We ran away for just a bit.
It was rather a random, spontaneous - only semi-premeditated thing. Robert and I mentioned the idea in passing, but never confirmed it until the last minute - that type of trip. I love those kinds. . . except for the forgetting of important items like sunscreen, tooth paste, and the like.
That's what happens when you just start throwing things in the car and just take off. There is something youthfully exciting about that kind of trip though, even the forgetting of things.
What a wonderful thing to BREATHE - not just physically, as the sea air always helps me in that way - but emotionally - and well, in just about every way needful.
I won't pretend this hasn't been a challenging summer thus far, er um, year. Then again, it's been a whole lot less challenging then many before it, but I don't usually remember that until I write like I am right now and start mentally comparing.
Challenges make us cling - cling to something, or someone.
It's just a matter of who that someone will be, or what that something is.
Or maybe sometimes challenges show our letting go, not clinging to anything. Maybe depression, anxiety, closing down takes place, forsaking the responsibilities God has called us to. . . but I think that if that's our response, we might ultimately be just clinging to ourselves, completely self focused.
There is no way to get through challenges in life if we are self-consumed. Word to self. Factual, learned from experience.
I'd like to say I always look to the Someone who is the only way to get through challenges successfully. But I don't.
I don't fake smiles well and fail miserably at pretending I'm doing well if I'm not. Being real with my need is often what brings me to the point of finding all I need in Him.
I've relented. I'm okay with needing God. In fact, I'm super glad about it. There is a wonderful freedom in accepting human failure and neediness and finding God's goodness at that point. Goodness is finally understood.
I've not felt like writing much this summer. I'm fairly sure the last months of pregnancy render me pretty much emotionally confused moment by moment and visionless except for my obsession with getting through it. My personal reading seems like I get nothing from it. I write and find myself completely unmotivated - blogging, then deleting. I crave new revelation from God but mostly feel too tired and weak to seek.
On the other hand, though this makes me FEEL entirely unspiritual and shallow. . . there is something that seems to take place in my walk with God during this time of pregnancy that unrivals other times in my life. I've found my feelings are completely useless to live by and thus I must rely upon what I know to be TRUE about God, and about myself - not how I FEEL about God or myself.
How spiritual I FEEL suddenly means nothing - it can't. 'Cause I don't feel it. Spirituality, more than ever, becomes more about God and less about me. I want it to just remain this way for good.
I find myself talking out loud to Him more than usual - not spiritual sounding prayers, thanksgiving, or the like. It's more like pleas for help, acknowledging weakness, "Oh God, I can't do this. Help me."
I know He's there. He helps me every single day.
But I don't always FEEL near to God.
Instead I feel like an emotional pregnant woman working her tail off day and night far from glorious yearnings. Yet I cling to the truth that "The nearness of God is my good." And I find, truly, it is my only good.
This might all sound a bit insensible, incoherent, kind of rambling. Maybe the above paragraphs are just the long version of merely writing, "I feel spiritually dry right now and emotionally exhausted and I want to be through this pregnancy stuff now."
Maybe people, maybe I - would rather picture a pious pregnant women in a long white feminine gown, in a soft lush bedroom (Victorian in nature) reading calmly to her children a great big King James Bible - soft curls, gentleness in her eyes, cup of tea on the night stand, kittens purring by the bedskirt, doting children sprawled about the room looking angelic. She is probably reading Proverbs 31 aloud.
The girls have a book with paintings like this and I don't read it to them right now because it seems so far from reality.
Reality is an unmade bed with a tired mama whose hair is in an unkept ponytail and whose roots need major highlighting and blending. Sweat pant cut offs and tank top that feels tighter by the day not just because of my ever growing belly, but because the heat index is out of this world this summer.
My small Bible lays upon on the night stand to the same Proverb it did yesterday. The same verse stands out; I keep rereading it because it seems to not sink in very well right now and I know I need it to, desperately.
The kids kick a soccer ball back and forth in my room. The little ones watch Curious George on my laptop, dirty feet on white sheets, for the second time this week. They have rubber band wars and dance the cha-cha.
I don't want tea, I want pink lemonade. There are no kittens and bedskirts, but there is a dog that is covered in Cracker Barrel syrup because the boys brought home those little jars they give out with the pancakes and somehow, just somehow, one whole jar ended up on Buster's back and head.
I can't claim gentleness in my eyes. Though I can claim that look of horror that one gets when they need to pee all the time but can't seem to find the time to actually do it!
This past Sunday evening I sat on the beach. I walked the beach. I shot pictures at the beach. I covered my feet in the dark-muddy-like-sand-type substance that this area of the gulf has stretching for miles. I popped the little brown bubbles on the seaweed. I got two jellyfish stings.
I watched children go wild with delight. I didn't care that some were still in their Sunday clothes and that hand washing them would take forever in the lone hotel bathroom sink with bar soap. I fell in love over and over again as I watched my husband play like a child with our children on the shore and in the water.
I had a strong awareness of God's nearness and a strange acceptance and even relief of my complete dependence upon Him during this time. There was nothing great and spiritual muttered under my breath at God. No enlightened poems came flooding in and I didn't even think to sing the hymn, "Great is They Faithfulness."
Just a deep breath in, and a breath out - eyes closing, burdens rolling. A "Thank You, Father. . . for this." And then eyes blurred from pregnancy hormone tears. There was not any great supernatural awakening, no newness of revelation.
Just a knowing of His nearness and that I was being held. Trusting. Leaning on Him.
I use to look back on those years before marriage, before children, when I had all the time in the world for "quiet times" with God. Time to read, study, write, pray. It felt so spiritual. I felt so close to God. I felt good about God and I felt good about myself. I use to think those were my "spiritual years." I was so "good" at quality time, and quantity time "with God." (ha.)
My opinion has changed now. Those really were not the "spiritual years." They were the easy years. The less needful years. Less maturing years. Less deep years. Less understanding of what it means to know God's nearness, and a lack of understanding of what it really means to be held by Him.
There is truly something wonderful about coming to a point in life where it's okay if all I can utter is, "Thank You, Father. . . for this."
And breathing deep and letting it out is a form of worship and trust.
Where tears are shed because of silly hormones and yet, you know it's His washing and your cleansing that is taking place. Where the challenges in life aren't tackled with Greek word searches or new spiritual to do lists, or memorizing a new verse, but rather with silent wanting and waiting to just know His nearness.
"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works." Ps. 73
"I have put my trust in the Lord God - I have truly confided in Him; He is my portion and the sole ground of my reliance. There is an underlying trust in God in the midst of all this. I hold to a calm inward reflection, and still trust in God."
"All who commit themselves to God, shall be guided with the counsel both of His Word and of His Spirit, the best counsellors here - And the psalmist who wrote here was hereby quickened to cleave the closer to God. Heaven itself could not make us happy without the presence and love of our God. The world and all its glory vanishes. The body will fail by sickness, age, and death; when the flesh fails, the conduct, courage, and comfort fail. But Christ Jesus, our Lord, offers to be all in all to every poor sinner, who renounces all other portions and confidences. By sin we are all far from God. And a professor of Christ, if we go on in sin, will increase our condemnation. May we draw near, and keep near, to our God, and find it good to do so. Those that with an upright heart put their trust in God, shall never want matter for thanksgiving to Him. Blessed Lord, who hast so graciously promised to become our portion in the next world, prevent us from choosing any other in this." Matthew Henry
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