Rest

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters (footnote: “beside waters of rest”). He restores my soul. –Psalm 23: 1-3

He gives me rest. That is a hard statement to believe. Life is crazy, whatever your station or season.

I realized today that I have a singular vision of rest: sitting on the beach absorbed in a book. And that is one lovely type of rest, but it’s only one type.

Today I sat and watched my kids play. I have mountains of boxes to unpack, but I sat in a patio chair, which I’ve just discovered can rock, and I rocked and watched my kids and realized God does gives me rest.

God is opening my eyes to see that he leads me beside waters of rest every day—they may not be the waters of rest I had in mind, but it is rest, even for a few minutes before I re-enter parenting mode. He is true to his word, he doesn’t forget me, and he doesn’t forget to open my eyes to watch him provide. I believe he provides rest for you too, even today, wherever you are. Drink deeply.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. -Matthew 11:28

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Faith

Hands

We told our kids we’re moving to Pittsburgh this summer for a new job. They were sad, asked why we couldn’t stay, but amid the sadness, they accepted it. They have questions, ranging from the state bird and flower to where they’ll go to school. But they inherently trust us.

We told them we were going to find a new home there. They asked if they could see the options and help us decide on the best house, but we asked them to let us do that work for them. I told them about our first house-hunting experience, how I set my heart on a house on the far side of town, but it was bought out from under us. I told them how hard it was to get excited about living anywhere else after that. But God knew. He knew the community he had specifically chosen for us. They nodded their heads, realizing the gravity of the choice and the goodness of God to them in their friends and said, “Will you please find a house for us?”

They teach me faith, child-like faith. Sometimes faith is an impossibly hard act, prying off fear and putting on trust in who God is. He is my good, good father. I can’t comprehend his goodness and mercy; sometimes they look like nothing more than painful change to me. But in remembering his promises and his past provision, I can rest in him. I can ask him to find a house for us, and he can tell our realtor about a house that’s not even on the market, which he did. He prepares the way for me. He takes the burden from my shoulders and puts it on his own. He says, “Will you trust me? Will you trust ME? I promise I have good planned for you and the children I gave you. Will you trust me like your children trust you? I promise my provision for you is far beyond what you could ask or imagine because I love you that much. I want you to trust and rest in me.”

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The Brilliance of Pretending

imageI was privileged to write for Proximity Magazine on how play looks for us as adults and what we can learn from our children in The Brilliance of Pretending. I’d love for you to take a look; it just went live today.

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Beautiful

 

I saw a video at church that Dove created as part of their ‘Choose Beautiful’ campaign last spring. At shopping malls in Delhi, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, and London, they placed signs above two adjacent doors, one marked “Beautiful” and the other marked “Average,” and then they filmed women deciding which door to walk through, which door they felt described them.

It’s a powerful video to watch, but the sermon that followed the video reminded us of a much bigger, more powerful story: Our pastor and friend, Dave Burden, suggested that how we see ourselves—what creates our identity—affects how and where we walk. How I view myself creates the launchpad from which I do all of life.

“Beautiful” can be a word that speaks beyond appearance and goes to the core of who God says I am. Beautiful can be about walking through the door of God’s love for me, squinting to see myself through his eyes, fighting against the devil’s schemes and lies about who I am or who I’m not, armed with the truth of who God says I am.

Romans 8:9-17 says that if God’s Spirit dwells in us, we

-“are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear”
-“are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ . . .” 

I’m his child. He desired me and ransomed his son for me. And I’m an heir to a full and glorious kingdom. This is the tip of the iceberg of who God says I am. His word is chalked full of tender, unbelievably loving proclamations of who he says I am. And I am who he says I am. I’m not who other people say I am or even who I may feel I am or am not. And I am armed with God’s power to fight my way through the door that’s draped in the banner of his love for me, bypassing the door of slavery to fear and slavery to the lies of the accuser, which tell me I’m just average and tell me to compare myself to this person or that—shouting, “You’re not enough!”

As in the Dove video, where brave women pulled their friends and daughters through the Beautiful door with them and, in essence, said, “You are walking with me through this proclamation because, even when you don’t see beauty in yourself, I see it,” many days, we need someone to pull us alongside them and walk us through the truth that we are beloved, we are heirs, we are adopted daughters and sons and to say to us, “This is real. This is what’s true. This is who you are and what you were made for: You were made for God and his love for you. Walk in the truth of who you really are.”

Abba Father, would you teach us how to walk in the truth that our identity is what you say about us in your word? Would you walk us through the door of your love and truth when the songs of the world tell us we’re less-than? Would you fight for us as we strain to hear the song of love you are singing over us? Would you lead us headlong into your invitation to embrace who we are in you, to rest from the striving to be something or someone else? Would you help us believe we are beautiful to you?

 

 

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Uncertainty Is an Armchair

What if uncertainty
were a plump, fluffy armchair
and I slid into it, my socked feet pulled close

What if
I let this chair envelope me
and made friends with its ever-present nature

What if
I settled in
and even rested there,
trusting that nothing is uncertain
to my God.

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Mantle of Mom

Three paragraphs. This fall I had the opportunity to write for a parenting magazine. They asked me to write three paragraphs about the challenges of being a stay-at-home mom. More specifically, they wanted me to speak on how I balance being a mother and not getting lost in that identity. I could have written on this topic for three days, but I offered my three paragraphs: Continue reading

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Arms Outstretched

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_First_Steps,_after_Millet

Vincent van Gogh, First Steps, after Millet, 1890, Oil on canvas, 28 1/2 x 35 7/8in. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Whatever anxieties, fears, unknowns you may be staring down today, I pray these words might reach you and remind you that God is a good father who says many patient times, “Do not fear.” Continue reading

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Shelter

Xenia_tornado

The day after Christmas we drove to Texas to visit family. In the last hour of the drive, our phone sirens went off several times, telling us to take shelter NOW from tornadoes that would soon wreak havoc there.

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When “Just” Is a Four-Letter Word

image

My college roommate and dear friend, Bethany Jenkins, among many other talents, writes and edits for The Gospel Coalition.  She and I reworked a smaller piece of mine into something a little more, and they published it today! I hope you enjoy it:

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/when-just-is-a-four-letter-word

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O Come Emmanuel

IMG_0039 (1)

I want all stories and conversations and relationships to be wrapped up by a beautiful Lexus Christmas bow. I also like things to close on a perfect note, like Jane Austen’s stories. But there are only Lexus bows at Christmastime in certain places—dealerships and some driveways—and as much as I love Jane Austen, her work is fiction. Real life is gritty.

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