Oh, to fly away and be at rest…

I am doing something this week on vacation I don’t normally do well-rest. Now, of course, this is much easier here than at home…fewer responsibilities, the ocean just a short distance from my front door, and no alarm clock buzzing at me to wake up and start the day. I can take a walk when I want to take a walk. I can drink coffee at my own leisurely pace instead of during my commute into work. I have no meetings, no deadlines, no agendas…just time this week. Yesterday, I actually sat by the poolside for two hours and just rested. It was wonderful.

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This is much needed rest. So many changes in my life the past few months. Left a high stressful job. Started another job…still stress, but much better environment but lots of hours. Husband lost his job…so many decisions needing to be made. Daughter to graduate from high school in a few months. Decisions, decisions, decisions. My mind seems to be always racing. My body aches some days from the unpredictable effects of fibromyalgia. I always push through because I need to.

Here, now, this moment, I rest. My mind is calm. My body is calm. The ocean and sky a peaceful blue, meshing into one. A leisurely bike ride. My children, also relaxed, far removed from the pressures of homework and decisions beyond what to eat for dinner…we laugh, we enjoy the moment, the beauty of just being in the presence of one another. My husband enjoying the memories he is making here, one of his favorite childhood vacation destinations. My best friend and daughter’s best friend, both here for the first time, enjoying the beauty and the calm.

If only I could bottle up some of the ocean-the tangible things, easy to captute…salt water, sand, sea shells. It’s the intangible things-not so easy to bottle up-the calm, the quiet, the peace, the slow pacer, the freeing bliss of no schedule…

Oh, that I had wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest… Psalm 55:6

I need to practice this, this thing called rest. No, I can’t fly away and be at rest, but maybe, I can find ways to be better, more intentional, at rest when I return home from this blissful week of rest. One of my fellow leadership team members at work who is my direct supervisor and who I happen to greatly respect and admire had a “Mom” talk with me at work my last day before I left for vacation. She talked about rest and about finding and maintaining balance between work and family. She recognized something in me that she says is very similar in herself-we place high expectations on ourselves…a performance driven type of mentality. It is hard to transition from this type of mentality to one of intentional rest.

For this moment in time, I will savor the peaceful rest, the lulling sound of ocean waves, the laughter of those I am with, the beauty of no schedule. When I return home, I want to carry a piece of the ocean with me…I will fly away and be at rest, if only for a moment, to breathe and ask for His peace, His strength, His rest.

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Let the anxiety wash away…

Anxiety… It can creep up so fast and before I even realize it, it feels like everything is falling apart. I am learning to turn these feelings of anxiety over to Him, to pray over them, to seek His wisdom in discerning what is behind my anxieties.

Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then, you will experience His peace which exceeds anything you can understand. His peace will guard your heart as you live in Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:6-7

Nothing is too small or big for Him. He cares about every detail in our lives.

The other night I took a walk, enjoying the warmer weather, the promise of spring. Some quiet after a long day at work. A beautiful country sunset. Anxiety washing away. Quiet time with Him. Learning to surrender every anxiety to Him. The small details of my life…not too insignificant for Him.

He cares. Pray about everything. Every anxiety… Let them wash away in His peace.

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Made Perfect in His Time…

God’s timing truly is best…

As we wait, as we wonder if He hears, if He cares,

Sometimes what we think are “no” answers

are simply lessons in trusting,

trusting that He knows best.

Five years I prayed,

Five years   I waited,

What I thought was a “no”

was really a wait, My child, I have something better in store

Halfway around the world

big brown eyes searching, longing

for someone to call mom…

Thank You, God for Your perfect

timing as I celebrate yet one more year,

his adoption day, my blessed son,

Your precious gift in Your perfect time.

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Beauty

What do you see more beauty in?

This overgrown patch of flowers where weeds are wildly surrounding every single flower?

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Or this flower, a sign of new life, of the promise of spring?

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I believe God sees beauty in both. I believe He meets us where we are…whether that be in the messy situations of our lives where circumstances like weeds threaten to kill the beauty and joy of everyday life or whether that be in the realization of new birth, of realizing His promise that joy comes new every morning.

I am learning that joy and pain can co-exist in my everyday life. Life is messy. Sometimes, I get so overwhelmed by the circumstances around me that they can threaten to overcome the beauty of everyday moments just as the weeds in the flower bed (yes, that is a picture of my flower bed from last year…no green thumb here!). If I focus too much on my circumstances, insecurity, fear, perfectionism, and performance driven mentality, can overgrow in my soul making me weary and tired. When I focus on who God is and not on the circumstances surrounding me, then I can pause, reflect, and embrace the beauty of a single glimpse of hope…something as simple yet so profound as a flower bursting forth the promise of spring. God’s hope is like that…He promises to take care of us. If we just focus on Him and not on our circumstances, we will begin to see the beauty in every day life. I’ve heard this saying before…only God can make a message out of the mess.

