As a full-time wife, boy mom, worship pastor and sweet friend — Stephanie knows how life can get a little cray cray. We asked her to share something close to her heart and today she is challenging us to spend some extra time with Jesus this month … no matter how stacked our schedule gets! I hope her testimony of how the Lord used a little getaway to speak to her triggers a little something in your heart.
-The Women of The Well
My happy place is the beach. I love everything about it. The sound of the waves. The calming image of those same waves cresting and crashing on the shore against rocks. The freedom and carefree feeling of looking across a vast ocean; imagining what it’s like and what the people on the other side of the horizon are doing. It’s incredible to say the least. It’s in this place that it’s easiest to feel most like myself. Most closely linked to the heart of God.
This past summer my husband, Kyle, and I took a trip together (kid free I might add!) down to Puerto Rico. I’ll save you the long story of how we got there, but it involves a last minute change of plans due to an expired passport (I have a very forgiving husband!).
Soul-tired, exhausted from a long season of transition and stressed from the passport drama, I stepped into my happy place. The first day at our resort we claimed the perfect spot out on the deck and settled in. I picked up a book that I had begun reading a few months before. Of course, I got distracted after like the first chapter (typical) and never finished Shauna Niequist’s, Present Over Perfect. As I turned page after page, I found myself wiping tears as the words I read confirmed whispers I had been too busy and distracted to hear before.
‘Slow down. Listen. Be Still. Be with me. I will make you whole.’
Literally, I just copied the exact words I wrote in my journal that day.
Every weekend, I have the privilege and honor of leading the people at my church in worship. I absolutely love seeing people have an encounter with God as tears fall from their face because His presence is that strong! We often say, ‘You can’t lead people somewhere you aren’t.’ If I want to lead people to have an experience with God, I have to be experiencing God personally on my own. But how easy is it to get swept away into the torturous cycle of distractions?! Trying to prove, to be enough, to earn, to strive…. strive…. STRIVE! It’s crazy how fast striving can begin to overwhelm your soul; how quickly it can steer your heart away from an intimate connection with the ONE who freely gives what you desperately need in the first place.
Puerto Rico translated to English means Rich Port, and a port is a town with a harbor where ships come to load or unload or a place where ships may ride secure from storms. My my my, what a beautiful way God reminded me on this trip that He, alone, is the rich port for my soul. When I rest in Him, He takes in whatever I’m bringing (the good, bad and ugly), and what He gives is more valuable than anything I could buy. As we unload all the striving, He gives us in return this comfort,
“Daughter, with you I am pleased. There is nothing you can do to change how much I love you. Be who I’ve created you to be. Rest in me. I am enough, and I will equip you with all you need for each sail in any season. Abide, remain in me and I will be with you in every storm and every beautiful day in between.”
There’s countless ways we can pursue Christ by spending time with Him. If you don’t know where to start or are looking for a different idea, I’d love to invite you to do something my pastor challenged us to do. It’s called 30 for 30. We all know we’ll make time for things that are important to us, so we’re gonna make time for Jesus (well, because time with Him is the most important decision we’ll make in our day) by setting aside 30 minutes a day for 30 days. There’s 31 chapters in Proverbs, one for each day.
Begin your time by:
1. READ the chapter for that day for the first 10 minutes. If you finish early, go back and read it again – allow the words to sink in. If it’s telling a story, imagine yourself as a part of the story.
2. RESPOND by journaling for the next 10 minutes. What was God revealing to you as you read scripture. What stuck out to you strongly and what did it reveal about yourself and the heart of God?
3. LISTEN by praying for the last 10 minutes. This is often the hardest part, especially when everything around us is anything but quiet. But God is speaking, we just have to make sure we slow down, get still and listen.
I promise after 30 days of intentional time spent with Jesus, your soul will be satisfied and maybe you’ll find like I have that you don’t have to wait for a vacation to the beach to find your “happy place.”
You are loved,
** Hurricane Maria brought terrible devastation to Puerto Rico last month, and we can do something to help! Consider donating to Convoy of Hope, a faith-based initiative that provides food, water and emergency supplies to those in need. You can make a donation at convoyofhope.org.