Last weekend, I spent some time away at a women's retreat with a bunch of wonderful women from our church. We went with expectant hearts, anticipatory for what God does when we take time to abide in His promises. Not surprisingly, Abide was the theme of the weekend. These were a few things I wrote down during speaker sessions:
"Not one second of this world is wasted [...] The chaos [of our lives] is not being wasted." Angela Suh "We try to convince God that our story is much better than the story he has for us [...but] we are invited into a story with a far better storyteller than ourselves." Kate Terry
During the less-than-24-hours we were at camp, we:
- drank la croix
- ate s'mores
- swung on the swings and went down slides (I know, I'm five)
- braided hair
- skipped showering
- slept to the sound of a rainstorm in bunkbeds and sleeping bags
- dodged puddles
- helped ourselves to second and third(!) cups of coffee (maybe that was just me?)
- enjoyed no cell coverage
- worshipped God
- cried some and laughed a lot
The few days leading up to the retreat were in and of themselves, a retreat from something else: social media. A friend of mine is taking a break from Instagram, and I felt convicted enough to join her in that. Why? Because the idea of doing that terrified me. It's as ridiculous as it sounds, I mean—it's just social media. But my goodness, my identity and worth are quite distinct from my online appearance, and I found myself confusing the two. I'm not abstaining from Instagram anymore, but I'm checking myself before I check my feed. If I'm lonely or seeking affirmation, I need to look elsewhere. Social media will not satisfy those desires; communion with God will. I'm not surprised that the conviction for both of these "retreats" occurred simultaneously. Rather than basking in the fickle, short-lived approval from others, I can choose freedom from that. As a child of God, I can instead bask in the presence of the Lord, abiding in His promises for me. And, I can partake in His story for me, knowing that His story for me is so much more wonderful than any I could write myself on my Instagram, or in my heart.
Starting sometime in the fall, I made a point to be a bit more creative and find new to us trails to hike on and explore. Since then, we have found several new favorites for when we are in the mood for a hike, regardless of the season.
2022: A year in review
Welcome to my annual post of our life in the last year – a review of all the big and little events, travels, habits, heartbreaks, and joys. These posts require a lot of time and energy, in part due to sifting through all the posts I wrote in the last year, but also because these posts spur me to reflect and sit with the previous year for a moment, before stepping into the next one.
2021: A year in review
Every January, I assemble a blog post of sorts that catalogs our year. Largely organized in list-form, I touch on the big and little things, events and thoughts and experiences that shaped our life over the last year. I do find this incredibly helpful as a sort of reflection, a glance back on the Lord's faithfulness, to show me, time and time again, that He is a good God. And with that mindset, I feel less encumbered as we continue on into the new year, more ready to face a full year of new, fresh days, with the heart attitude that regardless of what the days will hold, mundane or exciting, difficult or good, I can walk into the future with hope and trust in Him. Plus, I do enjoy looking back on a lot of the little details of our life, the ones that make me smile or think, Oh, yes! We loved that! What a little joy in our life.