This Summer

This summer I deactivated my Facebook account, tried not to carry my phone with me everywhere, quit watching the news, took a break from a month of church services, turned the t.v. off, limited my internet time and didn’t buy a newspaper.

I’d like to say this was an experiment. Honestly it was more of a necessity. I needed to unplug. Trust me when I say that, ‘need’ is the correct word here.

I had a vision for this summer. We would spend quality time together as a family. Us and the Lord. We even included a place setting at our table for Him. I would prepare home cooked healthy recipes (using vegetables and herbs from my garden) for our frequent family meals. I would take long walks with God and my dogs. We would bike ride and boat as a family. My sons would enjoy each other’s company. My husband, Jeff, and I would continue our weekly date nights. We would pray together, work together and play together (in relative harmony). I would read some books. All while seamlessly and stress free completing all of life’s daily responsibilities on top of the exciting projects we had planned. I know – What was I thinking?!

I read some fiction books – I truly had to be disciplined to finish a couple of them. They didn’t feed my soul.

I read some Christian non fiction books – I truly had to be disciplined to finish a couple of them. They didn’t bring me closer to Jesus.

I went on a family vacation. Now I need a vacation.

I tried to be a hermit. Hermitsville is not where I live.

This summer, as a family, we: hosted a graduation party and attended many, visited family, lost a family member, read the bible together, prayed daily, entertained family and friends, are building a barn, moved horses to our property, are maintaining and improving 10 acres of property, are playing, are active. We: cleaned, gardened, weeded, laughed, fought, are preparing to send a young man to YWAM, cooked together,visited friends, shared some family meals, decided to homeschool for this coming year (pray for me), traveled to visit our oldest son, hosted guests at our home,volunteered our time, visited the emergency room, had doctor and dentist appointments, had haircuts and shopping excursions, successfully kept our businesses afloat…all by the grace of God.

I read some health, parenting, photography, art, cooking, horse training books, articles and magazines. I found an excellent book, Face to Face with God, by Bill Johnson – I have been steeping in it.  It sent me deep into the Word. I did some art, walked a lot, rode our horses, tried some new recipes and signed up for a photography course. I felt a spark.

My spark, right now, is in danger of fizzle. I am tired.

My husband and I let date night slip away…I allowed some negativity into my mind and out of my mouth…my sons tried to kill each other (daily)…something ate all the tomatoes from my garden…sloppy and unintentional words escaped my mouth…my Darth Vader voice returned…frustration levels rose…peace declined…joy thinned out.

Why can’t I unplug? Why can’t I simplify my life? How can I draw closer to Jesus? And, shut the world out? The noise? I am seeking God.

Good Lord – when did I sign up for this over scheduled, stress filled, activity driven, works centered, treadmill of life?

Of course I did not sign up for this!

Then, I must look deeper to figure out what lies beneath where I am at. Some would say it’s all about my choices. Others would say it’s all about my motives. Others would remind me I live in a fallen world. Still others would remind me that I have an enemy. They would all be right!

Is this my fault? Probably, some, after all I am human. Have I made poor choices? Probably, some, after all I am human. Have I had less than pure motives? Same answer…

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Do I live in a fallen world. Yes.

(All creation groans…Romans 8:19-22) This verse reminds me that All of Creation (plants, animals, nature, etc…) is waiting, in expectation, for me to rise up and help bring heaven to earth.

Do I have an enemy? Yes

  •  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
  • The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.(John 10:10) 
  • He (the enemy)is called the accuser. (Revelation 12:10)

You know, that’s kind of what this feels like!

Kind of what I feel like: Devoured. Accused. Stolen from. Destructed.

THE TRUTH

 How can I so easily forget this! I teach spiritual warfare to others! I live this, daily. I pray against attack all the time. Yet, have I become mechanical, complacent, lax? I have a leaky mind!

Intentionally I wouldn’t let any enemy anywhere near my home, marriage, children, schedule, or life.

Unintentionally becoming too busy, over scheduled (even with ‘good’ things), tired, trying to please everyone, do everything, satisfy everyone’s needs and expectations – and here I am. Tired. Weary. Vulnerable to attack.

My heart absolutely breaks for those that don’t even know they have an enemy or an option to the dismal condition of their life. I am from that population! I know that life can feel all up hill, defeating and hopeless. Heck, some days it still feels that way! Only now it doesn’t always feel that way! And, I also now know it’s not all about ‘my feelings.’

Thanks goodness God is bigger than all that!

Thank God that I know who I am in Christ. I am a daughter of the most high KING!

When I remember what I know – Who God is. Who Jesus is. Who Holy Spirit is. Who He says I am.

When I am living in the Truth, my life makes sense.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not perfect in this, but growing and learning daily. I am working out my salvation. I am still discovering the true meaning and depth of the Gospel.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

So where am I at now?

Reminding myself that I am never alone. I have a constant helper. I have prioritized my life through prayerful planning and life coaching. I can revisit that plan – God’s plan for my life.

WHAT CAN I DO?

I can ask the questions:

  1. Lord, what do YOU say?
  2. Does this fill me up or drain me?
  3. Does this activity (invitation, assignment, promotion, travel opportunity, etc…) align with my values? My family’s values?
  4. Does this activity align with my priorities?
  5. Have I been prioritizing?
  6. Am I mindfully and intentionally living – or kamikaze fire fighting?
  7. What are my motives for wanting to do this?
  8. If I am already at maximum capacity, what can I take off my plate to do this?
  9. Are there items I need to take off my agenda?
  10. Are there spiritual disciplines I have been neglecting?
  11. Have I been spending enough time with Jesus?
  12. Am I practicing good self care? Any self care?
  13. Are there boundaries I need to set or reestablish?
  14. Have I been guarding my heart? (Proverbs 4:23)

You know, when I seek Him in everything. When I slow down to pray and listen and worship and seek HIS face. Then, the answers always become more plain.

It’s really all about Jesus. It’s all about Him and it’s all about love. Nothing else really matters in the long run.

Am I loving HIM?

Am I letting HIM love me?

Am I getting filled up enough in HIM that rivers of living water are flowing out from me to others? (John 7:38) Because of the overwhelming abundance of the presence of the Lord in my life – not from obligation?

I Seek HIM.

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

I know HE is with me. Right here. Right now. Always.

8 responses to “This Summer

  1. Love it,
    Thanks for sharing so deeply your beautiful heart & life with us. This is real!

  2. I so love your heart. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. Your gift of writing is amazing. Thank you for being vulnerable and saying what we all so often feel, but don’t know how to express. I wanted you to know that I’ve commited to pray for the Nicholson’s as I head out of our neighborhood on my way to work. May His blessings continue to pour abundantly on your family. As you asked, I’m especially targeting home schooling. Love you, Barb!

  3. I really enjoyed reading your blog. I have also experienced many of your thoughts and feelings. I believe we reach a time in our life where we are really seaching for inner peace and un-busyness. You articulated it all so well. I will pray for your peace and for you to find your spark again! Fondly, Ruth

  4. beautiful………simply beautiful 🙂

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