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.
I have been thinking a lot about life and the choices that take you down your life's path. I have learned a lot from my choices and some of the wrong paths that I have chosen to take. Often I think about the choices I made in my teens and how hard I had to work through and learn from the consequences of those choices.
Since that trying time I have worked hard to stay on a better path for my life because I have been joined by my husband and our two daughters. My choices have a huge impact on my family.
I have been watching people around me making very selfish and devastating choices in their lives, and I am feeling so helpless. Our choices in our adult life have such a wide-sweeping impact on so many lives. How do people make the choices that they do and feel okay about it? Do they convince themselves that their actions and ultimate choice is really the best for everyone or just themselves?
I keep having the verses in 1 Corinthians 10:22-24 run through my head.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.
I'm at a loss - Is there anything we can do?
The only thing I have come up with is to be a positive example as a wife, mother and friend, and through this I hope I can make a small difference.
Respecting Sabbath is an important part of our faith journey. I started on this journey not long ago. You can read my first blog post about Protecting Sabbath. I am still learning and as a family we are working to figure it out - what we are discovering is that it is a necessity.
In Exodus we see the first example of Sabbath rest - this is not a new idea. Sabbath is a lesson that was taught through Moses, we can read this in Exodus 31:12-14:
And the Lord said to Moses, "You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath because it is holy for you.
The first example we see in Exodus is the gathering of manna, They were to gather twice as much on the 6th day so that the 7th day would be respected as holy Sabbath. This began the pattern of work, rest and trust.
6 days of work, a day of rest and trusting that the Lord will provide what we need. Our bodies are designed to work hard, to take time to rest and to trust in the truth of His word.
This is something that we are working to achieve as a family and as it says in Exodus "throughout your generations" which means that we must model this for our children.
After church one Sunday we all came home to change into our comfy clothes and settle in for the day - but my husband asks us to get in the vehicle because we are going for a drive. Even though I had a lot on my "to do" list and was ready with about 20 excuses of why I couldn't possibly take the time to go for a drive - I knew I just had to choose to be excited about his idea and get in the vehicle. Our teen daughters were not so sure but jumped in the back seat and with my camera in hand we started out.
We live in a beautiful Province, Saskatchewan just takes your breath away. The Prince Albert National Park is only an hour's drive from our home. I will never forget as we rounded the corner into the main town site - we looked out the window to see a bald eagle flying over the lake right beside us - it was like we were flying with it. We pulled over and stepped out to look over the cliff to the lake below - the wind whistling through the trees, the waves lapping the shore and the quiet peace brought tears to my eyes. The "to do" list will always be there, the laundry continues to pile up, there are always meals to prepare, groceries to buy and put away but our daughters are now teenagers. We only have a few years of this family unit as we know it left to enjoy.
We need to model Sabbath rest to our daughters and our souls desperately need it.
This elk that we found at Prince Albert National Park has Sabbath rest figured out. Sit back and enjoy the sunset - life passes by too quickly.
How will your family choose Sabbath rest?
I did not realize how much I needed rest. I did not understand that the life I was living was not any kind of life at all.
I was so caught up in the mindset of busyness. Our daughters were involved in several activities, I was always running - involved in a dozen different activities, my husband was out most nights either working or at a music practice. While I was living in it, it seemed normal - natural. It's just the way life is. Right?
Then my accident happened - that was a wake up call to my mindset. I do not think that the drunk driver will ever fully understand the impact that he had on our family. I filled in my Victim Impact Statement and handed it in to the police. That was an interesting time of reflection - after months of physio and Doctor's appointments, it is incredible how much this accident continues to affect my everyday life. It is strange to be called a victim, and essentially I am - but it is up to me whether I allow this experience to make me a victim of my situation.
The drivers choice to drive drunk that Friday afternoon last fall was a choice that he made. Now I have to choose how I am going to allow it to affect me. The Victim Impact Statement breaks down the impact into sections: emotionally, physically and financially. I have been affected in all these areas, and with lasting impact in all.
This is my new reality. Each day that passes I get a little bit better. the important part is that I continue to move forward. Some days that choice is harder than others but it is a path that I have been placed on and I am going to choose to walk it with integrity.
The greatest lesson that I have learned on this new journey is that rest is important. We were not created for a life of busyness. Due to my injuries I was unable to do most things. It meant stepping away from boards and committees, closing my handmade online business, working less, my daughters had to say no to activities, my family had to step up to help around the home more and I had to slow down. I had to learn how to rest. I didn't know how to sit and just "be".
I didn't realize that busyness is a sin. As I have been learning to find rest in my life Hebrews 12 continues to come to mind.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin."
Previous to this chapter we find the examples of the Hall of Fame of Faith - it is interesting to study their lives which leads us to the verses entitled God's Discipline proves His Love. Hebrews 12 is so full of goodness.
We are to set aside and strip off the weight of sin that weighs us down, and run the race before us. I ran a 5K race once. It was hard. I could barely finish it. I could not imagine what it would have felt like if I was told that I had to run it with a 20lb weight laying on my shoulders. How can we run the race of life without the weight of sin? Keep our eyes on Jesus. Easier said than done - even Peter had difficulty with this one. We can't give up, this race is too important.
"And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
Many skip over these verses because let's face it - they talk about discipline and discipline is not a happy, feel-good topic. It is time to get over the thoughts that choosing to follow Christ is a joy-filled walk in the park. Yes you may experience days like that, but if I use my life as an example of this - those days a few and far between. Most days I experience pain, not always necessarily in my life but I see it in the eyes of so many around me.
The Greek work for discipline in this chapter refers to child-rearing through instruction, training and correction. As we travel through the painful discipline or lessons to be learned in our lives we do not always understand why. But that is not where our focus should be. The reason may not be a blinking sign in front of us, but in time we will have greater understanding. My husband and I went through a difficult time early in our marriage, I remember as he held me as I was uncontrollably sobbing - I said, "I can't wait for 10 years from now when I can look back and say what a great learning experience this was for us."
Our response during this time needs to come from a place of respect and submission. "Submission" another word that is just as popular as "discipline". But do you see what the rewards are? A peaceful harvest of right living - doesn't that sound wonderful! Then comes the encouragement - that where you are weak you will be strengthened. My body has been left weak from my accident, but I will be strengthened in more ways than I can fully know now.
I see things differently now, I recognize thankfulness in a new light, I am not the same person I was a year ago. I have found a place of rest that my soul was craving more than I recognized. I will not be weary, I will not give up, I am all-in for this race that is set before me. May I run with integrity, respect and submission.
More than 10 years have passed since that time my husband held me as I wept and I can look on that situation and see the healing, the lessons learned and how we have grown. It is experiences like that, that help me to not lose my focus and to endure.
Today is my 43rd birthday. According to Canadian statistics I have lived half of my life. I can look at this situation two ways - I am either on the down hill slide of my life or what I am going to do with the rest of my time to leave a legacy.
I choose to leave a legacy.
During the first half of my life I have learned a few lessons along the way. I thought I would share them with you:
"Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself - and be lenient to everybody else."
I am excited to start the second half of my life with all the things that I have yet to learn and all the opportunities will cross my path!