Category Archives: rest

Sick Day

I am rarely sick. It is hard to admit that I am too sick for anything unless I am on the edge of consciousness, and someone else decides for me. It is difficult to trust my instincts.

In fact, when I began feeling rough on Saturday, I immediately ascribed it to the residual effects of a fun Friday night out with friends and eating sticky nuggs at Billy Jack’s too late at night. It certainly COULDN’T be the stomach bug that has been going around and had many of my students and some fellow teachers missing school or leaving early this past week.

No. Not that.

To make matters worse, Sunday was to be my return to singing on worship team after a hiatus of several months. I had been looking forward to this Sunday and after practice on Wednesday night, even more so. It was a great team, great set of songs, and I was excited.

Saturday I woke up feeling a little off.

Probably too much fun last night.

I don’t do fun well, and can’t just go with the flow and enjoy. I drank a cappuccino, but breakfast was not happening. Steve and I were out together at a coffee shop enjoying some quiet time to write and reflect. He got food. I didn’t but later nibbled a bit on a piece of croissant and smidge of donut. Clues much?

Heading home, my stomach began to churn.

Ugh. I am getting too old to eat sticky nuggs late at night!

Saturday was spent trying to coach myself through to the end, waiting to feel better. Certainly better was just around the bend. Once I take a nap, have a snack, get the shopping done.

Steve was worried about me.

You’re not doing well. You seem to be going downhill.

I’m fine. I just have to get through ____________________ fill in whatever was the next thing I needed to do and then I will feel better.

I didn’t feel better.

Before going to sleep, Steve expressed concern that I wasn’t listening to my body well and didn’t seem to be in a good place to be getting up at six in the morning to get ready for worship team. I was sure I would be feeling much better after rest.

I felt much worse.

Waking up, I knew that there was no way that I would be able to hoist myself up in front of a bunch of people to sing. I could barely walk across the floor of my room. Also, I didn’t think anyone would appreciate me bringing my upset stomach to share with them.

With great disappointment I texted the leader, who responded with kindness. I went back to sleep.

Sunday has been spent sabbathing, resting, listening to my body. It keeps yelling at me to get up and do something, but I haven’t cooperated. I have slept a lot, read a bit, written a bit, and watched Netflix.

Tomorrow will be better. I just know.

Grace

Today I am thankful for grace. I am thankful to have learned and to continue to learn that it’s not all about me, whatever it is.

Today it was worship team.

I love singing. I love Sundays when I can be on team. This season there are none.

When the last worship team email went out to indicate availability, I knew that I could not be available for any of the Wednesday practices or Sunday morning services or the Thanksgiving or Christmas service, either.

I knew I had to take time off to better care for and more fully engage with my family, because we are running thin these days. Thinner than usual.

I needed to step away from external activities to step towards and love them well.

And that realization was hard.

I missed Community Worship this month to have Steve’s parents for dinner and not be rushing out to the next thing. It was not easy, yet necessary in order to be more fully present in my relationship with them.

This morning as I walked into the church building, I heard lovely singing over the speakers. Moving to our row, I saw and heard my sweet friend Grace on stage singing with the team for the first time. We sing the same part. She has a beautiful voice.

My heart was touched and opened as I began to engage and be fully present in the moment.

The gentle reminder of seasons coming and going, of God’s provision in each, and of freedom to step down and rest was overpowering. The reminder that stepping down allows another to step up, and that through it all God is glorified, was humbling.

I can let it go and breathe and engage and receive grace.

I am grateful.

Purpose

I wrestle with a purpose
that doesn’t match my plan.

In all that’s overwhelming,
I find it hard to stand.

I’m not the wealthy,
not the poor.
I’ve deep desires.
I long for more.

And many children, full of need
To guide with words and hope they’ll heed.

Steadfast love is my desire.
Help me through this trial by fire.
Bring knowledge, patience, honesty.
With rest and wisdom, visit me.

~longings from Proverbs 19~

Woman

Woman,
You’re astounding.
You are humble.
You are wise.

Your heart has been trustworthy.
There is kindness in your eyes.

Woman,
You have studied
to give counsel
and to bless.

Your words have guided many
safely through their painful mess.

Woman,
You’ve been steadfast
to speak truth and
to be kind.

You’ve often given freely
of your treasure and your time.

Woman,
You are weary.
You’ve served others.
You have blessed.

You’ve come upon a season
where your own heart feels pressed.

Woman,
Please be watered.
Please be cared for.
Please take time

To let your loved ones serve you
when your heart does not feel fine.

Woman,
You are precious.
You have flourished.
You’ve borne fruit.

It’s time to step aside to breathe
and rest upon your route.

~inspired by Proverbs 11 and the wise women who have inspired me~

Six Days

Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

This mantra flowed through my head today as I worked with the family to activate the reset switch in our home. Helping the children through their chores while staying motivated through mine isn’t easy. Catching up on all that goes undone during the week is a challenge.

Six days.

