Last night our family returned home from a fun in the sun vacation. We spent five days on a houseboat tucked in a cove at Lake Norris in Tennessee. The week began when we arrived at the marina. We hustled to unpack our luggage onto a 75 foot house boat and drove it to a quiet cove. The houseboat was tied up from each end to poison ivy covered trees on the bank and it remained parked for the entire week.
While this process is occurring, I am the designated driver of our Four Winds. I am learning to wait patiently in a narrow cove, keeping our boat out of a ski course and off the rocks of the bank. It always seems like a few hours before I eventually rush to park our boat to the side of the house boat so we are ready to start our vacation and hit the water in a moment’s notice! It’s getting our boat there that is stressful to me, but once I get the boat settled…then I can begin to enjoy vacation.
From sunrise until sunset we are on the water; swimming, tubing, knee boarding, and skiing. There is truly something special about the sun and wind hitting your face, the fresh smell of the lake and the cool feel of the water. What also makes it such a special vacation is there is no connection to the outside world! There’s no internet or cell phone service, and no T.V.!!
It’s a great break from the stresses of life. There’s time to delve into a good book while sunning on the top of the deck, playing games with the kids and just resting. There’s no real schedule. No one really knows what time it is so when we get hungry we eat.
In the mornings, I would get up and read on top of the house boat. The sun would be peaking over the trees and the water would be completely calm while a fog gently moved over the water with a mountain view in the background.
During the week, my mind and heart were at peace about the book. All I could do was pray for those whose hands were still working on it and for those in the future whom God will place it in their hands. As my husband and I consider selling our boat to make the next payment of the book, it’s in times like this as my kids beg us not to sell it, that I struggle. I pray for God’s direction in our decisions and His provision.
While I was on our trip, I was reading a book called One Month to Live. The author touched on topics and asked questions…Are you living in your passion, living by faith, living in the moment or in the thought of someday? It helped me embrace the steps I’ve taken in writing and publishing my book, living in the present and living life for His glory.
A statement that hit me as I attempted to slow down this week, was the thought that our lives are often lived with the pressure to produce called the “productivity paradox” (p.21). Many of us can’t relax or enjoy “just being.” I admit I love putting a check mark to the left side of my “to do” list.
The paradox is that we may not have anything to show for these truly productive moments when we spend time with God. But we are making deposits that restore our souls and build our faith. Taking in moments with God are essential to our spiritual health. These moments bring freedom and purpose as we learn to operate with eternal perspective.
In Matt. 11:29 (MSG), Jesus invites us to come to Him and “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Those words came alive to me as I observed the fog hovering over the waters in a circular pattern as if God’s breath was blowing them in one direction and then another. What a picture of His Holy Spirit moving in our lives of surrender.
As I observed the calm water against the embankment there shone a perfect reflection of the jagged rocks and trees. There was no ripple and no wind or storm to disturb this reflection. It was a picture of a life at peace reflecting God at all times and in all situations.
Again, I said a prayer of grace to live a life in complete trust as a perfect reflection…but deep down I know there is growth to be completed in me, yielding to the ripples of life brings me closer to His heart…Like learning to be patient and park the boat without wrecking it! …Learning to wait on God while my book is being edited and facing the finances of it by faith!
Last night watching the impressive opening ceremonies of the Olympics, there was a statement made that kept being repeated, “It’s not the finish, but the struggle…” As humans we can all identify with the struggle, but only a few finish for the gold. I was reminded that the struggle is what produces our character! Why do we fight so hard to resist the work God wants to complete in us?
As a Christian, I need to accept the struggles to be made strong for the finish. The quiet moments of rest may seems like there’s nothing to show for it, but God in His wisdom invites us into His presence where change will occur preparing us for the ripples….even unknowingly. In the ripples of life…we will be a peaceful reflection of Him as we learn to trust His love and allowing His Spirit to move in our lives…listening and obeying.
The week went fast on the water with all track of time gone and not much to show for it, but a few pictures, family bonding and great memories. As I drove our Four Winds back to the marina, I learned to take it slow. I gently pulled the boat up to the dock to wait on the others while the houseboat was being returned. “Patience produces perseverance…perseverance produces character…” It’s getting there…that seems a little stressful unless I’m choosing to listen to the “unforced rhythms of grace.”