Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

13 Things I Learned in July 2013

I've been especially quiet here for the past month. I thought about coming back here a number quite a few times, but in a lot of ways felt too empty. I missed this place, but the quiet was necessary. Even though I had not really intended to take a break for a month, I realize now that I needed to.

I was out at the pool today with a friend and our children and she asked me what I've been pondering these days. We didn't really get to elaborate on our conversation a whole lot due to the location and the responsibility we had to watch our children, deal with necessary interruptions and give them lunch.

I thought I would recap here some of the things I pondered or learned in July. I got the great idea from Emily Freeman who posts and hosts a link-up at the end of the month for others to post about what they have all learned the past month.

In no particular order, I will list here some of the things that I have discovered, pondered, learned, or relearned:

1.  I really need to plan on having crash days after a busy week away and hosting company and having a family wedding before going away for another busy week. I thought I would get more accomplished on that week home, but I learned I needed to have some down time.

2. I realize that I trick myself into believing that I can keep up to anyone else even though I live with 30% lung capacity and severe aortic stenosis. Besides being a mother to three children and low on iron, that is probably why I was exhausted and crashed for about three days, but I had a hard time accepting the fact that I should stop.

3. Every new life is a gift. We were blessed with three more nephews born within 10 days of each other. Both of my sisters gave birth in July. My younger sister had another son and my older sister had two more sons - yes, two! Identical twin boys to add to their family of 3 boys. My one and only son really thinks we need twin boys in our family.

4. Speaking of babies, I was excited to welcome the #RoyalBaby into the world. My British blood was pretty proud of the beautiful family. I was delighted to see Kate in her post-pregnancy radiance and admired her for being authentic with her mummy-tummy. I was disappointed to see the negative reaction and how so many have such a hard time with the feminine beauty of a mother who has carried her child for nine months. Of course it will leave lasting changes, ones to be thankful for and not be shamed into thinking that they are not acceptable.

5. It is disheartening to pack up a dream even though you know in your heart you need to. I was forced to face the reality of my own desire to carry one more little one safely inside my own womb. The reality for me is that it is not safe. I met with an obstetrician at a high risk clinic in a research hospital in a large city while my sister was waiting to be induced with her babies. She deals specifically with maternal heart problems. This compassionate and knowledgeable doctor looked over my history and current health situation and her eyes turned intently at me, and she shared the hard, cold facts that I am in an extremely high risk situation. She was flabbergasted that I have carried three babies without any major complications and delivered them safely in small hospitals and she could only throw up her hands and declared: "Someone has been watching over you!" I echoed her proclamation and claimed, "Yes, by God's grace, I have these three children." She reminded me that these children need their Mama, and while I soberly and wholeheartedly agree with her, I can't help but rest in the Sovereign arms of a loving God who will fulfill His purposes not only for me, but also for my children.

6. "Our heavenly Father never takes anything from his children unless he means to give them something better."

7. Sometimes you really wonder if your heart can handle anymore heartbreak when you feel pain so deep, but don't release it very well.

8. It is really hard to set boundaries, bit just as hard to live by them. There is a freedom that comes with setting boundaries, but a very real grief as well.

9. My 12 year old daughter spent her first week away at an all-girls overnight Christian camp about five and a half hours from home with her cousin. It was a wonderful experience for her. As well as an opportunity for her to spread her wings and for her Mama to let go a little more.

10. Self-giving love will only come as I surrender more to the will of God and walk more intimately with Him. As He fills me I may be able to lay myself down and pour out this same love and know the same joy. As my joy in God increases and overflows it will extend to others and their needs and my joy will increase even more.  Dig deep to know endless delight in the Lord. This is the way of love.

11. I stayed up way too late one night in June and listened to Jeff Goins on a web video. I finally decided to go ahead and do one of the exercises he suggested: to ask a number of people to list about three adjectives to describe you (ie. personality, the way you communicate, write, etc). I asked and received some very honest answers. It was a very beneficial exercise and I learned some valuable things about myself. I highly recommend you try this exercise to see how others perceive you.

