Dear Mom Who Refuses To Rest

Dear Mom Who Refuses To Rest,

I know how it is…

If there is a basket of laundry to be folded..

If there are dishes in the sink…

If emails are waiting in the inbox…

If home projects are half-complete…

If that conversation has not been resolved…

If the decision is still not made…

If more work can be done…you’re always drawn to do more of it.

Staying ahead of the game in all areas of your life has become a normal pattern for survival…but you can’t help wondering if this is the pace of life your loving Father had in mind when he made the earth to complete one rotation in 24 hours. 

You’ve convinced yourself that resting is a luxury that those who want to succeed simply can’t afford…and somewhere between being faithful and being frenetic you’ve managed to secretly look down on all those around you who seem to take it easy:

Your husband, who finds time for yoga. 

That friend, who gets away for the weekend.

Your children, who are blithely unaware of the socks wadded up under the bed.

That family that spends all day at the zoo…

How does everyone else seem to be so carefree when there’s so much left to do?!

You become painfully aware as you look at your life:

Cutting corners on rest doesn’t get you ahead.

Sure, it feels good to have a clean house (but it takes but an hour for it to be less than perfect.) You feel assured when you’ve checked everything off your list (but see how there’s always one more thing?) You feel satisfied when you’ve hustled, bustled, maneuvered, and made your mark (but how quickly the target shifts, and you’re once again late to the party.)

Dear friend…don’t you see? We weren’t made for 30 hours a day, when he only gave us 24. We weren’t designed for self-sufficiency, when God created us to need a Savior. He made us to savor…not just survive. 

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If you’re tired, it’s a good indication that you’ve neglected rest…and resting in HIm.

This past Saturday afternoon, when the boys and Mr. Simons started talking about the beautiful weather and what a warm and glorious day it would be for heading down to the river, I began to do my Internal Eye-Roll. You know, the one that eats lunch with Stealthy Head-Wagging and Inaudible Sigh of Disappointment? It wasn’t that I didn’t long for a beautiful walk or leisure time with my family. It’s just that I felt the weight of SO MUCH LEFT TO DO. 

But then I remembered these words by Jonathan Parnell

Stop making bricks—you can stop…

We can put down our tools. We can close our computers. We can forbid those thoughts about that next meeting or those emails waiting for a reply or how the numbers aren’t as high as we’d like. We can stop and trust him who justifies the ungodly. We can trust that when Jesus died in our place on the cross, he died to destroy all the anxieties of our lack, to still our ceaseless striving, to hush the winds of our self-justifying labor, to irrevocably connect us to the abundance of his grace we possess by his work, not ours.

And so, I did. I listened to the river, chased my boys, held hands with my husband, and joined the guys for a rousing 20 minute investigation of a porcupine they found hovering overhead in a tree. The very family I longed to serve by working harder, longer, more efficiently…was keeping me from missing the forest for the trees. Their sense of adventure helped me to remember that I had one too.

And as we made our way back home as the sun went down, I was again reminded…that resting in the finished work of Christ is not just a positional state of being when we account for our souls, but a relational privilege of being with Him who our souls were meant for. 

So, dear friend. Let us learn to love what must be done, faithfully working unto the Lord. But, let us stop laying brick as if our life depended on it…and glorifying the busy that enslaves. Christ has saved us from the captivity of idleness and worthless things, but he has also redeemed us to fruitful laboring IN HIM, that is not in vain. Our every minute is now meaningful because Christ purchased our rest…can you then not rest and rest in Him?

Because of grace,

 

Truths To Cancel The Noise, Again

(Because it is as much needed now as it was then…repost from January 2013.)


I’m sitting in a (finally) quiet house, but my mind feels noisy.

What noisy input is always available to us today: The internet is noisy, opinions are noisy, the news is noisy, expectations are noisy…ideals are noisy. There is so much that seems so wrong with the nations, so unsettling about the future, so burdensome about the Body of Christ, so weighty in the details of daily life…so noisy amidst our sin-wrecked world. Some of us are deafened in the chaos of worry, of fear, of anger, of unforgiveness, and sometimes in the noise of self-condemnation.

It’s so noisy that we are tempted to despair. We are tempted to think too little on the work of Christ and too much on our own abilities to solve life’s problems or failure to overcome them. 

