Tag Archives: rest

The pathway to peace and rest~

Get directions if you need to.  It is a way that is well-known and well-worn.

Jeremiah 6.16

“Then you will find rest…”

{relief, pause, cessation, peace, a break, repose, refreshment, peace}

Image: from one of my notebooks, a place where I keep inspirations, maps to my universe

How we all know you’re a Sabbath-breaker

This is how EVERYONE (especially your spouse) will know you are not keeping a holy day (one of God’s greatest gifts for us):

  1. You will not be able to see, nor understand what God is up to in your life.  You will feel defeated and exasperated at every setback or delay.  You will frantically try to push against circumstances and curse what you cannot conquer.
  2. You won’t hear God’s voice.  You’ll hear from TV, radio, e-mail, advertisers, Linkedin, Facebook, My Space, Twitter, Blackberries, Blueberries, I-pods and MP3s, but you won’t be able to discern what God is saying for direction.  You’ll be confused, overloaded and over-connected.
  3. You’ll be spiritually dried up.  You cannot fake green, healthy growth, nor a fresh Word from the Word.
  4. Your body will be weakened and you will grow old faster than you should be.  You’ll know when you see your eyes in the mirror.  Who are you kidding?
  5. You’ll have a sense of rootlessness, as if you have been pulled from the place you were once planted.  You won’t know where you belong.
  6. There will be no fruitfulness right now.  You’ll have only the past to point back to.
  7. You can’t praise your way out of a paper bag and even though you consider yourself a witness for Jesus, you are not in any way, shape, or form evidence of Jesus Christ and His grace in your life.

Why are you the one exception to the need for a Sabbath, a day set-apart, holy to the Lord?  Why are you exempt from receiving the blessing God set up for you to refresh, renew, restore, re-establish, and rest?  It doesn’t have to be like this.

The simple solution.

Work 6.  Rest 1.

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”  Hebrews 4.9-11

“There remains…”  Check out the previous verses to see WHY it remained – and don’t do that!

Wait until I tell you what I have been learning from Psalm 92!!!…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  I wonder if people can tell I have been cheating here and there…:{  Don’t ask Dave.  PLEASE!

UPDATE FROM JEANIE/2-26: Yes, maybe I should have called this post, “How everybody knows when I am a Sabbath-breaker,”  but hey, *SMILE!  Especially if you are connected all the ways I mentioned in #2 above, because then, you truly are ON CANDID CAMERA!  Everybody sees you-by your choice!  And they all know.  Hehehe…And it takes one to know one.

Easy like Sunday Morning

You children of the 70s will recognize the title of this blog referencing the song, “Easy” by the Commodores.  Frankly, church girl that I was, I couldn’t relate to the metaphor of Sunday being easy back then because Sundays were the hardest day of the week (Sunday morning church, people for Sunday dinner, choir practice at 4, Sunday night church, etc), but it was intriguing.

Sometimes I still cannot grasp the truth of what Jesus said about life following Him – that to follow Him would be to find rest for our souls (our minds, our wills, our emotions – our very personalities!)  He even said that His yoke (which was a wooden beam used to tie two oxen together as they trudged forward in their very hard labor) would be easy.  Easy.  Seriously?  When?  Where?

What is the essence of what Jesus really said?  Well, here it is 3 ways (Mt. 11.28-30):

Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  NIV

Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  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 graceI won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” THE MESSAGE

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-ladened and are overburdened, and I will cause you to rest [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls].  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.  For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp or pressing, but comfortable, gracious and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.  THE AMPLIFIED

Following Jesus is following REST!

Following Jesus and His plan for my days is NOT: ill-fitting (having a job to do but being stripped of the resources or authority to do it), heavy, harsh, hard, sharp (pain-causing), or pressing (can’t seem to stay ahead – losing your breath, feeling pushed), wearisome, burdensome, hard work (work is good, a blessing, but there is a work that is just nothing but hard and life-sapping), loud and abrasive.

Following Jesus and His plan for my days IS:  go to Him, run, maybe.  Because He is gentle and I will find rest for my whole being because He is going to give me rest!  In Him?  Real rest, recovery, living the abundant life freely, lightly.  Ease.  Relief.  Refreshment.  He’ll re-create me.  And blessed quiet for my mind, my will, my emotions.  Quiet for my emotions!  I am sensing/feeling freer and lighter already!

And His call on my life?  The work (good works) He prepared for me before time began (Eph. 2.10)?  Easy.  Light.  Comfortable, gracious, and pleasant.  Not to mention wholesome (whole, not fragmented, and holy).

