Where do I start?
OK, about a week or so ago I was praying about a person who I think tends to ramble on and on and on. I was asking God to help this person realize what he was doing and to encourage him to, well - stop! While I was praying for this person, I also prayed for myself on this matter because I don't want to be guilty of doing the same thing. Well, during my prayer I felt that God was telling ME to "Be quiet". I asked God if He meant this literally, and He said, "Yes. Be quiet until further notice" or something like that. So, I took that to mean that He wanted me to take a vow of silence. I told my husband, my kids and two of my closest friends, so that they could pray for me and also so they would know why I wasn't talking. I had braced myself for this vow to last for an undetermined amount of time. All the rest of that day I refrained from talking. Instead, I prayed silently, read of a lot of Scripture and meditated on it. During this time I realized how much I ramble. I talk just to talk - a lot! Also, most everyone around me does the same thing. Are we afraid of silence or something? Are we afraid we won't be noticed if we're not making noise? I don't know. I had decided that I wasn't going to take the easy way out by isolating myself, so I went on to church that night and then to choir practice. It was challenging, but I managed to keep my mouth shut! During choir practice instead of singing, I sat in the back of the room and prayed for everyone who was there while also searching the Bible. It was an awesome time with God even though I was surrounded by people!
Now, I will also share with you that my family was not happy with my taking this "Be quiet" thing literally and seriously. For some reason they felt that I was deserting them or something. I'm still not quite sure why they felt this way, but it was a mutual feeling they all had. Maybe my silence made them aware of their non-silence? I don't know.
As I mentioned, I had braced myself for a long haul on this quiet thing, but the next morning the Lord gave me a peace about once again talking, much to my family's relief. My daughter asked me if I had learned anything. I told her that "Yes, I did." She asked me what it was, and I told her, "I talk too much, and so does everyone else!"
Well, the day after that, I was involved with a freedom appointment as a prayer partner. This is something from the Freedom in Christ ministries and I HIGHLY recommend it. During our lunch break we were chatting, and I started rambling again! I heard God's voice say, "Do you want Me to tell you to be quiet again?". So, I tried to be more mindful of speaking only when it was necessary. Let me tell you, this isn't an easy thing for me to do. I mean, after all these years of talk, talk, talk, it really takes effort to cut it out! One of the verses that I meditated on during all of this is Proverbs 17:27-28
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
I'm really trying my best to remember this and not talk so much. Have you ever struggled with this in your life?
Now onto the vacation... we were fortunate enough to be able to go on a five day/four night vacation to Gulf Shores, AL. We have dear friends who live near there and so we were also able to visit with them. We hooked up our camper and took off for the beach. It was a blast! My husband and kids absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the water, so going to beach was very exciting to them. I was satisfied just to watch them have fun in the surf (I don't like swimming with critters and such). Although, the sea is better than the lake since you can actually see what's in the water. Unfortunately there were a lot of jelly fish in the water, probably due to some stormy weather off and on. My son got stung several times, but it didn't keep him from going in again and again! I enjoyed watching the waves and taking pictures. I took way too many to share on this blog (over 300!), but I'll try and choose some of the best ones:
Beautiful shot (if I do say so myself) of seagulls in flight.
I was disappointed that the water wasn't the blue/green that I've seen in everyone else's summer shots this year. I think maybe it was due to the weather.
Dawson showing me how big the jellyfish was that he saw (one of many).
Close up of a jelly - yuck!
Dawson going back into the water despite the jelly threat.
The only shot of me (or part of me, anyway).
I just like this profile shot of Haley.
Some pretty flowers we saw on the way back to the car.
My husband being silly.
A prettier shot of the water.
Good friends, good times.