Hello, how are you, g’day and welcome to you! This post is part of a series I’m working my way through in the month of October, called Swim Your Own Race. If you’d like to start at the beginning (it is a very good place to start, after all) you can do so, right here. I hope you enjoy diving in!


Some of you (maybe three of you…) might remember the days when I was writing With Love, From Here, and here was South Africa. If so, you might remember a post I wrote way back then about my Genesis making an Exodus… when a section of my Bible quite literally came out at the seams. I wrote Thomas Nelson Publishers to tell them about their wonderful Bible I’d loved so dearly and to see if they might be willing to send a new one to a missionary on a tight budget. A new one arrived, halfway round the world, before I could say supercalifragiliciousexpialidocious. And I can say that very quickly.

Thanks again, Thomas Nelson… still enjoying the new Women’s Study Bible!

My biggest sorrow in moving on to a new Bible (although I still have the old one) was that I was losing the margins. The New King James Version of the Bible is going to say the same thing, whichever NKJV Bible you pick up. But that first one had loads of glorious space in the margins that I absolutely loved. When I took notes on something in the Scriptures that I wanted to remember to go back to, I had a little system to indicate which journal the notes were in, and the date, so that I’d be able to go back to find them. I had loads of thoughts and revelations and connections between Scriptures jotted right there in those big, wide margins. I loved coming across a Scripture that the Lord had led me to before, and remembering His faithfulness at that point in my life, giving thanks for what He had done again.

Those big, wide margins were like a blank slate, inviting me to dive in and make the Word my own.


In some ways, life is like those margins. Some of the best things happen in the spaces where we’re not crammed into doing and going and and and… we’re just being.

Some of the most precious moments I’ve had with my children have happened in the margins, when I slowed down and remembered that Life is Not an Emergency and made room.

The margins are often what people who love to create crave — a space to explore something new, to soak in the creativity of others as a spark to inspire their own, or to learn and practice and improve their craft.

If you’re married, you may have recognized the pattern that love usually struggles to blossom unless there are margins, but where there is time, when there is space, love can thrive.

Yesterday, I had a few moments to watch the clouds go by outside the window, and I thought to myself, Gosh, when is the last time I watched the clouds?

So I’ve got a little challenge for you today, and I’m intentionally keeping this brief to (hopefully) make this a possibility.

Ask yourself this question for me: In this race I’m swimming, do I have any margins?

Do you wake up at the last minute possible and begin your day rushing to the shower, shoveling in breakfast, and scurrying out the door?

Do you fill your evenings with entertainment, never switching it off for a moment to just be quiet, to talk with someone in the room (or on the phone), to breathe and be still?

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! {Ps. 46:10}

Is your schedule like a Chinese puzzle or a military command center? Are there just SO many activities there is no time for your family to collectively play, be still and enjoy one another’s company?

Hopefully you’ve said no to all of these questions!

But our modern ways nudge me to imagine that almost all of us are cramming so much in that there’s no room for those beautiful margins to serve us as well as they could if we built them. One of my favorite things about homeschooling is how it creates so many margins for our family — we don’t have to rush to be somewhere so early each day or have a short space of time to accomplish so many things before bedtime. But there is a temptation to find other things to fill our schedule with, and I sometimes forget that some of the most important learning happens in the margins.

How can you change this for yourself? Getting up a bit earlier (and by necessity going to bed a little earlier?) Turning off the TV and starting a conversation instead? Learning that sometimes saying no leads to a better yes?

You have a race to swim every day, friends. It’s a good idea to take some time to make sure you’re not turning this long distance swim into a daily sprint. Give yourself room to breathe, to look at clouds, to be creative, to feel grass between your toes, to be still and think about the glorious goodness of your Creator.

Pretty soon you might find those margins brimming with life you are so glad you took the time to live.

Swim well, today, friends.