I’ll trade this for all the churchy titles and religious service I have done all my life any day.  Where do I sign up?…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  I am going to Him.  I am going to follow Him and watch how He does this thing.  I want to do life the way Jesus did…this is vital to life…”Why in the world would anybody put chains on me…”

Cease from Your Labors

Labor Day is a day off for the working citizens of America.   Stop working.   I mean it.   Cease.   Stop it!   Quit working right now!   This is a fedreally mandated day off, for crying out loud!   Plus, God wants you to enjoy time off, too.

Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 11.28-30 (Amplified):

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease, and relieve and refresh your souls.]

Take My yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle (meek), and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief, and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good – not harsh, hard, sharp or pressing, but comfortable, gracious and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

Sleep, day seven (On the 7th day, even God rested!)

 dog-sleeping.jpg

Sleep.  Rest.  Be at peace. 

God can handle everything without you – really He can.

Be blessed, Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:

“Here’s an activity that I recommend: Find a shaft of sunlight, curl up in the puddle of its warmth and nap with doglike dereliction.” – the newspaper

Read previous posts from this series here:

Sleep, day six, The Sunday Morning Bubble Disaster

It is good to rest through sleep because:

  • If you don’t, you will have increased anxiety and breathlessness causing sleep apnea meaning you won’t even be able to sleep for lack of air (a vicious cycle)
  • Without it, your memory will be impaired and your cognitive performance weakened
  • It is anti-aging.  When you sleep, your body is resting, repairing and regenerating itself from the stress of life.
  • After 3 sleepless days, you will start to hallucinate and lab rats forced to stay awake continuously die.
  • A lack of sleep nightly (even an hour less than you should be getting) makes you prone to disease, weight gain and body aches and pains.
  • You can hear the sound of God’s words while you are in a deep sleep! (Daniel 10.9)
  • Consistent, peace-filled sleep repairs muscles and other tissue and replaces dead cells.
  • It also gives your brain a chance to organize and archive important memories*.
  • Most people think they can get by with very little sleep, but studies say you may be cutting your life short by taxing your immune system and may be living a joyless life because your attention span is so impaired.

So last time (Sleep, Day Five) I told you about my “discovery” of Psalm 127 and the 1-2-3 punch that drove those verses home. “God gives His beloved sleep.”

I am a changing woman.  I plan to sleep a lot more the second half of my life.  I don’t even feel the need to spin it like, “Yeah, tomorrow I’ll be organizing and archiving  my important memories* pretty much all morning.”  No, I am able to just say, “I need a nap.  See ya.”  Ahhh – this is good.  I hope I’ll never fall into the trap of trying to prove something all the time again.

Then 2 days later…

It has taken me months to “get” this and enact it and I am still learning.  But God has relentlessly pursued me in it.  Just 2 days after I “discovered” Psalm 127, He sent out one more clear reminder.  Because He knew I’d need it!

gavin-11.jpg

It was a Sunday morning (8.13.06) and I was getting ready to go to church.  My first beautiful grandchild, 3 year old Gavin, was at our house and full of spirit and energy, as always.  He had gotten ahold of a gallon container of bubbles and we were “discussing” whether or not now, just before leaving for church, was a good time to open the bubbles.

He was quite disappointed when I said to put the bubble bottle back where he got it.  For some reason he thought his little arms could toss it back and suddenly the ceramic-tiled floor was covered with bubbles and poor little Gav was right in the middle of it.  It was like a cartoon scene as his little feet began to try to run out of the puddle, but weren’t going anywhere…but not funny as he crashed to the floor on his back.

He is fast that before I could get to him, he was up and trying again to escape the slippery mess and there was a second crash.  All the excitement got the dog barking and stressed out and soon we had a Brady-bunch-like moment of chaos with our mutt trying to run through the bubbles and spending a lot of time running in place, but then dragging the thick, slippery substance all over the kitchen floor and the family room carpet.  It was a messy scene, to be sure.

By necessity, I needed to stay home and get this cleaned up before anyone actually cracked their head open.  That tile could be murder when wet, let alone bubble-water!

I was feeling a little sorry for myself because it was such hard work  – and just as I was making my decision to learn from Jesus Christ how to rest.  But I got to it.