It was a grace that steady, soaking rain called off soccer today, leaving us with a morning at home to clean and declutter. Steve and I took turns dividing and conquering the various areas of our house. We can each only be one place at a time.

I spent time upstairs sorting through girls’ rooms and helping them change beds. I took a phone call. I tackled the laundry room. He spent time downstairs pushing through the living and dining room and kitchen, supervising the ones who had those chores.

Six days.

The days are long. They flow into each other, becoming weeks. We move in and through and out of them into the next and the one after that. Children are growing. Life is changing.

Six days.

I am ready for the seventh.

God Already Knew

This Sabbath Sundown is my last of summer.

Tomorrow finds me back at work preparing for another year of teaching.

There are many feelings swirling inside as I prepare to just do the next thing. I feel excited, overwhelmed, tired, hopeful, eager. This year is going to be a stretch in many ways.

But God already knew that.

So when there was joking from my sister about me having five kids in four schools, which became five kids in five schools, God already knew.

When the teacher I was looking forward to spending another year with moved on, God already knew.

Because He already knows, I can step out in confidence tomorrow morning, knowing that nothing will cross my path or touch my life that God doesn’t already know.

He is with me in this next chapter, and I can quit wrestling with and just rest in that.

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.

Sabbathing the Blog

Hello, Dear Reader!

I am taking a small break to let the blog rest and breathe. To let my heart rest and breathe with no expectations, self-imposed or otherwise. Those self-imposed ones are the worst kind!

I love that you keep stopping in to check on how things are going or to see if there is anything new. I love how you share what has touched you with others. I love that you are a subscriber who gets this in your mailbox as soon as it is posted.

If you are not yet a subscriber, now would be a great time to sign up! 

My invitation to you while I step away is to explore the 500+ posts all tumbling together to make up this blog.

Yes, I have written over 500 posts! I have always been very full of words.

There is a lot of good stuff in here. I know, because much of it has spoken to me again, lately, and I think, I wrote that! 

There is a tag cloud at the bottom of the home page, a category list on each page (what’s been composted), and a search box. I’ve written a lot of things in a lot of seasons. There is a lot of music tucked away in here. Some stories.

There are links at the bottom of each post suggesting other, similar, posts.

My prayer for you who land in this space is that you will find just the right words that you need for where you are on your journey. I am trusting that for you.

Blessings to you all! You have no idea how my heart is encouraged by you.

Hugs,
Julie

Outside is Calling

It brings a hopeful feeling after a long, cold winter, cooped up inside with lots of snow surrounding everything, to venture outside.

Last night, my luvvvah and I took our first evening walk of the season, thanks to my mother’s willingness to sit with the kids after they were in bed. We return to a chapter of life where we can’t just up and go, trusting that there will be an older sibling around to hold down the fort.

The littles are now middles with loud opinions and many needs, and the youngest of the oldest, who is the oldest in the house right now, often has a life. Once everyone is in bed, there isn’t a guarantee that they will stay, and it’s best to have an adult present who can be the boss of them, should they need one.

Non-adult-siblings aren’t the best in the role of official boss of everyone else.

When the adults are home, it’s a different story, but then we want to spend time here with them. Things always change. Isn’t that the constant?

So yesterday’s outside for me was a walk. For the kids it was the hauling out of scooters and bikes and the playing on the porch.

Today, it was being invited by my love to spend half-an-hour in the yard together puttering around, picking up, and lopping off bits dead plant remains to reveal the green shoots underneath. It was nothing strenuous and certainly blustery, but it was earthy and grounding at a time when I desperately need that.

new growth

I need to discover the green under all of the dead brown; to snap off stalks and crunch dry leaves and grab handfuls of dirt, just because. I need time in the brisk sunshine.

And to stop. I need that, too. It’s hard to stop in the midst. To rest.

The hibiscus is in the shower, drip drying after a soak. A damp, loamy smell greets me each time I walk into my bathroom. I know it’s not time to put the plant outside. Soon, though.

Through my bedroom window I see little girls galloping down the sidewalk towards home. They have been up the street playing in a friend’s yard. I have seized the moment to rest and write.

Spring is coming. I am ready. Outside is calling. I am listening.

Rest Awhile

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them,
Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile.
For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
Mark 6:30, 31

I know the feeling of many coming and going with no leisure even to eat.

I was given that leisure and space this weekend with the offer of respite at my friend Angela’s house. From Friday to Saturday evening there was space and quiet and time to think and read and write. And watch a bluray movie on her massive TV.

I slept. I read an entire book. All the way through. I wrote. I rested. I listed. I sat by the fire. I listened to music.

It was a gift.

The disciples ended up being followed and recognized in their desolate place, leaving them with 5,000 hungry people to feed. Jesus worked the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes and then put them in the boat.

Soon I will get back into my boat and be launched out onto the water of a new week.

In that launching I will try to hold onto grace and peace and gratefulness for the time I was able to rest awhile.