What a joy to be back with you!
This girl is filled up.
Completely stepping away for three weeks wasn’t easy in the beginning. I know that seems silly, but it’s the truth. Isn’t it funny how we convince ourselves that the world will crumble if we aren’t there to hold it up?
The very first day I didn’t know what to do with myself, but soon I began to simply rest.
Spiritually. Physically. Emotionally.
It’s not something I’m very good at, but I practiced it until it felt right.
About halfway through my respite, my guy and I took a trip to the Northwest. My word, that’s a beautiful part of the world. I used my mileage points and found two round-trip tickets and a rental car (sitting in all those airports for two years paid off!). We drove along the coast and stayed in different places.
This is us as we drove to the airport. At this point I’m already feeling the healthy effects of slowing down.
Richard and I have been promising each other to take a vacation, but we haven’t really got around to it (we’ve went on two vacations in the last 20 years). We had a lot of excuses — finances, time, family, commitments, the fact that I travel with ministry — but when we finally did it, it was healing and good.
We walked along Cannon Beach. We hiked at Mount Hood. We sat at the base of beautiful waterfalls throughout Oregon and Washington. We drove along the coast and over bridges that took our breath away.
In the past four months Richard went through surgery and recovery for cancer, I wrote a book, was part of an amazing The Mended Heart study with 25,000+ women, spoke at She Speaks, and dealt with a loss in our family. We grappled with the issues of his parents, who we love like crazy, but who are dealing with major health issues.
We prayed often but they were desperate prayers.
God, help me.
God, show us how to do this.
Lord, only You have the wisdom we need.
Those prayers changed to conversations of gratitude as we lifted up His name together. We’d be walking and be met with something as simple as a beautiful flowerbed and those moments became prayers too. I remember one afternoon passing a gorgeous garden in the little seaside town of Cannon Beach and hearing Richard whisper, “Lord, those are so beautiful.”
We can be so rushed and frantic in life that we miss His creation.
Sweet friends, sometimes we just have to slow it down to see something — even as glorious as this.
Our trip wasn’t our respite. It was a gift we gave each other, one long overdue. My respite began the day I obeyed Him and shut it all down. In the past three+ weeks the Holy Spirit has been teaching this girl.
He’s spoken three beautiful things that I don’t want to forget.
We can say no and it’s okay
Just a few days before I shut it all down, a great opportunity arose. One that would take a significant amount of time and energy to do. They wanted it in three weeks.
Did I mention it was a great opportunity?
I said no.
It’s not really an opportunity if it’s not in God’s timing. It’s not an opportunity if you sense God asking you to pull back, and saying yes conflicts with that.
We often grab hold of things because they are shiny, or we really want it, or it might make us feel good or honored or special to do it, and then we can’t understand why that gift feels like a burden after just a few short days or weeks.
Every open door isn’t ours to walk through. We can say no and it’s okay. We can simply breathe and soak in His presence because that’s where He has us at the moment.
What if the opportunity goes away, Suzie?
Then it was never mine to accept in the first place.
Praying with a loved one changes our relationships
We’ve been married for 35 years. I was all of 20 when I walked down the aisle to start my life with him. We’ve never consistently prayed together, except in crisis or over a meal. I’m not sure why. He’s a praying man. I’m a praying girl. We like each other a lot. I take a lot of comfort in the fact that he prays daily.
We started praying together because we were in close proximity, I think.
It’s the one thing that we’ll not give up.
You may not have a “Richard” in your life, but there are people who love you and they love Jesus. Grab their hand often. Pray about things that are on your heart. Thank God together. Rejoice and praise Him.
It changes your relationship as the Holy Spirit tiptoes into the heart of it.
We’re called to take care of ourselves
I’m called to write. I’m called to communicate the Gospel.
It’s easy for me to embrace those truths.
I’m also called to take care of this physical body. That’s not as easy to hear — or do. When I looked at pictures from She Speaks and the Bible study, I noticed the deep rings under my eyes. I saw the 10 pounds I picked up during Richard’s recovery. (When friends are bringing homemade keylime pie and peanut butter cookies, you aren’t going to turn those down!) I saw the unhealthiness creeping in and the tiredness.
The pictures told me that I was doing my best to perform all the to-do’s on my list. . . and forgot to take care of Suzie in the process.
I’m losing those extra pounds. Three of them have slipped away. It’s not about how I look, but how I feel. I’m looking at the way I take care of myself in the same light that I treasure the call to write and speak and be a mom and a wife, and to love others.
How are you doing?
Are there deep circles under your eyes? Do you sense God asking you to take respite, even if for a little while? Is He calling you to nurture yourself in the same way you so lovingly take care of others?
Let’s be accountable to each other, okay? You have total permission if you see me slipping back into that unhealthy place to call me on it.
I’ll be here to pray with you if you’re struggling.
We’ll hold each other up, okay?