Category Archives: resting

Restless Exhaustion

Sometimes sleep comes hard. The transition from awake to asleep isn’t easily bridged, and I have to trust that if I breathe deeply and close my eyes, I will cross over.

Sometimes nightmares come immediately. Fear engulfs me. Terror swoops down to grab me.

Sometimes I drift off to happy places. The best kind, really, that I don’t want to leave. Then I wake. I am still here.

Usually it’s the crossing over into sleep that is hard. Once there, I stay put, and even a bad dream or fear doesn’t keep me awake. I push through to the blissful other side. If I do wake, I can roll over and drift back.

It’s been a long time since I have spent the night in restless exhaustion, but last night happened. It reminded me that the insomnia struggle is real for many and has been for me in the past.

Lying awake listening to my husband’s gentle snoring reminded me of the many times I labored great with child during the night, not wanting to wake him. Knowing that when things got real, he would need his energy, I didn’t want to rouse him too soon. When all was said and done, he would need to carry on with work and life while I got to rest.

He is in a season of intensity at work, and I am in a place where I can be home during the day. We both don’t need to lie awake. The sound of his sleeping was music to my ears and background to my tears.

This time is so big. So much is happening. June brings with it heavy ambivalence, and my body feels it intensely this season. Add to that my past history, my current status, and the events coming up this month, and it’s a recipe for a perfect insomnia storm.

There was a similar season over 17 years ago when I struggled with sleep. I know this, because I vividly remember lying in my bed in the little house on Green Street and envisioning filling large black trash bags with my worries, concerns, and fears and hauling them to Jesus to cast at the foot of the cross.

I know he is always there and always faithful. Here I am 17 years later as proof of that! I hate having to continually learn and practice trusting that presence and faithfulness. There is a lot of underlying fear. Does God really know best?

I woke this morning later than I had hoped. Groggy from lack of refreshing sleep, I shared my restless exhaustion with Steve. I mean, I know I slept, but it just doesn’t FEEL like it.

Checking email for the morning’s Bible reading, I noticed an Anonymous donation to my GoFundMe account. I saw the newest Red Tent post was up, and it grabbed my heart. Dissolving into tears, I collapsed to the floor and into Steve’s arms where he was sitting and reading. He held me while I cried.

To all who have contributed on or offline to my endeavors, both financially AND with words of affirmation or prayers, THANK YOU. The timing of Anonymous was truly a God-send and reminder that I am seen, as was the theme of Becky’s post on Red Tent Living today.

Friends, I covet your prayers during this very difficult season of transition and journeying into the unknown while carrying the known with me. If you are in my circle and have needs that I am aware of, you were being lifted up in prayer in the wee hours of the morning. I can’t say exactly when, because I refused to look at a clock, but you were there with me in spirit.

Hugs and Love to All!

Wrapping Up Spring Break

Spring Break ’16 has come and is almost gone.

It was a good week. It was a hard week. If one more person had asked me, So do you have anything fun planned FOR YOU? I would have lost it. But they didn’t. And I didn’t.

It just wasn’t that kind of break.

It was the kind that included taking a limping dog to the vet on Monday to find that he has an issue that will most likely require surgery, though we have been trying the rest and anti-inflammatory route to see if it helps. Thankfully, it is nothing life-threatening.

It was a dentist kind of week for two of the kiddos. Yay for no cavities! Boo for necessary extractions and wisdom teeth issues. Cha-ching!

It was a hunker down around the house kind of week with a play date or two interspersed for fun for the kids. A friend came over on Good Friday to spend time with Mae. Roo had a friend over on Tuesday. There was a park play date for tween girl and co. Teen sons made plans with friends and were in and out throughout the week.

Some projects were attempted, including another sorting of the kitchen set resulting in a load of stuff being dropped off at the donation station. A few things were deeper cleaned, and children actually accomplished the chores on their charts.

The pantry and deep freeze and refrigerator were searched and scraped for end of the month meals. I cooked a bit. Easter candy was consumed.

Legos were pulled up from the basement and re-assembled. I spent more time in my favorite writing place with journals, books, and laptop. I slept until 7 instead of heeding my usual 5:30 wake-up call.

I had coffee with a friend or two. The times were really good and really hard, because when you are honest about the complexities of life, it’s not all sunshine and blue skies. Parts are painful and hard to say and hear. Parts are hilariously funny. I am blessed with friends that I can laugh and cry with simultaneously while sitting in the tension of unresolved-ness.

I did a small bit of creating. Emphasis on small.

It was a good week. It was a hard week. A friend messaged me to tell me that I seemed down based on my blog posts, and that she had been thinking about me and hoped I was okay. I appreciated being seen.

I’m okay.

I served in nursery for a switch with a friend this morning and received the gift of heart connection with precious littles and ladies and my daughter. Then I stayed alone for second service and received the gift of encouragement through worship and words and the table.

