"He gives to His beloved, even in their sleep."

The view outside my window

Sometimes, when I least expect it, and I am lying in bed or sleeping at night, I will slightly awaken and messages will start pouring into my heart. Thoughts about God's love and parenting and His nature to provide were filling my mind in the wee hours of the morning as I opened my eyes in the early dawn.

Clay and I have been away for a few days in a time share that we purchased many years ago when our children were young. It was one of the only times in our marriage that we were just a little bit ahead financially and we decided that we needed a place and a time every year that would be protected, just for us to be with our children and each other, for rest, filling our soul, getting away from all the busy-ness of life ad to rest. We got in at the ground floor, so it was very inexpensive, but for our family, it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. We have not had family that we can regularly visit--not a grandma, grandpa home in which to get away, so this was a little gift from the Lord to give our children our own place away every year, even if for a few days.

November is not a logical time for us to get away. We have holidays, conferences, deadlines, school and so much more. Yet, we cannot not get away because God commands us to rest and if we neglect to rest in Him, we will miss His voice. For now, I believe one of the works God has for me in my service of Him, is to shepherd and love my sweet children, to support and help Clay in our ministry and to shepherd young moms. But there will be no truth or depth of understanding to pass on to each of these, if I am not making the time to fill my soul with life, truth, wisdom, inspiration and Him. I spend hours this time of year reading inspiring books, studying the word and just sitting sipping something wonderful hot to drink, while thinking and praying. (A bit of game playing, cards, movies, hikes and great meals go into the days, as well.)

And these are the times, when I stop life to make time for Him, that He speaks to me.

I was thinking about Jesus, asleep in the bow of the boat in the midst of a storm. Perhaps this is a picture of how we are to be in our lives--resting in His love and protection and provision, and not looking at the storms, but curled up in His presence knowing He will calm our storms, care for our needs, speak to our hearts.

When I do travel, and I travel a lot for our ministry, I bring "civility" with me. It helps me to create some peace wherever I am and sets up my times with the Lord and with my sweet ones.

While visiting China on our book tour a couple of years ago, I purchased several pashmina scarves. I take them everywhere I go. As a shawl on my shoulders when the planes are too cold, or as a cloth to bring beauty to coffee tables in my hotel room, they always add loveliness to my atomosphere.

Candles in jars always accompany me--flickering light sets the tone for a soft atmosphere. Favorite music on my ipod or computer with my own little tiny speaker, is always on with all sorts of tunes.

My Bible, one of many journals to jot down notes, revelations, ideas and inspirations are a must. When I am away in a room with the Lord, He always speaks to me and I want to record it to come back to later. I am always reading a number of good books to fill my mind, even it it takes me forever to finish them. So, books, too, fill a place in my suitcase. (Now I am reading a biography about Oswald Chambers and Donald Miller's book: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

While away on a fun day, I stuff in some magazines that are pretty to look at and fun to page through with my girls--food for thought and ideas for recipes and decor and travel and more. So, this time, I brought some old copies of Victoria Magazine.

I always travel with my very own tea (always a strong English Breakfast, Yorkshire being my favorite!) and a china tea cup or mug. China keeps drinks warmer longer. It is a necessity to keeping me centered on the road--to have some of my precious parts of life that I always cultivate beauty and civilization at home--makes me feel I have a little bit of home when away.

All the work and deadlines and demands of life will be piled up when I get home, but I will be better able to attack them and have more energy to deal with decisions. Now, my body will have slept every night for  eight hours. I will have refreshed my mind and soul and I will have invested in my memory bank with my precious family so that we can all have new chords that bind our lives together. Now off to my first cup of tea to meet with Him and to write down what He was speaking to me in the night.