Camping Out

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“They abode in their places in the camp till they were whole.”

When I was little, every weekend my family would go camping at Kentucky Lake. Aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and grandparents would load up the campers and hitch the boats and make the 45 minute trek to the lake. We had 2 spots where we camped (on either side of the Kentucky Lake Bridge).  And I’m not quite sure why we didn’t just go to one place? Anyway, I loved camping, building a fire, riding in the boat, skiing, swimming, and riding our mopeds around the camp. We were young, free, and on adventure. We were away from the world for a little bit.

But sometimes camping is not as fun as I just described; especially when it is not our decision to go. It can be lonely and depressing especially if we are forced to stop on our journey and have to sit out of life for a while.

The little nugget I’m holding was just 5 days old when she was admitted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Cooper was born several weeks early so she was admitted to the hospital to regulate her temperature and body weight.

While staying in the hospital, most of her time was spent “camping out” in an incubator otherwise known as Cooper’s condo. It seemed unfair to have this new budding life boxed in away from the world. On the outside she seemed perfectly fine, but it seemed her insides needed a little more care.

She needed a place to heal.

While I have been “camping out” in my own condo, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. At this current time, I’m reading You’re Already Amazing by Holly Gerth. She writes in great detail on our seasons of encampment and she describes it as this,

There are many reasons why God may tell us to “encamp” for a period of time. For the Israelites, it was an extended “time out” because they blatantly rebelled against God. But that is not always the case.  God may have us “encamp” because we are weary, we need to heal, or we are being prepared for what lies ahead.

For myself, I think I’m camping out for all three.

I can relate to being weary.

Making progress in life is hard work. When we insist on moving forward as quickly as possible, we can wear ourselves out in a hurry. Sometimes when God makes us wait, it’s one of the most merciful things he can do. 

I can relate to needing a healing.

Life’s hard. We get hurt. That means sometimes we need most is for God to stop us right in the middle of our road as we limp along and say, “Daughter, sit down. Rest. Heal. Let me tend to your wounds.

And I’d like to believe I’m being prepared for what lies ahead.

God’s plans for our lives take preparations. That’s not my favorite part – I just want to get to the end result. But sometimes God asks us to “encamp” so that he can do the necessary work in our lives for his purposes. Then when the time is right, we get to dig in and enjoy.

Holly said, “Whatever reason you feel “encamped” in your life right now, use this time to rest and receive the truth your heart needs for the journey.” Like little Cooper, on the outside you appear fine, but you might just need to hang out in the condo for a little while and rest before it is time to pack up and get moving again.


Anything but Myself

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Holes are not the end of our story. In the wholeness journey, they are truly our beginning. – Lisa Whittle

My theme for 2012 has been to connect – connect with people, connect with places, and connect my head with my heart.  And I honestly feel that I hit the ground running with connecting to people and places by my two wonderful trips to Texas in the first two months of the year.  However, it seems my attempt to connecting my head to my heart has been a bit sluggish…maybe even resistant.

When the book titled {W}hole by Lisa Whittle found its way to me, I never realized the impact that it would have on me.  I thought I had worked through some of the issues I now face, but through the course of reading and applying the material, I could see why my life was being interrupted (again).

I desperately needed to know that I would be okay without being anything but myself.

Lisa, the author of {W}hole says,

It becomes dire, that we know who we are outside of those roles. Losing our dependence on a role is the birth of true identity. Until those roles get out of the way, we cannot fully embrace our created role as God’s child. We cannot know the depths of our purpose. We cannot feel the comfort of Him being enough.

With the roles out of the way, I felt exposed and violated. I despised this feeling. But Lisa says,

To gain true and lasting spiritual freedom, I would have to be brave enough to look at those holes without looking away.

As painful as it was, I allowed myself to stay in that mental state of exposure.  No roles involved, just me. And in that moment, my heart started making the connection to what I knew; my identity rested securely on the roles I played and not who I am in Christ.

When I surrendered to the place of saying, “God, I don’t know how to be anything but… I can’t overcome my heartache, I need You to make me whole so I can experience peace and joy and fullness” that is when His power began to fill the voids that once consumed me.

Wholeness of identity is the most beautiful of all things that can happen within the heart of a believer. It helps us hold more tightly to our intimacy with God and more loosely to everything else that might change.

Don’t let holes, be the end of your story.



Beyond the Circumstance

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“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believed that something inside of them was superior to circumstances.” – Bruce Bartonthat

Life is tough and it is filled with heartache and sorrow. No one ever said we would be free of that. But what happens when heartache outweighs joy? I ask this question because it seems that I am faced with disappointment after disappointment, and it never seems to end. Can I be honest here? When is it going to work out for me? Just one area is all that I am asking.

The relationship I thought would lead to marriage ended, the job that brought me fulfillment and was leading me towards financial freedom ended, and the book that I believed would be published did not even place in the writing contest (the second time I entered it).

With this string of disappointments, it is very hard not to sucumb to the state of feeling jaded; especially when everyone around me is getting married, having babies, getting promoted, and thriving and flourishing. 

Everything pertaining to me is dying.

I’ll be honest, there is a part of me that wants to give up on my dreams and just settle with complacency. It’s easier. I’m tired of putting myself out there, only to have the door closed in my face.  I’m tired of the disappointment and quite frankly, I’m tired of having a broken heart.

While hiking yesterday (my inexpensive therapy), I heard a song from Mumford and Sons titled Hold on to What You Believe. The refrain went something like this…

But hold on to what you believe in the light
When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight

And yes, while hiking, I began to weep.  (Thank God I was alone on the trail as I would look rather crazy to some onlookers.) I wept because it is true; all the disappointment I face has robbed me of everything I was dreaming and working for and my vision has been tainted.

But as the lyrics convey, I must hold on to what I believe; belief that one day I will walk down the aisle, belief that one day I will work again, and belief that one day my dreams will be seen in fine print.

Later on that evening, my cousin gave me a gift. Much to her excitement, she found a random red pawn while shopping at Hobby Lobby.

You see, I am the red pawn in my book My Next Move. I like to believe it was more than a coincedence that she found this for me. It is a tangible reminder that my dreams are possible. 

Cover of My Next Move

While my heart is still trying to mend, my eyes can focus beyond the circumstance.