Barely Breathing (the Power of Prayer)

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Psalm 116-2

Do you pray? I ask because it’s as important as anything else we do in our relationship with God.

Prayer, as a practice, is inherently built into all of the remaining disciplines (practices!) in our study book, Enjoying Jesus.  The practice of prayer is literally woven into everything we do when it comes to our spiritual life because basically, at the core of it, prayer is any form of communication with God.  That’s the basic definition of it:  prayer  = talking with God about what we are doing, feeling, experiencing, hoping for, not hoping for, etc.

The end.

Just kidding. I have a bit more to say on the subject… 😉

First, let’s agree that prayer is different than “wishing” because prayer is more than just asking for something. If all we are doing with our prayer life is asking for things, then we are simply creating a wish list and treating God like Santa Claus.  Don’t get me wrong.  He wants us to share our desires and our needs with Him; of course He does!  And those prayers of petition (a.k.a. asking for the things we need) are a vital and healthy part of prayer. But they are just one of many different kinds of prayer in which we can engage.

Here’s what prayer really is, sister friends. This is what author John Orberg says and I LOVE IT:  “Among all the other work prayer does, prayer is most importantly the knitting together of the human heart with the heart of God.”

Our hearts woven together with His. SWOON!!!!

We, as Christians, have a real-life relationship with a real-life God. There’s really no other way to say it.  So let me say it again, girls:  We are in a relationship with God.  Even more than that, and I know it sounds weird and maybe a little awkward to say this, but we are in a love relationship with Him.  I’m not talking romantic love.  But I am talking this crazy kind of love that doesn’t exist anywhere else.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10

That’s some pretty big love right there. And this love of His is all encompassing because we can’t get away from it!

Runaway bunny

(Ahem…The Runaway Bunny, anyone??!! I cry even looking at the cover of that one!)

SO MUCH LOVE!!!

“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.  My Father will love them and we will come to them and make our home with them.” John 14:23, NIV

That phrase there: “make our home”?  That’s translated from a Greek phrase that means to “pitch a tent”.  So, in Jesus’ own words, through our obedience, through our hearing of His words, He chooses to make space in each of our individual “worlds” and pop a squat.

And He’s not going anywhere. Regardless of how our world is spinning, how messy it gets, and even if we choose to ignore the tepee He pitched in the middle of it all.  He’s saying, “I’m not going anywhere, girl. So come closer, have a seat, and let’s talk.”

He’s not asking for long, drawn out rehearsed prayers. But hey, if that’s your thing, go for it. However, if you just want to say, “This day stinks.”  That’s cool with Him, too.  If you want to say, “That is the prettiest sunset I’ve ever seen.”  He’ll sit back and watch it with you.  No matter how big or small your thoughts seem to you, He wants to hear about it and share IN it with you.

Girls, if it matters to you, it matters to God. Big, small, or somewhere in between.

Let me say that again: If it matters to you, it matters to God.

Prayer is our way of getting thoughts up and out so we can make space for what He has to say about it in return.  And trust me.  You’re gonna want to know what He thinks.

Prayer can be done in many different ways. We have traditional, memorized prayers that have been passed down to us through our families and churches. These are things like grace before a meal, versions of creeds we say at church, the Our Father/Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary and rosary sequences.  These are prayers  because they are words we speak to God.  It’s okay that we’ve been taught and possibly even memorized them – as long as we remember they have MEANING.

We also have prayers from the heart, spoken within our own private space. These prayers can take the form of worship (telling God how great we believe He is); petition (asking for things we need spiritually and otherwise); intercession (praying for the needs of others); thanksgiving and gratitude (thanking God for providing for our needs and for the good things that happen to ourselves and others), and praise (answered prayer, expression of our love for God, etc.).  We even have laments, which are passionate prayers expressing our pain and disappointment, these prayers are “real talk” about our honest feelings of our current situations and circumstances.

