We touched down in the good’ol land of the free and the home of the brave one week ago. Warm hugs and kisses from family greeted us as we arrived at Grandma Norell’s home in Minnetonka, MN. It feels so good to be home. After this crazy summer of leading an outreach team to the Dominican Republic, and spending 3 months before that staffing the DTS in Amsterdam, we were in much need of some R&R to say the least. We have been looking forward to camping with the Norell clan for over a year now, and the time was finally here for all of us to retreat to the middle of nowhere and just be together. Just being. That was something I was truly looking forward to. No responsibilities, no noise, no interruptions, just us, family, and towering forest trees.
“What kind of people take their ONE year old to that desolate place!” said a very concerned and skeptical elderly lady. My father in law, with a smile on his face replied, “Well, we do!” He’s totally right, we do, we’re that family. But, to our defense Cora is a rockstar and loves adventure. This girl has been to 6 countries and flown in 10 airplanes, what’s a 5 day camping trip to the Boundary Waters? Our trip included a 6 hour drive to Ely, Minnesota then another 5 hour canoeing and hiking trek through THREE of the THREE-THOUSAND lakes to our campsite. Cora fell asleep in the canoe about 15 minutes in, and then woke up during our first portage beaming with excitement. One of her favorite words is, wowww! and every turn on the trail her eyes would grow wider and the WOWS! would get louder.
Our time together was precious, and good for my soul. I spent a few hours each day tucked away in the cocoon of a hammock being quiet and still with the Lord. Approaching him without any expectations or agenda is something I’m practicing. It takes a lot of effort on my part to just, be with God. I’m a person who loves to do lists and productivity. I love schedules, I love meetings, and I love a good old fashion brainstorming session. So when Jesus says in the Bible, “Be still and know that I am God”, I get stuck on the “be still” part. I figured this trip was a great time to practice the discipline of being still and just spending time in His presence. My times in the hammock without my books, journal, or even my Bible were some of my best moments with Jesus all year. Allowing Him to speak to me, or be silent if He felt like it stirred a deeper desire in my heart to know Him more. I guess sometimes it takes going to a “desolate” place to learn a thing or two. Thank you jesus for your patience, what would I do without it?