It was apparent throughout the weekend that He had orchestrated all who attended for His unique purpose in our lives. We had women join us ranging in age from 19 up into their 70's, mothers and daughters, special friends, and those who came to make new friends. I was so excited to have my own daughters attend a retreat for the first time. Many of the young women there I had taught when they were little girls and now some even have children of their own.
It was a time of reconnecting with people who have invested in my life and been significant in my own spiritual journey through the years. The opportunity to teach and worship together was a privilege and it was a joy to provide a beautiful oasis for these women. Many of them serve in leadership in other ministries and rarely get to just soak in God's truth and not have to take on the responsibility of leading.
Sherry and I experienced a rich and full weekend as we poured out our hearts and energy and gave out of His abundance.
When you pour out, you must give yourself time to replenish, be restored, and rest your body and soul.
Rest is defined as to cease work, to restore strength, to refresh oneself. Rest is found in the word restore. According to Websters and other dictionaries, the word restore means to reestablish to it’s original state or to bring back
As I tried to take time this week to rest, I found myself pondering the word. More importantly, I tried to consider what rest looked like for me. I think the things that restore our bodies and souls in some ways are different because we are created with unique needs. Listed below are some of the things that I chose to put into practice this week to replenish and restore myself. My prayer is that as you read you may get some ideas for ways to find rest in your own life.
- I gave myself permission to nap! I even bought a book by that title years ago on my 50th birthday trip! You know you are tired when you have to buy a book to give yourself permission to take a nap! I must say that through the years I have learned the blessing of a nap in my life!
- Lunch with a friend. Sharing life with those who care and know me well is always refreshing.
- I took a long, hot, epsom salt bath for my tired muscles.
- Scripture Meditation. I meditated on Psalm 1 and Psalm 62 this week. Soaking and savoring God’s Word always refreshes my spirit. I especially love the Psalms - God’s hymnbook! I rested by soaking in truth and pondering the greatness of God's loving heart.
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
- I found myself searching for and listening to this song I recorded years ago - Jesus, I am Resting, Resting...The words were written in the 1876 by an Irish woman, Jean Pigott. She only wrote two hymns, but this particular hymn was a favorite of the chinese missionary Hudson Taylor. Reading the testimony of his life had a tremendous impact on my own spiritual journey. The power of truth in the hymns has inspired and comforted generations of believers throughout the centuries. I'm so grateful to be part of that beautiful thread of faith.
- Take a few minutes to listen and enjoy some of the beautiful Scripture photographs, lanscapes and paintings as you listen. Visual beauty always refreshes my spirit.
- Time to be quiet. Time to listen and pray. We all need to still the voices and clutter in our minds. I took some time to consider how Jesus has been shaping me in recent weeks as I prepared to offer a weekend of teaching, worship and beauty to these women. I prayed for them as they also transition back into “real” life after retreat and prayed that we will all apply the things we have learned and embrace the transformation the Father intends for us.
- Journaled some thoughts and listened to beautiful instrumental music while I wrote. People always ask me for suggestions for instrumental recordings or soothing music. I like to create stations on Pandora. My current favorites are Fernando Ortega and Paul Cardall.
- Packed up little Easter boxes to mail to my girls and grandchildren. My love language is giving and it gives me such pleasure to find little gifts that I think will please them.
- I enjoyed my new favorite magazine Bella Grace. It only comes four times a year, but I love the photography and stories. So I lit a candle, fixed a cup of tea and indulged in some pleasure reading.
- Didn’t set my alarm for a couple of days and let my body rhythm determine the sleep I needed
- I bought a little blooming plant for my window sill. I love the touch of color while I”m doing the dishes.
- Watched an old fashioned romantic movie. I’m a romantic at heart and I like happy endings!
- Tried to eat healthier, less carbs and sugar and more salads.
- I took a stroll through a local flower nursery, resisting the urge to buy, but just enjoying the beautiful spring color.
- Gave myself permission to grieve. My sister and I care for my mom who has Alzheimer's. Lately, she often doesn't recognize me. She had a dentist appointment this week and when I was driving her there she looked at me and said, “You’re such a lovely lady. Thank you for bringing me. Now where are we going?” When I asked if she knew who I was she didn’t even remember having a daughter named Kathy. I cried some hard tears while she was in her appointment. Sometimes we just have to give ourselves permission to feel and grieve loss. I needed to let some healing tears flow.
- Dinner and a show with my love. My Christmas present from my husband was tickets to see Phantom of the Opera on National Tour in New Orleans. We treated ourselves to a wonderful dinner before the show and it was the most beautiful evening of music. Beautiful music always restores my soul. The soaring melodies lingered all weekend.
- In the spirit of St Patricks day I meditated on the powerful words of truth found in St. Patricks Breastplate Prayer. We attended the show on Friday, March 16th and had to walk through the French Quarter to get to the theater, so you can imagine the partying that was happening on St. Patrick’s Day weekend! The next morning, St. Patricks Day, I found myself reading over and over his beautiful prayer. My roots are Irish and my dad spoke Irish blessings over us growing up. Mom always pulled out the green shamrocks. I still have their Irish coffee mugs. On our trip to Ireland in 2015, I was so moved by the heritage of faith passed down in my own life. We visited the Chapel at the Rock of Cashel in Cork, Ireland where my family ancestry has its roots. It is a heritage that began so long ago, in 450 AD when St. Patrick brought Christianity from England to Ireland. It is awe inspiring to think of the sacrifices that were made through the centuries for the cause of Christ. Below is part of His Breastplate Prayer.
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
When I need rest, I turn to music that speaks truth and the prayer of my heart.... music that lives and breathes new life.
This is one of my favorites by Keith and Kristyn Getty. I’ve been listening to it several times today and I encourage you to take the time to let it wash over your soul.
I love the arrangement because it combines the music of one of my all time favorite instrumental pieces, Gabriel’s Oboe with a reading of the prayer of St. Patrick.
Worship. Offer songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. Dedicate time to prayer - listening for His heart. For me, at the conclusion of a huge project such as leading a retreat, it’s important to pause and thank the Father for what He has done and listen for His voice to guide me through the days of renewal and restoration.
Focus on delight. What are the things that capture my imagination, nurture my creative spirit and refresh and rekindle passion for life? Take a day or two out of the usual routine.
Rest physically. Let me body find its strength again. The giving out in such abundance requires some recovery time physically and spiritually. A time to soak in His presence.
Reflection. Take time to ponder the past and consider the future. Linger in the Word through meditation. Think about the work God has done in my life in the busy season, the lessons learned. Write them down…journal the blessings and the trials. Simply slow down, declutter my mind. Be still....
If someone could wrap up a gift box for you filled with four or five things that would replenish your weary body and soul, what would they be?
What brings you delight, rest, restoration?
Who knows, maybe some of your suggestions will show up at the next Restore event or blog post!
We’re all unique and what energizes and refreshes your spirit may be different for someone else.
Or perhaps someone reading today might receive a blessing in his or her life by trying out your suggestion.
So please leave your "rest" ideas in the comment section below if you are reading on the website or reply on the facebook thread. We all need new ideas!
We cannot restore our own souls.
Psalm 23:3. our theme verse for Restore Ministries says, “He restores my soul.”
May you experience the beauty of His rest in the coming days.
Resting in Jesus,
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