Next week, we’ll talk about practical ideas on incorporating prayer into your life “for reals”.  We will also talk about how to deal with it when prayer answers are delayed or answered in a way we didn’t expect.

Between now and then, though, I want you to take some time and try writing 5-6 prayers of your own:

  1. Prayer of worship (praising God for His goodness – check out Psalms 103-107 for some awesome thoughts on the greatness of God)
  2. Prayer of petition (asking for something you personally need)
  3. Prayer of intercession (praying for the needs of someone else)
  4. Prayer of thanksgiving (gratitude for something great that day you didn’t expect or even think to pray about)
  5. Prayer of Praise (answered prayer, expression of your love for God)
  6. Prayer of Lament (honest feelings of pain and disappointment – even if directed at God – He can take it, girls.)

All of the prayers you record can be ones we’ve been taught or memorized, or they can be of our own wording, or even a combo of both. No prayer is a wrong prayer because God wants us communicating with Him.  Why?  Because His love, His grace, and His mercy meet us (AND CHANGE US) when we pray.

This week, let’s add another intention to our list! Last week, we started our intentions with, “Lord help me hear you today.”  How about we add this one for our current week:  “Jesus, thank you for loving me.”  It’s almost like we are building ourselves a perfect prayer, isn’t it?  Sounds like a pretty good idea, right?! 😉

Take some time this week to check out our song for this week called Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells! It’s my “go to” anthem on  “those days”…!

See you back here next week as we finish up our discussion and practice of prayer!

May peace find you fully today!

xoxoxoxoxo,

W

 

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Would You Go to Jail for Jesus?

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“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding.”

Hebrews 6:1, NLT

That’s our guiding scripture this series, sisters, and it’s a good one!

Here it is in The Message:

Hebrews 6-1

I love that!  Let’s grow ourselves up a bit in how well we know our Savior, sisters.

Why?  Because many of us believe in God but don’t live in a way that clearly bears fruit, or shows, that we honestly know Him.

In the book, The Christian Atheist,   Craig Groschel states that 94% of the American Christians claim to believe in and follow a God that is good, loving, and benevolent.  But he goes on to surmise that 94% of American Christians aren’t living in a way that would show others they hold that belief.  He begins his book with this:  “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”  In other words, do you know Christ so well that your outward behavior conveys that you know Him.

Take a sec and ask yourself that question. And then take a sec to consider the disciple, Peter.  When the going got tough, he wouldn’t admit to even knowing Jesus, let alone let himself get convicted for it.  And if Peter could do that, the “rock the church was built upon” Peter?  Um, well then, you better believe you and I are capable of that same level of denial in both word and deed.

“People claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live.”

Titus 1:16, NLT

In our time here on Earth, I doubt many/any of us will actually be placed on trial for being a Christian, so we may never actually have to utter the words that we do not “know Him”. But we do deny Him when we live in ways that don’t mimic or reflect His heart.  Why do we do that?

Maybe it’s because we haven’t spent enough time with Him to really know Him.

THIS is why we are back at Bible study this fall: to get to know Him so well that our lives reflect Him in all we do.

We cannot know Him personally unless we spend time with Him. Bottom line.  And that means spending time with Him in more than just a mass or church service here, or a Bible study meeting there.  Girls, we need to be looking for Him.

You’ll be able to find him if you’re serious, looking for him with your whole heart and soul.

Deuteronomy 4:29-31, MSG

I love this quote by a 17th century French archbishop (Francois Fenelon):  “There is only one way to follow God:  to not take a single step without Him, and to follow with a brave heart wherever He leads.”

These spiritual disciplines we are about the begin studying together are ancient practices, or ways, in which we can seek that voice of God so that we can achieve that goal of not taking a single step without Him and following bravely and in faith where He leads.

“What God wants is reverential intimacy. He wants us close enough to Him that we know His heart – close enough to hear His heartbeat.  He wants to look in our eyes, and He wants us to look into His.  He wants us to hear His voice above all other voices we entertain.”  David Benne, Surrender to Love.

