I have been studying for a lot of exciting projects that are going to be happening in the new year. Psalm 139 is an important chapter that we study. So I thought I would start there. I didn’t get very far when Psalm 139:3 stopped me in my tracks.
You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am.
I always knew about the “path” that I am continually trying to locate and stay on. But telling me where to stop and rest was something I don’t ever remember reading or learning before.
If I had to pin point my location on the path I would say that I am at a resting place. I have tried fighting against this rest stop. I can see the road ahead of me and I want to keep moving and reach for the goals that God has me striving for.
The more I fight the harder God tried to hold me in the resting place. Why would I want to fight rest?
Looking back on the last two years I am asking myself a lot of questions. Currently I am choosing to enjoy the rest. I now know that this is a time of “being still” and taking time to study and prepare for what God has next. I am enjoying it and treasuring this time that I get to spend with my Lord. I am learning and growing tremendously - I have learned to be thankful for this time.
The question arises again. Why did I fight this? Why did it have to come to the point of health issues for me to give in and give myself over to a period of rest.
As a society we are driven to succeed. A period of rest could look like laziness and lack of dedication to the calling that God has placed on your life. I was enjoying what I was doing for God, why would I want to stop? I was helping people-- encouraging people to live their lives with and on purpose. I won a National award for my book-- why would I want to stop when everyone was asking when my next book is coming out?
Now that I have chosen to stop and rest I have a clearer vision of what God has in store. It is bigger and greater than anything that I was striving for when I was fighting the rest, and something I would have never seen if I didn’t have this time of rest.
Every moment You know where I am and why I am there - may I continue to be obedient and trust that you know the path better than I may think I do.
Life is full of chaos and noise. It has gotten to the point where we are afraid of quiet.
Whenever there is quiet our thoughts take over and those thoughts can scared us sometimes. So we keep adding to our lives.
Tonight our daughters were working on homework assignment, my husband was at music practise at the church so I finished up the dishes and thought I would go and sit down and rest for a few minutes. While I was sitting down to relax I turned on the TV to watch the news, then I thought that I hadn't read the paper today. When I finished the paper I picked up my cell phone and started to play a game on it. When all of a sudden I realized what I was doing. I had planned to sit down and relax for a few minutes and now I was bombarding my brain into overload. Why do we willingly do this to ourselves?
It is time my friends, to embrace quietness and stillness and learn to just 'Be'.
It takes time and practise, it will not be easy for me - I can tell you that! But it is something that I know I need to do. The first step I believe is to find a place where you can find quiet. Also, if you have children that would include a time as well. I have friends who get up at obscene hours in the morning just to guarantee their quiet time. I am not a morning person. I get up because of necessity to take care of my family. I like dusk, the girls have quieted down for the night and I have time to think about my activities of the day - the conversations that took place - and what did I learn today?
Use those precious moments during your day to pause and "Be Still". I am told that your quality of life will increase dramatically. Life throws so much at you each day - I want to be able to treasure those moments of silence and solitude, and listening for that still small voice and use them to become a better wife, mother and friend.
Anyone want to join me on this journey? I am going to need all the encouragement I can get!
Life sometimes just feels so full. Sometimes too full. I am wondering how it got that way.
Since having health problems for over a year now, I have tried to slow down and yet I still feel like I am running around like a crazy person. At the end of the day I continue to ask myself, "What did I accomplish today?" And sometimes I can't think of anything but yet my day felt so full.
Why do I choose to do this to myself each day? I know I need to slow down. I had physio today and yikes am I sore right now. I felt really good when I came home but right now I feel really tight and sore, and well, like a truck hit me. Physiotherapists really know how to hurt a person. :) But I know that I will continue to get better from this. That all of this pain will help me in the long run.
Kinda sounds like how God works in us a lot of the time doesn't it? Well, it is how he works in me most of the time. You know the character building exercises that He puts in our lives, so that we can continue to grow to me more like Him? It really sucks when you are in those places in your life, but then in the end when you can see what you were learning and how it helped you. In a weird and yet wonderful way it all seems worth it in the end.
I guess that is what physio is going to do for me. I am not going to feel like a 90 year old woman anymore. I will be able to run and play with our daughters again. I wish I wasn't in this place right now but I know that I am taking the right steps, on the right path to get to where I need to be. I just have to figure out how to slow down this ride of life that seems like it is spinning out of control. I know I need to cut somethings out of my life, but where do you start cutting? Who do you cut?
I was talking to my husband about having to cut some things and he asks me, that if I decided to leave something, "Who is going to lose out from having me involved?"
It is interesting to look at things from the larger perspective - I start cutting things that I wouldn't mind losing, but what effect is that going to have on other people? There is more to life than ourselves. Even though that is what the media likes to teach us - 'Life is all about me!" Well, someone else is always going to be affected by every decision that we make. Man! I thought I had difficult decisions to make before, but now it got even worse!
