The Conlectio Newsletter
When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll
Dear friends,
Unless we're close - down the street, in your life kind of close - all we can see of other's lives is what they show us. People assume that if someone doesn't dump their vulnerability onto the internet, they don't struggle or experience pain. 
There are all kinds of grief. All kinds of loss. Sometimes it feels like a loss before anything has even happened yet. I know the temptation to get my grief carried; the belief that I just need one more person to help me up, to lift the weight. Maybe if I pour it onto the internet, get a bunch of comments, a bunch of solidarity, then I'll find peace? But when I run out of people or when I realize they still have lives to live, I'm left here with my grieving. As the hymn writer put it: The sorrows like sea billows roll.
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I have too good a life to be this sad. 
That's the other thing I believe. If people can't fix it, then I'll fix it myself. You shouldn't feel this way. Aren't you grateful? This is the life you dreamed of, get it together! Be a big girl.
As we hold the pain in our hearts, trying to guide our little boats through the storm, we tell ourselves the lie: If I can just keep the sails aloft, if I can just make it over this wave, if I can just - 
But the sea billows keep coming. And what then?
At some point the willpower runs out. The arrangement of circumstances, the self-care strategies, the little tips and tricks and Real Simple hacks - they stop working. You're left clinging to ship as the waves slap its sides and toss it to and fro and you can't even remember what a quiet harbor feels like.
The sorrows like sea billows roll. 
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The author of the hymn It is Well With My Soul was Horatio Spafford. Horatio's first loss was his four year old son, shortly followed by the loss of his successful law firm in the Great Chicago Fire. He planned to help D.L. Moody with an evangelistic campaign to England, but because of the Fire was delayed from joining immediately and instead sent his wife and four daughters ahead. On their journey overseas, a storm assailed the Ville du Havre ship and all four of Horatio's daughters died. His wife alone survived.
When Horatio later passed by the place of the shipwreck, he wrote the words we know today as It is Well With My Soul. 
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
If I compare my trials to Horatio's they pale in comparison, but I don't think that's the point. What makes Horatio's words so powerful is what makes the Psalms so powerful and Job's lament so powerful: A turning from grief to God. No one on earth will ever fully understand, resonate with, or enter into the pain. No one on earth can be expected to. No one on earth sees the end from the beginning - except Him. Only Christ.
The book of Job describes the story of a man who, like Horatio, lost everything. All his children died, his business and home and health were taken, and he was left with a bitter and grieving wife who told him to commit suicide rather than live in such pain. Job continues to put faith in God, including in Job 19:25. My version of Scripture (CSB) has a unique translation of Job 19:25. Most versions say, “I know my Redeemer lives and in the end he will stand upon the earth.” But my version says, “I know my Redeemer lives, and He will stand on the dust at last.”
This translation has been a great comfort to me, for in the dust of what we hope for, the dust of what we planned, the crumbs of the feast we expected, He is still standing. He is still there.
And that is why Horatio could say, “It is well," even as the billows of sorrow rolled over his heart.
And that is what we return to when the sorrow billows over us.

 Warehouse Sale Today!
The warehouse sale begins today! This sale is on apparel only - all apparel from our last few years' of shops! Not all designs will have the full range of sizes and we are not restocking, so grab your items while you can!
In the Know
  • I am back on Instagram and Facebook! The new social media schedule is as follows:
    • Monday: Ask Anything, FB/IG
    • Tuesday: Conlectio, leadership chats on IG
    • Wednesday: New Verity episode!
    • Thursday: Day in the Life
    • Friday: Bible quiz on EWAT account
  • Verity Podcast is BACK! I did not intend to take the whole summer off, but I am glad I did. I have a little collection of episodes coming each week of August - and I think you'll love them! Coming soon:
    • Five Views of Communion
    • How to Create a Sustainable Bible Study Routine
    • Does God Forgive Sexual Sin?
  • Raising Cross Formed Kids Podcast returns this fall for season three. Have a topic you'd like Coat and I to discuss? Reply this email and we'll log it away!
What I'm Reading
  • The Country Kitchen: I grabbed this book at a local library sale - it's unique, just a little depiction of life in southern Michigan at the turn of the 20th century. It contains a lot of recipes. (copyright 1937)
  • An Old Fashioned Girl: This book by Little Women author Louisa May Alcott has been on my shelf forever, but I can't remember the last time I read it. It's my current bedtime read - still working through it!
  • Little Mossback Amelia: I was THRILLED to score this at another library sale. This little book is like the Laura Ingalls Wilder of Northern Michigan - it's about a little girl growing up in my county in the late 1800s/early 1900s. I can't wait to read this aloud to the girls this fall!
What I'm Loving
  • Every month I use Cultivate What Matters Powersheets to plan my monthly, weekly and daily goals/habits for the month. I base these on my annual goals (I have eight). I've used Powersheets for six years, and while they have a little learning curve at first they have been instrumental in helping me define my priorities. For August, I'm working on the Bible study for my new book (launching in February!), the filming of the bible study videos, our warehouse sale, and planting my fall garden.
  • In conjunction with my Powersheets, I also use my ValMariePaper prayer journal (mentioned a few weeks back). It's a 6 month journal and I love tracking my prayer requests and answers - a visible transcript of God's faithfulness!
  • For daily planning, I use Michael Hyatt's Full Focus Planner. I have used SO many planners over the years, but this quarterly version is exactly what I needed. Plenty of note space, hourly slots are on the side (I do not like the page taken up with hourly sections) with room to designate your top priorities. 
  • This Spotify playlist of acoustic instrumental country covers is my current fave for nights on the patio.
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In Our Homeschool
  • We had a blast this weekend at our local Flywheeler's festival! This annual event showcases local blacksmiths, basket makers, and vintage tractors and steam engines. Ivan was in heaven. 
  • Our current read aloud routine is Beatrix Potter's Collection, Uncle Arthur Bedtime Stories, and The Biggest Story children's bible. I plan to do a podcast episode about the children's bibles we have used over the years - I love reading through multiple versions so the kids get the same story retold in new ways.
  • Our church is gathering food items for our local school's pantry. Many children in our county experience hunger and food insecurity - as many as one in three have only one meal a day: school lunch. I invited Adeline to help us plan which items to buy. She made a list and planned out the note she wants to include in the drop off. 
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On the Farm
  • Baby bunnies galore! Are you tired of them yet? I hope not, because I keep taking pictures! The girls affectionately named them Flopsy, Mopsy and Snowball (the white one). When I say there is almost nothing cuter than a baby bunny… I'm not lying! (These are meat rabbits, half New Zealand/half Silver Fox)
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  • My sweet friend Chels sent me the second Magnolia cookbook and I am so excited to try it out this week! I plan my meals by the week; usually just dinner recipes. We save the leftovers for lunch the next day. Lately we have been using Country Life Foods for bulk dry goods and the rest I buy from Aldi.
for the awakening, 

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