I try to keep a clean slate with God.
I am conscious of keeping my heart clean before Him and soft, yielded and pliable to Him.
I am aware of my thought life, of keeping my mind ruled by His peace,
of keeping my thoughts focused on whatever is pure and true and right and lovely.
it happens every time we go away on vacation.
He shows me the truth about me.
He doesn't do it in a finger pointing, eyebrows raised, "you're in trouble now" way.
He does it tenderly, lovingly.
He does it with the beauty...
-the beauty of unhurried time with Him and no lists of to-dos to worry about
-the beauty of His Word
-the beauty of well written words that touch my heart and expose my need
-the beauty of the green-blue sea of southern California
-or the steely-gray sea of the Pacific Northwest
-the red rock, cactus studded, beauty of the Couchella Valley
-the majesty of craggy, snow topped Mt. Hood
-the winding of a slow, lazy river
-the rush of a waterfall
-a fiery red sunset
-an incredibly huge full moon...
He undoes me with the beauty.
He woos me into complete and total surrender.
All my walls of self protection crumble.
I stand soul naked and unashamed before Him.
He tenderly shows me offenses I've held on to, areas of anger, unforgiveness, bitterness.
He shows me hidden places of hurts and wounds,
things I've not wanted to look at, to deal with.
He shows me how I'm so easily inclined toward selfishness,
toward grasping tightly to my rights and the way I want things to be, the way I think they ought to be.
He gently persuades me to uncurl my fingers, to loosen my grasp, to let go.
He woos me with the beauty and His tender love until I trust Him enough
to go way below the surface of my "I'm ok. I'm fine." life.
He takes me from trust being my word for the year, to being the way I really want to live.
I journal these vacation encounters,
these revelations of my own heart, my own need, my own soul hunger,
and His deep, unfathomable ability to heal, to deliver, to satisfy.
Sometimes, He gives me a word to go home with, a plan, an idea.
I could take you to the places...
-a rock on a bluff overlooking the sea on the Oregon Coast
-my favorite spot by Lake Washington
-on the white sand beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama
-on a balcony looking out at the red hills that surround Palm Springs
-on a float in a swimming pool
-on a lounge chair with my Bible and journal
-walking by the blue-green Pacific in southern California
He plows my heart deep, removing the deeply buried rocks, the deeply twisted roots.
He plows the soil fine and readies it to receive the the seed of the implanted Word.
He ministers tenderly, applying healing balm to the wounded places within.
I don't know why it's always when we're away that He seems to go the deepest.
Maybe it's the only time I'm still, the only time I'm undistracted.
But this, this is the thing that makes returning to real life the hardest.
I don't want to leave this place where my heart feels as soft as butter to His touch.
I don't want to forget that sometimes to just sit and look at the sea is worship.
I don't want to go back and forget that as I walked by the sea with my feet bare,
I walked on holy ground with Him.
I don't want to forget the way He meets me, the way He loves me, so sweetly, tenderly, kind.
I want this kind of encounter at the sink as I do the dishes,
at the desk in my home office,
at the church when I'm counseling a hurting one.
I want to live a completely surrendered, all walls down, soul naked and unashamed, daily life.