Thursday, September 28, 2017

This is 33. Be awake!

Wake up sleeper, 
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.
Ephesians 5:14

From my journal, one August morning:

This morning, with all good intentions of waking up early to work out and start my 33rd year on my way to a slimmer self, my alarm clock sounded and our room was still black.  I heard rain outside, a calm and steady rain that our ground hasn't seen in weeks.  As if that wasn't enough to lure me to stay in bed, I soon felt a tiny body snuggled up close to me.  I rolled over to find Cruz tucked in between Beau and I, a rare occurrence for my early riser.  I lay there for awhile, talked myself out of a workout, and instead slipped out ever so carefully and tiptoed out of the room, taking my Bible with me.  I went to sit in my usual spot on the couch, but soon after, Beau came into the kitchen, made a cup of coffee, and went to check out the rain shower from under our covered deck.  My first instinct was to stay put, stay idle, and get my morning devotions done and out of the way so I could move on with my day before the kids woke up.  But instead, I decided to get up and move.  I grabbed a sweatshirt and a blanket, made my own cup of coffee, and joined my husband for a few minutes on the deck.  And boy am I glad I did. 

This life, this earth, and all the details in it, are meant to be noticed, felt, and savored.  But so often, we miss these opportunities because our first instinct is to stay idle, to stick with the plan, or go about our days half asleep to it all.  This is no different when it comes to interacting with our Maker, the one who makes this earth spin and exists within all the details of our day.  I am over a third of the way through the Bible and am struck by how many passages there are about being asleep:

"Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping.  "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep?  Couldn't you keep watch for one hour?  Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Mark 14:42).

"The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.  People will tell you, 'There he is!' or 'Here he is!'  Do not go running off after them.  For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other." (Luke 17:25)

"You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.  For this peoples' heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them." (Matthew 13:14-15)

"And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.  So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." (Romans 13: 11-12).

"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.  Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow larger and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will be become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery." (Deuteronomy 8: 10-14).  

I know that God is real when I sit on my porch on a Monday morning, and take the time and steps to see His presence.  This morning, it was simply stepping outside with my coffee, listening to the rain fall around me, and having a front row seat to His beautiful creation at work.  I watched the clouds move out, soft wisps of gray move north against a thick gray sky that soon gave way to a soft sun.  As I sat there, sipping my coffee and watching the world unfold in front of me, I felt closer to God and energized to live more fully for Him in my day ahead.  All because I moved.  

In one of my favorite Matt Chandler sermons, he said something that has stayed with me for weeks.  Taken from D.A. Carson, he says: "Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not drift towards holiness.  People do not gravitate to Godliness, obedience, prayer, faith, and delight in the Lord."  Because of grace, we have full access to a relationship with Christ.  Whether it's through opening up my Bible, putting someone's needs in front of my own, or stepping outside in a rain shower to sit in the quiet and see creation at work, all I have to do is wake up and move. 


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wordless Wednesday || Sunflower Fields Forever

 "May I grow
so tall and so bright,
so free and wild,
so brave and
that when you
see me
you think I am a


Monday, September 25, 2017

A Decorah Camping Trip

I'm pretty confident that one of the reasons my 33rd birthday was a special one was because I got to spend the days leading up to it in Decorah, Iowa, camping with the Guess family.  After our late summer camping adventure last August, another weekend sleeping under the stars was definitely in our plan for the end of summer, although Kate and I didn't put our plans together until a week or so before.  But I tell you, trekking to Decorah to set up camp on the river, to gather with blankets and beers and gooey marshmallows around a fire, and to wake up in a tent in the early crisp hours of a Saturday morning, was exactly how my soul needed to be filled.  And to adventure with one of our favorite families was just the icing on my birthday cake.

We set up camp on a gorgeous piece of land at Pulpit Rock Campground, and marveled at the river and the fall-like temperatures we were blessed with for our weekend.  After pitching our tents, we headed out for an afternoon exploring Decorah.  With Luther alum, Nate as our tour guide, we got to experience Decorah in a new way, with some hidden treasures that truly revealed the beauty of this place.  We picnicked at Dunning Springs, and soon found ourselves not only climbing to the top of the waterfall, but then across the ice cold springs to the other side.  Beau and I held up the rear and laughed at Nate and his band of brave little ducklings as they followed his lead.


Our next adventure found us in the river for a little canoeing trip back to our campsite.  A first for both families, we organized based on skill level and age, aka, the dads got the kids and Kate and I were left to our own devices in the third canoe!  We proved to have yet another thing in common with one another as we both struggled to get the hang of this whole which-way-do-I-row-to-turn-left thing.  Fortunately, the river was really low and the cold water was refreshing for the many moments we had to pull our canoe out of the brush or literally turn the thing around because we were going backwards!  We shared enough laughs in that little boat, though, to last us 'til next summer, and I think we both improved by the time our tents were in sight. :)

After getting us all back on dry land, we spent the rest of the night soaking up the camping life.  It's a good life, indeed.  We changed from swim gear to our cozies, played board games on blankets, and slow-cooked hot dogs, campfire mac and cheese, and s'mores around the fire.  The kids formed quite the bond together, and it was so sweet to watch them play.  They spent the majority of the time in the river and on a sandbar just a few feet out and later putting on quite the dance off complete with rocks as drums and head-lamps as their spotlight.  Soon, we zipped up their sleeping bags, kissed their cheeks, and returned back to the fire where Kate and I outstayed the boys and most of the campers around us.

The next morning was a special one, for we woke up on Miss Harper's 7th birthday.  After a failed attempt with the percolator, we snuck away for coffees in town, then set up a simple celebration that was just right.  We sang happy birthday around a picnic table, Harper blew out a bright pink candle on a plate of all her favorite Pella pastries, and we feasted on Beau's campfire eggs and sausage.  I stepped away a few times to take in the sights of our morning.  My phone had been dead since early the night before, the morning air felt calm and crisp, and life felt happy and content.

When you whittle life down to the essentials, the few things God created and gave us to savor and enjoy, you realize that that's truly all you need.  A beautiful spot to soak in God's creation, good food to savor and sustain us, and people to love on and do life with is what this life is all about.  And sometimes it takes leaving the normal behind for a day or two, pitching up a tent under a sky of stars that shine so bright, and reconnecting with people who bring out your real and your best, to be reminded of that.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...