I had just finished teaching my morning classes and my daughter and I were headed out to do a few errands. I stepped out of the car and felt the warm sun kissing my cheeks when this thought came to my mind. .
I miss doing something for no reason but the sheer pleasure of it.
Like, taking a walk downtown with no intended destination. Just to move and breathe and rest my eyes on what I pass. Finding the beauty in each detail, the line of the roof, the church bell, the date stamped in the side of the building. Or, catching the eye of a passerby and not looking away in discomfort, but smiling directly at them to watch their surprised delight.
That was all it was, a fleeting thought, or longing for that feeling of living for the sheer joy of it. I went on with my day, filling the list I had made in my head with check marks until finally it was late afternoon and time to walk before the sun went down.
On this particular day, I found myself alone, my feet finding the path my daughter and I always walk together. Nearing the end of the walk I paused to snap a picture of “my spot.” It’s this lovely place where the creek meanders, and the water trips across the rocks making its own kind of music. The birds can’t contain their delight and they must join in the chorus.
It was early evening now and the sun was making its descent casting shadows behind the tree trunks while the sunlight dappled the leaves in a sort of dance.
It was an exhale of all the things, and my Savior brought a truth to my heart. You do everything in order to produce something, as if you need to prove your worth to me.
My mind sifted through my memories and I knew He was right. Of course He is! He is God.
When Alan went to Heaven, the Spirit told me to do a few, very specific things. One of them was to rest for a year before returning to work. He told me that I was to spend that time writing, healing, helping my children heal and connecting with the body of Christ.
Another thing He told me was to physically move, not just my body but my whole household. I felt a bit like Abraham.
Seriously Lord, You, are talking to the girl who doesn’t do anything without consulting with her husband first.
I am your husband.
But, I don’t know how. The decisions involved in this are too hard, they are beyond me.
I will guide you.
But what if I get there and it all falls apart?
How can I afford to do this?
People will think I am crazy or at the least, irresponsible and lazy.
You live for me beloved. Follow me.
And so I did.
I sold most things and packed up the rest of what had been accumulated in my 24 + years of marriage. My children and I including my married daughter and her family, packed a U-haul and moved to the land He had called us.
It took the whole year to settle, get my two youngest schooling, establish a new home, as well as all the things that come with such huge life transitions.
Amidst it all, my heart felt battered and bruised and I realized how wise God was to tell me to be still. I could barely put one foot in front of another. Small decisions felt huge, and I was trying to be faithful to the things He asked me to do; write, help my children heal and heal myself.
For me, this looked like lots of remembering, laying my fears before the Lord, talking, crying, taking brave new steps forward in the dreams God uncovered and fighting for hope daily by renewing my mind in His word while choosing joy.
The words that spilled out on my page were an outpouring of what God was showing me in my brokenness. Some days the sun shone through and there was laughter, which felt a bit like betrayal. Other days, there were tears that burst out in the most inconvenient of times. Every Sunday, was balm for my soul. We had found a church home and lifting my weary heart in a sacrifice of praise always resulted in tears that cleansed my soul.
I still felt guilty about not “working,” in the traditional sense. I worried what people thought. I had even heard rumors about myself, but nothing much matters when your life has been wrecked. I knew that God was up to some deep work in my heart and those of my children ,so many deep works. But, that is another story. Being at rest was still hard, unnatural. Yet, God brings even a small, caterpillar to a state of rest in its cocoon, when he is undergoing the transformation that gives him wings.
My year of being still passed and I was scrambling. My faithful, God had uncovered more details about His call for me to write and I desperately wanted to be obedient but, I had bills to pay.
But. Who even thinks, “but” when God calls? Me! (That’s me raising my hand!)
Nothing really matters but obeying God and yet, we live in a world of demands.
So, I added more prayers to those I had been praying for a year, for God to lead me to the work he had planned for me, that would also allow my focus to be on the calling that he had placed on my heart to write. I don’t know what writing looks like for others. But for me, one piece requires several hours, plus a lot of excavating in my heart and it leaves me exhausted mentally and emotionally. Still, it is a happy offering and one that I found breathes life back into me as I put on paper my brokenness for his glory.
I found the job He wanted me to do and it hasn’t been easy. It involves early morning hours, lots of energy, some time preparing and I keep adding more hours to try to make ends meet.
But it is joyful work,I am thankful for.
I am trying to be faithful with this calling to write, while continuing to heal. Still, at the end of the day I often find myself feeling “not enough.” Maybe you have felt that way too.
For me on this particular evening walk, all those thoughts collided with my Savior. It was arrows of lies and defeat darting against the strong chest of the one who had redeemed me. The Way the Truth and the Life, gathered me in for a sweet conversation.
“You are working hard at many things beloved. Every action you do has a purpose or motive. Even the nap you took today was so that you would have the energy to rise early to teach. Your walks are for exercise, not to enjoy the beauty I have surrounded you with. Oh, some days you notice it but quickly forget when confronted by your long list of things. You count your hours of work daily doing the math to make sure there is enough when you are paid. Even my words are not savored, but taken in to see what morsel to hang on to or pass along.
I am calling you to a state of rest! Not the absence of a job this time, but a place free of striving. Where your time with me is because you love me and just long to be in my presence. The things that you share will simply be an overflow. A place where walks are first to see my creation and second to care for your body. A place where your heart is so hidden in me that you do the work that is in front of you and leave the outcome to me. Whether it’s numbers deposited into your bank account or words deposited in someone’s heart.
Your worth is not based on what you do. I make you worthy! You are already mine. When your heart truly knows (lives in that place) the joy that comes will be uncontainable.
Ecc. 9:7 says,”Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.” and,
Psalm 149:4 says,“The LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” “You hide them in the secret place of your presence.” Ps. 31:20
Something happens beloved when we exchange a lie for the truth. God gives us opportunity after opportunity to walk in it. So I know that this truth revealed, like any other will have to be walked out. Me choosing Him over and over, choosing rest over striving and choosing His presence over distractions. It all begins with stopping.
For me it was a stop I have made, what feels like a million times, by a favorite creek. I don’t know what that will look like for you. But, I encourage you to press pause. Make a habit of making space to hear His voice and you will find rest for your soul. Matt. 11:29