Girls, in order to know Him, we need to hear Him.

Did you know that the word obey comes from the Latin word audire, which mean to listen, or to hear.  And so, in order to know Jesus, we need to hear.  We need to be “all ears”.

And we can be sure that we know him if we obey [hear] his commandments.

1 John 2:3-6, NLT

Every single spiritual discipline we will study, practice, and try together this fall has a common thread – we are learning to listen for His voice.

I love when I can bring things full circle. Last fall, we completed Margaret Feinberg’s study, Wonderstruck.   A few years before writing Wonderstruck, she wrote a very cool book about understanding scripture from the viewpoint of shepherds, farmers, and bee keepers.  It’s called Scouting the Divine.  I’ll park myself right here for a minute while you click this link to read something from that book that just might just blow your mind about the importance of getting to know His voice.

john 10 27, 29

Is  that perfect or what? He promises that we can hear His voice, and that when we follow Him: He. Will. Not. Let. Us. Go.

Amen to that. Jesus is not content to just sit around waiting for us.  He’s pulling up the chair, calling your name, cupping your face in His hands, and saying, “Come closer.”

What will you do? Because you do have a choice.  As for me,  I choose to scooch my chair right up next to His to hear Him speak to my heart. I will rest my head in His Holy hands. I will let Him disciple me (which is the root word in discipline, derived from a Greek word that simply means “gentle tutoring” – how awesome is that?) so that I can get “convicted” in the courts of heaven for being a follower of Christ.

Such good stuff, right? If you are interested in following along with us here online, click here to find out more about our study, Come Closer!  If you are in our physical studies OR following along online with the Enjoying Jesus book, please read Chapter 2, Days 1 and 2 (on prayer) for next week!

Are you rocking our playlist? Click here to hear the first song on our list: Testify by NEEDTOBREATHE

Each week, we will end  with a short phrase based on scripture that we can call to mind throughout the week, that helps us to set the tone each morning and throughout the day and helps remind us that we are seeking to infuse every moment of every day, not just Bible study morning and Sunday at church, with a deepening of our spiritual relationship with God.

This week, let’s recall that scripture from John 10:27: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.”  Our intention phrase/mantra this week is:  “Jesus, help me hear you today.”  Maybe you pray it before your feet hit the ground in the morning.  Maybe you say it several times during the day to remind yourself He promised you’d know His voice.  Maybe you use that short prayer in difficult moments or in simple celebrations of joys.  Maybe you turn it into a prayer of gratitude as your head hits the pillows at night:  “Jesus, thank you for speaking to me today.”  Use the comments section below to let us know how YOU hear and experience Him this week!

I pray blessings and love over each of you this week. Can’t wait to meet you back here next week for some thoughts on coming closer to God through prayer!

Peace, love and joy,

Wendie

 

 

We’re back! We’re BACK!! WE ARE BACK!!!

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Let me tell you a not-so-secret secret:  you are not reading this blog by accident or coincidence.

Please believe me when I say this arrived in your inbox or on your screen today ON PURPOSE.  You NEED to know that God has delivered it RIGHT HERE for a very precise reason:  to draw you CLOSER to Him!

I am so excited to get this message in front of your gorgeous eyes! And whether you’ve been in one of our studies before or not, our ministry team is bursting at the seams to share this bit of awesomeness with YOU: WE ARE BACK!!!

Our …stringing pearls ministries… team has revamped and regrouped and we are ready to get this new thing GOING ON!!

Several years ago, I prayed that God would use our ministry to help ignite the pilot light in the hearts of women in our community for Jesus. Boy, oh boy – did He answer that prayer!  YAY, God!!!

We believe God is now calling us to go deeper.  To come closer, if you will.  To scooch our chairs right next to Jesus because, if God really is who He says He is, why in the world wouldn’t we?!

Sister friends, it’s time to take our flame up a notch.

Wanna take a “closer” look?!

