I spent some time this morning perusing the archives of my blogs over the last year. If truth be told, I was looking for something I could pull to post because I felt that I simply did not have the strength to write. But the Lord wouldn’t let me pull out an old faith lesson this week. We had to walk together and relearn some lessons.
Have you ever been there?
The demands and circumstances of life over the last few weeks had brought me up empty. You know you’re there when you cry for several hours just because.....
Perhaps you’ve been there too. Here’s the thing though for me. I teach and write on restoration of the heart and soul. We lead retreats on it for goodness sake!!
I know the answers. I’ve lived it before, learned the lessons over and over....
And so this morning I knew I had to rest. My sweet husband Ken knew it too. He was so worried yesterday morning when he heard me crying. He came running to ask what was wrong, knowing we are walking through suffering with several dear friends and family and thinking perhaps I had heard more bad news.
I had no answers really, just so sad, so tired…
These answers do not really help our husbands who want to fix it for us. But he graciously let me be alone and work it out with the Father, then slipped out early this morning for a men’s breakfast, hospital and nursing home visitation and told me to sleep in. I did.
Rest.... It’s amazing what sleep will do for your body and spirit.
Then I turned on one of my favorite ministering CD’s, In the Shadow of Your Wings by Fernando Ortega, and took a long hot bath. I shut the door and left the phone in the other room.... Very important! I filled the room with some of my favorite scents of almond and lavender and just soaked in the ministering of music and prayed. The biblical truth in the songs soothed my weary soul and focused my heart on Jesus.
I didn’t rush the time,
but let it soak in and restore my spirit.
The demands of the day have not gone away. There are still friends in the hospital to visit, loved ones in pain, mom to care for, and work to be done....for Sunday is coming, but He is faithful. He always meets us at our point of need. I recently texted a friend going through a deep trial, "the Lord always gives us enough for each day of the journey. He really is faithful and strong where we are weak." It is true.
We must make wise choices though. I had let the caring for others and demands at work take over to the point that I neglected the need to take care of myself. We must guard that temptation or we may find ourselves trying to pull resources out of the well of our own strength that has run dry.
Perhaps your spirit needs some soothing music today. I encourage you to take a moment and listen to the song below Grace and Peace by Fernando Ortega. It's the song I played this morning to focus my heart on the Rest of Jesus and is based on 2 Thessalonians 1:2.
Just quiet your heart, close your eyes and let the blessing of the grace and peace of Jesus pour over you.
The power of music can be used by the Lord to minister healing to our dry spirits and bring an oasis to a weary souls.
Jesus knew when he had to pull away from the demands of His ministry to rest and spend time with the Father in prayer. We live in a world of noise and most of us have lives that are surrounded by many people and demands. Our world, in this respect, is not unlike the world where Jesus lived and walked among us. When we read the gospels, we never sense a frantic pace is controlling his ministry. I am challenged as I study his life, that we never see Jesus complaining that He has too many people to heal, too many lives to change, too many hearts to transform, too many Pharisees to rebuke, or to much to do to pull away for rest and solitude. Jesus walked this earth entrusted with the mission of saving the souls of men, and yet he recognized his physical and spiritual need to pull away from the crowds and spend time alone with his heavenly Father.
What makes us think that we don’t need to do the same?
God wants to meet your deepest needs. He wants you to see, know, taste, and experience Him in ways that shake you to your core. He longs for you far more than you long for him. He stands ready to reveal himself, enfold you in love, speak to you with power, and touch you with grace. He has waited for you—for this moment. Are you ready?
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:10-11 ESV
I also realized this week that I had been neglecting some of the things the Lord has gifted me with that bring me pleasure and passion in life. I was in charge of coordinating an art event this week at the church for some wonderful artists whom I had asked to create works for our next preaching series on transformation of the heart. I had brought some of my pottery vases for flowers on the table at the reception. When people expressed their appreciation of the beauty in them I realized it had been over a year since I had made any pottery! It made me sad. This has been an expression of creativity and beauty for me for several years now. My work with pottery has taught me many spiritual lessons as I carve and mold out the pieces and pour glazes that bring forth rich beauty of colors. The pottery must surrender to the firing process, much like the refining fire in my own life, in order to emerge with the beauty intended by the Master Potter as the glazes bring forth glorious colors.
