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Getting Away


There is a difference between getting away and running away.

I love to “get away” for a little while. My love language is an afternoon at a coffee shop with praise music and my laptop.   Most of the time after 3 hours reading, praying, and writing I feel refreshed and ready to face another week of real life.   But there are times when that refreshment I feel only lasts the 20 minutes it takes me to get back home. As soon as I walk in the door I am mom and wife and everything else again. Lately I have just wanted more time, just more time away, more time to refresh, more time to refill my soul. I have struggled with guilt that I should cherish time with my family. I should be thankful for the ministry opportunities God has given me. I should be able to manage my time better to fit refreshment into my day without having to go away to get it. I do cherish my family, I am thankful for opportunities, I do “fit some God time” into my everyday life. But what about when that ache in my soul still says “I’m tired”. What about when at the end of my 3 hours away I’m not ready to go back home yet.

If I am going to get so honest about how I feel lately, I need to get honest with what God is speaking to me about lately as well.

In my quest for more time away, more time to refresh, I have become extremely self-focused. Ouch. I recently heard, “Where you stare you will steer”.  I have been staring at myself lately. I have been staring at my lack of free time, my desires, my problems. Because my focus has been on my lack, my soul has ached for what I don’t have.

I’m not saying a time of refreshment is bad or that taking time out is selfish. This is what I am saying – If I focus on myself during that time of refreshment, I will walk out feeling exactly as I felt when I entered it. When I get away simply to forget my problems for a little while- I am running away.

If I focus on God and His Strength, His agenda, His plan – I will walk out refreshed and ready to face the world. I am no longer running away from the situation, I am getting away to get better perspective and a renewed energy to face what is ahead.

This weekend I heard someone speak on “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?” The basic answer she gave- Love God. Love People. Well, 2014, you have clearly spoken again. My goal I made to love people more this year just keeps coming back to me. It seems each time it comes up there is a different area that I am challenged in. This time I realize, I don’t have the time or energy to love people like I want to. There I said it, loving people is something I just can’t do in my own strength.

If I want to really love people as 1 Peter 4:8 says, [Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.] I have to first focus on God. It’s not about loving myself before I can love others, it’s about loving God and the things He loves.

Today I am at the end of 4 days away from my husband and beautiful children. I finally got my time away to refresh and rest my weary soul.   It was needed time and I highly recommend everyone take some regular time away. But don’t just take the time to run away from “real life”. Take the time to refocus your life on the One who life is really all about. In a few hours when Brian picks me up, I’m sure it won’t take long for my focus to quickly shift back to myself. This battle to focus on Christ is a daily one. Thankfully, it is also one that is wrapped in His grace.

Thank you God for not demanding perfection out of me. Help me to daily remember to love You and love others.


Lessons Learned

It’s Time

For the past 90 days, my family has been living and doing ministry in North Wales. At the start of summer Brian made the comment to me that he wanted to be intentional about our experiences here. We didn’t want to get to the end of summer and think, were did all our time go? We wanted to know that our time here was used wisely and that it accomplished something.

Well, we are at the end of the summer and we are saying, “Where did the time go?” We have had some awesome experiences and truly loved our time here, but it has gone so fast and we still have so much we would love to do.

I am starting to develop a strong dislike for time. This week I made a list of all the dreams I would love to accomplish if time and money were not an obstacle. I wasn’t sure what I was trying to learn from the exercise, but when I got to the end I noticed one glaring truth. Almost all of the items on my list were time related instead of money related.

I try so hard to be organized with my time. I make weekly spreadsheets of our families schedule, I make daily to-do lists, and I try to establish routines. Do I waste time? Oh yeah, I can be really good at wasting time. But for the most part, I try to use my time wisely. So why is there never enough time to do all that I want to do? 

I’m coming to realize something about planning my time. It’s not so much making our moments worth something by planning them out, as giving our moments to God and letting Him make them worth something. The items on my list revolved around my husband, kids, and ministry. They weren’t bad things at all. But they were my things. I am now laying that list of goals I made out before God and praying for Him to direct me to which ideas of my own are worth pursuing. 

On the way to camp at the beginning of the month, our bus full of 40 teenagers and counselors witnessed a man jump off a bridge and take his own life.   As a mother I have had the awesome privilege to witness life come into the world on two different occasions. Birth is such a beautiful reminder of how precious and special life is. Death is different. Death is a reminder as well. Death is a reminder that this precious and beautiful life has numbered days.

I feel so honored that God has allowed our family to spend the past 90 of those numbered days in the beautiful country of Wales doing ministry. I have lost count of the times Brian and I have looked over at each other and said in awe, “This is real life, we actually live here!” God has given us amazing opportunities to impact eternity while we have been here.  He has given us precious family time and irreplaceable memories. Our prayer is now that we will be able to come back quickly and with long-term visas. If I know one thing about time though, it’s that I’m not in control of it. So before I get carried away with my plans, I will take time to remind myself to give them over to The One who is in control.