12. More than ever I desire to delight in God and enjoy His presence. As He strips away things I have clung to in my life, He shelters me under His wings of  His love and faithful promises. As I lean into Him and trust and receive all that He gives with thanksgiving, I will taste the goodness of the Lord and enjoy Him more fully.

13. I should have already started planning for our upcoming school year, but I am enjoying the lazy days of summer too much right now.

I'd love to hear some of the things you have learned in July!

Enjoy your August!


  1. Hi Rebekah! So good to see you again! I joined your blog, and then you never came back. But I've been checking in, and I'm so glad to see a post.

    Wow. You have learned a lot in July. I completely agree with you about taking rests. I have to face that challenge too, and I do not have health issues!

    I am so sorry about not being able to carry another baby. That is devastating to hear, when it's something you really want. My husband and I were unable to have children biologically, and it was a hit to the gut. But...we do have beautiful adopted children and got into foster care too, so God knew what he was doing.

    He knows what he is doing with you too. You are loved so much by him.

    Blessings to your August!

    1. Thank you, Ceil! For visiting, coming back, and your gracious comment. Yes, He knows, He loves! Thank you for sharing your heart and a small slice of your story. Thank you for connecting in this way. All is truly amazing grace!

  2. yes, I believe that God carried you as you carried your little ones!
    lovely month of learning

  3. Thank you for inspiring me to do the same thing...I am going to look back on my month of July now. I love the pic of your kiddies walking along the beach. One of my favorite pictures of yours....ever! You have learned much this month, God has stretched you...and you still continue to offer love and support to others, even when your heart is faint. God is definitely doing a beautiful work in you! (Younger sister)

    1. Oh, I'm so glad you are! You have had a wonderful month, really! Birthdays and babies and anniversary celebrations! Would love to hear what you ponder and reflect on! Love you, my sweet younger sister ;)

  4. What sweet baby pictures! I loved your list =- esp #10 "Dig Deep. This is the way of love."
    Stopping by from Emily's tonight. :)

    1. Oh, I know, they are so sweet. Irresistible, really! Great snugglers too!
      I am loving 10 as well. So much to learn and enjoy and love. "Open the eyes of my heart"
      Thank you for stopping by!

  5. I love this quote, "Our heavenly Father never takes anything from his children unless he means to give them something better." Thank you for sharing it and reminding me of that!

    My husband and I were not able to have biological children. However, later this year we will be adopting a sibling group of four children into our forever family!

    God truly is amazing!

    1. It was a comfort to me when I read it. I have always loved George Mueller! I was privileged to see the still standing homes that were home for so many orphanages.

      Wow! A sibling group of four children! What amazing grace! The wonders God does never cease! Thank you for sharing and connecting here.

  6. Thank you for sharing your heart, Rebekah.....I am touched by the things you have shared and it is a reminder for us to pray one for another. Hugs.

    1. Thank you Mrs. J ;) Your heartfelt comment means a great deal to me! Thank you for your prayers, hugs, and encouragement. It is a humble joy to share the simple things God is teaching me in my life. I pray that it will pour out love and hope into other women's lives.

  7. You have such a wonderful way of turning thoughts into words. Your friends are blessed to have you in our lives. And boundaries can be such hard, necessary and ugly things.


    1. Lisa, thank you, and yes! I am blessed to have some great friends. I am thankful for the blessing you are in my life!

  8. Isn't this link up just so much fun? I am visiting from Emily's today and I love that threaded through out your list is an underlying message of the importance of taking care of and honoring yourself... we can so forget that... or push it to the side in all our busyness and taking care of all the things! Rest is vital... and so is Grace!

    1. Karilee, yes she had a great idea! Thanks for visiting - I will pop over to see what you have learned!

  9. Dear Rebekah
    I missed you ,sweet friend, but you did a wise thing! Blogging should be a joy/work that one needs vacation from as well! I hope you rested well and have more clearance that you need. And congratulations on all the dear babies! What a great gift from our Pappa! Well, welcome back. Great to see you.
    Much love XX


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