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10 Things I Learned in Winter '23

Rewind > Reflect > Learn > Grow

Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.

If I thought seasons were full before, oh I was... well, not necessarily mistaken, but let's just say "full" is a relative term. It's been a season of an outpouring of answered prayer. With it comes new challenges but also a lavishing of grace to step forward with confidence.

I hope and pray this season rewind of mine is meaningful to you. I hope it inspires you to take a few minutes and think about what God taught you through these last three months. And as you do, I pray it births a deeper trust in your heart for how God will be with you in the days to come.

Without further ado, here are ten things (not all the things but ten things) I've learned this last season.

1. Topochico + Lime

Do you have any super ordinary things that are meaningful to you? Well, for me, a Topochico bottle always makes me smile because this is usually how Will gives me flowers.

But, now flowers are not the only thing we're putting in our Topos. Thanks to good friends and a fun game night, we were introduced to the power of a squeeze of lime, and now it's one of our favorite ways to drink sparkling water.

Try it sometime if you're a sparkling water fan!

2. Just Rest

It's been a full, running-over season between wedding planning and writing a new book and continuing to serve in all the ways God has paved. In a conversation with a good friend, I shared how I had always thought I'd have a short engagement season but with the book and various other reasons, I now see the longer engagement as a gift. In the midst of all of the good things, my friend reminded me to "Take a day off - no serving, no writing, no planning. Just rest."

Those two words have been surrounding me. Guess what the devotional I've been reading through this wedding planning season is called? Yep, Just Rest by Melanie Redd. Coincidence? Nah.

A few more thoughts on resting...

3. The 6:1 ratio is ordained.

Have you felt unrest or disorder or even chaos shading your recent days? One reason for this might be that you're out of kilter.

In Genesis, we see God ordained a rhythm between work and rest - six days of working and 1 day of rest. But, when we interrupt this rhythm with either too much work or too much rest, we invite disorder into our lives.

Experiencing peace starts with getting realigned with the 6:1 work to rest ratio. After all, taking a day to rest is one way we celebrate God's design for us.

4. Rest increases our trust in God.

Have you ever thought about why resting is so important to God? Since this is a focus for me right now, it is a question I've been asking and what I'm learning is taking a Sabbath, or a day of rest (even if it's on a Wednesday for you), is important because it allows us to practice trusting God.

When we work around the clock, we are saying our way of doing things is better than God's way and that it is up to us to keep all the plates spinning. In reality, God is in control of the details in our lives. Taking a day to rest flips the script. It says God is more important than this task and we have the opportunity to trust that through rest - and not more striving - that God will bring us clarity, strength and insight to begin again the next week.

Rest is a reset and an act of trust.

5. Wedding Planning is largely about solving problems.

I totally get why people elope. We've considered it, and that's saying a lot given I truly love the wedding planning details. For me, the stress is not about the decor or vendors or even the timeline, but about solving problems.

I can't say all the problems are solved, nor that all of them will be solved by the time we walk down the aisle, but I do know who will be waiting for me at the end of the aisle and whose hand I will be holding afterwards, so I'm choosing to focus on the joy of this gift and trust God with all the things that are out of my control. You can pray for me in this. And I'll pray for you, too, to trust God with those things before you.

6. Give yourself grace to be an amateur.

It took struggling through an ugly crumb layer of a three-layer Barbie cake for this truth to sink in.

Why do we approach something we've never done before - maybe I'm just admitting this about myself - and then expect next-level results? It's crazy and it also takes all the fun out of it. Look what I would have missed out on - what my niece would have missed out on - had I given up at the crumb layer?

What I'm trying to say is two-fold: 1) Give yourself grace to be an amateur, and 2) Don't give up when things get messy. Stay focused and keep hoping. Check out this video to see what I mean:

7. Olympic Understanding

I'm a visual learner so if I can connect a truth to an image in my mind, it usually sticks. Just to make sure, I'm also noting it here in this rewind because I don't want to forget this one.

In the book of John, Jesus said:

"For them I sanctify myself." - John 17:19

That word sanctify, as Tim Keller explained in Every Good Endeavor, originally meant to set yourself apart like an Olympic runner.

For an athlete to compete in the Olympics, training is crucial and everything becomes subservient to the goal. Take Michael Phelps, for example. When training for the Olympics, he consumed eight to ten thousand calories a day to fuel the intense physical demands that 80,000 meters of swimming a week took on his body.

Do we apply this same intensity to our sanctification and becoming more like Christ? Rather than feeling overwhelmed at the thought, what is one thing we can do today? One prayer we can pray, one song we can sing, one passage we can read, one friend we can share a faith-based conversation with, one confession we can share, one offense we can overlook, one wrong we can forgive.

Phelps didn't become a gold medalist over night. It started with one stroke. Same for our journey of becoming more like Christ. It's one step - one choice - at a time.

8. "It's impossible to dance and not smile."

We can thank my dad for this one. And, you know what, I think he's right. If you're feelin' a bit out of sorts, put on some music and...

Bust. A. Move!

9. It takes two to tango ...and two to abide by a budget.

When the only dance class available for your full schedules is the Argentine Tango, you, well, learn to tango! And we're learning it indeed takes two. When he knows his steps and she knows her's, it's a lot of fun. Shoot, even when the two of you miss every single step, it's still a blast because you're smiling (again, it's impossible not to) and you're spending time together.

Budgeting as a couple, well, we'd rather tango. But, if we want to keep tango-ing and having Chick-Fil-A date nights, we better budget. So, we've started and we're learning and growing a little more each month.

10. The wait is so worth it.

In my heart, I always knew it would be, but goodness gracious - those who are waiting on something - something you've been praying for - can I remind your mind of something your heart already knows?

The wait is so worth it.

Keep waiting. When you feel the urge to take this or that into your own hands, remember Sarah. Remember how that went sour real quick. Keep praying. Trust God's timing and God's way. And, seek purpose right where you are. Don't let this waiting become a distraction from what God has for you right now.

There's something really special that comes in the waiting. James tells us it's perseverance and character (James 1:2-4). And, there's something really special that comes after the waiting. From my experience, it's deep, grounded, only-God-could-do-this gratitude.

I want that for you, friend. I want your heart to be so full, even grocery runs become moments of sunshine in your day. Moments when you stop and say, "Thank you, God. I know this gift is from You."

Whatever it is for you, sunshine is coming. I believe it. Hold on to hope through prayer, my friend. Let God carry the weight for you.

Looking Ahead

Looking back helps us gain perspective as we look forward.

This next season is what Will and I are calling "our party season!" I guess you'll have to tune in next time to learn why...

Now, it's your turn. What have you learned through this last season?

To help get you started, you can download your FREE printable in the Resources page. (Add your email below to gain access today!)

Let's find strength knowing we do not endure these seasons alone. Let's find joy knowing there is purpose for each season we walk. Let's find peace in reflecting on the lessons learned and accepting these circumstances, much like seasons, as temporary. Let's find rest as we cling to the eternal.

The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.

I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!

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