Come Closer Logo with Fall 2017

Isn’t that just the prettiest thing ever?

Come Closer.

Um.  Yes, please.

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding.

Hebrews 6:1, NLT

Honestly, I need this.  And I think you night need it, too.

Our overall vision is to GO DEEPER and GET CLOSER to Jesus and one another. In order to meet this mission, we are:

  • Moving from lighting pilot lights to igniting mighty torches! FLAME ON, SISTERS!
  • Getting intentional on studying WHO and WHAT Jesus is all about by scooching our chairs next to Him and studying scripture and other resources to deepen our understanding of Him.
  • Encouraging each sister friend to show up (in our weekly local meetings OR here on the blog), follow along at home, support one other in prayer and in person, AND spend an hour a week applying the principles of the study (we’re calling this our “happy hour”!).
  • Furthering our mission of women’s fellowship through the pursuit of intentional discipleship (doing life eye-to-eye, side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder).
  • Providing high quality teaching that supports the study through large group teaching, small group attention, the blog, and other forms of technology.
  • Providing high quality, tangible tools that support the weekly study concepts! These tools will be provided to women attending local meetings in the form of a SUPER COOL “Breathe Box” filled with all study related items, including the actual study book and ALL materials and goodies needed (think “BS Swag Bag on Steroids”)! Here’s a sneak peek at the beautiful box.

BB Up Close

BB Open Box with Goodies Showing

 

Gorgeous, right?! The list of items in the box can be found here!  (And YES – we have a new play list with the latest, greatest CCM tunes!)

Our mission is ALL ABOUT getting closer to Jesus. Why?  Well, because that’s where He’s calling us to be – closer.   And that makes everything we do, and all we are, different – in really good ways (More on this in the weeks to come!)

Our actual study book is entitled Enjoying Jesus and has been beautifully created by the amazing folks at IF:Equip out of Austin, Texas.  We’ll be studying 12 different spiritual disciplines (ways of communicating with God) that are ancient traditions designed to draw us closer to Jesus.  We’ll talk about (and TRY!!) everything from Prayer to Meditation, and a bunch of other cool stuff in between!

I’m ramping up the weekly teaching by using a variety of other materials ranging from classic to modern authors whose books and works relate to the various disciplines we will explore. We will post here  weekly for 13 weeks, beginning the week of September 4th and ending the week of December 4th (with 1 week off for Thanksgiving!).

So you’re in, right?   It’s all about good friends, great teaching, incredible discussions, meaningful mentorship,  and  – MOST IMPORTANTLY – an incredibly GRAND God.

Here’s a glimpse at our team assembling all the boxes! It felt like Christmas on a hot August day!

Assembly Day

Seriously. I mean c’mon, sister.  It just won’t be the same without you.

Looking forward to joining us? Then here’s what you need to do:

  • If you are signed up to be part of the local meetings, please be sure to collect your box BEFORE next week! READ CHAPTER 1 (Introduction) before coming to study (you’ll get an email with all the scoop if you are in a local group)!
  • If you are following along online, get yourself a copy of Enjoying Jesus by clicking here. Read Chapter 1 (Introduction) before next Thursday (9/7).  Make sure you are all set to follow this blog (hit the “follow via email” button right up there on the right!).  And check back here next Thursday when our first blog of the study will post.  We’ll take it from there!!

I’m looking forward to diving deep into scripture and fellowship with you this fall. Questions?  Let me know by commenting below!

Peace, love, and SO MUCH JOY!!!!!

Xoxoxoxoxoxoxo,

Wendie

How to #HAGS (Have a Good Summer ;) )

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Happy First Tuesday, sweet sister friends! It’s FINALLY summer break!  I’m so, so happy about this for, like, a million and fifty-seven reasons. But Reason Number One is (drumroll please):  this beautiful family of mine needs a break.

Yours does, too? I thought so.

Don’t worry. We aren’t the only ones.  It’s been an issue for millennia.

mark 6

He knew we’d all need a break at times.  Thank you, LORD!

