Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vacation encounters...

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.

still following,




  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and encouraging me here, Carol!

  2. Beautiful, Elizabeth. I long for time with my savior. I'm praying that now that I'm out of the super secularism of the public liberal arts college I can surround myself with other Christians. My heart has toughened these past 11 years. I need the rocks and roots removed so the seeds of truth can bloom and the roots grow deep.

    1. I'm excited to hear about the changes in your life!

  3. Simply beautiful, Elizabeth. I love journaling while on vacation. It has a way of revealing many things, doesn't it?

    1. Dayle, I agree...something about getting away just opens the lines of communication between God and I. Sometimes, if I can't leave town, I just go find a spot by the river or at a park in our city.

  4. This glimpse into your heart is so beautiful, so tender.

  5. I long for the same things, Elizabeth. To be real and truthful with no walls. He knows me anyway. Why should I put on for anyone else? No vacation this year for us so running has been my release. Do you know how hard it is hard to run while crying the ugly cry? But then He comforts me in it all like the Father He is.

    1. Oh friend, I do know the running and the tears and the venting my soul to Jesus and Him speaking to me. I'm so grateful for the use of my brother's home for our vacation, making it affordable and doable. After no vacation last year due to our church building project, we really needed this.

  6. Your beautiful heart shines so brightly. Love this. And YOU!

  7. Well, you certainly outdid yourself on this post--my favorite ever. God is giving you much increase in the writing area--Praises to Him!

    1. Ah say that every time! Love you, friend.

  8. Elizabeth, I think a purposeful Sabbath attitude is the one way to keep that precious, open listening heart even when we're back in the middle of our crazy, big lives. I've been both places--crazy, busy and resting on the Southern California sand. This is a beautiful reminder to me about being intentional as I can to find the quiet in the midst of a demanding life.
    This was lovely to read.

    1. Thank you, Jody. We've been so blessed to be able to stay in my brother's home, to relax and rest and enjoy the beauty here. I'm beyond grateful!

  9. What a beautiful look into your soul! I long to know the same things every day, in the mundane part of everyday life. Time alone with Him is the only way it can happen. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    1. Thank you for encouraging me so! You are a blessing in my life.

  10. I want to encounter this at the sink when I do dishes and at the desk in my home office...

    I loved that part and it is exactly what God is speaking to me right now. I have been very convicted about not necessarily my use of time as much as my heart regarding HIM in the center of my use of time.

    Beautiful post.

    1. Debbie, I feel like I don't want to leave this place, to lose the connection made here with Him. It's hard to stay in intimacy with Jesus in the busy-ness and distractions of my "real" life.

  11. Absolutely gorgeous. Straight from your soul. And you wrote about my word for 2012....which should probably be my word for life. Surrender.

    Thank you. XOXO

    1. Thank you so much, Julie. Surrender and trust are inseparable, don't you think?

  12. Hi Elizabeth,

    Nice to meet you. I'm hopping over from the IP link up. "soul naked and unashamed" -- yes. :)

    Jennifer Dougan


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