I learned many years ago that resting well is not static. It’s a moving target, constantly evolving. For me, that’s what makes rest hard work. It requires attention, diligence and commitment to the ever changing seasons and chapters of our lives. I vividly remember my first sweet “success” at Sabbath Keeping. It became restorative and a highly anticipated weekly event – a celebration in many ways. It refueled me. Recharged. Refreshed.
Then children started arriving. In droves. The apple cart flipped over—in lightening speed. Rest appeared an impossibility, a thing of bygone days. My desire for it never left, but it perceptually landed on the back burner. After a couple years of this losing battle, God in all his goodness and grace allowed me to bottom out. My only crime was fatigue, but the toll on my life and the lives of our children was alarming. In a state of melt-down, Tim met me with a deep compassion. Sobbing harder than our three wailing kids, he pulled me into his arms.
“Brenda, you’re tired. You’re really, really tired, completely worn down. You need a break. It’s that simple.”
With a simple kiss, Tim took off to retrieve my purse, my Bible and the car keys. “Go. It’s time to retreat. We’ll be OK.” Pause. “Don’t come back ’til everyone is asleep.” With that single invitation Tim reminded me to rediscover what I was missing.
Rest is not a matter of convenience, it’s a command and possibly the greatest gift apart from the saving and sanctifying work of God in our lives. My journey back into the rhythms of rest in that new season of parenting was not easy. It was worth the effort, however, in every way. It’s shaped me. It’s shaped our kids. I have come to expect that every new season, every life-transition overturns the apple cart.
Rhythm and rest have to be re-explored again and again with creativity and determination. I am in that place of “apple cart upheaval” once again. My established rhythms are no longer possible. I must create new practices that will allow God to reorient my heart and replenish my reserves. The four-rhythms still apply: Sabbath, Sleep, Stillness (Personal Prayer), Solitude (Personal Retreat) but what these look like at this point in my life will take on a new shape, a new flavor, a new feel to meet the needs this season demands. Grace is required for these in-between times. I have to trust that God will provide for the moment and make a way for rest to be re-established within my life once again..
Pray me through.
I’ll do the same for you.
What season of life are you in? What rhythm of rest comes most naturally? Based on your needs and exhaustion, which rhythm of rest, if re-established, would breathe new life into the weary chambers of your heart.
Many of you know that our oldest son, Josh, is in Hospice Care. It is a new season, demanding new rhythms to embrace the joys and challenges before us. I never know what a week, much less a day might hold. As God allows, there is a team working hard to keep the momentum of this ministry moving forward. They deserve our thanks and encouragement. If you’d like to be a part of Red Diamond Days and Josh’s desire (and encouragement) to “Go M.A.D. – go make a difference” feel free to visit RedDiamondDays.com or the facebook page where stories are being shared facebook.com/RedDiamondDays. Josh’s “Go M.A.D.” List continues to grow as Thanksgiving approaches. We have life to live and thanks to give.
4 thoughts on “The Hard Work of Rest”
Brenda, forgive me. I have prayed for you, but not reached out. Seems like there are a lot of people hurting right now. There is rest needed. There is needed that time that causes us to stop and take stock of where we are, what we are doing, what comes next. Have you ever wished for a journal that God wrote and you could go to it and look and say…oh, okay, this is what I am to do today. Quiet is so hard. The pain is so great. The confusion is massive. I love the story of Elijah. He worked really hard making fun of the priest of Baal and then showing God as the only true God and then killing the priests. Do you know the strength he had to have to repair the altar and then cut the animal for the sacrifice? But then he had to quit. Life was too much…too hard. He was given bread and water to sustain him for a 40 day journey into the desert. There he was met with fire, earthquake, storm. How could he hear God’s still small voice amongst the turmoil? It is what we have to do. It is true rest. It is focus. It is heart. It is a gift from God to us personally. Praise His holy Name. Praying, my friend. God is faithful and will continue to be so.
Still small voice. To have ears and heart and stillness to listen well.
He is faithful and He rises up to meet each new day.
First of all my dear sister, thank you so very much for the reminder…secondly, I would sure like to be passing out red diamonds in the ‘D’ where Peter and I are living and caring for some folks…thanks, Linda Harlow
Our ‘corners of the world’ — the place we are called and empowered to serve in a strength and with a joy not our own.
Lord, fill us and refuel us each hour — with a few Red Diamonds to share along the way!