The Rhythm of Rest

 

We sit cross-legged on weathered wood and look across the lake. Gentle hills, thick with trees, rise and fall on the other side. And in the water, lily pads rise and fall too.

“Dose weaves are walking on da water!” my three-year old exclaims.

Last weekend, thunder crashed and the lake churned. Lightning lit up the sky like a strobe. By morning, although we were without electricity, there was only peace. Looking at the sky and the trees and the lake, you’d never know there had been a storm.

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And those lily pads, they just rolled with it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of rest. Psalm 4:8 says, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Matthew 11:28-30 promises rest for our souls. Isaiah 26:3 says that He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds steadfastly trust in Him.

Time and time again, the Bible promises rest, often in exchange for trust.

The last six years have been filled with ups and downs—some big, some small. But even in the best of times, the only saving grace is His saving grace. Always. I’ve wrestled with the idea of rest, but those lily pads? They got me thinking.

Maybe a soul at rest still feels the hills and valleys. Maybe it’s not the absence of pain but rather what you do with that pain. Maybe your mind can be steadfast even as your world shifts and changes. Maybe walking on water means learning to roll with the rhythm of the waves.

Maybe it’s simply knowing that you’re held.

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Those lily pads are tethered to something that holds firm both when the water churns and when it rolls gentle.

And for us, through all the changes that life brings, one thing is for sure.

He is holding us through the ups and downs.

And He will never let us go.

 

Stepping Out

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Her eyes are closed but she’s still awake. I’m cradling her in my arms, although she’s far too big to fit comfortably anymore. She’ll be three in May, this little one. Wide awake, yet she doesn’t slit her eyes even the slightest to see where we’re going.

My feet creak heavy on the stairs and she’s heavy in my arms. But she keeps her eyes tightly shut, content simply to know that I’m carrying her.

That she’s safe.

A friend posted this verse a couple of weeks ago: “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Psalm 37:23-25, NLT).

I’ve been thinking about Abraham lately—how he had faith to obey the Lord, to pick up and leave everything he knew, even though he didn’t know where he was going. Sometimes, God calls us out of what we know and into the unfamiliar.

And when He does? We can rest confident that He is holding us by the hand. We might make mistakes. We might stumble. We might miss a step or five. But God never misses a single step. He is steady, faithful and unchanging.

In seasons of transitions, that steadies my heart.

I can close my eyes and breathe deep, content simply to know that He’s holding me.

Carrying me safe.

The Most Humble of Things

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My daughter spotted it first, clinging to a wall beside an old railway track.

“Look, Mom,” she called excitedly. “Look what I found!”

It was just a common grasshopper. Nothing special. But as I bent close, I could see its leg quiver, hear a chirping sound. It’s called stridulation—when the inside of a male’s rear leg is rubbed against its forewing, it produces a rasping sound.

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I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple of pictures. My sister is the insect photographer. I’m not a photographer at all, nor do I have fancy photography equipment. But I like to try anyway.

It’s the detail that gets me. Every creature, no matter how tiny, is so intricate.

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Do you see the herringbone pattern on the grasshopper’s rear leg? People buy herringbone purses and jackets and yet God thought of it first. Effortlessly, this tiny insect is cloaked with beauty.

I was feeling tired and discouraged when I woke up this morning. The Lord has been working on my heart—teaching me what it means to lay down my life for others—and the lessons have, at times, been hard. As we were driving to the trails, I prayed: Lord, I’m so used to living just for myself. I didn’t realize that picking up my cross in the little things—the day-to-day things—could be so trying at times. You picked up the greatest Cross of all and I just desperately need You to help me put the little details of my life back into perspective.

As my daughter and I crouched on a railway tie in front of that low wall, my perspective began to shift. If God puts that much care into a grasshopper, how much more care does He put into me?

If He paints the butterfly’s wing so beautifully, how much more beautifully is He painting my life?

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Or, as Matthew 6:28 says, “Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.”

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God cares about the details. He sees me when I’m tired at the end of a homeschool day, when there is a sink full of dishes to wash, a basket of laundry to put away, children who need attention and an hour to make dinner and tidy up before my husband arrives home.

God sees the details. He gives strength for the day, grace for the moment, and those extra reminders of love when we need them.

Sometimes, those reminders come through the most humble of things.

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When Jesus Says Shine {Overcoming Fear}

God has not given usa spirit ofFEARbut (1)

Jagged strips of earthy potato skin fell onto the counter. Such a mundane task, peeling them, but my hands were clumsy. I checked the clock. Four more hours and then it would be time.

You have to do the thing that you are afraid to do, I told myself sternly. Tomorrow, it will all be over. And after that, it will be a distant memory. Besides, it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.

Part of my nervousness stemmed from the front row. I wore my highest heels, stood up as straight as I could, and thought tall thoughts. It didn’t work. I still ended up in front. I wanted to hide in the back.

That’s the problem. I’m not naturally an extrovert.

But Jesus says shine.

A few years ago, I asked God to break the limitations off of my thinking.

I prayed.

Then I waited.

I waited for God to miraculously break fear. I waited for Him to break insecurity. I waited for Him to put bigger dreams in my heart.

There was one fear that was broken in an instant. You can read about it here. But more often than not, I’ve learned, fear is overcome through actively stepping out.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” It was Nelson Mandela who said that.

Sometimes, the only way to conquer fear is to do the very thing you are afraid to do. Instead of praying for fear to miraculously dissipate, sometimes we need to pray that God gives us strength to take that timid first step.

So I changed the way I prayed. I began to systematically tackle my fears, one by one.

And I am overcoming them, one by one.

God has not given us a spirit of fear.

My fears are not particularly “big” but there are things that make me nervous. Speaking in front of people. Choir—the front row. Praying loud. New friends. Writing the hard things—the heart things.

Someday, all these will come easy. There is no fear in perfect love. And I have a perfect Savior offering me perfect love. But until I’m made completely perfect in that love, I’ll continue to push the limits.

Little by little. Step by step. Victory by victory.

And I will shine

because I’m shining Him.