How to find rest this summer

How to find rest this summer

Hi friend!

Happy Summer!

While my ideal summer involves breezes at the beach, good books, blue skies, and refreshing drinks, that’s not really happening so far. I may get a few of those precious days before summer’s over, but my reality involves plenty of work and varying degrees of stress. You too?

That’s okay, though. Because true rest happens on the inside, no matter what’s going on outside.

I need rest, and so do you. But it’s not about sitting on a beach chair. Well, not all the time, anyway.

Join me at Club3Women for more on How to Keep Stress From Stealing Your Joy This Summer.

How to find rest this summer

Blessings,

Jennifer

Freed in frustration

Freed in frustration

Stress. Pressure. Struggle. Trials.

Count them all joy? (James 1:2)

I pray against them. Don’t you?

When Jaden has seizures, I pray they will end.

When my bank account is empty, I pray it will be filled.

When my friend suffers, I pray for relief.

When the days ahead look dark, I pray for sunshine.

But this week God gave me just a glimpse of what He’s up to.

MyWays

I opened my kids’ history book in preparation to teach “The Principle of Christian Character” and found one answer to the “why?” we all ask:

“Character” literally means “to stamp and engrave through pressure.” This sums up nicely what God is doing in our lives. God’s plan is to make each person like Him. Romans 8:29 tells us that God has predestined that we are to be conformed into the image of Christ. He is building His character within us, or you might say, He is stamping and engraving upon us His image. In so doing, He often uses pressure.

(America’s Providential History by Dr. Mark A. Beliles & Stephen K. McDowell)

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Tullian Tchividjian provided a little more insight for me via Liberate on Moody radio. Let me summarize:

Our trials remove from us what we believe we need most — the very things we think we need to be happy, to survive.

But when God takes those things from us, and our peace and joy go along with them, we discover that they have been our idols.

If we can’t be happy without it, it’s an idol.

God is all about liberating us from our idols. He longs to prove to us that we will have all we need in Him, rather than…

Health, control, success, recognition, appreciation,

Marriage, children, possessions, financial security,

Just one peaceful day…

When I find any of those in jeopardy, my reaction is usually to bemoan my fate.

(And maybe think that God might be able to bring some good from it.)

But praise God for a glimpse of something more:

A realization that…

Free

Our frustrations, our pain, our battles are FULL of purpose!

  • They are stamping and engraving Christ’s character into our lives.
  • They are releasing us from the bondage of idols.
  • They free us to “count it all joy!”

“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

James 1:2-4

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**Is this a new angle for you too? Would you share any of your insights about being refined?

In the trenches

In the trenches

Sometimes the stresses of life have hit me in a big way — crazy things like thieves breaking in or two years of panic attacks.

But sometimes… most of the time… my stress has piled up in the little everyday stuff. Things like spilled hamster cages and floors covered in socks, legos, and pencil shavings.

Getting past my kids’ preschool years has worked wonders in this department, but somehow, there are still “those days.”

When Jarod was out of town a while back, my 6:30 wake up call was the sound of Jaden’s head hitting his headboard during a seizure (a condition he’s faced since birth).

The next crisis was an overflowing toilet, defiled towels, rug, and floors.

My mission of the day was to chase down a newly prescribed medication for Jaden, so while I mopped, I conversed with pharmacies, doctors, and the hospital.

I ended up spending the day with four kids in the car, eventually procuring a few sample packs of his pills, albeit only half the promised amount.

In keeping with the tone of the day upon our return home, I dropped — and broke — a gallon of milk on my kitchen floor.

And my final mistake was allowing my seven year old to sleep in my bed. His unconscious flailings kept me awake till 2:00 am.

Some days things roll off my back, and then there are the days that I Just. Can’t. Take. One. More. Thing.

The bickering, the noise, the clutter, the chores that never end, and the interruptions make my chest tighten and my head spin.

It seems so silly, after I’ve witnessed and been a part of life and death matters, to allow the stressors — which come from gifts — to make me crazy.

But that’s life.

And that’s sanctification.

I-become-more-holy-in

I need Jesus just as desperately as I mop and telephone doctor’s offices as I do in trauma.

The God of Isaiah 40 who “will not grow tired or weary” offers to “renew my strength” whether I’m in a major life crisis or teaching my children how to resolve petty arguments.

This too is my refining fire.

Lord, please give me grace to embrace this process.

Things I am learning in these trenches:

  • I need the nourishment of God’s Word more than I usually think I do.
  • I must force myself to stop — to be still in God’s presence. I need to go outside, drink in the blue sky, sunshine, and bird songs. (And for just a few minutes ignore the backyard clutter I see from my lawn chair.)
  • I need to get back up from my lawn chair and faithfully plod on.
  • I can combat the “blues” in some surprising ways, like eating bananas (said to reverse depressing moods!) or taking magnesium (a natural stress-reliever).
  • A minute talking with a friend or loved one on the phone or in person is far more encouraging than social media.
  • Following a purposeful calling is more energizing than mere busyness.

When I fall down you pick me up,

When I am dry you fill my cup.

You are my all in all.

Jesus, Lamb of God,

Worthy is Your Name!

(You Are My All In All)

His name is worthy. Worthy of my devotion. Worthy of this uncomfortable sanctification process.

What are you learning in your trench?