This time of year is my most productive, and my least contemplative. Honestly, I miss my contemplation time.
While everything around me is growing, blooming, maturing, my spiritual life is struggling to stay on task. It's normal, I know. Long days filled with many tasks, routines upset by a myriad of situations, late nights as I write... My heart is just tired. And my faith-life takes the hit. But in the midst of how I feel: tired, frustrated, grumpy, I still know one thing. No matter how I feel, I have to write. I have to speak Truth. Frankly, some days it's work. When God called me to write, I had visions of his thoughts just flowing out of me. But when my faith life takes a hit and I'm not spending as much time with him, it's a LOT more work to think his thoughts, focus on his ways, and understand his focus.
Today I read "If I proclaim the Message, it's not to get something out of it for myself. I'm compelled to do it, and doomed if I don't!" 1 Corinthians 9:16
And that's my faith life these days in a nut shell. The long and short of it - I must do what he's called me to do, regardless of what it costs me. Right now, it's a little sleep. And some focus, as I sit here and write with 'Sword in the Stone' playing in the background (for the 50th time).
There's a devotional in that movie somewhere, I'm sure of it. And isn't that my purpose? To help others view life, their WHOLE life, in a spiritual context?
This is where we all take a deep breath together and remember that God is using our everyday life to teach us more about him. It doesn't matter how mundane it seems to us, our tasks are still God-work.
I'm off to do mine. Dishes. Make breakfast. Fold laundry. Sweep floors.
Blessings on your day!
What a difference a week makes...
If my mentor, Nina Roesner, has taught me anything this past year, she's hammered home that 'God is a God of order'. So I approached vacation a bit differently this year.
Tom isn't a traveler, and until he met me he could count on one hand the vacations he'd been on. So in years past I've handle all the details of our vacations. ALL the details. With a farm, a homestead, a toddler, a myriad of critters, and all the little things that need to be thought of, vacation can be, well, stressful.
But this year I was wise to the stress. I planned an entire week of tasks, just a few a day. One of my BEST successes was in the prepping I'd be doing for the month and half previous. Each week when we get ready to go to the camper at the farm, I ask Tom to pack clothes for him and Trey. For vacation, I made the same request. Wow, did that ever go well! Good job, honey!
Order. Did I mention I've been learning about ORDER this year?
Remember that long weekend I took away for Mother's Day? Early in our vacation, I was doing something for Trey, and the discursive thought entered my head, "Yeah, sure. Vacation. Vacation for everyone but Momma."
Almost immediately, another thought came: 'Good thing I already had my own vacation.' That prompting settled my heart and I smiled to myself. Yes, I had enjoyed a long weekend of ME time, and this was FAMILY time.
Did I mention the order that God loves? Nice. Thanks God!
First Baptist Church of Dighton, Est. 1845
The last bit of order I experienced during vacation were the two very special, important meetings I had scheduled.
As a result of my meeting with the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Dighton (160+ years of history), we will now have a New England based church on our team. They will provide prayer support and encouragement, as well as a beautiful backdrop for future retreats and seminars. I can't wait to see what God is going to do next!
Courtesy Elizabeth Timmins' Gardens
My second meeting was in a nutshell, humbling. At the suggestion of the ever-wise mentor, Miss Nina, Tom and I prayed for and assembled a team of theological advisors who review my writing. Their input and critique ensures that I offer accurate, theologically sound, content.
I was excited to meet with one of my three advisors, Melvin Longtin, a retired Baptist minister up for vacation in New England. (Typically he's based in Florida.) Pastor Longtin is a scholar. His questions and thoughtful critique to my work, especially the book, Sarah's Journey, that I'm still (yes, I'm still working on it!) writing were insightful and pointed.
To be honest, I felt about an inch tall.
This man READS. And studies. And prays. And studies. Did I mention he studies? He's retired, but you'd never know it. I'm super blessed to have him on the team. And really, really intimidated. He's a true advisor. If it's wrong, ooh boy, I'm gonna hear it. Thank you God, for the wisdom and strength of the amazing people you've put in my life.
Order. It's what makes my life cool.
Farm Life. Faith Life. Vacation Life. Writing Life. People Life. Church Life.
Order is what ties them all together and keeps me from feeling completely out of my depth.
Order is a floatie on each arm, filled with the breath of God.
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)