What I Learned This Summer

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I had fun with this collage template and some of my butterfly photos. Every butterfly I see is God’s whisper to me – “I am still with you, My child.”

When I decided to take a break this summer, I was so overwhelmed. Every time I went back to the computer, that feeling would become even worse. It was time to step back and rest in body, mind, and spirit. Time to examine where I was in my relationship with Jesus and my purpose on this earth. These are some of the lessons I learned or relearned:

I need Jesus like the very air I breathe. Without Him I will suffocate in this journey of life. I have had times in my life where it felt like my bronchial tubes closed up and I couldn’t breathe. I thought I would die. Without Jesus breathing His love and life into me, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, I will not survive.

I can worship God just by taking time for Him, by resting in His love and rejoicing in His goodness. I don’t give more glory to Him by doing more. I need to be more concerned with filling up at His fountain instead of how much I “do.” When my well is dry, I can’t offer refreshment to anyone.

I need to concentrate more on encouraging one person at a time, whoever is placed in my life’s journey. I need to quit beating myself up over not making enough of a difference in this world. At the beginning of this break, I thought that without my blog posts I wasn’t encouraging anyone. But God opened my eyes more to the needs of people He sets in front of me each day and reinforced the truth that even a smile or a compliment can encourage and make someone’s day, whether to a loved one, an acquaintance, or a stranger.

At the beginning of the summer, I was struggling with rebellion against chronic illness. I cried out – Lord, I am so weary of all this. Won’t You just take me now? What good am I doing here when I can’t even think to write a blog post? Why won’t You heal me, Lord? Why won’t you make me stronger in body and mind? Why does this have to get worse as I get older? How is this to Your glory? And on and on. At the same time I felt guilty that I was feeling fretful and complaining so much. After all, don’t others have it much worse than I do? I should be ashamed of myself. But God taught me that it’s okay to bring all my questions and troubles to Him. What is invisible to others is so visible to Him. Even when others have it worse, that doesn’t mean I should chalk off my own troubles as nonexistent. It’s still important to acknowledge I have a chronic illness and emotional trauma from past abuse and to grieve the losses. But it is also important for me to open my heart more to what I can still do that others can’t. To open my heart to all the blessings still surrounding me. To be grateful for His upholding love and grace through every loss in my life. To remember that He can transform the physical and emotional weariness into the beauty of growing stronger in Him.

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I want to open my eyes more to the beauty around me. To see God’s beauty everywhere. To thank Him more. Even for ordinary, everyday things like seeing a dog as he sticks his head out of an open car window, the wind flapping his lips into a silly grin. So happy in the Creator who created him. I want to automatically whisper, “Thank You, God, for showing me this.”

I put too much pressure on myself to perform at this website. If I don’t post something every week, I feel like I’m a failure to God, to others, to myself. That’s not true. If I feel in my heart I need to rest from it, I need to listen. It’s ok if a new post doesn’t come out every single Tuesday. It’s ok if I don’t feel strong enough to write vulnerably every time. It’s ok even to just share nature photos and/or a sentence or two. God can make one word or photo breathe hope into someone’s heart just as well as many words. Nothing is impossible with Him!

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“Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”
Matthew 6:31 NLT

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

A Child's Trust What is something God taught you this summer?
Are you in the midst of a heavy trial? What is giving you hope?

“Find Rest”
Francesca Battistelli

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37 thoughts on “What I Learned This Summer

  1. Write when you’d like, visit when it works for you, be yourself, take the pressure off. Yes, yes. The summer’s break sounded like the perfect decision for you.

    Thanks for sharing your heart outloud, friend …

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  2. The words you share here are a gift for your readers. God knows that and will provide them for you when it is the right time. I love that you stepped away and allowed God to teach you so much more about who you are and how you are making a difference. Saying “yes” to rest was one of the best gifts you could have give yourself.

    Your butterfly pictures are gorgeous. Have a blessed week!

