"A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, ,making new friends, ttaking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints."
Joy and I are going to have lots of fun!
I can't wait. I am so excited, I am so blessed. I feel like a little girl. Thanks, Lord!
In our conferences this year, I addressed the whole issue of a woman's responsibility to stay refreshed, to renew her soul, to take care of her body, to feed her mind with inspiration, to stimulate her heart with scripture, great books, to drink of life in ways that are interesting to her soul. As women, we pour out on a continual basis for years upon years. It just makes sense that if we are to keep giving to people from our souls, we must make sure that there is something there to give. How do I know this? Because I have experienced it so much in my own personal life.
Scheduling our time and managing all the details of our lives so that we can stay refreshed is not by accident but by intention. I want to be resilient until I see Jesus face to face. It is one of the reasons I wrote Dancing with my Father--I wanted to flourish in life, not become a victim or cynical and dried up.
This past couple of years has almost worn me out--many ministry opportunities and lots of travels and deadlines--finally in the place where I am a bit freer to do more ministry--but it does tax me. Still finishing up the last few years of my last child and want to finish her well and teen years are never, for me, a breeze. But also, so stretched to be personally involved and active in my older children's lives every day and from far away--a new kind of stretching and hours on the phone and all the mothering in new ways.
But I have known that my "filling-up" time was coming because I have been planning this trip for a while.But, I had thought I probably needed to take my computer and keep up in order to not get too behind--as 3 weeks of correspondence could do me in and what about all the deadlines and articles and such?
As a matter of fact, when I was praying a couple of weeks ago, I was pouring out my heart to the Lord, and telling HIm I was feeling a bit depleted and consumed, but I have so much responsibility on my plate with all that is happening in our ministry. The Lord very clearly convicted me that He was the source of my ministry and that I am to pursue Him, rest in Him, delight in Him and have a Sabbath rest away from work and responsibility. So my trip, that is coming up on Sunday, will be my commitment to have a sabbath rest for my body, mind and soul. And when I get back from my trip, I expect to see that God has taken care of the details of our ministry and that He will work while I am gone resting in Him.
It will be a time of getting away--leaving routine behind. A time to reflect, to clear my mind from the cobwebs of life, to walk a lot, and read and do fun things, and ponder spiritual issues without interruptions.
And so, I have had a trip planned that I can hardly wait for. Every time one of our children turns 15, Clay and I decided that they needed to go by themselves with one of us for a mission trip to the area where we used to be missionaries. Clay took a week last week to go to a music conference that has been on his heart and he left all behind--even in the midst of the busiest season and I stayed home to hold down the fort for Joy in her last of the year activities.
But now, this means I get to go on a trip, too! Saving hotel points and airline points for a couple of years has provided for all of our transportation, and lodging--so I just have to pay for lunches! It took some saving and arranging on my part, but the Lord has graciously provided a way--so Sunday, we are off!
Why at 15? This is a time when children are on the cusp of adulthood, owning their thoughts and convictions, and developing their appetites for life for themselves. I get a little tired of the American teen experience--so much focus on clothes, make-up, boys, "He said, She said." shallow stuff.
We figure if a child is old enough to have or make babies, they are old enough to start contributing to life. That is why we graduate our kids when they turn 16--the have to work on a project--a mature project that will prepare them for their life as an adult. They work in a job or with us in real life through our office or ministry--they volunteer in a ministry--but I am getting off the subject.
I get to return with Joy to my beloved Austria. To see the snowy, white topped peaks of the Alps, with clear lakes and thousands of wild flowers. To drink the strong, pungent coffee with real cream and eat crisp, fresh semmels--rolls particular to Austria. To again be in the international environment of our friends from all over the world, who live by faith in tiny apartments and minister to the needy and hungry and people we shared life with who are from all over the world.
I want all of my children to understand that God is not American. I want them to know that life is not about them, but about serving Him and making Him known. To see others and their needs, to love others and show compassion. On our past trips, our children have had to sleep on concrete floors and eat strange food and celebrate life through traditions not their own, to hear stories of others who have suffered and survived resiliently, to taste interesting new treats and to walk a lot and a lot in lands that are not dependent on cars.
And so we will fly to London (that is the place we could find free tickets!) I hope to see the underground Churchill museum and go to a play. Then we train to Paris for a couple of nights to see some artists and taste crepes filled with chocolate and try to understand French, and then on by train to Austria where I spent 4 years of my 6 in missions. We will then be involved in times with others and times to seclude and we will be immersed in foreign languages, foreign values, and in a country where less than 1 in 1000 are believers--a pinnacle of post modern thought and values. Just having my children hear the conversations of our missionary friends and hearing the sacrifices they have made for the gospel is a real education for their souls and a great encouragement to mine.
Joy and I will have time to really connect on personal issues--I get to share my heart and my favorite verses and enjoy her apart from life. I will have uninterrupted time to focus on her dreams and challenge her to live a life that will make a difference in her world, because I know from experience, that with the busyness of life, I may never have such a focused time again.
I get to pray with her for 60 days for friends in her life (it is a goal we made before we left--to pray until our youth conference this summer, for the Holy Spirit to work in amazing ways in the lives of her closest friends--and we have engaged about 10 other adults to join us--to become godly, to follow the voice of God, to change the world. We will make memories and I will get to pray and inspire of how to live her one life for the Lord and for His kingdom. I will not write articles, blogs, answer email--these are in god's hands--I will delight in each day and in her and in our friends and leave all the duty in God's hands.
I am not even taking a computer--no calls to interrupt, or articles to write or phone calls to answer. My soul needs this. My sweet child who is stepping quickly into adulthood needs my undivided attention if I am to pass on my heart.
I am looking so forward to our leadership conference in Houston, and am passionate about training mothers. But as of Sunday, May 2, my sweet husband's birthday, I will board a plane to England and leave it all behind.
So, I will not be here at my blog--(maybe I will check in a couple of times as a surprise if my hotel has a free computer.) But I have sweet friends who will be reviving some of my older articles and recipes you have not seen and a couple of book reviews. I bid you goodbye and hope that God will watch between me and thee while we are absent. Grace and peace to all of you sweet friends--and may you plan for your own rest, refreshment and peace--whatever season of life you are in so that you may be filled to the depths of your soul for others to draw from until you see Jesus face to face!