Three weeks ago, I was in the lush, beautiful country of Honduras, living in my tiny little house, traveling into the wilderness every Sunday to teach children in a tiny village church, hanging out with different friends, and living a slower paced life.
I’ve been back in Los Angeles for less than three weeks, and it has been a huge whirlwind. Photoshoots, meetings, catching up with people. And in just a week the travels start again as we have decided to go back to Honduras for another month to pursue some exciting business ventures.
This is my first blog post for 2016… I purposefully took some time off to just REST. To get out from under my own deadlines and demands and just be still.
To say no to the pressure I put on myself to quickly get another blog post up for the New Year, and instead choose to think about the past year and really soak in to the life lessons learned.
2015 was a year of change for me. New businesses. New baby. New tasks I work on everyday, new roles. New countries.
LOTS of travel.
In 2015 we traveled to South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Washington, British Columbia, the Yukon, Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, and Honduras. All with a baby.
From August through December of last year I wasn’t home for more than 2 weeks at a time… that’s 5 months of travel.
Add to that having my sweet little baby go through all the changes that come with the first 6 through 12 months of life.
With all the travel, with all the adventure, with all the beautiful places I’ve been in in the past year, I think my life might look like “the other side of the fence” to many people.
But I’ve definitely had my share of struggles and challenges, and things God taught me through them.
I was in a Bible Study group a few weeks ago, and one of the moms was sharing how it could be a struggle for her with contentment when she sees people traveling abroad. She has two tiny ones at home and is in a season where she needs to be home.
Later that day I was chatting with Lukas and telling him how I was craving to be home more, to not travel so much, to have a little time to “nest” with Wilder. And then I realized I could have been the one that my friend had been talking about, and here I was, wanting HER life!
Each and every season has its pros and cons. The best thing we can do is ask ourselves how we can serve God BEST in the situation we are currently in, and choose to be purposeful with our time and tasks.
The important thing is to live on purpose wherever we are and in whatever season of life we find ourselves in.
Whether that’s being a mom to three little ones under 5. A busy business owner. Or a caretaker to an older parent. God has you where you are right now for a reason and you can trust that, and be purposeful in it.
So in the midst of having a new baby, learning how to be a mommy, and traveling for half the year, here are some of the life lessons God taught me along the way (and oh how thankful I am for them!)
1.I learned that God is my refuge.
The word refuge means “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble, something providing shelter”
I struggled this year trying to learn how to rest (emotionally, physically, spiritually) in unfamiliar places. Especially with keeping pace with the constant demand of having a little one to take care of, change, nurse, and train.
I was used to resting in my comfortable home in the familiar surrounding, but I didn’t have that option much of the time. I didn’t have my comfy couch, coffee table, and pretty window view to sit and decompress during his nap times.
So I asked myself some hard and helpful questions. How important is my house to me? Would I be ok without it? Am I really dependent on “stuff”? Are there other ways I can learn to rest and recharge?
Getting out of my comfort zone really stretched me. It helped me to truly believe – not just have the head knowledge – that through the power of the Holy Spirit I can be content in ANY situation knowing this one thing…
God alone is my refuge.
Not my comfortable home. Not my husband. Not the everyday familiarity of tasks and check marks on a to do list.
I knew this truth in my head but it became much more real to me last year.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
He is the only One in my life who never changes. He is faithful to me every single day, no matter what happens. No matter what I do.
2. I learned to have more endurance for this fleeting time I have on earth.
The word endurance means “the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.”
There were times last year where I wondered how I could get through the week I had planned in front of me. How I could be so drained emotionally with little recharge time and yet still pour into others.
I learned I definitely couldn’t do that in my own strength. I learned that many times living life purposefully is hard. Loving and serving others when you’re tired is difficult.
But I’m reminded that I have one life to live, and one life to give.
Our life here on earth is a race, and not an easy one.
Scripture calls us to run the race so as to win.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
But how amazing is it that we don’t have to run in our own strength? God promises to use our weakness for His strength, and use us as we run to Him each day.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
-1 Corinthians 12: 9-10
A few months ago my friend Teresa wrote this blog that encouraged me to wake up early even on my most busy day – ESPECIALLY on my most busy day – to spend time with the Lord.
It’s like arming yourself for battle. Spending time with the commander of the army before you get out there and fight.
This idea has helped me really look at each day and the tasks I have to do with more purpose. Which brings me to –
3. I learned to be more purposeful.
What am I really doing? What am I doing with my time? Life? Resources? Talents? What am I spending time thinking about?
We only have ______ days to live here on earth. Whatever that unknown number is, it’s a set number, and we only get one life to live.
When I stop and consider how fleeting my life really is, it motivates me to live purposefully, to make a difference. To seek satisfaction in my relationship with Jesus. To love others like He did. And to serve Him with my whole life out of love for Him giving His life for me.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.
As I’ve been seeking to think that through practically, I remember that we live in a culture that exalts busy.
There are many things we could do but that does not mean that we should.
Saying a purposeful no can be more powerful than saying yes.
Are the little things I’m choosing to fill up my day with pushing me to the bigger goals we have for ourselves as a family?
Am I utilizing the conversations I have with people to encourage and love on them and point them to the One who loves their soul?
I think it’s easy to look at the New Year and make resolutions, but it just might be even more helpful to look at the old year and see what you learned. After all…
The situations you encounter and the choices you make in them day after day is what shapes who you are and who you are becoming.
Farewell, 2015. It’s been a good, hard, filled year.
Thank you for teaching me through your 365 days that God alone is my refuge. I can live each day with endurance in His power, even when I feel weak. And I can choose to use my time purposefully for His glory and to make a difference in this world.
What did you learn in 2015? How are those Life Lessons going to help you in 2016? Maybe you didn’t travel, and maybe you don’t have a baby, but we all have challenging circumstances we live through and I would love to hear what you’re learning!
I hope this little post encourages you to PRESS ON being purposeful. Stop, take a breath. What you’re doing for eternity matters.
My prayers are with you, dear friends. I would love to hear from you in the comments below.