But this is what we hear when we listen to the only voice that matters and look to the Word of God in keeping a quiet heart and life:

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” -Isaiah 26:3

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” -Psalm 37:7

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” -Psalm 46:10

“‘For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.'” -Isaiah 30:15

“The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.” -Proverbs 10:8

“And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” -1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” -1 Peter 3:3-4

Friends, we can escape the noise and chaos, and rest in the calm and quiet of His shelter this day because Christ IS ALL. Because He is sovereign. Because He finishes the work He begins. Because His shed blood paid the price for the biggest problem or crisis we could ever truly face. His love crushes the weight of fear, anxiety, guilt, or confusion, and lifts us up in the easy yoke of His grace and mercy. 

How quiet and at rest is His refuge, the strong tower of the Lord. Run to it, friend, and know the quiet of heart that surpasses any worry, turmoil, strife, or chaos…even that which may be in your own home or heart today. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. In the finished work of Christ…there is stillness. Praying for us to know stillness and quiet of heart today.

(Flash sale, today only 8/1/14. 20% off Rest In Him, use code: RESTTODAY. Ends midnight MST.)

Because of grace,

I’m so honored that you are here. If you enjoy this blog and would like new posts to come directly to your inbox, I invite you to subscribe to GraceLaced by email.

 

 

When I Forget How To Rest

This is undoubtedly the time of year when I’m restless for change, a break…some time off. We just finished up our last day of school on Wednesday, but you all know: We are in the middle of trying to get our house back on the market. So, the reality is…there’s not much rest going on around here right now.

And yet I stop to consider what is most unsettling and most unrestful…and it really isn’t physical. Please join me today at For The Family, as I share about resting in Him, something that I should easily remember, but most often quickly forget.

Nothing More and Nothing Less

Whatever it is that you are franctically trying to accomplish this Monday morning…
Just stop. Take a minute and take inventory.

Kids in the Bosque
Kids in the Bosque

That racing about like your life depended on it…anxious and worried for the outcome you desire…juggling so many balls in the air that you feel paralyzed about where to even begin…and wanting deeper with Christ, but too busy to sit and listen to his voice? That?

That perpetual building you are constructing could very well be walling you in rather than laying a strong foundation. Your relentless bricklaying could be fashioning a prison, rather than a lighthouse. Are you growing more free as a result of the work of your hands, or are you becoming more enslaved?

Nothing More and Nothing Less
Nothing More and Nothing Less

You see, even beautiful and godly things like working hard, seeking a disciplined life, and striving for excellence can ultimately, if done without Christ, keep us from the very life we truly seek. We hope to find true living, Christ-likeness, and value and worth; but, what we may find instead is a life bound to busyness, schedule, expectations, and our own abilities. It sneaks up on us– this self-sufficiency and idea that we can make things happen the way we need them to, if we only try hard enough.

And maybe perhaps you’ve heard me say this before: We were never meant to make it on our own. We were created to need Him. 

By The River
By The River

So, our family takes inventory by heading down to the river, where the giant cottonwoods are declaring the glories of transformation. A life dependent on what the Creator provides. A life that changes with each season. A life that never has to rush or race about, because it is simply doing what it is created to do.

Picnic In the Bosque
Picnic In the Bosque

I’m so done with rushing and racing. I’m eager to grow in my understanding of rest. I’m not content to fit as much into my life as I possibly can, just to find that I have no room remaining for what is of greatest importance. 

And so, we stop (if only within) and take inventory of what we are building and how to have freedom in it. By God’s grace and merciful care, we know it begins with us setting down the bricks and mortar, to pick up our Swords. God has something to say about our worries. He has something to say about our anxieties, our plans, our fears, our relationships, our families, our work, and our purpose. 

Photo Oct 27, 8 16 28 PM (1)
Photo Oct 27, 8 16 28 PM (1)

The cold winds may blow, and the seasons may change…but we can stand firm being who our Creator has made us to be. Nothing more and nothing less.

Photo Oct 27, 6 44 44 PM
Photo Oct 27, 6 44 44 PM

Posted on my Instagram feed last night during our walk down by the river: “There are no flattering filters, editing tools, and sentimental captions in the trenches of real everyday life…the life that is replete with stress, disappointments, joy, and loss. Choosing in the dark what you know to be true in the light  is the real picture of beauty in marriage.

Drawing Close {31 Days of sketching and noting grace through drawing.}
Drawing Close {31 Days of sketching and noting grace through drawing.}

Join me everyday this month for the Drawing Close series.