So here’s the practical application and importance of this – at least in my world.  For me, summer break means a break from the “control” of school days because it’s totally structured FOR us, but not necessarily BY us.  The school system decides when the kids will be in school.  The coaches and activity leaders decide when practices and games and recitals are held.  The tutors decide what hours they are available.  The teachers decide what homework is due and when.    The moms at pick up decide who is playing with whom afterschool and where…AHEM.

The order of our days is predetermined by the forces around us and, for the most part, we need to get in line with it in order for there to be order, if you know what I mean.

Graciously, summer dances to a different beat.

And so today, at the start of what is summer break for many of us, I am giving you a little advice on how to have a good summer. It goes something like this:

“GO DO YOU.

AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO ENJOY IT.”

 Peony 1 Talmud

Is that awesome or what?! So often, we think of indulging in things we enjoy as something we will judged for.  But God (don’t you just LOVE Him?!) basically turns that thought on its ear and says, “Girl, if it’s permissible  –  and tons of amazing and fun things in this life are – you might as well enjoy it because I made it just for you.”

I don’t know what it looks like for you because He wired each of us so beautifully different. For me, it’s a big girl glass of wine on a starry night sitting by the outdoor fire.  Or maybe it’s just an extra half hour by myself at the pool with my Bible.  Or hey – it’s even ordering pizza two nights in a row just because I don’t feel like cooking.  But whatever allows you to have some seriously permissible fun this summer, I say GO FOR IT!

Bring Me Wine

(Photo from Pinterest)

Girlies, let’s shake things up for a couple months. Change your schedule and include something new you’ve been wanting to do.  Try taking after dinner walks with your spouse, or maybe early morning coffees on the deck.

Ask your boss if you can shift your work schedule to come in an hour earlier for a week or two so you can earn a little flex time and take a few extra days off to just kick around in your garden or in the city. Get creative with your time.

Let your kids “drive the boat”, so to speak. Have them choose activities that allow exploration of their passions and interests.  Let THEM choose their playmates and embrace their own choices and decisions (within reason 😉 ).  Consider ditching those dreaded “summer skills books” in favor of comic books and silly novels and even Netflix (did I just say that out loud?!). Volunteer at the food bank and make blankets to distribute to those in need when the cold weather returns (because  – SPOILER ALERT – no matter how hot it gets this summer, that Chiberian chill will be back).

Go get lost on a road trip. Swim in a lake. Wear cut-off overalls.  Go to a concert.  Call your college roomie. Hang out with your mom. Show up at your best friend’s house with some flowers and iced tea just because you can.  Talk a walk with Jesus.  Smooch a puppy on the lips (this one might be my favorite!)!

Have your own church service in the park. Eat a humongous cheeseburger, for Heaven’s sake, and wash it down with a cold beer or soda in a glass bottle.  Have a popsicle at breakfast and ride the Ferris wheel…three times in a row!  Eat sweet cherries and spit the pits on the ground.  Embrace simple things that bring mega-doses of joy.

Yeah. These are the things I wish for you AND for me this summer because even the smallest, simplest things reveal God’s great love for us.  And we are blessed to be able to experience them. Be aware of your gifts and use them to better this world.

I guess what I’m saying, love bugs, is that I wish you the happiest summer break ever. Like, EVER.

Stop making your summer bucket lists and just go do all the things you were going to put on them. Sometimes the spontaneous stuff is sooooo much better anyway.

Okay. Enough screen time.  Go on now. Get on out there.  The world is waiting.

What are you still doing here?!?!? I mean it – GO!  Get outta here!  I triple dog dare you.

#HAGS 😉

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

PS – See you back here on July 4th for the next First Tuesday post…!

