and encouraging me to face situations where I felt a little uncomfortable or vulnerable. Much as I am an extrovert, much as I am comfortable with new people and new situations; going on a group holiday was making me feel a little apprehensive.
I needn’t have worried. From the moment I left the house, everything flowed. The journey to Heathrow, the pod to my overnight stay at T5 Thistle, the pod back at 6am and then meeting the group at check-in. I felt part of the group before even a hello.
You led me to the lake
Italy was beautiful. We traveled by coach from Pisa to Umbria and down to Hotel Torricella, only a five-minute walk to the incredible Lake Trasimeno. God had led me to the water, the place he knows I am refreshed and inspired. Even just this would have been a blessing, but there was much more.
I felt part of the group before even a hello.
It is my belief you can spot a bunch of Christians in a crowd. Not because of the socks, sandals and rainbow guitar straps (we’ve mostly moved beyond that) but I think because it’s like recognising family. From the moment I got to the airport, I felt part of something. Throughout the week I loved having conversations with different people, sharing stories, making memories and laughing – a lot. I will always remember a night full of laughter, dancing around to Italian pop in the Pizzeria that had taught us how to make pizza’s earlier in the day!
Importantly for me I also loved the space for me to just dwell, and read, write and rest, without the fear of missing out of anything. Doing nothing but watch a group of kite surfers take to the waves is possibly the most relaxing thing I have done this year.
If the hotel and the lake weren’t enough we were also taken out on some wonderful day trips to Assisi, Perugia (where we got to sample Baci Chocolate and pretend to own Ferarri’s) and Isola Maggiore. The beauty of these places is so incredible, that I have set up a separate page with all of my photos here. How could I not be inspired when you walk into a Basilica and hear the choral music begin, or sit people watching with an affogato, cannoli or tostada? How can you not create when surrounded by people who sing and draw and write? How could I not respond to the sight, the sounds and of course the tastes!
The Overflow of My Heart
and so, it began. As I allowed distraction and worries to fade, as God took me to the waters to rest, as He spoke to my heart through worship and word* and timely conversations; the ink began to flow again. There was a song, and there was a poem, both of which I feel vulnerable to present, but both I feel should be heard in order to live.
I pray, if you choose to listen that God would lead you to the water and lead you to rest, refreshment and revival.
I wrote this, in my mind too quickly. It needs phrasing tweaks and I am certain I stole the tune from something known. It was the word I needed to sing though, and to sing I needed a tune, so if I borrowed it, I’m sorry! I also can’t play and sing so its just a raw recording into my phone! I wrote it while drinking coffee under the shelter at the cafe by the wave, waiting for the rain to pass.
I wrote this on one of our free days having walked down to Albaia beach bar lounge to watch the Kite Surfers. I also surprisingly found myself watching a Baptism take place! Just another of Fathers gifts to me.
*this will be in another post