Thursday, May 8, 2014

Time Away

I'm thankful for Jon's safe return from Haiti. Jon travels quite a bit, and I stay behind keeping the homestead. We all miss him when he is gone, pray for him knowing that the dangers around him are real, and trust in the Lord to bring him home. Each year Jon goes into closed countries, or to places where evil forces and corruption are beyond comprehension, and he travels in ways that are atypical to the normal short term mission experience. I remember times in years past tearing up at the airport, fearful of what might unfold; now there is a certain confidence I once lacked. I wonder at my ease in letting him go. I suppose it is not that I love him any less, but that I trust more in the sovereignty of God regardless of known or unknown dangers. When Jon moves forward with various opportunities, I know he has sought the Lord in the matter, and he often says, "I am invincible until God chooses to bring me home" (borrowing the words of someone I can't remember). He has been back for more than a week now, but the things he encountered are still on my mind.

I'm thankful also for special times with the kiddos when Jon is away. Yes I still parent all day long, but there seems to be a flexibility in the schedule that allows for more play, more friendship between the kids and I. Maybe it's because we can do such things as explore a new hiking place and stay till the sun sets, and come home to a dinner of toast, scrambled eggs, and salad at 9pm. Or perhaps it's just that my responsibilities are different during the week or so of Jon's travels, allowing me to be particularly relationship-focused. In any case, I try to make the most of it.

A new hiking place. Our favorite so far. Even with a map and GPS it was hard to find, but we loved the narrow, winding uphill road that lead to the trailhead. It is wonderfully secluded, hiking as it should be (i.e. no pavement or constant flow of gabbing singles!).

There were pretty wild flowers everywhere-- way more than I ever knew California could supply.

Climbing thick ivy. Wonder if this little exploration off the path is where some of my kids brushed against poison oak. I really need to learn to recognize that plant!

Michael loved it out there so much. Now he wants to live in the woods. Guess his wife will have to be pretty flexible on living accommodations, easily moving from the woods to a boat and back again!

Beauty everywhere, if your eyes are open to it.

Taking a break.

Hilltop meadow after a long uphill climb.

Always discovering and exploring.

I find this time away to be quite needful in my life. It does me good to pull away from the constant list of things to do, pressures of various sorts, and noise. I need to be still, to listen to quiet. At one point we all stood motionless just to listen. The quiet, only gently broken by the melody of nature, is like a balm. My kids were all impressed by the power of it. 

We need to learn to be still, even in the midst of chaos.

Blue-Eyed Grass. I didn't know it grew here. When I was a little girl we had some growing along the edge of our gravel lane, among the grasses, wild strawberries, daisies, and Queen Ann's Lace. Ah, those were the days I ran barefoot and had no troubles at all. Walking through the forests and meadows with my kids was sort of a break from real life, and the only nagging pressure was making it back to our car before the sun went down.

I usually take the rear, making sure no little explorer gets left behind.


I've been uneasy recently. Not edgy, really, just maybe a little withdrawn. In deep thought. Needful of retreat. Yesterday as the boys worked on their science project (Olivia helping Jack), I felt the urge to pull away for a moment to be with God. Not that God wasn't already there, but I needed to unload, cast my cares and make my petitions. Yes, and to rest in His sovereignty and perfect will.

I went to my closet, the innermost and quietest place (though I could still hear the music the kids were listening to on my iTunes), and took my place on my knees. I am not the super spiritual type of woman I have read of from records of church history, but there I was at mid-day on my knees in the dark. I used to wonder at those ladies (wasn't it Susanna Wesley that cover her head with her apron in the midst of all her 10 kids to pray to God?). I felt compelled to pray yesterday during loud music and science projects and children needing me all around. Today I am reminded that Christ died and calls us into relationship with Him, and so this should not be an abnormal thing to do in my day.

God is near to those who call on His Name. It's a promise.

The verse I have been emphasizing to my kids this week (and myself) comes from Ezra 8:22--

"The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him."



  1. Wow, I am always so encouraged. I know I sound like a broken record, but it is so true. I love the illustration of the apron over the head! :) So convicting to think that there needs to be quietness in my heart when chaos abounds! I have been pondering on a similar verse to your Ezra one- Hebrews 11:6, "6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." He wants to be found! Thanks so much for sharing your heart again! It is Izak's graduation tonight and I am so captivated by His grace. Thinking of you!

    1. Thanks, Taryn! Love the Hebrews verse too. Happy Mother's Day to you!


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