Day 1: Drawing Close Intro Day 2: A Portrait Day 3: Parts of A Whole Day 4: Be Strong and Courageous Day 5: A World Where There Are Octobers {My Birthday} Day 6: Keep Moving Forward Day 7: Bearing Fruit Day 8: Capturing Life In Motion Day 9: Real (Uncomfortable) Hospitality Day 10: In Process, In Progress Day 11: Beginnings Day 12: Underpinnings Day 13: Rest In Him Day 14: The Mercy of Layers Day 15: Tulips For Morocco Day 16: On His Side Day 17: Dear Soul Day 18: Flowery Beds Of Ease Day 19: Dogwoods Sketch Day 20: Weekend Watercoloring Day 21: Because Love Abounds And We Abide Day 22: The Water To My Color Day 23: Significance of Dogwoods Day 24: By Faith Day 25: The Old Toolbox Day 26: Thankful For Breath Day 27: Number 4 Day 28: Nothing More and Nothing Less Day 29: Day 30: Day 31:

 

Rest In Him {Drawing Close, Day 13}

Rest in Him
Rest in Him
Drawing Close {31 Days of sketching and noting grace through drawing.}
Drawing Close {31 Days of sketching and noting grace through drawing.}

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” -AugustineDrawing close to REST, this Lord’s Day…and believing that there is no satisfaction apart from Him.

Join me everyday this month for the Drawing Close series.

Day 1: Drawing Close Intro Day 2: A Portrait Day 3: Parts of A Whole Day 4: Be Strong and Courageous Day 5: A World Where There Are Octobers {My Birthday} Day 6: Keep Moving Forward Day 7: Bearing Fruit Day 8: Capturing Life In Motion Day 9: Real (Uncomfortable) Hospitality Day 10: In Process, In Progress Day 11: Beginnings Day 12: Underpinnings Day 13: Rest In Him Day 14: Day 15: Day 16: Day 17: Day 18: Day 19: Day 20: Day 21: Day 22: Day 23: Day 24: Day 25: Day 26: Day 27: Day 28: Day 29: Day 30: Day 31:

By Way of River, Trees, and Capri Sun

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_DSC0024 When the sun rises on a Saturday morning, there’s one thing the boys want…more than sleeping in, more than Saturday morning cartoons, and more than a hefty pancake breakfast. What they are always in the mood for is a trek among the trees that engulf our stretch of the Rio Grande river. This beautiful area is called The Bosque. For the boys, it’s adventure. For Troy and me, we head down to the giant forest of cottonwoods, seeking rest, refreshment, and a little rejuvenation.

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I have six boys and one outdoorsy husband. All of them, including the baby, are truly the happiest and the most in their element with rocks beneath their feet and rustling branches overhead. The boys chase lizards, climb fallen trees, and spot coyotes. It’s every boy’s wonderland, and they can explore for hours.

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Active boys need refueling, however, and that’s where Capri Sun 100% Juice pouches come in handy. I love that they are 100% juice and naturally delicious, they love that the shiny colorful pouches are fun to drink and fit in their cargo pant pockets. 🙂 They each pack a pouch and help themselves when they get thirsty.

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You know what tickles me the most, though? It’s that big brothers love helping little brothers with their straws and juice pouches. And when they are all done…they flatten the pouches, roll them up, and collect the empty pouches in their pockets so not a trace of litter is left in the beautiful cottonwood forest.

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To be honest, the boys were rather pleased that the folks at Capri Sun chose us to share about how we enjoy their drink pouches. Capri Sun 100% juice pouches are considered a treat for the boys. In a family where they share almost everything, there’s something special about picking and packing your own juice pouch…and savoring the sweet little respite all.to.yourself.

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Sometimes the most relaxing thing you can do on a Saturday morning (or when you are really needing a break) is not to be numb on the couch, but to come alive in the wild. Adventure and exploring the beauty of nature is rejuvenating. And, thankfully, Capri Sun offers our family an equally natural on-the-go form of rejuvenation. Saturday morning refreshment? Done.

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When You Feel Overwhelmed

Before my kids were of school age, I didn’t get what the fuss about summer break was all about. Nor back-to-school, and all the busyness and bustling about in the month of August. And, now…I understand.

As a mom of school-aged children, I have now developed expectations for the summer…for how I will revel in doing nothing, how I will get caught up and be rested, and how I will stop feeling so overwhelmed.

And while many of those goals were accomplished and true rest was found, life doesn’t stop and feeling overwhelmed sometimes just doesn’t go away.

And truth be known, back-to-school might be a harried time of year, but the pressures of life and the challenges of the day to day are not seasonal, but sometimes constant.

When-Feeling-Overwhelmed-Doesnt-Go-Away

I’m over at The Better Mom today, sharing about how we can respond when we feeling overwhelmed doesn’t go away. Join me there, as we consider how we can look to Psalm 90 for the way in which God provides for rest in the midst of our troubles. Blessings to you, friends.