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Traveling Together

Before I met my husband, my world was small. I grew up in the same rural area and rarely left the city boundaries. The few times I did travel, it was within a four hour radius from my home. Due to limited exposure to traveling, the thought of leaving my comfort zone was fearful, as it was all I knew and understood. My husband grew up in a military family and as a child he traveled the world. Traveling was a huge part of his childhood and created within him a longterm passion for seeing the world.

Soon after we married, literally on our honeymoon, he began introducing me to travel. On our honeymoon, I flew on an airplane and saw the ocean for the first time. I immediately fell in love with the ocean, I couldn’t and still can’t get enough of the beauty of the sea. My husband is an explorer at heart and isn’t afraid of the unknown. In fact, he runs into the unknown of a new environment and thrives! I have always admired his adventuresome spirit and tenacity to see the world.

I wish I could say, I easily picked up my husband’s love for seeing the world. However, traveling is intimidating to me, overwhelming, and fearful. I have always had a difficult time with the “unknown”. Thankfully, my dear husband, has been challenging me and my comfort zones for as long as I’ve known him.

I was a small town girl, who rarely traveled too far from home. I had never seen anything beyond the Midwest, until after we were married. In all honesty, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to see “The World”! Traveling was not something I grew up being accustomed to and I had little knowledge and understanding of the world at large. Looking back over the past 19 years of our married life, I see where my husband has challenged me.

Traveling is only one area where he challenges me. There are many areas of my life where he challenges me, especially in my walk with the Lord! I am most thankful for the way he challenges me spiritually! He speaks truth to me when I need it, accepts me as I am, and encourages me to keep my focus on God!

Back to traveling… Due to the intimidation I have to traveling and stepping out of my comfort zones, I’m embarrassed to say, all too often he has had to almost “pull” me into these excursions. The fear of leaving my “comfort” zone has always been strong. I am thankful that he has never given up on me and continues to challenge me in many wonderful ways.

As a child, life was about survival, it was all I knew and understood. As a young girl, I never really had a childhood and had to become an adult at a very young age. As a result, I never learned how to have “fun” or to live with excitement. To be completely honest, I have to work at finding “joy” in life. For this reason, at my core I am reluctant and ambivalent when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zones. I feel bad at times, as I am sure my reluctance can be difficult to understand. I know it is easily misunderstood as lack of desire and excitement. I admit, I can be a boring individual, content to do the same things day in and day out.

Growing up, the “unknown” was almost always frightening. Thus, I have learned the key to survival is to always be in control and fully aware and prepared for anything that might happen. The instinctual way my flesh responds to the world around me, is something as a believer I am continually working to overcome. Healing is a journey, not a destination! God has used my husband’s love for traveling, to challenge me along this journey of healing!

As a result, I am learning to enjoy exploring God’s great big world! In fact, it has become a dream of mine as well. Although, at times my poor husband has had to begrudgingly pull me into new and unknown experiences. After 19 years of marriage, traveling is not near as overwhelming as it used to be. In the present tense, it takes much less time for me to embrace the journey with excitement!

God has blessed me with a husband who is able to see beauty in the world, humor in life, and excitement in the journey! Robert {my husband} has been teaching me to “see” the beauty of God’s creation, since we dated in high school. He taught me to stop and smell the roses, to gaze at the fascinating colors of a sunset, and to {never} allow fear to hold me back from experiencing God’s best! Walking with him along the journey of life, has taught me to be more intentional about living life!

I will never forget, as a young girl madly in love; This amazing guy of mine would gently touch my shoulders and turn me toward the skies and quietly say, “Crystal, come here and look at this beautiful sunset!” Sadly, I remember “stopping” only to appease him, as I had never grown up in an environment where anyone stopped to appreciate the beauty of a sunset. The concept was completely and sadly foreign to me! It didn’t take long before his love for God’s creation, rubbed off on me. As an adult, I can’t get enough of the vibrant colors of a sunrise/sunset. As a mother, I am trying to instill this love for God’s beautiful creation into our children.

Nineteen years ago, my husband surprised me for our honeymoon and planned a trip to the ocean. Little did I know, our honeymoon was the introduction to the most amazing life God had prepared. A life he was going to use to heal a broken young girl, who clung to him for hope. Not only did he bless me with the hope of salvation and healing; He blessed me beyond my wildest imagination. I am thankful to God, for providing me with a partner who teaches me to see the beauty in the world and to never take for granted the beauty of God’s world.

Currently, I am writing this post from Europe! My husband and I are blessed to spend 2 1/2 weeks exploring Croatia, Paris, Germany, & Austria! Walking through the streets of Paris, drinking coffee in outdoor cafes in Zagreb, riding in a train through the Alps heading to Austria, sleeping in the hotel where The Sound of Music was filmed, and swimming in the Adriatic Sea. Many times on this trip, I’ve had to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming! I am truly blessed to spend time with the love of my life, journeying through Europe and seeing God’s most magnificent world together.

This trip has been such a blessing! A celebration of God’s goodness! In June, we began our twentieth year of marriage! I can attest to how faithful God is to bless a marriage that is surrendered to a life of loving, serving, and honoring Christ!

Thank you, Robert! My truest friend, life-partner, travel buddy, brother-in-Christ, and the love of my life! Thank you for opening my eyes to the magnificent aspects of God’s great big world! Thank you for blessing me with the ability to travel to many places and always being patient with me along the journey! Thank you for continuing to challenge me and ensuring that the life we live, as a couple, is exciting, vibrant, and eventful! With you, my world is “full of life”! Thank you for walking with me through life’s many journeys! I am truly blessed to be your bride!

Blessings,

Love, Crystal

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