The interesting thing about being broken is it isn't a once and for all thing.
It can happen again, and again, and yet again.
I typically am a cheerleader for the broken.
Professing to friends, it's good. It is.
Because from the broken, God is so near.
It's where you stop striving.
You hand it all over.
And you are built back up so much stronger.
Have courage, I say.
This is a good place to be.
At the end of yourself.
I don't say it quite this abruptly.
But you get the picture.
I've walked these roads.
And I've come through the other side.
Closer to God.
The problem is.
That broken place,
when you're right smack in the middle of it.
It doesn't feel good.
Not one bit at all.
The peace of the Lord.
In moments it can feel far away.
This summer I hit that place.
That absolute end, broken place.
The I can't take one more issue, one more fight,
one more problem.
The little, the big.
All of it, piled one on top of the other.
This past year has been a marathon of sorts.
A race of endurance.
Problem is, the summer has been the same.
And my resources were dwindling.
Down to nothing.
I had nothing more to give.
And I hit the wall.
The messes, the chaos, the fighting, the unresolved everything.
There were so many things making me feel like I was unraveling.
Things that have felt unstable, uncertain, overwhelming.
I'm the first to profess turning it all over.
Resting in God.
But there are times when you collapse and you forget how.
I texted my husband, who has been away working.
Really, truly, I am depleted.
When you get home I need to be alone.
I need to get away.
And so he said ok, Monday you can go.
With just a couple of days notice
I started thinking, where would I like to go.
Where could I go.
What do I want to do?
Topping my list was Ojai.
A place of rest for me.
One of many memories.
One where I prayed that I could quiet my soul.
And where the Lord would meet me.
Right where I was. Ugliness and all.
The minute I rounded into town I felt it.
Like a deep breath.
A sigh, an exhale.
A washing over me.
Beckoning me to calm.
And I made a self-imposed rule,
not to check my email,
Ok I slipped a little at first.
It's hard decompressing when we're used to this
everything at your fingertips pace.
I also forced myself to not be too friendly.
That sounds bad I know.
But so often I start talking.
I love meeting people.
Learning about their lives, their stories.
Listening and caring.
But I knew the more I did that,
the more I'd prevent myself from going deeper
into the quiet I so desperately needed.
So I sort of made myself a recluse.
Creating my own silent retreat.
Just me and Jesus.
Because it takes time to be still.
And time to hear.
Lately at home, in the little moments where I try to refuel.
I'm too often, too soon pulled away by the needs,
the dog, the chicken coop,
the early waking child, the laundry, the dishes.
I'm not focused.
And I can feel it, the absence of the quiet.
The absence of oneness with the One who gives strength.
And it's my own fault.
Because He's always calling.
Each day, this devotional was absolutely
so fitting for right where I was.
I know full well, this was not an accident.
"Your mind will wander from Me,
but the question is how far you allow it to wander.
An anchor on a short rope
lets a boat drift only slightly
before the taut line tugs the boat back
toward the center.
Similarly, as you drift away from Me,
My Spirit within you gives a tug,
prompting you to return to Me."
(excerpt from Jesus Calling 7.29)
My breaking was bringing me back to the center.
The spirit was tugging me back to Him.
This mom journey, it's an interesting thing.
The more my life has turned to caring for others
I realize it takes getting away for me to remember what it feels like to just be me.
A woman, a child of God.
Not a mom, a wife, a teacher,
not a chauffeur, a scheduler, or a chef.
Not a researcher of all problems presented,
not a planner,
nor a keeper of appointments.
A girl who likes nature and tea,
sunsets and poetry.
A girl who thinks deeply and feels strongly.
A girl who studies colors
and subtle songs.
A girl who sometimes feels like a bird
who wants to fly, but is caged by
all the emergencies.
A girl who feels guilty even writing these words.
But this day. This day I woke to think,
what would I like to do today?
This one full day, dedicated to just the things that fill my soul.
Briskly hiking through town up into the hills,
a glorious way to welcome the morning.
The views of the valley below, the rows and rows
of neatly lined orchards
revealed as the foggy layers dissolved away.
He called again.
"Worship ME in the beauty of holiness. I created beauty to declare the existence of My holy Being. A magnificent rose, a hauntingly glorious sunset, oceanic splendor - all these things were meant to proclaim My Presence in the world....How precious are My children who are awed by nature's beauty; this opens them up to My holy Presence."