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    1. Thank you, Mary. Yes, it was good to step away and allow God to teach me more of Himself and who I am in Him. God always knows exactly what we need, doesn’t He? May He give us peace in His ways! Hugs!

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  3. Welcome back Trudy – you have certainly been missed There is so much power in REST. I love how God showed you your impact online and in person – how a smile can change everything for someone! I just decided last night to take a break. Your post has encouraged me today as that loss of connection was feeling scary BUT yes! the feeling of being overwhelmed is awful! So I am slowing down too, to connect to HIM. Such beautiful butterflies – those pictures are amazing. What an awesome God we serve! Blessings and continued rest! Michelle

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. I’m sorry you are feeling overwhelmed. I have been missing your posts, but I’m glad you’re slowing down to connect more to Jesus. You have been working hard in the healing process, and that can be so wearing, too. Sometimes we have to just take a break and allow ourselves to just rest in the arms of Jesus, don’t we? God be with you and give you rest, strength, and peace! Hugs!

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  4. Wow Trudy… you seemed to have learned quite a bit this Summer. Thank you for the willingness to open your heart and share with us. I understand the pain you feel as I suffer from nerve pain since my stroke. I love how we must drink from His well so we can not only be filled but minister to others. I am sorry for the pain and frustration you have felt but I am glad that our Savior seems to have refreshed your spirit. you have blessed me with your words here today. I pray that God will continue to strengthen and encourage you as he uses your pain to serve His purpose. Have a wonderful week and may God continue to richly bless you and yours!

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    1. Thank you, Horace. I’m so sorry you suffer from nerve pain since your stroke. I see at your site that God uses your pain for a purpose as well. What would we do without that Living Water to fill our wells, right? May God give us strength for each day and may every trouble make our desires to glorify Him even deeper!

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  5. Dear Trudy,
    Gorgeous butterflies. I’m so glad you took the time to rest and fill up at the fountain of God’s love. God knows our limits (I am also preaching to myself)…and He loves you…I always appreciate your words, my friend….((hugs))

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    1. Thank you, Dolly. So true that God knows our limits and loves us no matter what. I find I have to preach to myself, too. May He fill us up with His love so that we can better love others! Are you getting excited or anxious about your book coming out? Hugs!

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  6. Hi Trudy! Well, I certainly can relate to taking a break. I was really ‘dry’ myself. I’m so happy that you listened to the voice inside that told you to step back, rest and refill. I really liked the way you said that if you are empty, you can’t give. That is SO true.

    We really do put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform, be perfect, have the right things to say. I think it can create so much anxiety, that we truly are locked up.
    I’m praying that you are so much more comfortable now, refilled and ready to share. But you know, if a week comes and you’re not inspired…let it go. God will give you what you need. Every time.

    So good to visit here again 🙂

    Ceil

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    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement, Ceil. I’m having to talk to myself a lot to remind myself to rest and refill. And to relax and quit putting so much pressure on myself. It’s amazing how God knew a break was needed for you, but it’s so sad why. I think of you often and pray God will hold you close to His heart of love and comfort. May He help us to daily fill up at His fountain! Hugs!

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  7. Resting in the Lord is absolutely a necessity, one for us to embrace, not run from thinking we must be “doing” something. Just being in His presence is enough to renew our strength and give us comfort.
    Your photos are stunning, Trudy, and you are so right that even a beautiful photo and few words can brighten someone’s day.
    Blessings always!

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    1. Thank you, Martha. We certainly are prone to run from rest instead of embracing it, aren’t we? I remain a work in progress, but step by step God is helping me to allow myself to surrender all my striving to Him and to just rest in Him. May we more and more draw near to His presence! Hugs!

