It was still January. Back in September, the Lord reminded me of something He asked me to do 3 years previous. Something I agreed to do - and never did.
My life can be pretty crazy sometimes. I'm a widow raising two active, young girls. I co-lead a group at church that encourages single moms. At that time I helped out as a small group leader in our AWANA program. I'm involved in teaching and various other homeschool co-op activities.
That's right - I homeschool - homeschooling can involve an awful lot of school that doesn't take place at home!
I also try to keep the house in some sort of order. Get the dishes done. Do the laundry. Make meals on a regular basis.
I've gotten very good at just doing "the next thing"!
The Lord had prompted me about rest and planning time to rest every school year. Typically midway through the year I'm pretty fried. Emotionally, mentally and physically.
Well, anyway, He reminded me about our previous conversation. When I assured Him I'd plan better this year He asked me where I wanted to go - on my own - to get some rest. I knew almost immediately. I wanted to see Rebekah.
About two and a half years ago I was looking for a book that would speak to my desire to raise my girls to really walk with God in a deep way-from their hearts. Lots of material exists to help us instruct our kids on the "shoulds" of the Christian life, but I was looking for some ways to encourage the "desperately, passionately want to" of the Christian walk for my girls. Something that addressed spiritual warfare and learning to listen well for God to speak in their lives.
Online I found Conversations with Our Kindergartner by Maggie and Rebekah Garvin. That's how I began getting to know Rebekah. She lives in Idaho.
So, that's how I ended up flying off to Idaho - in January!
I was sooooo excited. I had never taken a trip like this, for a vacation, completely on my own.
My dad dropped me off at the airport before he headed to my parents, with my girls, for the week.
I had a little adventure when I checked my bag. It was overweight! By eight whole pounds! Good grief. Books will get you in trouble every time!
I got that problem squared away and then it was pretty smooth sailing, er, flying. I flew into Spokane and picked up my car rental. It felt kind of surreal. Truly. I had never undertaken anything like this on my own and I couldn't believe that I got to do it! I kept thinking about my dad's words throughout my years of growing up.
Often when we weren't allowed to have or do something we wanted, my dad would say, "You need to have things to look forward to. Just think about how much more you'll appreciate doing/having x in the future!"
Anyway, I doubt the clerk at the car rental counter had ever dealt with a customer as smiley and good natured as I!
I got my baggage loaded and hooked up my GPS (yes, I was very proud I'd thought to bring that from home!). I was off!
I found a grocery store and shopped while I was still in Washington. (I had read about the tax on groceries in Idaho.) Then I put in some music and planned to enjoy the 2 hour drive to the condo I had rented through a friend's timeshare plan.
The trip out really hadn't been stressful, and I'd been fairly relaxed, but during that drive I felt any residual tension just melt out of me. The area was beautiful. Mountains and snow and wildlife and moving water. At times I was singing at the top of my lungs and at others I was quiet and prayerful, excited about what God would have for me in the week to come.
My only goal for that day was to arrive at the condo before dark. It was on a winding road and I didn't want any trouble reaching it.
As I began to drive through Coeur d' Alene, I started to get excited. I was almost there!
Then I turned off the main road and began a winding ascent toward my respite for the week. The scenery continued to be breathtakingly beautiful. And the road along Lake Coeur d Alene just kept going up! You know what? The lake wasn't frozen! Here in Minnesota I'm used to seeing those ice houses out on the lake. I'm not often at the North Shore in the winter. It didn't occur to me that I'd get to see the open water!
I arrived at the condo complex and obtained my key. I parked, grabbed a piece of luggage and headed up the outdoor elevator to find my condo. As the door swung open I couldn't believe what I saw.
The entrance to the condo was at the back. I could see all the way down the wide spacious hallway out the large front windows to view the lake surrounded with snow covered mountains!
As I began to walk down the hall toward those windows I felt the tears begin to trickle down my cheeks. When I booked the reservation, there was no guarantee I'd get a nice view. You just never know.
But, God knew.
There is something restful about lakes for me. Rivers too. I have many fond memories of going to my grandparents lake cabin as a child. It just gives me a sense of calm to view the water. Being on it is even better, but just looking at it is enough to minister to my spirit in a special way. I fell in love with the mountains when I attended the Captivating retreat in the mountains of Colorado. When I'm near the mountains I feel like I'm looking at God's strength. I feel safe. I took that moment to praise God. To thank Him. To invite Him to navigate the week and my time there completely. This week was for He and I alone. I was away from all of the clutter of my life. The "should dos" and obligations of my life. I was free to walk in Kingdom life as much as I desired.
So, what did I do? I rested. I let God take me where He wanted me to go. To see the sights He wanted me to see and meet the people He wanted me to meet. I took plenty of time to be still...and listen.
I visited Rebekah. I read God's Word and spent time with Him. I wrote. I read most of the books I'd brought along. I swam (in the pool at the condo). I worked out. I turned a previous acquaintanceship with Paula into a cherished friendship that encourages me to keep reaching for the biggest dreams I have! I walked - for miles. Enjoyed coffee for the first time in months at Java in downtown Coeur d' Alene. Attended a bridal fair and enjoyed being part of Rebekah's life. I joined them for Shebbat. Shared 24 hours with a stomach bug and watched cable tv that I never see because we don't have cable. Facebooked. Slept whenever I wanted, including a nap in the middle of one day. Ate wonderful food. Listened to an entire teaching series on Holy Sexuality. Went to a movie and dinner by myself. Experienced a photo shoot with the most phenomenal photographer ever - Rebekah! Shopped. Took pictures. Explored. Enjoyed breathing.
I listened. God used every movement of that week to minister to me. (Even the cable tv watching, if you can believe that! He's that good!) I re-focused. I remembered my purpose and Whose I am and why I'm so passionate about my life and all of who I am proclaiming that. God is GOOD. He is FAITHFUL and He is my EVERYTHING.
I headed home at the end of that week ready to do "the next thing".