PPS – If you are local to the Chicagoland area, I encourage you to check out a great resource:  “Glen Ellyn Moms Village”!  They have awesome social media sites for ideas and inspiration for your summer… AND year-round!! Be sure to follow them so you can  keep updated about local happenings and musings regarding Glen Ellyn and the surrounding communities; the sites are run by one of my favorite sister friends!!!

https://www.facebook.com/glenellynmomsvillage/

https://www.instagram.com/glenellynmomsvillage/

I’m Stuffocating. (a First Tuesday* post!)

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I used to love email.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  Those days when you’d open your inbox and it would have super fun and entertaining notes from people you actually knew

These days, though, opening my inbox feels a lot like going to the real, physical mailbox at the end of my driveway:  just one more “box” filled with junk.  Advertisements, bills, political circulars, coupons, and catalogs from stores I’ve never heard of clutter to the point of “stuff-o-cation”.  I almost hate to open it!  Ninety percent of the messages in that box are from people/companies I don’t even know.  Sometimes I delete 100 emails a day.  It all just feels so…impersonal.

stuffocating

Letters, postcards, and once treasured emails from my beloveds have been replaced by text messages and snapchats and social media posts that can be seen by hundreds (if not thousands) of others. Don’t get me wrong, I love scrolling through Facebook and Instagram as much as the average person, but my heart aches a bit for that special feeling I used to get when a letter or email would arrive JUST for me.  That excitement of knowing someone intentionally wanted to get MY attention and share a little love with me made my heart super happy. It was personal, in a good way.

Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about Jesus and the way He communicates. I’m learning that He personally seeks us out and actually cherishes time spent in our presence.  Interestingly (and quite counter-culturally), He’s not in the business of mass mailing His agenda and platform out to the myriad of mailboxes (and inboxes) around the globe, and He isn’t sitting at His laptop waiting for Likes and Loves on social media, YouTube, and blogs.  He’s in the business of dwelling with His people.

pitch that tent

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”

John 1:14

I absolutely love the usage here of that word: dwell.  Translated from its original language, it means “pitches a tent”.  Can you even imagine?! JESUS came to camp out with us.

YOU and ME.

Camp out! As in, “Let’s do this together – in person. Face to face.  Life on life.  I’m intentionally pitching my tent with yours.  You’re that special to me.”

We don’t need a mailbox, an inbox, a social media account, or television to connect with Him. But what we DO need is space for His tent and His Word in our heart so we can DO life alongside Him.

“Watch how I do it and learn my methods (…because you seem to make it all so complicated when you try to do it on your own).”  Matthew 11:29 (my personal interpretation in parentheses!)

His Word is alive and well and begging for us to watch how He did it so we can replicate that love, that grace, that MERCY all around us. The problem comes when we stop looking to Him and instead clutter things up with all our own stuff.

This spring, in order to get serious about pursuing an intentional life of dwelling and camping out with Jesus, I’ve made it my mission to quiet down a bit and start the process of decluttering my own “space”, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s an ongoing process, sister friends, and often feels a bit slow-going!  But one thing God has got very serious with me on is the fact that I have become laden down with “stuff”.  On every level.  And in order for Jesus to comfortably pitch that tent with mine, I need to clear Him room.

Maybe you do, too?

create space for Jesus

Take a minute and answer this question for yourself: what’s stuff-o-cating you?  Is it physical clutter that needs clearing?  A preoccupation with emails and social media accounts that needs to be curbed? A habit or way of doing things that just doesn’t serve you anymore?  Is it a relationship that drains you more than energizes? Your physical being that could use to be cleaned up and cleared out a bit?  Start with one thing, just one thing, that you can begin to clear a little space within to make Him a little more room.  If there’s one thing you can be certain of, His deepest desire is to hang out with you.

“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’”  John 14:23

Home sweet (uncluttered) home.  Doesn’t that sound awesome?

