I had the most wonderful opportunity this summer to travel to Scotland, go on a long walk and visit friends.
Scotland is what I call my heart home. I lived there for 4 years and my first-born was born there; I have dear friends there and the landscape and history captured my heart and imagination. For me, being there is calming, refreshing and soul-filling.
It’s been a difficult 3 years and I’ve been longing to see friends and the familiar, soothing landscapes of Scotland. This summer I was able to make it happen and my main goal on this trip was to spend a few days with the Lord, in nature. Scotland has many long distance trails that can be walked and they have this wonderful thing called Rights of Way that allows explorers to walk (respectfully) through property and to camp almost anywhere. I chose an easy coastal path that would take me through many towns (to make finding food easier) called the Fife Coastal Path. I started in the town of Kirkcaldy and walked around the coast to the town of St. Andrews where there is a long history of the church’s presence. The first church was built in the 1100’s, there is still a tower remaining and then there are the remains of a cathedral and monastery from the 1300’s, it felt like a good place to finish my walk with the Lord.
I walked approximately 80kms over 5 days, the first 3 days on my own and then 2 days with a friend. I saw ruined castles, lighthouses, and the remains of World War II defenses. I walked along beaches, through towns, along golf courses, over rocks and along trails. I wild camped for the first 3 nights finding a spot wherever I was when I finished walking for the day; I was a bit nervous about this but it turned out to be brilliant. I camped in front of a cave where Picts had carved things into the walls and where monks had retreated to pray. I camped on Ruddons Point and at the edge of the town of Anstruther – always within ear shot of the water and waves rolling in. My weather was incredible, I was prepared for a lot more rain (it is Scotland after all) but I ended up with rain only twice – once at night when I was snug in my tent and once on day 4 for about 10 minutes a little rain blew at us – it wasn’t even worth digging our waterproofs out for!
In September of last year I continued a journey of healing by beginning some counselling and in the 2 months leading up to this trip the Lord used a few people and experiences to teach me about who I am and why I respond the way I do. When I started on my walk I think I was expecting the Lord to continue to reveal big and deep things to me – I was prepared to hear His voice and learn. As I started to walk, I could sense the Lord’s presence with me but I definitely was not hearing His voice speak to me. I decided that I was going to look for beauty everywhere I walked and just praise Him.
I found the tiniest wildflowers growing in the most difficult places, I saw seaweed strewn about the beach in what looked like works of art, I saw worms and birds and cows, I saw all kinds of people and the most beautiful sunsets. At the end of the first day I was a bit disappointed and maybe even frustrated that I wasn’t hearing His voice. Thankfully, the next morning I clued in that hearing His voice wasn’t the point of this walk, being in His presence was. By looking at God’s creation around me – by paying particular attention to things that I would normally just speed by I was able to connect with my Creator in ways that filled my soul and brought healing to my wounded heart. It turned out to be a very precious 3 days moving at the speed of my own two feet. The speed at which Jesus moved while on Earth.
Many of us have souls that are worn out, frazzled and fried from running at break neck speeds and operating at our maximum capacity. I encourage you to slow down, breathe, get outside, touch nature, drink in beauty, be creative – these things quench the thirst of our souls because they connect us to God the Father.
If you are a reader, I would highly recommend the following books: God of the Garden by Andrew Peterson and Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge. Andrew Peterson’s book is a wonderful book of reflections on trees and life and how we live our lives. John Eldredge’s book is very practical and filled with why we need to change the way we travel through life and how we can actually do that with simple but intentional practices.
– Sarah Kreick