***Please note…my wordpress has decided extra spacing between paragraphs is overrated for this post. It blatantly refused to cooperate in any way shape or form. Nice try Satan***
When life begins to get extremely messy, chaotic and loud, I like to take time away. Time to find a moment of stillness. And more often then not I seem to find that stillness in nature, music and through prayer.
Our culture is so bombarded with noise. To me there’s so much truth found in the lyrics of the Kenny Chesney song “Noise”.
Every room, every house, every shade of noise
All the floors, all the walls, they all shake with noise
We can’t sleep, we can’t think, can’t escape the noise
We can’t take the noise, so we just make
Then you throw in all the demands from every side on top of the noise. Once upon a time there was a world where we were able to get away, to have space, to find a temporary sanctuary. But now we must be available at all times. Are expected to respond to everyone immediately. We live in a world full of tired people constantly craving peace and rest.
I’m blessed and currently live on a farm and have a home that I truly consider my sanctuary. But there have been seasons where the chaos and noise have pushed me to stop counting the good.
Sanctuary~The one place on earth where I am able to breathe. Able to connect with the spirit of God. To be still and listen. To be surrounded by nature and able to commune with the Creator and His creation. Sitting in a pasture, soaking up sunrises and sunsets, reminds me how big my God is.
It’s here, in this sanctuary, that I see His beauty the most. Where I see His glory shining even among the thistles and weeds. Where I feel Him planting seeds of hope even on dark days. I find Him in a way that fills me with peace, true rest, and assurances down in the deepest hidden places of my heart and soul when I’m surrounded by his creation.
I read recently that we either live our lives as if nothing is a miracle or as if everything is a miracle. Over the course of my gift of time back at our Sanctuary I have been striving to recognize every miracle. From the stunning beauty of creation to small answered prayers. To absorb the emotions that come through nature, prayer and particular pieces of music I am filling myself with.
Several evenings ago I had already called it a day before 8:00pm and was reading a book in bed and seeking rest. There was a million thoughts running through my head creating chaos. Will I ever find a new job? Will our money run out before I do? Will the money driven members of our community actually destroy our life with a view that this agricultural, nature loving girl considers her sanctuary? Will our crops fair well this year? Will we be able to farm next year? Will I be able to pull off the church’s upcoming fundraiser I volunteered for and not embarrass us all? Nagging voices of doubt, growing louder each minute.
I prayed for God to help me still the cycle of fear taking circle in my head and to hear Him.
I glanced up at the fading sunrise filtering through the trees and dirty window and noticed what appeared to be a small heart streaming through golden hour.
Last week I decided to finally update my phone after 1,897 issues and making a lot of unnecessary noise myself screaming at it for months. After snapping the above picture I received some type of notification from my photo album letting me know the video of my “Best Moments from 2017″ was ready. I have my phone set up so I don’t receive notifications for almost anything because it’s just more distracting NOISE, so this was something I had never seen before. Since I had no clue what it was talking about I opened up the notification and proceeded to BAWL MY EVER LOVING EYES OUT while watching a 5:56 minute slide show movie, set to music, of our life from last year. Everything has changed, and yet in a way it’s still the same.
Oh how easily it is to let the chaos and noise drown out the good.
There was a multitude of snapshots I had already forgotten. Those of simplicity, joy and simple pleasures. Moments of celebration and of death and heartache. Glimpses of ideas and dreams that came true. Miracles such as the drought we survived. And since I never tire of taking photos of our animals there was a plethora of them.
Most of us don’t live our lives and stories out on the big screen. But I think we all dream that our lives will be as beautiful as what we see on the screen or social media. We quickly get lost in what the Jones’ have and forget to count our own blessings big and small.
Maybe we can drown out some of the noise if we try to live our own individual stories that God is mapping out and not the world’s version. Living life watching our own highlight reel instead of someone else’s.
This past Sunday our minister began a new sermon series called Peace In The Valley. During his sermon he read from parts of Psalm 139. A chapter I have memorized by heart but honestly hadn’t thought about for years. I closed my eyes and let the words fall from my lips and soothe my soul.
It’s been an interesting 2018 thus far to say the least. Some of the chaos has been heavy. We jokingly laughed yesterday that we may be living in a tent shortly. I wish that wasn’t even something to joke about.
But obviously wrapped in with the noise of this world there is so much goodness happening if I just take a breath, sit in His stillness, count my blessings, watch my own highlight reel of the story we are living and trust God is still writing the rest of the adventure whatever it may be.
You were there in the valley of shadows
You were there in the depth of my sorrows
You’re my strength, my hope for tomorrow
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me
I hope you take a moment to count your blessings regardless of whatever season life is throwing at you currently. I also hope you take a moment to read Psalm 139. I’ve attached the completely unedited video of part of our 2017 year that my phone and the Lord decided I needed to see. In just a short time everything has changed, and yet it hasn’t also. And I know earlier I suggested watching our own highlights instead of other’s but there are glimpses of moments with family and friends and they are all such a huge part of my story. For some of them this may be the only way for them to be able to look back also.
If you are computer or phone savvy then I urge you to create your own highlight reel. Most phones will do all the work for you and maybe you can sit for just 5 minutes and enjoy what you have possibly forgotten.
(***I am not a movie or video editor. It took way too much time just to figure out how to get our video on here so when I say unedited I mean unedited. The best viewing option is in HD, but living in the sticks our internet is sketchy and just uploading it was a task in itself so I wasn’t going to play around for a week straight to make it presentable. It is exactly as when I first saw it. Adjust your settings as need be lol***)
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.