I am grateful for the time off this week and the space to regroup for the remaining part of the school year. We have almost made it through the year of five kids in five schools.

Provision in Unrest

I don’t do well with unrest.

When things are tidy and put together, there is freedom for me to take a break, put up my feet, and rest awhile. When things are unsettled, uncertain, unsure, it’s a different story.

Last Sunday I was growing through the unrest, and it was difficult, uncomfortable, and stressful.

Preparing for another year of VBS, I reviewed the materials for my station, KidVid Cinema, well ahead of the game. That is, I reviewed all but the video. I planned to pick THAT up on Set-up Sunday and be good to go.

It was a great plan, in theory. The glitch came on Set-up Sunday when the DVD was nowhere to be found. At first, I was confident that it would appear when the right person was asked. Then I began to feel doubt creep into the back of my mind. What if I was the person?

What if I was given the DVD already and it is somewhere in my house? Lost!

That thought sent me into a mild panic, as I quickly texted my husband. Maybe he could search the usual places where my important stuff piles to see if it was at the bottom of the stack.

No reply.

I would have to drive home to check for myself. Anxiety welled up inside, as I tried to just breathe and stay present. For something that already felt big to me, working VBS week, I was quickly approaching what felt like a tipping point.

Why am I doing this, again?

There was no DVD to be found. Anywhere. I called my sister in Ohio to see if I had taken it with me and left it there. The problem was that I had no recollection of receiving the very thing that strong evidence indicated had been given to me.

I could have easily taken a packet and placed it who-knows-where! Why can’t I remember?

Returning to VBS set-up, I found my chain of command and admitted that the video was, in fact, lost. I had no idea where it was and the bottom line is that it was needed the following day.

What do I do?

Grace abounded. I was assured that something would work out. I could go home and the highers-up would figure it out a plan.

I felt tense.

It was hard to release the situation to God and to what he would do with it. A friend sensed my tension and asked if she could pray with me. Right then. Her confidence was a boost when mine was lacking. I agreed, trying to hold the words she was praying for myself.

That night I received a call that a borrowed video had been located in a roundabout way when our children’s ministry director ran into the pastor of another church that had done the same VBS this summer. They had a video we could borrow, and it would be waiting for me the next morning.

Relief flooded my heart.

There was also that bit of doubt, though.

So what about the video? Will I ever know what happened to it?

It was hard work to release the need to know. To defend. To replay events in my mind and try to figure out. To have the answer.

Sometimes we don’t get the answer. Sometimes we don’t ever get find the video and know the outcome, and that has to be enough. Provision.

Other times. Those other times are sweet.

Monday morning I entered the church building to be greeted by the phrase, Did you hear? We found the video! It was in one of the children’s ministry bags!

Relief flooded my heart.

Monday’s Bible point was God has the power to provide. It’s interesting that I left VBS set up with no DVD and returned the following morning to two of them! I am grateful for the growth opportunity of experiencing provision in unrest. I am grateful for an amazing children’s ministry team and for the gift of serving together.

Rest Came

Rest came today in breakfast in bed, provided by Coco, Collie, and Roo. Delicious scrambled eggs and buttered toast were served for two on a tray.

Rest came today in first service and Sunday School being cancelled at church. No morning nursery duty for me and Coco, our once-a-month date with each other and little walkers.

Rest came today in a freshly-plowed street that firmly packed our cars in, causing the digging-out process to take longer than expected. No making it out in time for the 11:15 service.

Rest came today in cinnamon rolls for lunch, courtesy of Steve’s Costco run on Friday. No preparation on my part required.

Rest came today in actual sleep. A much-need, deep-sleeping nap under a fluffy lamb blanket with lots of vivid dreaming.

Rest came today in laughter with my luvvvah, the deep, belly-laughing kind about secrets we share.

Rest came today in an early supper, easy to prepare, ingredients already on hand, a glass of beer to accompany it.

Rest came rushing to me in the mess, inviting me to slow down and receive it.

So I did, and I will continue to do so for a few more hours until day is done and a new week begins, refueled and refreshed by the rest that came.

Brilliant Beauty and Being Included

I’m sacrificing the comfort of my own bed and the predictability of my life for a weekend away with friends.

This was the beginning of my journal entry Saturday morning.

When the invitation came electronically through my phone asking for dates that might work, I felt conflicted.

There is always so much going on that it is never a good time, and yet, sometimes space just needs to be created.

I had one open weekend. One possibility. It wouldn’t hurt to try. At worst, it wouldn’t work out; at best we would be away from our daily grinds basking in the joy of friendship.

The date was a go, and emails began to move, making plans.

Stuff began to surface in me that I could no longer stuff down.

What am I going to contribute?

I am gifted at caring for a multitude, how do I care for me?

Is this even worth it?

