Learning to be Still

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I’m here today to share Session #2 from the weekend with you.

I’d shared earlier how God told me to expect the unexpected for this weekend, and this definitely happened with Session 2!

I had prepared everything at home beforehand, and knew what I wanted to say on Saturday evening. I had plans to prep a bit more for it on Saturday afternoon, but first I took a two hour nap (which felt completely amazing!) It took me a long time to wake up from my deep sleep, and as I was lying there, God suddenly brought a memory so clearly to my mind which fit so perfectly with what I hoped to communicate that evening, I knew my entire session had just been changed as I was lying there.

Here’s the awesome part: My greatest fear about God promising to do the unexpected was that I’d miss it. But it came so clearly to me, I needn’t have worried at all. And rewriting my session was not a problem, either – it just fell into place, and I just knew what I was going to say.

I don’t know who needed to hear this message more – me, or the ladies! Probably me, because it’s been on my mind ever since! God is speaking to me about surrender, and learning resting in Him. He is so loving and faithful! His goodness overwhelms me.

Let God

Here’s surprise session #2:

How do we become still in the face of fear, uncertainty, stress, and pain? How do we surrender everything over into His care? How do we “grow our surrender muscles” until it becomes a habit? “Be still and know that I am God!”

Giving Him My Heavy Load

I had a sad, sad day last week.

On Monday night, I felt as though God clearly “told” me (or laid it on my heart, or however you would describe those wonderful moments when He reveals Himself to us!) to surrender something in my life to Him.

I had this secret longing, tucked away for years, and He said, “Give that longing to Me.”

It wasn’t a bad longing, it was just something I wasn’t supposed to long for anymore, and it broke my heart to have to give it up.

It felt like giving up. And I didn’t want to.

All the next day, I had a heavy heart. My friend said to me, “You look sad today.” And I was.

That afternoon, I escaped for a moment to the bathroom, and cried out to God. I wanted to obey Him, but it was so very hard to surrender.

And suddenly, these words came to me:


Oh, how true it is! His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. I had no right to drag around my heavy heart. He wasn’t asking me to do something horrible – He was asking me to give up my desire so that He could give me a lighter load.

Surrender is still hard – it doesn’t come very naturally! But every day, I keep asking Him to make me long for the things He longs for. I try to get my perspective back in the right place. Some days, that goes better than others.

On the bad days, I have a quick little cry, and then I’m ready to go again, seeking after the things of God which is the best thing possible for me.

Any burdens in your life that are weighing you down this week? I pray for His peace to wash over you, and for joy in your heart as you accept His light burden!!

The Hard Thanksgivings

We lost a baby on Thanksgiving weekend five years ago.

When we got back from the hospital that day, Ben and I tried to choke down the meal some kind friends brought over for us, but food seemed so unimportant. And I didn’t feel very thankful that Thanksgiving.

It was a horrible time. I did not deal well with everything. I kept crying, and Ben kept asking, “Isn’t Anika enough? Can you be happy for the one that we already have?”

But my arms ached for that baby we would never hold, and I desperately wanted a sibling for Anika.

It took many, many months for me to pull out of that dark time. And even once I was able to go on with life, and stopped crying every night, I still had such an all-consuming desire for a baby. I would sit in church and watch all the other families with two or three kids, all sitting together, and there we sat, our tiny family of three.

I felt so guilty, because it should have been enough. I already had a wonderful little girl. But it still felt like our family was barely a family. I wasn’t enough of a mom yet. I wanted to be busy with my children, and I wanted to know what it felt like to have many little people climbing on me and cuddling up close to me. I had never pictured us having the quiet, controlled little life that we had with only one child.

I knew that for lots of people who couldn’t have any children, what we had would seem like a dream come true. And I was thankful. But I still wanted more.

And I kept wanting, and wanting, and there was so much anger and bitterness towards God, and so much jealously towards anyone who had multiple children, or who had babies so easily that they believed it was completely in their power to choose the size of their family, with their perfectly-spaced, two-years-apart-each-one, row of children.

We lost one more baby before God gave Kaylia to us. And I don’t know exactly when my heart healed. Some of it happened before I ever knew that we would finally have our miracle baby. I was learning to accept things the way that they were, and I was ready to trust that God would do what was best for our family.

But a lot of the healing happened after she was born. And I don’t know if I would have been fully able to accept things the way they were if she had never come. I would like to think that I would finally have been at peace, even without another baby, but I will never know.