Some cartoons or something had been on TV when everyone left, so the TV was still going, but I couldn’t even hear it as I sopped up and washed out towels.  When the floor seemed as clean as it was going to get, I threw everything into the washer and as I came out of the laundry room with one last towel to dry the area, the volume of the TV suddenly seemed louder and I hear some guy saying, “I usually don’t read whole chapters when I preach, but I think I will today” – and words now so very familiar to my ears began to fill the air:  “Psalm 127, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…For so God gives His beloved sleep…”  He read the whole thing, some preacher named Bayless Conley out of California.

OK.  I get it.  I am not home because of bubbles.  I am home so I won’t forget.

She wholly, fully embraces all new values :)

I have renounced my workaholic, activity obbessed, Type-A, driven, Messiah-complex, performance-oriented, controlling and manipulative, aggressive, competitive, prideful, striving, stressed out, burned out, self-destructive, disobediant, restless and sinful ways.

No matter how hard I worked, it wasn’t working.  It was all vanity.  But I will have to watch carefully not to go back.  I was a good hard-working church girl who needed a Savior and got one.  He came looking for me, lost as I was, not from eternal life or a lack of salvation through Jesus Christ, but certainly lost from the abundant, joy-filled life He invited me to join Him in.

Occasionally now, months later, when I start creeping back towards too much work and activity and not enough resting in the Lord and being wholly devoted to Him, I find myself getting back into trying to impress God and perform for His approval rather than love Him from a pure heart.  Those are miserable days, full of defensiveness and striving.

Rest is better. Sleep is divine. A nap is a glimpse of heaven.

All you who are weary and heavy laden, Jesus will give you rest…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: Of COURSE I have been needing more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep all these years! I am only dust, after all…

Read all the posts from this series:

Sleep, day five (I discover Psalm 127!)

What a summer I had last year.  I had lost or damaged so many things: relationships, direction, sense of who God actually created me to be, confidence, income, health, peace of mind. My ministry was gone and my marriage was wounded.  The only thing firmly in place was my pride, but God was chipping away at it.  Who will I be, I wondered, if You take that away from me?

God is getting through to me

8.10.06 I finally confessed the truth to myself and God:

I need sleep.  I am so tired.  I cannot find peace or comfort of any kind until I get sleep.  There is nothing anyone can offer me that will help me in any way until I get rest.  And, God is not going to give me my next directions until, through rest, I am in a better frame of mind.

8.11.06 and the 1-2-3 punch.  I sat at the kitchen table with my Bible.  The only scriptures I could recall about rest were the commands to keep the Sabbath, a commandment I not only broke regularly, but had some pride in doing because I didn’t want to be seen as lazy, but rather a hard worker who earned her keep. The only scriptures about sleep in my rememberance were the ones like, “…the stouthearted were plundered, having sunk into their sleep,” and when David said he would “not give sleep or slumber” to his eyes.

Even Proverbs taunted me with, “A little sleep, a little slumber…so poverty shall come on you,” right after  calling me a “sluggard,” and telling me to “consider the ways of the ant,” hard workers, all of them.

So after the revelation I received the night before, I prayed, God, please show me if this is Your word to me right now.  Could it be true that all You are asking of me at this time is to sleep, get rest, become renewed?  Is Your yoke really that easy?  Is Your burden really so light?  Could You teach even me to cast aside my need to be and to do and could You actually give me rest? (Matthew 11.28-30, please read, dare to believe).

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

1.

God gives His beloved sleep.  That thought popped into my mind right after I prayed.  I had heard it somewhere (probably a few thousand times…I am a slow hearer).  God gives His beloved sleep.  Simple, plain.  To the point.  With some trepidation I searched my concordance.  There it was: Psalm 127, a Song of Solomon (the wisest of men).

Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

I read it.  I read it aloud.  I wrote it out, word for word.  I thought about it.  I looked at each phrase independantly and interdependantly.  I meditated on it.  I thought it through from every possible angle. It was this amazing thing I could barely believe was there for me! I spent an hour and a half at my kitchen table with my Bible just trying to grasp this wonderful news: God gives sleep.  He was ok with me getting sleep.  I didn’t have to do it all.  I didn’t have to make sure every single thing got done before I enjoyed the restoration, the recovery that sleep brings.

It began to dawn on me that “unless the LORD builds ” it…it is futile.  “Unless the LORD guards” everything, the watchman (me, usually) is in big trouble.  The revelation was taking hold that I was living in the vanity of rising early and staying up late and worrying my head off over everything (the bread of sorrows/anxiety).  God had actually given me permission to sleep.

