It’s my favorite word and I’ve written it down and posted about it a million times. I’ve thought about getting it as a tattoo for years. It’s the Italian word for “to cross over,” and it has been with me through so many seasons.
Most Italians use it to tell someone to literally cross the street, but I’ve always seen it as a more spiritual word.
I first heard it on the movie “Eat, Pray, Love,” and fell in love with it again when I read the book. It’s the most beautiful word I’ve ever heard, with all the sounds of Italy and a meaning that reminds me to cross over into new mercies every day.
I was a Phi Mu in college, and just before we graduated, we had a 3-D ceremony where we crossed over into the “third dimension” of our membership as alumni. We each gave a speech summing up our time in the sorority and what was next for us. I began my speech with the word “attraversiamo.”
We’re always crossing over into something new – new seasons of life, new feelings, new adventures, new hardships, new dreams, new visions of God.
But what about when we feel stuck, like we just can’t seem to cross over and get out of the wilderness we’re in?
I have felt that way for the past year. I started a new job and got married and I thought it would be the best year of my entire life – and it some ways it was, but there’s been a looming wilderness feeling ever so present, too. I have had the hardest time finding joy and being content. I have found myself comparing my life to everyone’s around me and getting offended by the smallest things.
I am very aware that a lot of what I have been dealing with has been a plot from the enemy to pull me away from my purpose. I am also aware that when you’re in a wilderness, God allows you to walk through it so you remember how closely you have to walk with Him to make it to the Promised Land. He reminds you of the strength you can only find in Him.
When I was in Naples, Italy on a mission trip a couple of weeks ago, God spoke to me so clearly and said, “You’re crossing over now.” How beautiful to bring me to the very place my favorite word originated and show me what it really means.
Our trip leader asked if a few of us wanted to share a five-minute testimony or something God had shown us during a service at the church we were serving. I had told my husband I’d love to share what God was revealing to me about the word “attraversiamo,” so he ratted me out and volunteered me to share.
Later that day, my friend leading worship that night said, “You’re giving the message at church tonight, right?” I said, “NOPE – I am sharing a five-minute testimony.”
Little did I know, no one else had volunteered to share yet and Jesus was setting me up to spill my heart to a room full of Italians.
My husband prayed with me and held my hand just as he has the past year and reminded me that “Jesus is simple.” I was so worried about saying the perfect thing and quoting the perfect verse, but all these people needed was Jesus. And all I had to do was let Him pour out of the brokenness I was offering.
I told them that one of their words was my life-song and that God used it to let me know it was my time to cross over. And then I told them that maybe it’s their time, too, but if it’s not, it will be soon.
The thing is, God could pluck you out of your wilderness at any moment just like He could have plucked the Israelites out of the wilderness. He wants to teach you something and break you down so He can bring you to your breakthrough. A breakthrough requires something in you to break so God’s glory can get through.
Jesus walked through the wilderness, too. And He walked right by His Father to get out. Jesus could’ve gotten out whenever He wanted to, but He walked through the wilderness as a human to show us humans how we could do it.
The preacher of Gospel Napoli in Italy gave us one of the best, most simple analogies I’ve ever heard. He talked about the road to Heaven being narrow and that when you walk beside someone on a narrow street, you have to walk very close. As we walk the path to Heaven, we have to walk very closely to God.
The streets in Naples are narrow. There are vespas zipping around everywhere and it would be easy to get hit if you aren’t paying close attention or walking beside someone who can pull you out of harm’s way.
The wilderness feels very opposite to me. It’s not narrow – it’s wide open. It’s easy to get lost and it’s even easier to feel alone. But the trick is, you just have to take one more step. And then one more. And then one more. You probably won’t make it out quickly, but you will make it out.
God has given us the promise of Heaven, the ultimate Promised Land. So, really, this world is one big wilderness we are navigating until we reach the other side. But I think it’s full of little wildernesses and little Promised Lands, too.
There is no wilderness you have ever been in or will ever be in that lacks the presence of God – you just have to call out for Him and He will bust down the walls of Hell to get to you. He will never leave you lost.
In the short time since the trip, I can feel the truth of when He said, “You’re crossing over.” My heart has shifted, my joy has returned, and I’m calling out to Him to come find me every single time I feel lost.
If you are in a season of stuck and feel like you’ll never get to your promise, please know that the pain you are experiencing will come into play as you walk into your purpose.
If you are depressed or just exhausted and don’t have the energy to keep walking in your wilderness, take one more step.
Find people to hold your hand and walk with you.
Most importantly, find God and walk with Him. He knows the way better than you. He has already seen the beauty of your Promised Land.
It’s time for us to cross over, friends. Cross over into the yeses and amens He has given us.
“Behold, I will do something new. Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people.” Isaiah 43:19
You were made for more than your enemy says. Get wise in the wilderness and remind that enemy which wanderer he is messing with. You have a destination to get to, so go.
Attraversiamo, friends, attraversiamo.