So now my brain hurts along with my back. So I am going to bed, and hopefully when I wake up tomorrow I will try to take my day bit by bit and enjoy the day with my husband and our daughters and not worry about the next thing on my to-do list that I feel I need to cross off. Hey, I bought a new purse today! Life is good!
I wasn't sure if I was going to title this post "Protecting Sabbath" or "Taking back Sabbath". I have been thinking about what Sabbath means for a while now, and this is a little of what I have been learning:
Sabbath is a time set apart for rest and worship. With today's busy lifestyles - this seems like mission impossible.
A month ago my family went on a last minute trip out to British Columbia to spend some time with family. 2 days of driving, 4 days of visiting/doing touristy things and 2 days of driving home. During our drive time my husband I were talking about all the work we had to do to prepare to leave for a week and then all the work we had to catch up on when we returned. It was so overwhelming that it made it feel like it wasn't a holiday at all. While we are thankful for a little time away, the idea of the piles of work makes us never want to take a holiday again.
I feel the same way when I think about Sabbath, my day of rest, my time to worship. Weekends seem so short, I have so much to do - how will I be prepared for Monday if I don't run around like a mad woman for two days straight?
What if I prepared for Sabbath, the same way that I prepare for a vacation. What if I make Sabbath sacred?
Sabbath isn't about rules. It's about relationship. I am taking away from this relationship if I am running my daughters to sports practice or pushing my shopping cart around the grocery store. I am stealing from this relationship instead of building into it.
My youngest went to a birthday sleepover party from Saturday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. This bothered me - it bothered my daughter as well. Which I am thankful for. We contacted the family to see if it could be changed, I understand the reasoning as to why it was planned this way, but I enjoy my family being together on Sundays. I really prayed for wisdom as to how to handle this situation. I didn't want to say, "You have to go to Church!" That is making it legalistic and we all know that teens love that! (you can read my blog post on "Why young people are leaving the church") I can honestly say that I was surprised with what came out of my mouth - I told my daughter that it is important to spend time with our Church family.
All the definitions and explanations I found in my research on Sabbath were all about rest and worship. But I want to add a third ingredient: family.
This has totally changed my perspective on how I view going to church each Sunday and setting apart a dedicated day of rest. When I walk into the church doors on Sunday I now see it as a family reunion - spending time worshiping with family. This has freed to me to worship in a place I didn't know existed before. I know there are several people that I could go to if I need a hug or someone to pray with. The Carleton's are generally the last ones to leave because we visit until the bitter end, (I need to start packing snacks so that we aren't beyond the "I have to eat now!" phase.) I especially love the week when it is Soup on Sunday because we can visit and eat!
Our church is a part of our family. Families are dysfunctional, families members hurt each other, families learn and grow together.
My life is not perfect - I do not look for perfection - I want to learn and grow.
My Sabbath is now a time of rest, worship and family. It needs to be protected. My family deserves this. I need to be an example of this to our daughters. It is something that I am learning and it needs discipline.
I made a screen saver for my cell phone (on picmonkey) so when I turn on the home screen it is a picture that says Sabbath across it. This is my reminder to put my phone down and build into what is important and sacred for this one day.
What does Sabbath look like for you?
Life is made up with a variety of seasons. Each season offers character building exercises, stretches you and hopefully guides you along the path to becoming all that we have been created to be.
Check out this video by Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper
I watched this video a year ago, and it's message of trust has never left me.
What I have been learning is that even though something is good, it may mean that you have to let it go.
For the past few years I have had a small, fun business called Living Skies Crochet. I took my passion of creating with yarn and turned it into a business. I started selling crochet items at markets but found I couldn't keep up to the demand, so I decided to sell the patterns so that anyone that could read a pattern and crochet could make my original designs. Financially this wasn't a business that I could retire on, but it provided money for groceries and my yarn stash. :)
This past year has been hard on a lot of families in Western Canada due to the low price of oil and our Canadian economy. My husband is self-employed and some months were harder than others. Last fall I was in a vehicle accident where I was hit by a drunk driver and my vehicle was totaled. Sometimes life presents situations where we have to learn to live a new reality.
I have been really working on listening, rather than asking. When life seems difficult I tend to become rather needy and full of prayers of petition. But what I have found, is that there is peace and answers if I just remain silent, listen and be still.
So here I am, closing Living Skies Crochet. This source of income will be gone at the end of March, and I have such peace about it.
When we get out of our comfort zone and trust God's hand to work in our lives, it creates such a beautiful picture.
I am excited to see the picture evolve in my own life, I know that He is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.. (Eph. 3:20)
Carolyn's experience as a missionary, pastor's wife, national award winning author & speaker all unite to encourage, empower and equip women of all ages to delve into scripture to discover it's truth in our lives today.
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