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  8. Oh yes! It is ok, and even more honouring to stop, listen, and be than to rush in busyness. I am glad you drew closer to God this summer, Trudy. We sure have seasons don’t we? And I love your butterfly pictures! I also needed to ‘stop’ this past summer, and not alleviate my uncomfortableness of being still by getting back involved in many activities. It truly was a dying to self and am glad now I went through it (and know the journey continues).

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. Yes, we certainly do have seasons. It’s hard to train ourselves to “stop, listen, and be,” isn’t it? And to be comfortable in it, too. I’m so glad your rest this summer was helpful to you. Yes, that journey continues… May we more and more die to ourselves and live through Christ Jesus! Hugs!

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  9. Trudy, you are such an encouragement in this honest place of sharing your thoughts. Even when you share about your weariness, there is a sense of connection to the heart of Jesus that touches me (and I know many others as well.) Why do we stir up this need to be doing inside of our hearts? I certainly am one who puts myself under that same kind of pressure. But Jesus went away by Himself so frequently, and He calls us now to come with Him there, to rest. I’m glad that He is bringing you to His rest, even as you are back here sharing again!

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    1. Thank you, Bettie. Yes, why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to “do” instead of just to rest in Him and “be” who He created us to be? It’s often a struggle in my life. I’m so grateful He is teaching me step by step to rest in Him. May we learn more and more of resting in His love and surrendering our ways to His! Hugs!

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  10. Trudy, it is lovely to see you here again, wonderful to read your words and see these beautiful butterfly photos! You have a great gift of encouragement and of seeing beauty in the everyday, gifts that have been enhanced by stepping away from this space for a while to let your soul breathe. I can identify with so much that you write. These words, especially, spoke to me:

    “He can transform the physical and emotional weariness into the beauty of growing stronger in Him” – because they mirror some of the inner work God has been doing in my heart during my own season of being absent from the usual activities and seeking deeper rest in Him.

    We so often want to be all things to all people, and in the ache of this desire we tend to forget how Jesus Himself walked and talked according to Holy Spirit-inspired and guided rhythms of grace. He knew when to pause and when to move forward, when to speak and when to remain silent. And He was fuelled by prayer, by having constant, continual communication with the Father above all things.

    Maybe as we slowly ease ourselves back into writing and sharing, we can learn to prioritise prayer and listen better to those whispered words of wisdom we need to heed. Praying for you to continue to be strengthened and comforted by God’s presence. Blessings and hugs to you, sweet friend! ❤

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    1. Thank you, Joy. I’m so glad you are encouraged. It’s such a mystery but such a wonder how God transforms our troubles into being stronger in Him. I love your thoughts about how even Jesus “walked and talked according to Holy Spirit-inspired and guided rhythms of grace.” May we ever deeper be inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit! And yes, may we listen better to those whispered words of wisdom we need to heed! Hugs!

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  11. Thanks for sharing the lessons you learned, Trudy. It’s so easy to put pressure on ourselves. I love how God has been showing you that it’s not all about doing, but that resting in his love and trusting him is glorifying to him and a form of worship.
    I also love what you say about being honest with God about our questions and struggles while also praising him for the blessings. It’s not always easy to get the balance but I think both of these things are so important.

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    1. Thank you, Lesley. Yes, I’m so grateful how God is showing me that resting in His love and trusting Him is also glorifying Him and a form of worship. It’s not always easy to get that balance of being honest about our questions and struggles while also praising Him for His blessing, is it? But I agree both are so important. May we learn ever deeper to rest in His love and to surrender our all to His way! If I remember correctly… Isn’t “surrender” your word for the year? Hugs!

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  12. Thank you for sharing here so vulnerably. I love how God has been rooting you more and more into His love and truth. I recognize several of the doubts and struggles you share and like you, retreating is what brought and still brings me back to the truths that set me free from the web of lies that hound me. I love how God keeps pursuing and growing us into Him. And yes, so very true: “God can make one word or photo breathe hope into someone’s heart just as well as many words. Nothing is impossible with Him!” Where He leads me is where we want to go right?: whether that be silence, one word or many.