God gave me, one of His “beloveds”, sleep I wasn’t quite sure what it meant or how I would do it and I knew I was really too busy to do it, but I also knew this was a moment in time I could receive and be changed or ignore and spend the rest of my life regretting.  An hour and a half of scripture meditation…I got up to start the dishwasher with wonder in my heart…

 tara-at-wedding.JPG

2.

The phone rang just as I got up from the table.  My firstborn (see photo above), Tara, was calling.  I thought maybe I would tell her what God had been showing me through His Word, but I wasn’t quite ready to come forward with the full story. It was the sin of my pride being exposed, after all.

She wasn’t waiting to hear from me anyway.  She came directly to her point.  She said, “Mom, I have been reading the Word and I feel that God told me to call you and tell you this-” and you are probably not surprised to hear that Tara read Psalm 127 to me…every word of it, stressing, “God gives His beloved sleep.”

That was one of those moments, even now as I write it, I am in awe that the God of the universe had time to make sure I was hearing His plan, His will, His heart towards me.  It is so humbling.

The P.S. to this is, our friends are not fooled nor impressed by our drivenness. Our families do not think we are living our best life just because we are running circles around them doing-doing-doing. They’d love to have us stop, relax and be. My mom still starts every phone call from several states away with “I know you’re busy and I don’t want to keep you, but…” because she knew I was perpetually in a hurried and harried state of the most earth-shattering projects at all times for years.

The problem is, when we are not rested, we don’t allow anyone around us to rest, either, at least not without making them feel inferior. When we’re rest-less, we cause restlessness in the ones we love most. We even make them do things from our endless to-do lists.

Are you blushing with shame? Remember, I’m not judging. It takes one to know one. My poor husband, Dave, hadn’t had a day off in over 20 years, thanks to my lists and projects. Our full-speed-ahead “fruitfulness” wears out the ones we most love.

3.

Later that evening, I pulled out an article about resting in the providence of God that a friend had given to me to read a couple of months earlier.  I had read it at least twice.  I thought I would check it out again since it was about the Sabbath and I had a newly-increased motivation in learning to keep it, and obey it.

You are sharp enough to have guessed what I found –  I hadn’t even noticed the paragraph about Psalm 127 before or the beautiful statement made by the article’s author:

“God knows that His creatures need restoration by rest, and so He not only commands but even invites us to get it.”

God wasn’t being redundant with me.  He was making sure I got the invitation! He knows how slow I am to hear and learn sometimes.  I mean, this whole thing is in His Word, so actually, since I learned to read, it has been there for me to read and receive.  How many times had I run the other way?  My husband Dave and God only know.

Two days later, God would issue another reminder as I wrestled with whether or not I would press in to accept this newfound freedom.  I’ll tell you about that tomorrow (Sleep, day six).  But until then, I want to tell you that I know from experience that the loss of sleep from over-work and anxiety and pressure is overcome by calling on the Lord who calls you His “beloved one.”

If you need to work hard and press in to do something difficult to feel alive, then press in, “make every effort,” to receive the promised rest, as Hebrews 4.1-11 invites us!

Think about what you are willing to give up to receive what God is willing to give you…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: “I cried unto the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill.  I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.” Ps. 3.4-5  Even during the most hectic and disconcerting times in my life, I can sleep in peace knowing God will sustain me and has the whole world in His hands…

Read all the posts from this series:

Sleep, day four (Even Elijah needed a nap)

 Read the previous installations of this story by clicking Sleep-Day One, Sleep-Day Two, and Sleep-Day Threesleeping-baby.jpg

8.10.06 So I am minding my own business (and my own busy-ness), wondering why God won’t give me direction for my future. I’m living the Type-A life, up in the wee hours and go ’til you drop late at night life, living to check things off the list that never ends daily. I’m physically run-down, emotionally weakened and I am innocently pondering the events of the day (while I stain bricks until sunset, nonetheless). I was remembering how Hunter couldn’t hear from us, receive from us, needed nothing from us until he could get sleep.  Just sleep.

I was on my patio as the sun was disappearing behind the mountains and the Old Testament prophet, Elijah, came to my mind.

1 Kings 17 – 21 In partial summary, Elijah was a power-house.  He had the favor of God and walked in great authority.  God used Elijah to tell King Ahab that a drought so severe was coming there wouldn’t even be dew.  King Ahab and Queen Jezebel had encouraged the worship of Baal and killed God’s prophets; God was not pleased.  Calling down this type of heavenly curse must wear you out because God made Elijah take some r & r, sending him to the brook Cherith where the ravens fed him morning and night and he drank water from the brook.

