Forest Through the Trees

UG Redwoods

I’d like to apologize for the unexpected absence of a post last week; we were traveling and I planned on having wi-fi when I needed to finalize the article and schedule it… obviously, you can tell I misjudged things! But, it has given me time to ponder something things…

We spent a wonderful week at Mount Hermon, a fantastic Christian retreat center, with my parents and siblings in honor of my parents’ 35th anniversary. It had been a year since we had seem my family and our kids loved being with their precious grandparents, auntie, and uncles, to put it mildly. Ethan asked if he could go home with them and I could pick him up in a year…

Things have been really busy at home lately, as is probably the case for most people. I last posted about Why I Turned the TV Off in order to gain some quiet and to be more intentional with our time. But, it doesn’t really stop there. While we were gone, I kept thinking that just creating quiet in our lives isn’t enough; it is easy to say that we are making space for God, but if we aren’t intentional about following Him in the space we’ve created, nothing has really changed.

It isn’t enough just to make space in our lives. It isn’t enough just to have more quiet. If we focus simply on finding quiet, we delve into the realms of mysticism or eastern religions. We create a void that is simply a void.

If we learn nothing else from science, it is important to remember that nature abhors a vacuum. Something, anything really, will be pushed into the empty space by the world.

I’d rather choose what to fill myself up with rather than letting the world push things into my space I’ve created. I’m choosing God. If not, we are really just losing sight of the forest through the trees.

In my quiet, I can pray and meditate on His word in the scriptures. He speaks best and loudest when we are listening. (and ironically, our pastor’s sermon was on this topic this week even though I had already written this. I think God is trying to tell me something!)

I think that is why I loved spending time at Mount Hermon. Located just outside Santa Cruz in California, the camp was a great place to be intentional and use that space to refocus. It is in gorgeous forest with Redwoods that just lends itself to worship.

Worship is the natural outpouring of our relationship with God. The more we focus on Him, the more we see Him in everything. It’s not that He becomes everything, rather we finally learn to see Him where He has always been in the quiet, just waiting for us. Just like the giant Redwoods that have stood for centuries. They are impossible not to notice.

On a side note, I told Luke that we were going to see some trees so big that he would be able to walk through them. I was totally dumbfounded when we got there and he told me that I lied- he was upset that he couldn’t walk through them and promptly ran straight into the tree to prove his point about their solidity. He is my literal child and I think I need to be more specific for him in the future.

Retreats are wonderful, especially at this camp, but we need to make sure we are building God into our lives so He can fully be our life when we return too. That is really the whole point of going away: so we can return and return with new perspective.

And then we came home and were immediately back to the grind…

Within two days, one of my boys decided to spray WD-40 on my tile bathroom floor. We need to be on our toes around here… or we will literally be off them as I was in this incident with, as my brother would say, all the grace of a drowning, pregnant hippopotamus.

Clearly life is back to normal. Just to clarify, I have been asked multiple times if all the stories here and here are true.  I’m honestly not embellishing or making anything up; this has all really happened and hence the fact I have to leave the room laughing more often than not since trying to explain their actions are bad doesn’t work while in hysterics.

But what isn’t normal is my renewed commitment to be intentional about using the space in my life for God: listening, mediating on His word, and praying. I just might be doing this from the couch with a sprained ankle if there is another WD-40 incident.

Hopefully not. (I’m hiding it where it will never be found again!!!)

If so, I think I just might go back to Mount Hermon.

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