I’ve been anticipating our vacation for what seems like all summer now and it’s finally here!
Tomorrow we’re flying out to the sandy shores of Lake Michigan. I experienced Lake Michigan for the first time shortly after Jeremiah and I were married as he’s from there. I fell in love with the fresh water, sand dunes, and the overall natural beauty.
We’re excited to have some R & R as a family and we’re praying it will be a time of spiritual refreshment and renewal as well. I’ll be taking a break from writing until mid-August.
I’ll look forward to jumping back into it when we get back. Until then… I won’t be doing much that requires thinking 🙂 Thankful for each of you.
I don’t feel like the word “rest” has been in my vocabulary for a long time since our precious little girl entered the world four months ago. Rest has been really hard to come by having a newborn and a toddler, but this week I have finally found some.
On Saturday, we flew from Dallas to Virginia Beach to vist my sister Stefanie so she could meet Rebekah for the first time. We’re also here during Jeremiah’s Spring Break from seminary. Flying with children is never easy, but once we got here and settled in on a routine, I have been so refreshed. There’s just something about getting away from what’s familar and from your own home and being in a completely different environment.
A lot of my rest also has to do with the help I’ve had. Even my five year old nephew is able to do small things and my sister and husband have cooked, cleaned, and been an extra hand. We’ve been able to get out at night and shop while the babies are down and have some “me” time. I’ve been able to spice up my wardrobe a little which I’m most excited about.
We have 3 days left of our vacation and I’m just trying to soak every minute up- especially with my sister and her family. My plan is to continue to not think too hard or do too much, but to rest, relax, and listen closely to what God might want to show me away from home.
Well, that’s all for now. Nothing too deep. Since the whole house is napping, I think it’s my turn to hit the couch.
Have you been able to take some kind of break away from the familiar so you can find rest?
I go through weeks where I’m inspired to write and weeks where I just write regardless if I’m inspired or not. The latter is definitely the hardest and not what I prefer, but it’s reality. For a while now, I have forgotten about the things in my life that help keep me inspired and motivated when it comes to using my gifts specifically in writing. Joys and delights like:
- God’s precious, holy Word
- My journal and a pen
- People, creation, beauty
- My church, Watermark
- podcasts from pastors like Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, & Tim Keller
- Music from artists like Laura Story, Chris Tomlin, & Fernando Ortega
- Authentic community
- solitude and rest
Slowly, I’ve been rediscovering these joys more intentionally and I’m realizing that whatever inspires me should in some form or another, inspire another person to move to action. To do something different.
Inspiration should infect other people. It shouldn’t be hoarded. Contained. Or kept a secret.
If the inspiration I receive is all about me, that would be a tragedy. The people who have inspired me the most in life, gave themselves away. And what they had to give was contagious, producing a ripple effect.
I know inspiration in writing will still come and go in the seasons of life, but I want to keep at it. I want to inspire others to take action in ways I will never know about.
What inspires you?
For the past few days, I’ve had really strong and firm braxton hicks contractions when I stand up, walk, do chores, anything. They only subside when I sit or lie down. It’s crazy because right at the moment I stand up, my abdomen is as hard as a rock. I have six weeks left until baby girl Krieger’s due date and so far my husband and doula have a suspicion she could come early October.
Yesterday, I sat down for an hour while Jeremiah played with John and it was really, really hard. But I think I’m learning a lesson already.
I’m not still enough and I don’t listen to God nearly enough.
While sitting in our lazy boy with my chubby toes propped up, I was able to reflect more on life and what was really going on. Life can get so fuzzy when you’re so busy. I’m having a baby and my sweet little boy is nearing two. I have an incredible husband and God is building our little family the way He desires. What a gift. It was as if God whispered in my ear that everything was going to be fine and that He was in control. I didn’t need to worry about the logistics of the baby’s arrival, our time table, the lack of sleep coming up with a newborn, or anything. God was handling it. And He would handle it.
I sensed such peace covering my anxious heart.
God is absolutely sovereign. Yes, I will make plans as best I can, but he directs my steps. He knew that I would get to the point in my pregnancy that I would just have to get off my feet.
Who knows if our baby girl will come early, right on time, or late. I’d love to know. But right now what I need the most in my life is to be still and know that He is God, and I am not.
Do you find it hard to be still?
Before we left on Friday for a Labor Day weekend getaway, the one thing I needed more than anything else was rest and solitude time away from the busyness and baseline stress that comes with living in a big city… and that comes from life in general.
As we drove into the wide open spaces, I felt my burdens lifted away. Jeremiah blasted the radio and rolled the windows down. John loved the breeze against his face. We sang, laughed, and talked. It was just the beginning of our journey to getting refreshed and encouraged again.
All throughout the gospels Jesus withdrew in solitude away from the crowds and the disciples to be renewed in his relationship with God:
“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them” (Lk. 4:42).
“Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him” (Mk. 4:36).
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Lk. 5:16)
Knowing that Jesus did this often, speaks volumes to me. How can I expect to live life apart from being alone with God- just me and him? How can I expect to love others well if I don’t separate myself from people from time to time? How can I expect to be renewed by staying in the same place day in and day out without ever getting away? A few things I’ve noticed when I choose not to withdraw to my “lonely place” is:
1.) I worry, worry, worry
2.) I’m not sensitive to God’s leading in my life
3.) I carry stress and don’t easily serve others
4.) I don’t share the gospel and what God is doing in my life
5.) I am mean and sin more
It’s crazy to think that choosing not to withdraw has led to those things in my life, but it makes total sense. Solitude time is examining life, confessing sin, being refueled in God’s word, and most of all resting in Christ for his strength. Life is just too hard not to make room for his presence in my life.
While I’m far from being perfect, a few practical things have helped me when it comes to making solitude time:
1.) I write it on my to-do list. Since most of the time, I get done what’s on that list, my quiet time is non-negotiable as well.
2.) I pretend like there are no dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, voicemails to return, and that not one person needs me.
3.) I leave my phone off, shut down my Mac (no emails, facebook, etc.)
4.) I go somewhere quiet with my journal, Bible, and pen and most of the time, I do this when John is asleep.
5.) I try to be still and pray in the car on the days I commute to work.
Well, I’m sitting on the couch in my pajamas listening to the sound of waterfalls trickling into the pool. The morning breeze is so refreshing and the birds love it too. The past few days I’ve been renewed in God’s word and renewed physically and emotionally. I’m sad we’re at the end of our journey at my parents because the time away has been so sweet.
But I can say I’m ready to travel back to Dallas and face the realities of life again with a better perspective than when I left.