I’ve neglected what I enjoy, making excuses like I just have too much work to do, too many needs to meet. Certainly there are seasons in our lives when we must sacrifice doing some of the things we enjoy to meet necessary commitments and demands.
But we really all have the same hours in every day don’t we.
If the Lord has put the desire in our hearts, He will show us how to find the time to explore our gifting, our calling. Sometimes it is that very thing we love to do that He will use to draw us into a deeper place of peace and rest with Him. I need to return to it. Perhaps the loss of it was part of my tears yesterday.
Creativity is one of the things that brings us energy and joy. For we are created in the image of the Creator. It is part of who we are designed to be.
Is there something that brings you pleasure and blessing that you have neglected in the circumstances or busyness of your life?
God is an artist and He is beautiful. He has woven his image into the fabric of our lives, which explains our drive to create things which are beyond us and which we don’t always understand. Perhaps more important, he has issued a call to us that carries with it the possibility of obedience or disobedience: the call to respond to his beauty with creative worship. God calls us to create a space in time for ourselves and others to meet with God, to gaze upon his beauty and to worship him.
Michael Card, Scribbling in the Sand
Creativity expresses itself in such an incredible variety of ways in our lives.
What is your favorite expression of creativity?
Gardening, cooking, wood carving, painting, sewing, pottery, music, drama, dance,
flower arranging, writing, creating places of beauty in your home…
Perhaps you need to seek a way to return to it as well and let the Lord restore your spirit in the practice of it,
the love of it, the joy of it, the beauty of it.
His image is woven into the fabric of everything we are. His thumbprint on our lives affects us in ways we will never even begin to understand. His divine beauty, which is part of our essence as well, demands a response. We see a majestic sunset, and a line of poetry comes to mind, or an image to paint, or perhaps we merely give a sigh that can sound like a song. Michael Card, Scribbling in the Sand
When we know our gifting, our calling, that thing we were made for, we can serve God more effectively because there is less wasted motion to our activity. Love, joy, and peace are just some of the fruit.
Love comes while we rest against our Father’s chest.
Joy comes when we catch the rhythms of His heart.
Peace comes when we live in harmony with those rhythms.
It is within the closeness and warmth of that relationship where we gain the certainty that we are doing the very thing He would have us do with our lives. Whether that thing is motherhood or sainthood. God only knows. But if we crawl onto His lap, lay our head against His chest, and listen...He will tell us.
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5
Jesus is in the restoration business. He restores us by giving us Himself. When you are lonely, Jesus can give you His sweet fellowship, when you’ve lost your way and are full of despair, Jesus can restore your vision.
He can and does take hearts that have stopped feeling what God feels
and imbue them with his passion, purpose, and concern.
He knows the direction that you need to take. Put your hope in God.
He will restore your soul.
If you are feeling weary today,
even overcome with the demands of your life,
take some time for yourself to rest and pray.
Soak in His truth.
Let music minister to your spirit.
Let wonderful scents
and aromas fill your home.
Purpose to engage in something beautiful
that brings your heart pleasure.
Listen to His voice.
Seek His face.
Listen to the cries of your heart
and let Him lead you to a place of rest.
So now I will close this series begun last fall entitled Juggling Life's Demands with Grace. It took several turns along the way and the Lord has taught me much more than you I'm sure, but it has been a privilege to journey in faith together.
Let's look one last time at the 6 faith lessons we've explored.
1. Spend time with Jesus in His Word and prayer every day. 10/27/13
2. Surrender to the Holy Spirit in prayer each day. 11/10/13
3. Cultivate a Heart of Gratitude and Praise. 11/27/13
4. Seek the Life of a Worshiper.1/12/14
5. Cherish the Gift of Friendship. 1/26/14
6. Time for Rest and Restoration. 2/9/14
May the Lord bless and encourage you as you earnestly seek His face and cling to the truth of His Word.
May your soul thirst for Jesus and cling to the power of His Name.
May His hand uphold you and may He put His song in your heart.
For it is Jesus alone who leads us through life's demands with grace.
Restored by His grace and resting in His love,
You'll be blessed if you take a moment to listen below to Oh God, You are My God.
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