(excerpt from Jesus Calling 7.30)
I felt the opening to His holy presence.
This hike lasted over two-hours.
I just kept going, higher and higher.
My muscles stretched, blood flowing strong, the swift walk breathed life into my lungs.
And I returned hungry, just in time to make breakfast at the charming B&B.
I like learning about the history of a place.
That brick wall behind the stove, it's original to this historic building.
This site, was the location of the town's first one room school house in 1874.
Then belonging to the mayor, then an extended stay hotel before
becoming a bed and breakfast.
To think of the heritage, the lives lived out inside these walls.
I splurged on a day at the spa at one of the most beautiful Inns.
A place that holds many memories.
Through the years we've celebrated anniversaries,
early ones to milestones,
trips with our four legged first baby bella,
I didn't anticipate all these visits, snapshots of time gone by to come flooding in,
flashing before my eyes.
It made me both sentimental and sad.
The passing of time.
But I tell myself you're making new memories today.
A prayerful retreat alone.
Bathing yourself with healing balm for your soul.
To spend the day
walking the grounds,
breathing in the lavender,
drinking the infused water,
to read, to nap,
To think, to dream,
to be inspired.
To just take care of you.
We're promised it
by our Heavenly Father.
But why sometimes is it so hard to find?
The swirling and whirling of life's demands.
It takes pulling ourselves out of it all sometimes.
Giving space for the quiet.
In order to hear.
To really hear.
What was happening to me
is I couldn't stop the spinning.
I couldn't be still long enough
And I was starving.
I was trying.
But it wasn't sinking deep enough.
Or lasting long enough.
But in my wandering
through the old and new,
the quaint and quirky
I found without an agenda,
my only goal was to go where God would lead me,
and to rest in Him.
And I felt more free.
I drove to a place I had been before.
Many years ago.
It's called meditation mount.
It's all about quieting the spirit.
Being that this is Ojai,
I know that this mount isn't dedicated to the Lord.
But rather all kinds of meditation.
That doesn't mean I can't claim it for Jesus.
And rejoice in His beauty, His creation.
And seek Him right there in the peace of meditation mount.
I know that He is well acquainted with mounts.
And the need to withdraw to quiet places.
And I just wanted to sit and seek Him.
I once was told by a bible study teacher to practice
just being with Jesus for 15 minutes.
Don't talk to him.
Don't distract yourself.
It's so much harder to do than it seems.
To remain completely blank.
To stop your mind.
But I sat for a long, long time.
to the whir of the hummingbird's wings,
the rustle of the lizard,
the chirp of the birds,
their varied voices,
the buzzing of a bee,
the breeze of the air.
I felt the pressure of the warmth on my skin
shift to the bristle of the cool wind.
I took in the large expanse,
and the minute detail.
And He called to me again.
Right where I was.
Do you see the shadows from the tree's leaves
dancing on the page?
Smiling with this message, meant just for me.
"Slow down your pace of living for a time.
Quiet your mind in My Presence.
Then you will be able to hear Me
bestowing the resurrection blessing:
Peace be with you."
(excerpt from Jesus Calling 7.31)
I dug deeper and deeper into the Truth,
starting with those readings listed, and the ones all around them.
I saw things with new eyes.
"being strengthened with all power
according to his glorious might
so that you may have great endurance and patience."
Lessons to bring back with me
for my family.
A fresh word of hope and healing.
"all things have been created through him
and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
And I walked away from there
with a palpable feeling of Peace.
A slower step,
a calmer breath,
a warmth of protection.
want it to end.
Driving down from the mount,
the one lane road that led to two,
and then the highway to the freeway.
I didn't want to accelerate.
It was almost painful to reach the speed limit.
I didn't want to go the pace of the world.
I wanted to keep this pace of rest, of breath.
So the question is,
how do I keep this slower speed
in the middle of a city, a time
where everything is racing?
How do I hold onto that mount feeling of enveloping peace
while my circumstances are swirling.
How do I keep centered in Him.
In the every day, minute to minute chaos that can ensue.
For one, I know it's holding onto this feeling.
Drawing on it.
And getting on my knees every time I feel the swirling
To pull back to center.
To invite Him into every single challenge.
Every single detail.
To pray, and pray, and pray some more.
To carve out the quiet space I so crave.
To give myself enough time to quiet my mind in His presence.
Enough to really experience His resurrection blessing.
"Peace be with you."