In January, I step out from the safe confines of my passenger side seat, out to explore the untamed places in the hill country of south Wales.  Traveling with some new friends, I am on a wander to just go walk the land, explore and listen to God’s heart.  As I pick my way down overgrown trails, run my hand along old stone walls, traverse boggy fields and wild grass laden hillsides, I listen to the echoes of an ancient way seemingly etched into the land itself.  It is a call to embrace the wild places of God’s Spirit and it echoes with ferocity in my own heart.

I come eye-to-eye with this Welsh pony who reminds me of a promise someone prayed for me years before. She was one whose world was filled and surrounded by horses and God often spoke through that world to her.  She saw that I was like a white Welsh Cob… one of the only breeds of horse that can stand on and carry people up mountains, known for their incredible fire, endurance and tenacity.  And now here I am looking into the eyes of a white Welsh pony inviting me, daring me to remember the promise, remember who I am, remember the call to the wild places.  We stare long, stare deep.  I want to run with wild horses.  Free.

This week I have been thanking Him for the little over a year of an amazing journey together with you here.  Can you believe it?  We have been walking together on this unpaved road for over a year now.  What places it has taken us!  What stories we have shared.  Shared journeys are gifts from heaven in a too often isolated world.

But I am also realizing more and more the depth of invitation God’s naming of our journey truly is. It is a call to embrace the wild thin places and solitary spaces, the meeting place of the heart where we travel one with Him, where we walk the land and carry His Presence every day.

The unpaved road is not merely reference to my current geographical location {as if you thought that!}.  It is a bold invitation to stand at the crossroads and choose an ancient way, a hidden way that leads far from the platforms so many seek.  In the wildernesses of this fledgling nation, I am finding this call to embrace His path in ever deeper ways, and finding permission to just be me on it.  To shuck off the expectations of man in order to embrace the expectancy of heaven.

In naming this site, God graciously has given me a life metaphor that calls me to walk along side Columba, Aidan, Cuthbert and Hilda.  A gift to walk together with the saints of old whose lives and journeys carry profound relevance for my own.  I am so humbled by that.  And that you might choose to walk with us in these wild spaces of grace. I am laid low by it all.

So what is the unpaved road?

An invitation to a life of embracing the journey, being carried on wave and wind, up mountains, through valleys choosing to be led by Holy Spirit every day and to lean in, aware of His whispers.

It is a call to the ebb and flow of solitude and community, daring to allow silence to teach us what words cannot, to embrace the rhythm of the tides, a continual hiding in Him and then from hiddenness, seeking the ones He seeks.

It is a path of walking with saints and angels, where the supernatural is normal and ordinary moments become holy.  It is saying yes to the interior journey knowing all journeys that matter, the ones that might even write history, really do start inside of us.

It is counter-cultural to the structures that would commodify and confine faith into controllable systems and packages.  It is a call to the untamed reaches of grace and authentic relationship, to transparency and risk.  It celebrates an integrated, interwoven spirituality that sees all of life as a locus of meeting with God.  It is a movement against that which would compartmentalize Him into the corners of our lives.  It is a movement to the margins, to the oppressed, to the dispossessed to see as He sees and love as He loves.

It is a call to embrace an intentional simplicity, a call to live among, to radical incarnation, to see transformation come from the inside out.  It is an invitation to beauty and creativity, recovering metaphor and artistry, story, poetry and symbol. A fresh discovery of holy imagination. It is a willingness to live as pilgrims in exile; as sojourners, divinely out of place, finding their true home within wherever He is.  It is a movement away from complexity to embrace unreasonable joy, childlike faith and a life lived walking between the seen and unseen realms.  It is a return to monastic outposts forging new, ancient paths, counter cultural communities that are safe places to explore the edges, to find beauty in broken places, epically fail and be loved unconditionally into the fullness of healing and destiny.

It is a return to a life hid in Jesus that is at once incarnational, interwoven, intentional, intimate and an invitation to see villages and nations changed organically, supernaturally in the “as we go” moments of everyday life.  All of this is the unpaved road.

And to me this is the essence of what it means to be the Church, to walk in revival.  This is a journey I am on not only in Africa, but everyday where ever my trail leads.  It is a journey within even more than one without. It is marked with vision and visitation, a willingness to see and identify with the poor and exploited, and is a life lived in His dangerous gaze.  It is this path I invite you to explore with me as we look toward journeying into the depths of His heart and out into cities and nations.

I cherish your presence here, spending your time with these words.  I am humbled by it.  Thank you for joining me.  And I look forward to all the holy adventures the months and years ahead will hold.  Truly they are richer because they are walked together with you.

You are loved-