Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Our family camping trip was fantastic.  It was just what we needed to give us all a chance to reconnect and get away from life's demands.  However, it wasn't very relaxing!  Camping is hard work!  GEEZ....all that work to relax doesn't really leave much time to relax. 

Kids constantly wanted to be on the go.  Hiking.  More hiking.  And then even more hiking.  Take me to the park.  Take me to the park again, please.  Can you go with me so I can ride my bike around the loop?  Can I ride again?  Starting a fire.  Keeping that fire going.  Cooking on that fire without it going back out.  Cleaning up after cooking.  Storing all the food and essentials that just took an hour to drag out to keep the relentless raccoons out of it.  Trying to keep all the dirt from hiking and being in the woods out of the tent and out of the bedding.  Time to already start cooking for the next meal.  Oh wait, there is another dog walking by....control Baxter so he doesn't bark.  Get everything gathered for 5 people to get showers and by gosh MAKE SURE NOTHING touches the floor!!!  Don't get your clean clothes wet and keep the shower shoes on!  What?  You are hungry again.  Oh my...here we go again....drag back out the food boxes.  Start the process all over again. 

Get the point? Camping with a family is not very relaxing, but it is WHAT we do to relax.  We enjoy it.  We treasure it.  Though it may be exhausting, it is calming.  There is just something about being that close to nature and the peace it brings.  Granted, getting that close to nature requires vigilance to not get so close to unwanted creatures and plants.  :)

Those few days away helped give us a chance to bond and recharge a bit before school starts next week.  Kevin needed the time away from work.  Let's just say work has been....umm....challenging at best. 

I needed the time to just put so many other things out of my mind for awhile.  I'm going to be honest.  I'm a bit discouraged with a list of things right now.  I'm not feeling like "me" and I get nervous when I'm off-balance.  God isn't answering some prayers the way I want or in the time frame I need.  It doesn't mean He isn't listening or He doesn't care.  It just means He has different plans or His time isn't the same as mine.  I believe He has my best interest at heart, I'm just in a hurry and He is saying wait.  It's frustrating.  I'm in hurry up mode and NEED answers and when they aren't coming immediately, I get "lost" and overwhelmed.  Though I'm learning that He is ALWAYS faithful and ALWAYS on time, I still struggle in the waiting zone.

Being away those few days helped me find a bit of courage to keep waiting.  Being in such beautiful settings how can you not acknowledge God's existence and power?  It gave the needed boost to hold on just a bit longer.  Problems aren't solved.  Actually, knew ones "pop" up constantly before I've got a grip on the previous one.  Answers haven't been clearly given in situations.  Yet, I'm confident that they will. 

During the few times I had to TRULY relax, I kept coming back to the thought of how much my body and soul craved that.  It made me think about how God CRAVES that time with us as much as we need it with Him.  It is SO VERY easy to get caught up in running here and there and being constantly on the go.  Even doing good things and being involved in ministry related activities can be overwhelming and pull us away.  Sometimes God wants us to JUST BE STILL.  

Be still.  I thought about that many times over the last several days and then this morning, a daily devotion said the same thing.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.  Just the Holy Spirit STILL trying to pound it in my head and heart so that I listen. 

"Our relationship with God can also get misconstrued as we grow in Christ. We forget that God is more concerned about being with us than our concern of doing things for Him. We hurry from one worthwhile ministry to the next and fill our lives with noble schedules for winning the lost or discipling new believers. However, even as Mary chose to worship and sit at the Master's feet, we also must step back and rediscover the simple joy of being with Jesus. No schedules, no events, no projects — just quietly loving our Lord and relishing His presence."

It doesn't mean be lazy.  It doesn't mean stop doing things for others.  It mostly definitely doesn't mean stop serving. 

What it does mean is that there are times that we I am guilty of "doing" for others and forgetting to just stop and soak in God for who He is and that he wants JUST ME---not my acts of service.  Yes, I spend time in His word daily and I'm in constant prayer.  Yet, how often do I just stop to be in His presence and soak it in? 

There was a point in the weekend that Bradlee wanted me to snuggle him because he was homesick.  After we snuggled and sang a few lullabies in the tent while the older kids were getting showers, his little body relaxed and he had the sweetest expression.  He said, "Mommy, I just wanted you.".  I woke up with him in our bed around 3:30 this morning.  I told him he needed to go get back in HIS bed, but he said "Mommy, I just want to snuggle with you" in the most pitiful, little, heart-wrenching voice. 

God wants me to crave JUST being with Him the same way.  Put aside the things I need to do for my family or in service of Him.  Put aside EVERYTHING....all the heavy things and all the concerns.  Just rest in Him.  Just crave being with Him just because of who He is.  NOT just because of what I NEED from Him. 

"Be still and know that I am God".   (First portion of Psalm 46:10).  JUST be Still. 

It's about finding the right balance between being Mary and Martha.  (Some of the most powerful verses in the Bible when it comes to balancing "everything".  Luke 10: 38-42).  Sometimes it's about serving.  Other times it is about SITTING AT HIS FEET!

It really comes down to "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  That MUST really be important because it's in the Bible more than one time.  (Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34).

P.S.  (On a side note:  made it through 4 days of camping with only one mosquito bite.  Come home and spend time outside for a couple of hours last night with the kids and get eatin' alive.  So much for "city" life. Ironic!)


Jenn said...

Thanks for this post. This verse (Be still and know that I am God) has been on my heart the whole weekend. I'm sure it's not a coincidence that I'm struggling today and then I read your blog. I, as well, am feeling "out of it" in my own way and getting frustrated because prayers aren't getting answered in my timing. You're right... it's not because He's not listening... it's because I'm NOT in control! I do need this reminder right now that I need to be still before Him and stop trying to plan everything out. It might be 6 months or a year before I know what's going on in our situations but that's okay because He is God and I'm not. Thanks again for the encouragement.

Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

I do love this post. You are so good at putting together life applications with the Scripture. I love how you do it.

Anonymous said...

I know I needed the time away from the world and the time with my family. More than refreshing my body,it refreshed my spirit. A great summation of the weekend and for the record all the planning and packing was well worth it. I don't think we would have that same peace sitting in a hotel room.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Gretchen,
writing truly is one of your gifts. Now on your third journey of reading thru the Bible in 90 days, applying scripture to situations is as normal to you as breathing. You are a constant inspiration to me and a source of wisdom in how to deal with every situation. I love how you seem to breathe scripture.