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North to Adventure



“You’re doing what?!”

“I didn’t know you two were even thinking about this.”


“Is this you submitting to your husband or is this what you actually want to do?”

“He has to realize it’s unreasonable to expect you to do that!”

These were the responses I got when I told family, friends, and strangers that I was moving to Fairbanks, Alaska. It seemed that to the average person, moving to Alaska was preposterous on practically every level. I wasn’t surprised that people thought I was crazy. I did too!

I had spent my entire life adhering to “The Responsible Woman’s Guide to a Successful Life.” I always strove to know where I was going and how to get there in the most comfortable way. I was taught that’s what respectable, middle-class people do. They work hard in high school so that they can attend the best university. This enables them to obtain a desirable, well-paying job with growth potential, and someday soon they are able to live the comfortable, predictable life for which they’ve worked so hard. Despite my minor detour to attend film school, I was on that path. But nowhere in that plan did the unknown, adventure or Alaska fit in!

So how does a Southern girl from suburbia end up moving to Alaska? She marries into it.

Not that it was discussed pre-marriage. In fact, Alaska wasn’t even a blip on my radar until four years after I wed my Alaskan husband, Dave. By that point, we were living in Pasadena, California, in a spacious apartment with enviable views of palm trees and mountains. We both had good jobs: my husband was a cinematographer on independent films and commercials while I was the director of process improvement at a university. We had great friends, a strong church family, and limitless shopping, restaurants, museums, and amusements. It seemed like we had it all.

Yet, my husband and I got to the point where something was missing. We agreed that we wanted to raise children in a place where they could play safely outside. We both dreamed of owning a house with a yard and a garden. And after three years of life in the big city, we longed for simplicity and adventure. To me, that meant we were ready to “settle down” and live the suburban, white picket fence, 2.5 kids dream life complete with adventurous European vacations. Perhaps we’d move to a suburb of San Diego, Portland, or Seattle. I was open. To my husband, the life we wanted could be achieved in one place only: Fairbanks, Alaska. OK, I wasn’t that open.

However, upon further reflection, I realized that I too craved adventure beyond that of European vacations. When I didn’t let my fear of the unknown and uncomfortable control me, I eagerly anticipated photographing and writing about the daily adventures I would have in Alaska, satisfying the unfulfilled creative desires of my heart. I imagine it was what Julia Child felt like when she moved to Paris. So in spite of my expectations for my life and all the practical reasons for a cinematographer and his wife not to move to Alaska, we did it for the life we felt God was calling us to lead — one with more adventure.

In most cases including our move to Alaska, I believe the call to adventure is inseparable from the call to greater faith and deeper knowledge of God.

‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD,
‘and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am He.'” (Isaiah 43:15)

First, we need to believe God is the Lord and therefore able and willing to be with us and take care of us through adventure. My husband likened our move to that of Moses leading the Israelites back to the Promised Land. We were leaving our comfortable, secure life and heading into the unknown. Like Moses, we were scared even though God promised, “‘I will be with you'” (Exodus 3:12).

Despite our best efforts to prepare for the move to Alaska, there were so many uncertainties. Would God provide work for Dave in Fairbanks? Would it be production work or would all Dave’s training as a cinematographer go to “waste”? Would I be forced to work and not be able to stay at home with our (future) children? Would I ever be happy?

Second, adventure enables us to experience and know the nature of God in new and deeper ways. As I write this, I’ve been in Fairbanks for four months. Every day has presented small or big adventures in which I’ve had to trust God and in turn God has more deeply revealed Himself to me as Jehovah-Jireh (Provider), Good Shepherd, Emmanuel (God With Us), Creator, and Lord God Almighty.

God has faithfully provided production work in Fairbanks including documentaries and clients who want “Target-esque” commercials. These are opportunities my husband and I never expected to have up here, despite my lifelong preparation to produce a Target commercial!

God also led us to a church plant where we can be stretched in new ways — like hosting and cooking for a group of blue-collar men with hearty appetites and very different backgrounds from mine. My Good Shepherd never leaves me. He’s always there to lead me to safety when I’m out for a run in the woods and get terrifyingly lost or when my old Explorer stalls in the middle of an icy road because I can’t figure out how to use the four-wheel drive.

The Lord reveals Himself as Creator and Lord God Almighty through the beauty and grandeur around me from the majestic moose to the turquoise glacial rivers to the towering, snow-covered mountains, which I’ve enjoyed on hikes, four wheeling excursions, and road trips. I’ve climbed rocks I didn’t think I could climb and endured temperatures I didn’t think I could endure so that I could marvel at and revel in God’s creation which He made for us to enjoy not only by viewing it, but also by getting out there and playing in it!

I still have moments when I succumb to fear, though, and say “no” to adventure. One morning, my husband and I went grouse hunting. When Dave asked me to take a turn shooting, I declined because I was afraid of the loud noise the gun would make and didn’t want to be cold; I preferred to stay in the warm car and read.

The next time we went grouse hunting, my husband assumed I wouldn’t want to shoot and let our friends shoot the two birds we spotted. When I saw the exhilaration in my girlfriend’s face after she successfully shot a grouse and the pride in her husband’s eyes, I unhappily realized I missed an opportunity for adventure. I won’t say “no” next time. I can only imagine what adventures await me this winter: snow machining to a dry cabin in the middle of nowhere, learning to cross-country ski … maybe even ice climbing!

God is with me through every challenge and adventure. I know this for a fact, because much of the time there’s no way I can do it without Him. A life of adventure and stepping out in faith depends on God.

An extreme place like Alaska isn’t the only place to to experience adventure, though.

The call to adventure and greater faith is all around. It’s saying “yes” to big and little opportunities like a two-week missions trip to Africa, ballroom dancing lessons, exploring a new neighborhood street, trying sushi for the first time, or accepting an invitation to spend the summer with a relative. Adventure means saying “no” to fear, letting go of expectations, and stepping out of comfort zones and into the unfailing hands of God.

Raised in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, Libby is a typical Southern gal who loves warm weather, potlucks, fall foliage, dogwoods, and water-skiing. After working in film and television production in Virginia Beach and Los Angeles, Libby and her husband Dave moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, to start their own production company, a family, and more adventures! Now she's learning to love very cold weather, moose burgers, grouse hunting, shoveling snow, and cross-country skiing. You can follow along with Libby on her Alaskan adventure on her blog, Little House on the Tundra.


When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.



One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.



“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.



Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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North to Adventure

by Libby Selle time to read: 5 min