Elijah got the restoration he needed there and the brook dried up.  That was when he got his next instruction: to go to a widow at Zarephath, where he was not only part of a miracle of provision for her (her oil and flour did not run out until the drought was over because of Elijah), but when her son died later, Elijah prayed and God revived him.

Elijah was the guy who set up the public “testing” between Yahweh and Baal with the building of the 2 altars.  Ahab had called him a “troubler of Israel,” and Elijah put it back in Ahab’s court by saying that the king was the troubler by allowing the worship of false gods.

God proved Himself like Elijah said He would by showing up in fire on a water-drenched altar while Baal did not show up despite the hours of prayer and self-mutilation of the false god’s prophets.

Our God showed up!  He honored his prophet!

But when Elijah became the target of Jezebel’s rage after he ordered the deaths of her priests, he ran in fear.  He ran in fatigue.  He ran in exhaustion.  Elijah ended up under a tree taking a long nap, wishing he could just die.  That is tired!  I actually get that. That is whole and complete fatigue!

When Elijah was awakened by an angel and told to eat, he found a freshly baked cake and a container of water by is head.  He ate it and then went back to sleep. He wasn’t praying for purpose, begging God for his next assignment, ahem. He was just sleeping, then eating divinely prepared meals, then sleeping some more.

The angel woke him up again and told him he needed his strength so he should get up and eat again.  THAT food and THAT rest prepared him for the next 40 days of a tough journey.  But it wasn’t until after THAT food and THAT rest that he got his next instruction from God and went to a cave where God spoke clearly and decisvely to him.

The study notes in my Bible say of 1 Kings 19.11,12

“The Lord did not reveal Himself to Elijah in the spectacular ways by which He had shown Himself to Moses.  To this discouraged, despondent old prophet, God responds in gentleness.”

God did speak to him again, not in a great strong wind, or in an earthquake or even in a fire.  God spoke in a “still small voice,” or a “delicate whispering voice.”  Had Elijah not been quieted by a time of rest, had he remained in the endless, noisy cycle of boldly prophesying and working hard at it, he may have missed it – the very thing he needed most.

zzzzzzzz

So here I am on my patio staining those ever-loving bricks on a hot summer night, remembering Hunter’s cries, pondering the prophet Elijah and it was becoming clear: I need sleep.  I am so tired.  I cannot find peace or comfort of any kind until I get sleep.  There is nothing anyone can offer me that will help me in any way until I get rest.  And, God is not going to give me my next directions until, through rest, I am in a better frame of mind.

B I N G O !

God got through to me.

This new idea, this thought that I neeeeeeeeeeeded sleep began echoing through my mind.  I even dreamed about it.  I was going to need proof that this was actually true and by the next day I was ready to find out. But for the moment, fireworks were going off in the sky of my heart like I was being granted some divine permission to indulge myself in something that was good for me – that God might still be pleased with me even if I wasn’t running myself ragged.  Could this be true?  What if I am not on my hyper-vigilant watch at every second – will the world cease to revolve correctly? Sadly, I would soon find, I had been living with somewhat of a God-complex. How embarrassing.

You may be thinking, “Good grief, of course sleep is from God.  Of course He wants you to live a rested life.  I have no trouble sleeping and not feeling guilt about it.”  Wonderful!  I wish you’d clued me in (though I probably wouldn’t have understood, anyway).

But some of you, my friends and family, are so tired you can barely read this.  You are holding your world together for all you are worth.  You are pleasing everyone and getting everything done and you dare not skip a beat or disaster will strike.  Rest is most definitely not a state of mind. It is a place in which you can live.  Think about these:

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest…be diligent to enter that rest…” Hebrews 4.1,11

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet,” Proverbs 3.24.

On day 5, I will tell you what I found in black and white right there in the Bible about sleep and how God was trying to make sure I heard it fully, and actually had been for some time.

Hunter needed it, Elijah needed it, and it turns out, I was sorely in need of sleep, too.

Deliver us from from striving & our self-reliant pride, Lord.   Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: Working for the Kingdom of God does not exempt me from His commands concerning the Sabbath and keeping it holy. It is pride to defy it. Word to all my friends and family in ministry. With love!

Read all the posts from this series:

Sleep, day three (Hunter & the Prophet Elijah)

Read the previous posts in this series: Sleep Day One, and Sleep, Day Two

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So where were we in this little *lack of sleep and rest* story?

