Right now I am trying to think of all of the things I might need for both The Little Outdoorsman and myself. He's pretty good to go. I have some kid-safe sunscreen, a couple pairs of swim trunks, water shoes, and plenty of swim safety stuff like life jackets and those awesome puddle jumpers. Boys.
TJ Maxx? Still wrong.
The local grocery store. For 25% off. That's right! You know you're jealous! #momlife
So now only one thing looms on the horizon- far above a rental car and fun money.
So here's the game plan. I am going to think about swimsuit shopping for the rest of the week in fear and dread. Saturday morning, I will text my sister. The conversation will look like this:
Me: Swimsuit shopping. Kohl's. One hour. Need moral support.
Jess: Only if I can watch Reed and we can get ice cream afterwards.
We will meet up, she will whisk Reed away while magically appearing whenever I need her to look at my swimsuit. We will find one that makes me look like a modestly-clad Scarlett Johansson. It will fit me perfectly. And it will be 50% off. And then we will go get ice cream.
I will not accept anything less than this.
But once the swimsuit shopping escapade is over, I think I am going to be ready for this trip! I haven't been on a vacation in a long time. I am really looking forward to experiencing the beach for the first time with Reed, spending time with my family, and most of all, listening to the ocean.
As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in
Every time I listen to this song, I think of those waves at the beach. How repetitive they are. How they never stop. All day, all night, I'll be able to hear those waves crashing on the beach. Just like God's love, they are never ending. Actually, God's love is even stronger, more long-lasting, and more soothing than the waves on the shore of the most beautiful beach.
He loves me so much.
He loves you so much, too.
So why do I still worry? Why do I still get caught up in the cares of this life?
Because I forget to sit and listen to the waves.
And before I know it, I'm not paying attention to His love, wave after wave, crashing over me. Instead, I'm looking at the waves of this life, just like Peter, tossing this little boat I call my life around. Oh, I would so much rather listen to the waves of His love.
So how do we listen to the waves? How do we keep in mind how much God loves us, especially in the midst of this busy life? How do we maintain that heavenly perspective?
1. Spend time alone with God each day
Spending time with God in the morning has become essential to my growth as a Christian. This is scheduled time where I get alone, completely alone, and read my Bible, pray, journal, think, and dream with my Savior. This alone time gives me perspective for each day and allows me to wake up in peace. I wrote more about this in my earliest Faith blog posts, which you can find here: (Part 1) (Part 2)
2. Meditate on God's Word
When I am having a really bad day, I like to talk to myself using scriptures. I began doing this after listening to a teaching by Joyce Meyer. For example, if I am having a day where I am feeling forgotten or lost, I will repeat one of my favorite reminders of God's love: "You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me" Psalm 139:5 (NIV). After saying this five, ten, or two hundred times (hey- don't judge!), I always feel better, and I am reminded that God is in control and directing my footsteps.
3. Listen to Christian Music
I am a big Christian music fan! We are fortunate to have two really awesome Christian music radio stations on our FM radio, and they are such an encouragement to me. Any time I am in the car or by myself at home, I have Christian music on. It is a great reminder of God's love. Sometimes, in the afternoons, Reed and I will turn on Israel Houghton, Elevation Worship, or Hillsong United and just have a dance party. Reed brings the guitar and the drum set and we just have a great time. I'm sure it is hilarious for the neighbors.
4. Attend a church service or concert
One of my favorite things to do is to go to a Christian music concert or conference. We attend an amazing church every Sunday, but there is something about getting together with a group of believers in a larger setting that just amps everything up. My life has been changed forever at some of the concerts and conferences I have attended. They are refreshing, rejuvenating, and provide a great opportunity to connect with other believers outside of your local church. You can check for concerts and events in your area at www.klove.com/events/local/
5. Keep a journal of all of the ways God blesses you in one day.
If you are having an especially rough week, try keeping track for an entire day every way God blesses you in that day. Your list should cover big and small blessings.
For example, my list for today might start in this way:
1. I got a full night's sleep
2. I have breakfast to eat.
3. I was able to avoid traffic on my way to work.
You get the idea. So many blessings!
If you don't want to cart around a journal all day, use the Notes app on your phone. You will be surprised by all of the little things God does each day to show His love for you.
These are just some of the strategies that I use to help keep myself aware of God's love for me. Each day I find it a challenge to "Set my mind on things above" (Colossians 3:2), and I know I am not alone in this struggle! So today, rest in Jesus's love. Think about the waves of the sea, or the clouds in the sky, or the wind blowing in your face, and realize that His love for you is so much greater than these wonders of nature. He sees your every move. You are the apple of his eye. He chose you. He died for you. He is preparing a place for you. Set your mind on heavenly things, on the waves of His love, and watch the storms here on earth fade from view.
Grace and peace,