With three sweet darlings in the backseat who will spend this long journey in peace, I think back to our holiday with gratitude. What a beautiful country Italy is. Idyllic villages, delicious food, lovely people… But what I enjoy most is the beautiful nature. Whenever we are on holiday in this area, I am always enormously impressed by God’s greatness, power and creativity. The mountains are so majestic. I always feel small at 1.64m, but I really feel small there. Balance Unlike other years, I was not really ready for a holiday. Probably due to the fact that I have started working less over the last six months and have therefore gained more balance. I really experienced that as a quest. How do I ensure that in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I pay enough attention to everything God brings my way? How do I live with enough challenge, but without stress. And if I believe that my family always has top priority, how does that manifest itself in the choices I make? Psalm 121 Sitting on the edge of the pebble beach, with my feet in the water, I can ultimately relax after a year of balance, but with enough challenge, discomfort and growth. Although I usually take a book with me, I don’t read much. I have enough on my mind. Thinking about the past year and the time ahead of me, I realize that I have received and can ask for help from the God who conceived and created this immense natural beauty. Psalm 121 comes to life there on Lake Como. Multiply talent I really need that help too, by the way. I already have that in mind. I know that everything will come my way in the new season and in addition to some personal challenges, just keeping the balance will be quite a challenge. So I will have to keep making choices. Even though they sometimes hurt and even though that means regularly stepping out of the comfort zone. Talent is not to be buried, but to be multiplied and Jesus himself teaches us in the parable of the talents (Matt. 15: 14-30) that this does not happen automatically. Shadow In the hustle and bustle of life, I can quickly forget who God wants to be for me. That, as Psalm 121 says, He is the shadow at my right hand. Then I start working in my own strength and choices can also feel difficult. But here in Italy, with my feet in the water, it penetrates me deeply and I know where my help comes from, whatever awaits me. Tears “What are you looking forward to in the new season?” I startle when my husband René asks me the question now that we are almost crossing the Dutch border. Tears well up in my eyes and I realize that I will miss the peace and quiet of the holiday and am not yet ready to get back into the grind of ‘normal’ life. I stammer that I’m actually dreading it and that I hope I can keep up the ‘holiday vibe’ a bit. Rhythm Two weeks later, normal life is back in full glory. The children in the rhythm of school, sports and music. And I… I have found my way again. There is plenty on the agenda again, but so far I have been able to keep the peace. In the confidence that the Shadow on my right hand is always there, I may walk and grow in His wisdom. Growth year What are you looking forward to in the new season? Will you manage to keep the peace? If you desire growth, I can help youGrowth year recommend. Last year I and my home group chose to follow it. It became a year of amazement again about God’s desire for us, of (re)discovering the Kingdom, of learning to cooperate (more) with the Holy Spirit and of exploring what God has given us to use in His Kingdom. It helped me/us to really make time for deepening. That was of course an investment in time, but it brought us closer to the King – the God of Psalm 121 – and so it provided peace, especially when things were busy, and contributed to balance and growth. I would be happy to tell you more about it on Wednesday evening, September 6. You writehere for the information evening andhere for participation in Growth Year 2023-2024. We will start on October 3.