Five Minute Friday: Quiet

“Wow, it’s quiet”, I think to myself.

So silent my ears hurt.  When is the last time this has happened?

I took a few minutes for lunch at home. Something which seldom happens anymore. No kids. Sleeping husband.  Content critters.

No one and nothing needing me in this moment. And instead of basking in the moments of rest, I worry about what I should be doing instead.

Maybe fold the basket of laundry or start the dishes.

Isn’t that funny?  What is it about me that feels guilt in a time of unexpected rest? What prevents me from basking in the opportunity?

So in the moment, the laundry remains unfolded. The dishes remain undone and I read without distraction for the remainder of my time home.

Quiet.

So elusive yet so necessary in the stressed out moments of this busy life.

“Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and striving after the wind.”                             Ecc 4:6

 

This post is linked up with Kate Motaung’s five minute friday free write. You can find more like this at Kate Moutaung‘s , or you can take a stab at it yourself. See you there!

Finding grace in the gaps

For 358 days of the year, I am a mostly responsible adult.  Then, day 359 sweeps in to hinder my momentum.

I wake up feeling a pit of anxiety in my tummy.  “Stay in bed”, it says.  “Nothing good is coming of this day.”

I get up anyway.

The kids, however.  Not so much.  They are still in summer break mode.  But band camp starts today. My teenager is in Mexico.  The youngest is spending her day with Grandma.  I have to leave town by eight.

But they sleep anyway.

And so goes the pace of my week.  I pull into work, send a poorly timed text to hubby which results in my son being late to his first day of band camp.  (They finally got up). My new regional made an appearance at work.  (Thank God I did my hair today). Yet I was unprepared for the visit.  Our ability to communicate is  hindered by the nerves of new relationship.  Instead of appearing competent and capable, I did my best impersonation of Ellie Mae from the cornfields.

Tuesday was spent in fast paced preparation for my half day Wednesday.  You know, school registration.

This mommy of the year registered her 2nd grader back into 1st. Might be why they couldn’t find her paperwork from last year. Please don’t judge. This is my reality.

Thursday closes the week with a big finish.  My well kept sales program is completely wiped clean from all past, present and future activities.

What am I doing today?  Only cyberspace knows.

So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world.

Ecc. 2:20

Have you had this kind of week before?

Day 359 reminds me I need grace to fill my gaps.  I can’t control my world on my own.  It’s almost as if God allows everything to fall apart as a reminder that I need him to be the glue to hold everything together.

Daily, I need to ask for an eagerness for him instead of ________(money, recognition, pride, ego).  Depart from the mediocre and seek life through his word.  Seek assurance in his promise made to those who fear him.

My worth is not measured by the worst of my days.  Restoration only occurs when I return to my rescuer.  Jesus fills my gaps with grace and assures my footing for the rocky road ahead. He is my source of wisdom and strength when everything else seems to fail.

Lord, perfect your power in my weakness.

Position my eyes upon your face.

Point my heart to your truth.

Permit your promises to manifest in my life.

Redeem even the most rotten of my days.

Amen.

 

Seeking the Sabbath

 

 

“Your coming straight to bed?”, my husband asks in shock, “not even bringing your kindle to read?”

“I’m exhausted.” I reply.

Lately, my schedule has run me ragged.  My days start early and end late.  As I pursue this dream of writing, I have been adding daily journaling, blog design, web development and a training schedule to a list that already includes my roles of:

  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Sales and Marketing Director of a Supportive Living Community
  • Chief financial officer of my home
  • Household upkeep and maintenance
  • Church Volunteer
  • Community Volunteer
  • Band Booster Secretary
  • Workout & Weight loss champion (kinda)
  • all other duties as assigned.

I’m married to a man whose roles include:

  • Husband
  • Father
  • Production worker owning lots of OT
  • CEO of discount mowing service for elderly
  • Primary Chef in Landrusland
  • After school car pool king for the kiddos
  • Homework coach
  • Household Maintenance and upkeep (yes, it takes both of us)
  • A phone call away from saving the day
  • All other duties as assigned

Sound familiar? Can you relate to our chaos?

Sure, your roles may differ a bit from ours, but the bottom line is this:

We live in an overwhelmed society!

The idea of taking intentional time to rest gets farther away from the top of my priority list.  Rest equates to lost work time.  Lost work time equates to the possibility that someone  might get ahead of me and gain an advantage.  It means a tic mark left unchecked on my to do list. It means that someone might perceive me as lazy and carefree instead of driven and successful.

But what does God say about rest?

“By the Seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it Holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Genesis 2:2-3

According to God, seeking the Sabbath is important!  If the mighty creator of the universe requires rest then so do I!

