9 Days Alone

Last week, my husband visited another YWAM base for 9 days.

9 days.

That’s the longest stretch of time we’ve been apart since December of 2015. Before that, I think the longest time we had gone without seeing each other was around 20 hours. So 9 whole days was a bit of a stretch to say the least. But it was good for both of us. We both had time to think about things we tend to ignore as well as time to simply read a book or journal. (Or paint my nails. Another one of those things that gets put off… 😉 )

It’s also amazing how much cleaner a house stays when there’s only one person living in it. But that’s beside the point.

The point is, while my husband was gone, I learned the beauty of alone time. I wouldn’t classify myself as an introvert, but I definitely need some time to myself every once and again. The usual tell-tale sign that I need to take some time alone is when I suddenly become overwhelmed with people noise. Generally it gets to the point of not being able to hear people breathe. That’s when Courtney knows it’s time. Time to withdraw and hear the sweet sound of silence. But with an empty house for 9 days, I had enough time to conduct an experiment. What would happen if I didn’t wait for the “panic” moment?

As it turns out, alone time can actually be healthy. (Who would have thought?) Especially in the “preventative” sense. Instead of waiting for the crisis, when I end up almost crashing, it was actually way more satisfying to spend at least an hour or so each day alone with my own thoughts and Jesus. No music, no TV, no podcasts, no other sounds. Just the heaters clicking every so often and the sound of my own breathing.

It was actually magical.

But I realized something.

When I take the time to come to that place, to sit in the quiet with my own thoughts, I actually start to think. I think about how my day actually was. I think about the good things that happened and the hard things. I think about the proud moments and the disappointing ones. But I don’t whine. I don’t gloat. I just think. And I pray. I talk to God about the ways I saw Him move. I ask Him why I feel so crummy after a sarcastic comment. I tell Him how much I miss my husband. But there’s an internal process that happens. Suddenly, I’m not looking for the right word to say. I’m not looking for a reaction from someone else, because they’re no one else there. I’m not worried about how my words will affect the person I’m talking to because it’s God! And let’s be real… I really can’t say anything that’s going to cause Him to turn His back on the world. He’s God and He loves us all too much for that!

But taking that time to actually think about what’s going on inside of my brain, to pray about it and process it with God, actually helps me to really know how I’m doing.  This kind of surprised me a little, to be completely honest. I’ve always said I’m an external processor. I always feel like I need to talk about things in order to really understand them and to understand what I think about them. And sometimes that’s true. Sometimes we need another person to bounce things off of. But there are also times when it’s good to just think. To talk to God about what I’m thinking and feeling. Not just run to the nearest friend to “vent” about what’s going on, but actually thinking about how I feel and taking the time to gain God’s perspective. And before I know it, I’m not actually upset about something that seemed like a big deal in the moment. Or the mountains I feel like I’m facing turn into prairies.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s still important to talk to other people. Relationship is what we are created for, so by all means we should live in relationship! But I know for myself, I can get so caught up in talking about things that I never actually take the time to think about things. Do you get what I’m saying? It’s so easy to say words. But how many of us say things before we think about them? I know I do that. More often than not, if I’m honest. So my challenge to myself is to take some time to be alone. Yeah, sure. FOMO is a real thing, I guess. (For those who don’t understand Generation Z language, FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.”) But I’ll sacrifice missing out on some things so that my heart and relationship with God can remain healthy.

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A Note from Mrs. Pilkvist

Apparently writing blog posts is the last thing on a person’s mind during their honeymoon.

Huh. Who would have thought?

For once in my blogging career, I feel like I have a valid excuse as to why I’ve avoided posting for two months. (I guess there’s a first time for everything!) But now it’s already been a month back into “real life,” so it’s time to break the streak of silence.

Well. We got married.

On September 17, 2016 we stood on a mountain and said ‘I do.’ You could call it magical. The rain had been fighting against us all week but it decided to give us the afternoon that Saturday. It was cold and wet, but the clouds had settled amongst the mountain tops in thin grey whips. So I couldn’t even be mad. I might have froze but at least it was beautiful while I did! The whole day was pretty laid back. We weren’t a ton of people, so it made it feel like almost like a Thanksgiving celebration. At least that’s what it reminded me of. It was just a bunch of family and friends gathered together to celebrate and enjoy the day. That was probably my favorite part.

Of course, no wedding is without it’s hiccups so we had to have some as well. Benjamin lost his tie and suspenders (which was actually my fault). It took longer to get my makeup on my face than I had expected. Once we arrived at the ceremony place, we realised that everyone forgot about the speaker, which was still at the base so someone had to run back and grab it. And since it had been raining most of the week, the grass was wet and soggy. And Courtney’s shoes were sufficiently soaked after 2 steps. Oh and don’t forget about attempting to check in at the hotel that night. It was late and the automated kiosk that was supposed to give us our key didn’t work. But I think it’s those little things that make it memorable. I’ll never forget walking up and down the streets of Davos at midnight in my wedding dress!

And, naturally, the proof is in the pictures.

I could probably spend thousands and thousands of words about what the day was like, but I won’t do that to you. I’ll let you see for yourself. It may have been a relaxed event but it’s a memory that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. I’ll never forget when Ben and I took communion together that afternoon – and not just because I bit off more dry bread that I could chew. But because that was the moment when I knew that it was all for real.

I had made my choice. And we made a covenant together and with God.

It almost felt like the beginning of a rollercoaster ride. You know, the big ones that start with a long climb. You’re sitting there, strapped into your seat, just waiting for the drop. It always takes longer than you think it should, but then as soon as you get to the top, your mind starts racing. The car slows down and it starts to teeter over the edge. Your stomach does this little flip-flop thing and thoughts run through your mind at a million miles an hour. The thoughts that wonder what’s going to happen. There’s no way to know what’s coming over the drop.

But you’re so excited because you know it’s going to be so much fun.

That’s how it felt. I know that I have no way of knowing what life is going to bring us in the next years or even the next few weeks. But I’m so excited. And I know it’s going to be fun because I get to go through life with my best friend.

So. Having said all that, enjoy these pictures. 🙂