I had lost title, position, most of my marbles and any inkling of what God had in mind for my life.  I was madly volunteering for anything anyone would let me do, cleaning obsessively, weeding my yard (and maybe even a little of the neighbor’s), helping Rocky & Jovan with their upcoming nuptials and basically over-doing everything I could put my hand to.  I was up before the sun and didn’t, or should I say, “refused,” to stop until well after dark.  There were no leisurely lunches with my daughters for me, no playing in the pool with the grandkids.  I was suddenly “not working,” and all I knew was, if Jesus returns today, He will not find me sleeping or being lazy!

“work…for the night is coming…” – The BIBLE!

During this time, my vision was blurred, I was chronically swollen, my body ached everywhere it is possible to ache, my joints were locked up.  I didn’t feel well – ever.  This “time off” thing wasn’t working.

Amidst all the activity, I kept praying, asking: what next?  I wanted to know how God planned to use me, where I would next get to serve Him.  I cried about this a lot, but the heavens remained silent, no to-do list written in the clouds.

I felt miserable and broken and now even God had no use for me.  Couldn’t He see that I was a hard worker for the Kingdom?  He said He needed laborers for the harvest. Didn’t God understand that I would sacrifice pretty much everything to work for Him?  Hadn’t I proven this?  I couldn’t comprehend why He wouldn’t put me to work?

It was a very hot summer day in August

8.10.06. The Walgreens sign in town said 104 degrees.  My daughter Tara called. She and her husband, Dave, were bringing my adorable almost-2-year-old grandson Hunter to the house for a swim.  When they walked in the door a few minutes later, daddy carrying Hunter, the little guy seemed in a bit of a daze.  He had fallen asleep in the car and his face was pink from the sun, complete with car-seat sleep-creases.

As they prepared for the swim, his daddy set Hunter down to prepare a water bottle to take outside.  Hunter teetered and his body started to tremble.  He grabbed the legs of a kitchen stool and started to cry. But it wasn’t like any cry I had ever heard from him.  His face was red, agonized; a sorrowful, deep groaning-almost-scream came from within the depths of his little body.

Hunter had our attention immediately: mine, mommy’s and daddy’s.  I offered to scoop him up.  The cry poured out, he shook his head.  No.  Do you want a drink?  Water?  No.  Do you want lemonade?  No.  Do you want some pop?  No.  Do you want mommy?  Do you want daddy?  All we wanted in that split-second was to bring Hunter comfort, but nothing we were offering seemed to fill the bill.  We could not comfort him.  He was troubled beyond any simple outside fix. Hunter could not be comforted.

I know I am the nonna and everything, but Hunter, even at 20 months, was an unusually good-natured toddler.  There weren’t random meltdowns for no reason. He wasn’t throwing a fit; he wasn’t trying to get his way.

As it happened, they’d just had a really busy, on-the-go day and he’d missed his usual nap time.  They figured a refreshing swim and then a nice late-afternoon nap would be the ticket.  Unfortunately, he fell asleep in the car those few minutes before and he was past the point of exhaustion – his trembling body a true sign of that.  He needed rest right now, more specifically sleep.  Pure and simple – sleep was the answer. Until that happened, there was nothing else that could happen.

God was about to show me some things concerning sleep…

That evening as the sun was setting and I was out on the patio staining some bricks (yes, staining bricks…I know, I’m rolling my eyes now, too), I was remembering Hunter’s gut-wrenching and pathetic cries and how badly he was needing that nap.  I thought about how he could not be soothed because he was so tired and that nothing I had offered would or even could comfort him.

Immediately, out of the blue, I began to remember the story of Elijah.  This was a power-man out of the Old Testament if ever there was one.  He was bold and walked in the favor of God raising the dead and declaring miracles and ticking off government leaders by saying what God told him to say.  God backed him with so much authority that he could even change the weather.  But as I was sweating away staining my bricks and pondering Hunter’s gut-wrenching cry earlier in the day, God reminded me that even Elijah needed a good, long restorative nap.

More on Elijah later…

Do you need permission to rest and sleep in?  I give you mine.  I give you God’s.  Consider whether this constant state of activity in which you are living is where you have placed your confidence? Are you fully self-sufficient and is it the healthiest place? Is it a place of pride for you? Because, fair warning: God resists the proud. He gives grace (and naps) to the humble, though. So – think it through carefully…

Be blessed and be at rest today!  Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: “...ask..where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls...”  Jeremiah 6.16 NKJV

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