There remains, then, a Sabbath- rest for the people of God for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:

So when do you enter in rest from your works?  I find my Sabbath best met on Saturday.  A friend of mine who is a Pastor’s wife & youth leader experiences her refreshment on what she calls #recoverymonday.  Nothing defines the Sabbath as Sunday, but as the seventh day.  In theory, the idea of traveling together for church service is great.  Then, a lunch that magically prepares itself  followed by a nap and an evening of quiet family time.  Reality is that our family is up early for church and head that way in separate vehicles to accommodate our volunteer commitments.  We come together for lunch and hopefully a little downtime.  Then, the older two kids head to youth while the hubby, youngest and I begin our preparation for a new week.

Again, when do you enter into rest from your works? 

This is something I plan to begin scheduling week by week as an intentional effort to take a break from life.  I know that this is not a perfect solution.  We all have seasons of chaos that prevent us from taking more than a few moments of rest in an otherwise crazy schedule.  However, if crazy is your norm, it may be best to start creating some whitespace in your schedule.

Then the Lord replied, “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14

Let’s talk about how to rest.  True rest comes from God.  How we rest is as unique as you are from me. The bible defines rest as a break from work or toil.  For me, this is a nap on the couch or a picnic in the park with my family. Reading a new book in the hammock, beach day or a hike.  Sometimes, it’s as simple as reading a book at the lake on my lunch hour.  Desperately needed moments of escape from my reality.

How can you seek the Sabbath today?

The Sabbath is simply about taking time to refresh and renew.  Recharge your battery.  Reconnect with God. Calm and rejuvenate.  Kick start your creative juices.  When resting, you’re to do list doesn’t go away, but, you can trust that God is going to give you exactly what you need to handle it when you return.

So go! Rest.  We’ll be right here, waiting, when you return!

What is your favorite way to break from your busy?  What are some great escapes that bless you & your crew?  Workaholics (like me) want to know! 

Leave your comments here:

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How refreshing!

“Mom!  My kindle free time is frozen and I need you to exit out of it!” Madi exclaimed.  She shoved the device in my hand as I was simultaneously peeling a potato.  I stopped what I was doing and realized that the entire device had frozen.  Madi, in her usual hurry, was ready to get on to her game.  Pronto!  “Madi, your kindle needs shut down.  You have to give it time to think.”  Just like mom, I thought in my head as I went back to finishing preparing our dinner.   How nice would it be to have a button I could push when I needed a break.  A quick little refresh to get me right back on track.

Much like every woman I know, I take on far too much in my day.  It’s like a badge of honor, having all those wonderful balls to juggle in the air.  Perfectly balance and in sync.  Just don’t try to throw anything else in the mix without prior approval or the whole show might come tumbling down!  As much as I hate to admit, my well orchestrated life is often an illusion.  And, like any good magician, only I know all of the tricks to making it appear seamlessly. To say I am overwhelmed would be an understatement.

The question I must stop to ask is how.

How do I get myself into this place of overwhelming exhaustion time and time again?

The first thing I have to consider is how much time I have allowed myself to get saturated in the word of God.  Like eating a healthy diet and daily exercise, time in God’s word is a daily essential requirement.  And, often the first thing to go in my routinely busy day.  Daily, I need to be reminded that his grace and mercy are new to me every morning.  Daily, I need to be reminded that God’s power is made perfect in my weakness.  Daily, I need to be reminded that I am a loved and cherished child of God.  An heir to his kingdom.  The crown on his head and the royal diadem in his hand.  A symbol of his living power, grace and mercy to a lost world that surrounds me.

Then, I need to trust him with every detail in my life.  Nothing is too minor.  Every worry and concern, every dark & unlovable feeling I am harboring, every circumstance and situation that seems impossible and out of my control need to be laid before the Father’s throne.  And left there! I need to trust that the God of the Universe can handle every detail of my life!

Last, I need to steal time away to sit and listen.  Quiet & uninterrupted.  To do that, I have to intentionally escape the realities of my life.  I personally love lake and pond areas.  However, my back patio will do in a fix.  This is time just to sit and listen for the still, small voice of God.  Time to allow his spirit to resonate my stress and anxiety that he may instead give me a peace that surpasses all understanding.  True refreshment to my parched soul.

I find that it is not the big things that most often overwhelm me.  It is the little day to day stuff.  Limited finances that crash into teens with endless pockets.  Broken car parts. Unmet expectations.  Broken dreams.  The responsibility of saying “yes” to one too many things.  But I have to remember that in these moments of overwhelming exhaustion, I am not alone.  In Psalm 3 it says that God is my glory and my shield.  He lifts my head high.  I picture a loving father, gently placing his hand under the chin of his beloved child.  Lifting gently until their eyes meet and he gently reassures her with the love and compassion in his gaze.   There is no refreshment quite like it.