My husband, ever supportive, reminded me that time away with friends is always worth it, so I persevered.

Saturday morning, looking through the window of my room at the morning sunlight casting itself brilliantly over the colorful leaves of the tree just outside, I felt thankful.

Thankful for being included. Yes, it was absolutely worth it.

Resting in the Mess

Rest in the mess.

I was first introduced to this idea when I attended The Journey several years ago. After doing group work with my story and all of its messiness, my wise leader suggested that I just rest in the mess.

That idea was disruptive. Disruptive and freeing.

You see, I always held this idea that I had to get it together, and THEN I could rest.

It doesn’t work that way.

I don’t have to get it together.

So here is a little glimpse of how rest in the middle of the mess looks.

resting in the mess

It’s reading one of my summer books in the backyard on the wicker furniture that was removed from the porch for the work. I could rest here in the midst of this. . .

the mess

How might you rest in the mess?

Sunday Dreaming

Sunday afternoon nap dreams are delicious.

Sunday afternoon’s dream was vivid and full of symbols to look up and meanings to interpret.

To clarify, I enjoy looking up dream meanings and connecting what is going on during my waking life with what my mind downloads and processes during sleep. I dream vividly, often about current situations I face. I don’t attach mystic meanings or special dispensation or interpretation to them. I do listen to what my mind is trying to tell me when I let it relax.

It’s somewhat affirming to wake from a dream laden with obscure themes, that upon recording and looking up, ring true in reality.

It came as no surprise that my dreams were laden with symbols of obstacles, problems, and annoyances that I am learning to overcome, while other symbols of ridding myself of old ideas, notions, opinions, and negativity appeared.

Forgiveness and letting go were present, as was the need to be more goal-oriented.

Releasing burdens that are not mine to carry, facing everyday problems more effectively, and allowing myself to be cared for emotionally by those who love me manifested in my sleeping life, urging me to pay attention to these while awake.

Do you dream while sleeping? Notice any parallels between sleeping and waking life?

I find it interesting that my scheduled Bible reading for today was Genesis 28, containing Jacob’s dream of angels; Matthew 27, containing Pilate’s wife’s admonition to her husband to have nothing to do with Jesus, because she had suffered much because of him in a dream; and Acts 27, where an angel stood before Paul at night telling him that there would be no loss of life in the shipwreck that was to come. Fascinating timing, since I wrote this yesterday and was debating posting it. 


Beauty in the Broken

Several Sundays ago I pulled a colorful loop from its little silk pouch and handed it to my 8 year old daughter. Here is your necklace from China. You can wear it to church today. Excitedly she hung it around her neck.

By the end of the day, the loop was a strand. My active child had snapped the string during her play and sadly handed it over.

Placing it on a shelf in my jewelry cabinet, I contemplated its repair.

There it sat. For weeks.

The other evening as I was getting ready to go out, I reached in and pulled out the strand. The colors matched what I was wearing, and I pondered options. I tried looping it around my neck in a scarf-like fashion, and voila…not too bad.

In fact, the broken look held a different ~ almost more striking ~ beauty than its original.


Where is the beauty in your broken?

Maybe your broken is on the shelf in the cabinet of your heart. Can you be okay with it resting there as you wait for possibilities to emerge? They may be more beautiful than you can imagine now, as you sit in the darkness waiting for light to shine once again. Hold on to the beauty of hope.

A Place for Your Heart to Worship

I love worshiping on Sunday with my church family.

I love singing on worship team.

I love that we sing Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah, Psalm 146 from The Psalter based on a Gregorian Chant, along with Forever  by Chris Tomlin.

I love that the tune we use for How Much I Owe (Robert Murray M’Cheyne) was written by Brian Davis who is a part of our team, and that we often sing songs and arrangements written by Burress McCombe, our worship pastor. 

I love singing On Jordan’s Stormy Banks and wondering when I shall reach that happy place and see my Father’s face, resting in His bosom.

I loved singing this with my sister and brother-in-law during an Indelible Grace Hymn sing years ago when they were newlyweds. And loved that though the call was close, they weren’t quite bound for the Promised Land, yet.

I love seeing a hymn titled How Sweet and Awful is the Place on our set list and wondering what the congregation will think of it, since it’s not one of our standbys. The tune is quite familiar and beautiful, and the words are rich.

When we were kids, my siblings and I would rhyme the words to hymns even if they were written poetically. I want so badly to sing “geest” instead of “guest” at the end of the second verse. Or at least to look out and lock eyes with a sibbie!

I love that we celebrate a Risen Christ each Sunday.

Yeah, Death, where IS your sting?

Wherever your are on your journey, may God meet you and touch your heart through His faithfulness.

I continue to marvel at His faithfulness to me, as seen by the fact that I am even ON a worship team or WRITING about it on a blog. Where do YOU see His faithfulness to you? It’s there!