I do know that I wouldn’t change a thing. As I sit here now on a quiet Thanksgiving morning, while my beautiful, wonderful family still sleeps peacefully, I know that God is good. He redeems anything. He takes the mess of our lives and does good things with it.

How is it possible that I can look back on all those years of pain, and be thankful for it? It made our family what it is today, it made me what I am today. What I suffered and what I learned was what God knew I needed to go through.

When I think about what our home would be like with four children instead of two, or I think about those babies in heaven I’ve never met, I feel sadness and regret, but I know that those things are not for me to long for. God has chosen the very best for my life, and I would much rather spend it being thankful for His blessings, than wanting what will never be.

And when Anika takes Kaylia by the hand, and Kaylia toddles after her big sister, my heart could burst. How could I want anything more?

Sometimes Thanksgiving is hard. Sometimes we don’t feel very thankful. But thank goodness that God redeems anything, and keeps giving us another chance to surrender everything over to Him.

Trust Him with the hard thanksgivings.

When Life Gets Hot

That Ann Voskamp is amazing. I keep giving you links to her blog because so much of what she says is true and wise, and gets me thinking.

If you want to check out another great post, go here. She writes about how life can be like a pressure cooker:

“…Let the pressure do its work.” Lock the lid on. Let life get hot.

Stay present. Breathe deep.

Let the pressure do its good, quick work.

Such a good read about how the pressure of life can refine us.

Been Thinking About Fishing

I used to love going fishing with my dad.

That may surprise some people who know me, because I don’t think I really come across as a “roughing it out in the wild” kind of a girl.

But that’s exactly what we’d do. We would go to these remote lakes, and camp out in the middle of nowhere. We’d canoe, and we’d fish. And I loved it.

I loved the lake, the trees, and floating around all day in the peace and quiet. I loved talking with my dad about anything and everything.

And then sometimes, all of this peace and quiet would be put on hold for a little while, as we faced the excitement of catching a fish.

I love that rush that comes when your fishing line starts yanking like crazy and everybody gets all worked up, and the adrenaline starts flowing, and it’s this big moment.

(I do not like anything that happens after the fish comes out of the water. You could not pay me to touch a fish. Enjoyment stops after the thrill of the chase.)

Anyway. After all the excitement of catching the fish, my sisters and I would name the fish – starting with “A” and working our way through the alphabet. Amelia, Betsy, Caroline, etc.

And then we would go back to the peace and quiet of floating. Enjoying the day and the nature and the quiet.

You could almost say that I loved the act of fishing more than actually catching anything…

Sometimes we think that fishing is about catching fish. But you can go out for a day of fishing, and enjoy fishing, even if you go home without catching any fish. Obviously, you’d like to catch fish, and that’s kind of the point, but it is completely possible to spend an enjoyable day of fishing without catching any fish. It kind of depends on your attitude.

I once read that praying is like fishing.

Sometimes we think praying is about getting answers to our prayers. But you can spend time talking to God, and enjoy praying, even if you don’t end up getting an answer right away. Obviously, you’d like to get answers to your prayers, but it is completely possible to spend an enjoyable time talking to God without getting an actual and immediate answer to your prayers. It kind of depends on your attitude…

I read that prayer is actually all about waiting – learning to wait on God, and learning to just enjoy being in His presence, learning to enjoy the act of praying.

This waiting thing is a hard one for me sometimes. I am capable of focusing on something so intensely that the impatience builds and builds until it feels like I’ll explode because I can’t stand waiting for one more second.

Obviously, my focus is not in the right place when that happens.

And I’m noticing a pattern in my life – I’m noticing that the act of waiting for things, and waiting for answers to my prayers, is happening a lot.

When I was single, but wanting to get married and have kids, I had to wait awhile. After Ben and I got married, there were many other kinds of things to wait for. We had to wait for God to work out the details for a ministry opportunity that we really wanted. We had to wait 9 months for Anika to be born. We had to wait for God to provide in a number of different ways. And then we dealt with infertility, and had to wait for 4 years for Kaylia to come along. And I thought that I wouldn’t survive. I thought that if God would ask me to wait one day longer for a baby, I would go completely crazy.

There are times in my life when I have just plain hated waiting.

But I’ve also read that life is about waiting. We are always waiting for something.

So if life is about waiting, and prayer is about waiting, it would seem as though I need to learn to enjoy…WAITING.

If I can enjoy floating, water, sky and trees, the peace and quiet, the getting-away-from-it-all, can I learn to surrender, soaking in God’s presence, a sense of His Spirit, a trust that while there is more to come, that right now, there is something for me to enjoy, just in waiting?

(picture taken by Chelsea Rempel)