I was about to start this post with, “how was everyone’s 4th of July?” when I realized that it’s been over a week since that happened, y’all. Where is the time going? And more importantly, where is the SUMMER going? Please don’t make me leave these long, warm days. Anyway, I’m finally recovering from a serious vacation hangover (I’ve been back in the groove for a week now and I’m still struggling), so before completely moving on I had to recap what was a wonderful, restful week.
I’ve spent a lot of summer stints by the ocean over the years, and too many of those weeks have come and gone without me truly appreciating the beauty in rest. But this time, for whatever reason, I had so many coveted opportunities to sit in silence and simply become overwhelmed by the beauty of God and His creation.
There’s something powerful about stillness. In our world of needing to deliver everything instantaneously — whether it’s the latest news, wittiest one-liner or this blog post (which, clearly I missed the mark on) — it was so nice to turn everything off, be with family and enjoy what was around me… and nothing more. For so many of you, I would challenge you to think about the last time that you truly had no distractions. I think for many of us, the thought of sitting with ourselves and having nothing to entertain us can be overwhelming.
The first morning we were at the beach, I went downstairs to get coffee and was planning to go straight back to our hotel room, when suddenly it came to mind that there was more to do with that time when the world was quiet. So without thinking anymore about it (which isn’t like me, you guys), I just went to the beach. I walked on the sand with no purpose or intention and as I looked around me and saw nothing but ocean, I was so riveted by the reality of what God had put before me that all I knew to do was pray.
It was one of those moments that I never wanted to forget, but what stood out to me the most is that while I was praying and thanking the Lord for bringing me to that place at that time, it came on my heart that my love for the beach is not what makes God beautiful. It was like the Spirit was protecting me from going home and thinking that I could only have a moment of revelation and clarity if I was sitting with my toes in the sand, and what a blessing it is that this is not the case.
But even still, as I sit in my living room and relive that moment while writing this, I can’t help but wish that all of our days were that simple and joyful. What I realized over those few days at the beach, though, is that God uses these times of stillness to prepare us for the busyness of life. He reaches us in these moments of freedom and vulnerability and reminds us of our purpose and the promise that He has made to those who love Him. And without the truth of who God is, I could justify to myself the desire to sit in a beach chair and “experience” Him through nothing but the beauty before me. But when I know the truth of the gospel and feel it inside of my heart, I know that it’s in the hard conversations, busy days, and overwhelming circumstances when I experience the steadfast love and provision of the Lord. He speaks to us in the stillness, but He does far more in the busyness of life.
I am still working to convince myself of this many times, if I’m being honest. There are so many times when I idolize a “simple” life under the guise that it must be what God is calling me to, but I know that we’re called to so much more. And even then, in His infinite love for us, the Lord gives us these moments that speak to our hearts like nothing else can. For that, I’m grateful.
I also think that it’s only by the grace of God that this is less of a love letter to the beach, and more of a love letter to the One who created it. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, our anniversary trip was wonderful, restful and encouraging for what’s to come as we enter into our second year of marriage. I’ve included a few of my favorite photos from our time at the beach + in Waco, Texas (where you at, Fixer Upper fans?!). Enjoy and as always, thanks for reading!