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    1. Thank you, Anna. Yes, God keeps pursuing and growing us into Him. He is so faithful, isn’t He? It’s a wonder He never lets us go. “Where He leads us is where we want to go, right?” Amen! May we continually let go of our way and follow His lead! Hugs!

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  13. Hi Trudy,
    Love, love all the butterfly photos! So pretty — and your talent with a camera shines through! Oh I’m so glad you’re showing up here on this blog with no pressure on yourself just to share a word of encouragement or a photo — what a wonderful place of rest and peace you’ve arrived at — you have had a wonderful summer! I do the same thing — my schedule is filled with must-do this or have-to-do-that, when really it’s only myself that puts such strict rules in place, not others. Keep sharing these truths, my friend — love them!

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    1. Thank you, Valerie. I, too, am guilty of putting such strict rules on myself. I’m always telling myself “I should do this” and “I should do that.” I’m trying to rid myself of that vocabulary. I’m still a work in progress. 🙂 May we learn to let go of the demands on ourselves and rest more in Jesus! Hugs!

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  14. Wonderful post, Trudy. Your heart and gentle spirit come through in every word, verse, song and picture. You do this thing very well, my friend, but you are so right in taking a break when it becomes a burden. Hugs and blessings to you this week! (P.S. LOVE the song … one of my favorites!)

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    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement, Lois. I love the song, too. It has such a beautiful, comforting message, doesn’t it? “I close my eyes and I can see the arms of Jesus holding me.” When He holds us, we can get through anything! It’s such a comfort that He never sleeps and nothing surprises Him. May we find rest in Him and put our hope in Him daily! Hugs!

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  15. Trudy, I so relate to your words. We can place so much pressure on ourselves that we lose sight of the joy there is in God’s gifts, in and around us. I pray that you sense His grace and that you extend it to yourself the way you so beautifully extend it to us. Rest is good and necessary and in it, in returning to and keeping God our first love, we are refreshed. Big hugs!

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    1. Thank you, Tiffany. It’s hard not to put so much pressure on ourselves, isn’t it? I know I will have to remind myself often as I am such a forgetter. Yes, we so easily lose sight of the joy. May we open our hearts more to God’s gifts and rest in Him for our much-needed refreshment! Hugs!

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  16. Hi Trudi! I am glad your back too-I have missed reading your blog and connecting with you!! Thank you for your honest post- I have had similar feelings!! I am so sorry you haven’t felt well too! I wish I could bring you dinner and a big bouquet of flowers! It is neat to read that the Lord is working in your heart in a similar way as mine! bringing joy in the small things! I like the dog flapping picture! 🙂 Laughter is so good for us and I think Jesus wants us to do more of it! I love the butterfly pictures! They are so beautiful ! Anyway so grateful for you Trudi! xoxoI

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    1. I have missed you, too, Susie. I’m so glad you’re back to your blog as well. Tears pooled in my eyes as I read how you wanted to bring me dinner and a bouquet of flowers. I thought – “Oh Susie, you already have brought me a bouquet of flowers!” Your creations in both your artwork and in your poems are such gifts to me. Yes, it’s neat how we both took a break and God showed both of us to seek more joy in the small things. 🙂 May God help us to fix our eyes on Jesus and His gracious blessings that surround us! Hugs!

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  17. Whether you write one time a month or 10 times a month, God is present in your words and the Holy Spirit is using those words to encourage and bless the lives of many. The very lives He chooses to touch. You always bless me, Trudy. Not only with your words here in this space, but with your beautiful heart that I know prays for me and for many others!

    Much love, sweet friend!
    Lori

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    1. Thank you for your loving encouragement, Lori. I appreciate it so much. I’m so grateful you have been blessed. I love the hope you offer at your site as well. May God give us tender hearts towards the hurting and a zeal to point them to Jesus! Much love to you, too! Hugs!

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