Rest. Reflect. Respond.


DSC_0251It’s been a busy week.

My boss is out of town so we’re holding down the fort as they say. Numerous family–shall we say “situations” including a sick child have kept us jumping. I’ve enjoyed some needed time with friends. And my new book, Rachel’s Son, released meaning extra time spent in marketing efforts.

Today was time to rest.

God gave us the example of resting on the seventh day after he created the world in six. He looked at all he’d done and proclaimed it good, and then rested. I believe when he commands us to do the same, it’s for our benefit.

We require time for our minds, hearts and bodies to rejuvenate and refocus on God and where we’re heading with him. That can only be accomplished if we take time to rest.

I think that God also wants us to reflect.

Today was Palm Sunday. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it was simply the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to celebrate Passover the week before he was crucified.

As Jesus came into the outskirts of town, he stopped and looked over the city. He reflected on the week to come and the people who would miss the act of love he was about to partake of on our behalf. And he wept.

Sometimes reflection can stir deep emotions within us. We may need to grieve, consider pain that needs healing or let joy well up in our hearts. I’ve experienced all those today. Reflection is a good thing. We grow when we examine our lives.

Finally, we need to respond.

Jesus’s response to us was to give himself up to be crucified for our sin and pain. He responded to our sin, our blindness, our brokenness by taking all of it on him so we could be free.

And rest. In his presence.

This week leading up to Easter, I want to take time to:

  1. Rest. (I went to see I Can Only Imagine with friends and took a nap today.)
  2. Reflect. God loves us so much he gave up his son, allowing him to suffer an awful death so we could wouldn’t have to die and be separated from him. That changes my world and causes me to
  3. Respond. How can I love God, myself and others today because of God’s love for me? My actions, even if they are small, can make a difference in someone else’s life.

I’m praying you have a refreshing week of rest, reflection and response. May God bless you with his love in special ways.

 

Getting Well Series – How Do You Rebuild Your Life?


There’s a book in the Bible about a man named Nehemiah. 

Corinth, Greece
Corinth, Greece

He was brokenhearted over the fact that the city of Jerusalem was in ruins, and after praying to God about it, he embarked on a mission to rebuild the walls.

I love this story for a number of reasons. 

First of all, I’m moved that someone saw devastation and cared enough to find out how he could help. I feel this way when I hear stories of people whose lives have been ruined. Maybe it was destroyed by a natural disaster, or because of another person’s selfish action, or even by their own poor choices, but whatever the reason, the ruins of someone’s life solicit a compassionate longing to help them rebuild.

I think that’s how God feels about us.

Secondly, I love that Nehemiah took action. After he grieved for a city that lay in ruins, he asked God to help him and then set out to obtain permission, supplies and a group of people to rebuild the city even though he “was very much afraid.” The king granted him all the time and supplies he needed.

God gives us time and what we need to rebuild. He’s patient.

Next, it encourages me that Nehemiah didn’t give up, even when his group came up against so much opposition. A local official ridiculed and tormented the people, asking them what they thought they were doing. Lies were flung at them to convince them that their efforts were in vain, that their attempts were feeble and inadequate. Too much was ruined. The rubble couldn’t be reclaimed for a purpose.

I’ve heard those same lies so many times.

At one point in my life, I was exhausted from working to hold together my marriage and my family. My strength was giving out because of unresolved daily conflicts, and my determination to stay married in spite of a horribly dysfunctional situation. My children were showing the effects of living under the strain in our home. I was certain that the “rubble” was too much to wade through. Nothing seemed salvageable.

So God showed me this story about Nehemiah.

Finally, I love the story because God has a plan for rebuilding. As I studied Nehemiah’s situation, I saw some applications for my life. For me the plan looked like this:

  1. Fight for my family even if it meant doing things that seemed to tear us apart. I had to separate from my ex-husband for a time in order to allow us to deal with issues. Pulling out of most of our activities became necessary so we could focus on our family.
  2. Concentrate on what God wanted to change in me. Allow God to heal me and leave my husband and marriage in His hands. Success for me would depend on what God did in my life.
  3. Set up a guard against the things that crept in to hurt my relationships with God and my children. For me those things were fatigue, busyness, not making time for them, and trying to figure everything out without seeking God.
  4. Put God ahead of my marriage. I had been setting my desire for the “perfect “marriage ahead of God. I compromised truth in order to keep peace. My fear caused me to push aside things God tried to tell me even when they would have helped me.
  5. Be aware of Satan’s plot to destroy our family. I had to choose to fight for the well-being of myself and my children even when the enemy told me to give up because it wouldn’t be worth it. Recognizing the lies of the enemy is imperative, but not always easy. We have to be so alert. Nehemiah had the people keep a weapon in one hand while they built with the other.

Rebuilding our lives can be scary.

We can’t see all that lies ahead. It’s like driving on the darkest road or in dense fog at night. Our headlights only shine far enough for us to keep moving. We drive as far as we can see, and as we drive, the path is illuminated ahead of us.

Rebuilding happens one day at a time.

We can’t look too far ahead or worry about what will come. Instead we have to trust God to provide what we need for that day. When I look ahead and start to worry about the future, God asks

Do you have what you need today?

The answer is always “yes.” I always have what I need today. When the next day comes, I have what I need again. Nothing surprises God. He’s already seen all of our life and has a great plan for it. We can trust him to bring restoration to every area of our lives. He can make us well if we want to get well.

How is God rebuilding your life? Check out lostcompanion who is tenaciously rebuilding hers…