I am learning…to rest, to pause, to reflect, to trust without fear, to breathe, to confess, to surrender the anxiety and insecurity…and it is freeing.

God sees beauty in us just as we are, exactly where we are. If we can only see it in ourself, allow Him to love us as we are and to trust Him to speak His promises through the messiness of every day life so we can allow ourselves to see the simple beauty in our every day life, every day moments….how much lighter we will feel.

I encourage you to take a moment this weekend, to pause, breathe, reflect on the beauty around you and thank the One who sees beauty so much greater in you.

 

What do you want?

I drive the turnpike to work every day. The other morning as I was driving and listening to K-Love on my way into work, I passed a vehicle with out of state plates pulled over by a state highway patrol car. Definitely not the way you want to start your day!

A little while later, I saw that same vehicle flying by me. I thought to myself…what a slow learner! Then, I thought about my own life and how many times it takes sometimes for God to get a hold of my attention. For this driver, maybe it’s two, three, four, or more speeding tickets before he or she re-evaluates his decision to speed.

It made me stop and think about what areas of my life am I wanting to work on that I just keep slipping up on. Yes, I need to extend myself grace at times, but truly sometimes, I just need to hold myself accountable.

My friend I met for dinner last night said something very thought provoking to me…we spend so much time doing what we have to do that we lose sight of what we want to do.

So as we speed through life, sometimes we just need a little reminder to breathe…extend ourselves some grace…learn from our mistakes…grow from those lessons…and ask ourselves…what do we really want in life?

These are thoughts I hope to ponder very soon when I have some time to relax and reflect on spring break. But as for now, I will continue to pray, ask God to help me prioritize my time and day, and continue to work towards balance.

I challenge you to take a moment and ask yourself on a deeper level…what do I want?

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Listen for the Message in the Little Things

I shared recently about the silence of God which I have been feeling. Last week as I was prayer journaling one night, I felt a strong sense that God was asking me to fast from coffee. I really didn’t understand why, but it was such a strong sense, so I decided to listen.

I drank tea for three mornings…then needed to drive 3 hours and was tired, so I drank coffee. Nothing bad happened, of course. The next week, I tried to not drink coffee again, but I failed during a particularly trying afternoon at work. I needed coffee to get me through the rest of my day.

The next morning on Friday, I decided to stop at the local coffee shop because I hadn’t had much sleep the night before. I saw someone at the coffee shop and had a conversation with her that I knew I was meant to have. As I was leaving the coffee shop with coffee in hand and feeling encouraged by the conversation I had just had, I prayed to God…what’s the big deal about coffee?Coffee

And, then I realized…He was speaking to me through the little things. When I was tired during the day at work or feeling stressed, I immediately turned to coffee. Coffee was my lifeline to give me the strength to get through the day. This wasn’t about coffee at all. This was about where I draw my strength. As I prayed during my hour long commute to work, I prayed for God to be my strength during my work day.

I spent the weekend with my best friend and went to her church Sunday morning. What do you think the sermon was about? Strength in a storm. For me, the storm is the craziness of work, the uncertainty of my husband’s future job/school situation, a daughter graduating this year…just life swirling around me in rapid speed.

The big take-away from the sermon were these words…

I can worship in a storm when I focus on who God is and not on where I am. -Pastor Steve Rennick

So, today as I drove into work, I prayed differently…I prayed for God to be my strength, knowing this day is too much, but He is enough. When I am tired and overwhelmed at work, coffee is fine, but God must be where I draw my strength from, not a temporary jolt of caffeine.

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Hop on over…

snow day beauty

This is what I woke up to this morning…snow in March. Truly, though, it was a beautiful sight. Another beautiful thing to celebrate this day is friendship…

One of the things that I have grown to love about the online community is the connections you make. I have met some amazing people through blogging. My friend Lisa Roberts Bell who writes a fantastic blog on self esteem from a Christian perspective invited me to guest blog. Please take a few minutes and hop on over to her blog to read my guest post:

https://becomingyourbestselfblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/perfectly-imperfect/

And I encourage you to stay there a while and read a few more of her many great posts.

Have a great rest of the week! Find the beauty in every day.