By the time you’re reading this, I’m 14 hours from home in the mountains of Colorado. My entire family — parents, kids, grandkids — traveled from Iowa to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and my mom’s 70th birthday.

We’re staying in 7,200 square-foot home. It’s the sort of place that lets you pretend that you’re insanely rich and famous. “Dah-ling,” my little niece said in her best English accent, “We can pretend we’re millionaires!” We’ve got a hot tub, built-in sauna, six bedrooms, mountain views out every window, and a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops.

But just to keep me grounded, I packed a tent.

I won’t sleep in my tent, mind you, but when I visit my tent, I will find some rest from time to time. Let me explain:

On Thursdays back home, I gather ’round the table with ten women. Together, we’re keeping it real and “getting down” to Truth, reading Maybe God is Right after All by Cynthia Heald. In her journey with God, Heald carries a “tent” and “altar” with her at all times, like Abraham in Old Testament times.

Her tent: a cloth bag.

Her altar: a Bible, journal and devotional book, all carried inside her tent.

So I brought my own tent and altar to Colorado.

My tent is a gift from a friend who sits at that Thursday morning table. She decorated black canvas bags for each of us — pressing each one with iron-on crowns, crosses and our initials. Inside my tent, is my altar: my Bible, a new journal and my summer reading: Stone Crossings by L.L. Barkat.

I brought it all to Colorado.

Here in the opulence of this home, I shall retreat to the deck, with my tent, and find rest in God. I’ll meet Him through the simplicity of a black bag, in the shadow of His snow-frosted mountains. I will rest.

“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)

***

For the rest of the week, my online time will be limited. My family and my time of rest will be my only priority. As such, I will be publishing a few old favorites. Thank you for stopping by this tucked-away tent on the World Wide Web. Your visits and comments are a part of my altar, a piece of my daily worship.

***

Photo: My tent and altar on a deck chair back home in Iowa last week.

by | July 13, 2009 | 21 comments

21 Comments

  1. Get Real Girl

    Thank you for sharing this. I always carry a bag with my Bible, journal and a devotional with me when I leave home. Now I know that it is my tent and my altar. I hope you have a fabulous time away in beautiful Colorado.

    Reply
  2. mom2six

    As I prepare to head out of town I am packing my tent and alter as well. I have been reading Hebrews about the temple being a pattern so this analogy really touched me today. Thank you – enjoy your family!

    Reply
  3. Runner Mom

    Hey, Jennifer!! Oh, girlfriend! Enjoy your view from the tent! Co. is just beautiful! I have questions about your Bible study when you get back! I'm trying to look at some to offer our women this fall, and my deadline is fast approaching!!

    Hugs,
    Susan

    Reply
  4. Lyla Lindquist

    Rest hard, friend. Rest hard.

    Reply
  5. Julie

    Have a wonderful, peaceful time. Savor every moment… 🙂

    Reply
  6. lynnrush

    Nice!!

    Enjoy your family time.

    Have safe travel!

    Reply
  7. Beth E.

    Thanks for allowing us a glimpse of your tent! Enjoy the view…

    Blessings,
    Beth

    Reply
  8. Laura

    Okay. True confessions: I am so jealous of you!!

    I'm sending prayers up that this time will be abundantly blessed and you and yours will make memories to enjoy for years to come!

    but i'm still jealous.

    Reply
  9. Kristen Love

    OOoh I love this tent and altar idea. Now I'm gonna have to get this book, too 🙂 Thanks for sharing! And have a great trip with your family!

    Reply
  10. Chris Godfredsen

    "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)

    Had to read that a second and a third time – powerful piece of scripture written in The Message.

    Trusting you will find increased measures of rest and inspiration as you spend time at your tent and altar!

    Reply
  11. Chris Godfredsen

    "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)

    Had to read that a second and a third time – powerful piece of scripture written in The Message.

    Trusting you will find increased measures of rest and inspiration as you spend time at your tent and altar!

    Reply
  12. RCUBEs

    May you all have a wonderful time! Can't wait to hear what you will be posting about what happens in that "tent". That's a great example of a heart always longing and wanting to be with the Lord no matter where she goes. God bless you sister and your family.

    Reply
  13. RickNiekLikeBikes

    To keep me grounded I'd bring some cheap coffee! Anyway, great story. This hits me today because I've been pondering such things. Hardships of one thing or another leads us to ask "how much is too much?" "What do you mean I won't lay anything heavy upon you?" Living under grace is easy, comforting, but such a dang mystery.

    Reply
  14. Jennifer

    Rest, enjoy the moments, and come back to us refreshed.

    Reply
  15. Tea With Tiffany

    Where are you in Colorado?

    I wish I could meet you.

    Enjoy your tent time. Enjoy your family. Enjoy meeting with the King of kings.

    Just so you know I've read all of your recent blog posts while traveling recently. I had your page open and I loved every sentence of every post.

    Love, love your heart!

    Thank you for being a gift to the world.

    Reply
  16. A Simple Country Girl

    I first went into that tent one night, standing near the dim light of the stove top. I was just going in for a glimpse. I ended up there for hours. Planned tent-time with a proper light or some time snatched in the night, both will be rewarded with His rest. Her book snags you in, but is woven with The Book that sets you free.

    Blessings.

    Reply
  17. Rosario

    I have always carried my bible and journal, whenever I travel or when visiting my parents. At home I have a small basket, where I keep them and any other books I am reading, I used to call it my reading basket. I love the term you use. Tent and Altar. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  18. Shaunie Friday

    Jennifer,
    What a brilliant idea!! I’ve done similar things, but never thought of it in terms of tent and altar–tabernacle! I love it!!

    Colorado is one of my favorite places on the planet, so I’m thrilled to think of you there! My family did a similar gathering last summer on the Oregon Coast for my parents’ 50th–I pray that your gathering is every bit as magical as ours was!!

    Breathe in that mountain air for me!!
    Shaunie

    Reply
  19. Pamela

    Oh how I love the idea of taking a tent with you. I do, wherever I go, but I think it will have deeper meaning by knowing my basket is a tent and its contents are an altar. You will never know how this post wrapped around my heart.

    I hope your week of celebration will be full of blessings.

    Pamela

    Reply
  20. David Rupert

    This weekend I’ll be packing my tent into those very Colorado mountains. I have a great backpack trip that I intend to catch fish and dump my brain for a few days. Maybe I’ll see you? Where are you staying?

    Reply

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