FINDING the rest...

Dear Friends, I haven't really found a clever way to share this bit of news.  Something will probably occur to me right after I click "Post."  :)

In just over two weeks - 24 hours after returning home from our last Christmas concert- Toby and I are taking the kids and heading down to Central America for several months this winter.  That’s right…several months!  Various factors and desires and circumstances converged to lead us to the decision to just do it.  Recent exhaustion and a battle with anxiety have caused us to look forward to this "hard stop" even more.

And to realize that God does indeed lead us in particular directions for reasons we can’t foresee.

We have long hoped to give our children an experience life outside of our American culture, to allow ourselves the chance to do some studying that will enrich our respective works, and to learn the Spanish language (one of our children being from Guatemala makes this extra important to us)

And simply... time to be undivided, reading, praying and seeking wisdom and direction for our life and work.

So when people ask: What will you DO while you're there?...

The answer is NOTHING…and EVERYTHING.  Trading hurriedness and multi-tasking and constant preparing, for a time of exploring and listening, studying and cooking, praying and resting.

And if you're wondering: Are you doing mission work down there?

The answer is No...and...YES.

We're taking a break, but not a vacation in the traditional sense.  It's not a "mission trip," per se, and yet ministry will happen, with us on both the giving and receiving ends.

We are eager and uncertain.  I expect I’ll weep and sleep on the flight - from fatigue and relief from all the hurdles we'll only finish crossing the minute we take our seats.  We may get sick when we get there, simply because we haven't the time to be sick here.  :)

Life is gorgeous and full, and we are so grateful and have no complaints, other than our own failure to manage our time well.  Changes have come without us taking the time to re-sort our priorities.  For the past year we've moved at an unsustainable pace, and a "hard stop" (a phrase I learned from Ann Voskamp) is needed.

So what does this mean for the music?

We are releasing a new album, How Emptiness Sings, in the spring, and will hopefully return from our travels with a clearer picture of how we can continue to share the music while still balancing the other parts of our life well, and not be reduced to panic attacks. :)

While we're away, things will be happening to gear us up for the album release and to allow me to stay in touch with you.  We will be online, and I’ll keep you posted here on the blog.  Should have some amusing stories to pass on!

As Nicole and I prepare to go on the road for a couple of weeks, I realize the next time I post here may be after we get off the plane!

THANK YOU for your encouragement and support and for sharing the music.  Knowing that God uses this flawed work from my seriously flawed hands is what makes it all worthwhile.  He is faithful.

with Love and Joy and Gratitude,


p.s.  I got to participate in a live recording of some unique Advent music with local NC can find it here!

Forgetting the rest...

*I feel the need to add this morning's reading to this post as a reminder that there is one place to go with these questions, with our needs.  And that the answer to self-driving busy-ness is not self-focus of a different kind.  It is only in re-directing the eyes of our hearts to the Giver of Life that we find any rest for our weariness: "Show me YOUR ways, O Lord

TEACH me YOUR paths

Guide me in YOUR truth and TEACH me

for YOU are GOD my SAVIOR

and my hope is in You ALL DAY LONG."

Psalm 25:4

He loves me, and he knows me.  He knows me, yet he loves me.

My better half has a way of seeing through the chaos and the tales I've led myself to believe…for better or worse.

Much to my chagrin, he knows my blindspots.

He sees the inconsistencies in my reasoning.  My seeming inability to trust, to relinquish control.  My addiction to work and anxiety and perfection and impossible commitments.  The resulting impatience I have toward the people I love most.  The constant running of a mind that has forgotten how to rest.

I’ve said it for years:

My greatest fear is not having enough time, in a day, in a life.

I love and I long to live love the way God does, and…I know it’s often not about anything but…I.

Every day feels like a battle against the clock.  Passion propels an exhausted body and large family relentlessly onward because the kids need clean clothes and healthy food and the church needs contributing members and the neighborhood needs community and the world needs saving and music and friendship and compassion and if not me, then who?

(It’s okay.  You can say it.  It's true.)

This isn’t noble, selfless living.  This is driven living.  It may be sincere, it may be love; but it’s also a false belief that everything and everyone depend on moi.  That God might not be quite up to the task, or may not have the army he thought he had.

Don't I sort of want to be hands and feet and every other part of the spiritual body?

Isn’t that just a bit egocentric?  Prideful?  Willful?

If it is, what then is the answer?  Scripture makes it clear that self-sacrifice is not a bad thing and that righteous suffering is part of the job.  And shouldn’t we wring every bit of ourselves out for the treasures of a permanent kingdom while we’re here in the midst of such spiritual and physical hunger?

Perhaps we are meant to do the work we are doing.  But differently.

Or…perhaps we are meant to do the work in seasons and not all at once.

I honestly do not know.  I only know we were made for the work and the rest.  And I. don't. know. how.

I write this here as confession.  I write it “out loud” because it’s embarrassing, and that probably means I should admit it.  I’m writing to ask if you’ll pray for me.

And, as I write anything, I write hoping we find ourselves less alone.