Practical Application:

  • Pick one area (body, physical space, mind, spirit) where you feel stuff-o-cated right now.
  • Pray this prayer (or one of your own): “Lord, I want nothing more than for you to come and pitch your tent next to mine! Right now, though, I’m feeling really overwhelmed and cluttered in the area of _________. I want to relinquish control of this area in my life to you. I want to clear it in such a way that makes more room for YOU! Jesus, help me to clean it up and let go of what doesn’t need to be there. Help me to use what You intended me to have in this area in the ways in which You have always planned. Show me Your way because I know it is better than mine. Forgive me for letting things get out of Your control. Thank you that You love me so much that You get personal! Help me not to feel guilt or condemnation over this clearing out, but instead to deeply know Your delight in my obedience to listening to this call from You. Lord, I am so looking forward to all our camp outs to come! In Your mighty name, Amen!”
  • Get quiet and let God guide your next step. Accept that it’s always one step at a time, girls. And remember that sometimes things gets messy before they can be completely cleaned up. 😉
  • Consider these scriptures as you start to “un-stuff yo-self” (pray them out loud, write them down, read them when you get up and before you go to sleep) to keep your mind focused: John 1:14; Luke 12:16-19; Luke 12:29-31; John 14:23.

Happy De-Stuffocation, sweet friends! I’m praying for you!!!

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

*PS – Today is the launch of a series I’m calling “First Tuesday”! It’s my intention to post here on the FIRST TUESDAY of each month with a fresh look at scripture alongside some practical life applications to make it relevant to YOUR life!  The First Tuesday of the month is a special day around here because our local “emergency sirens” are tested at 10am!  Our Tuesday Bible Babes have come to LOVE those sirens because whenever we are in session, we stop what we are doing and offer prayers of gratitude to God for the privilege and freedom to be worshipping together!  It’s become our habit that (even when we aren’t in Bible study session) as soon as we hear those First Tuesday sirens, we drop to our knees and pray for one another! Check back here on Tuesday, June 6th for a lively post about How to Have a Good Summer, Spiritually Speaking!  You won’t want to miss it!  😉

That Time God Told Me to PIPE DOWN, ALREADY!

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just-be-quiet

Oh, good Lord.  Did He really just say that?

(Yes, He DID. I can’t EVEN.)

He can’t possibly be talking to me.

(Spoiler Alert: Yep.  He IS.)

Because I’ve foolishly been thinking it’s all about me and my big ideas. (*Ahem*)

Because, you see, without big ideas, I can’t make a plan to execute. (*Sigh*)

I’m a person who loves to execute plans.  Like, LOVES to.  It’s hard for me to “stop”.  Do you know what I mean? I like BIG ideas, BOLD plans, and BEAUTIFUL executions of them!   And God has been SO, SO good in blessing me with a great season of DOING all these things!

But the fact that He and I don’t seem to be “doing” anything like that in my life right now has me like:

what-you-talkin-about-willis

(photo: Pinterest)

(Did you just do the Scooby Doo “huhhhhh?” voice in your head?!  Me too! Me too!)

I’m the girl  (and maybe you are, too?) who likes to immediately take matters into my own hands when I don’t think I’m getting my way. So, in the absence of visions and plans coming my way, I have been a bit busy to try to kick start the process.  And every time I come up with a brilliant idea, it energizes me for about a day or two.

BUT THEN.

THEN  it’s like the fire under the boiling  “BIG IDEA” pot gets turned down to a low simmer and moved to the back burner, clearing lots of space once again on a big ol’ empty stove.

Every. Single. Front. Burner.

Wide. Open.

Like God is saying, “Well.  That looks delicious and all.  But let’s save it for another time, okay?  No need to be cooking up a storm right now. I’ve got reservations for us elsewhere.”

Kind of like a frying pan to the face – in a really good Godly way, I mean.  😉

God isn’t looking for me to DO anything right now except be obedient to the “season of rest” to which He called me last fall.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been so great at being restful.  I love-love-love being an ACTION VERB kind of girl – a doer, a creator, a teacher, a writer, a speaker.  But instead, I think I need to learn how to be a BEING VERB kind of girl (as in – be still, be quiet, be kind, be with others, be with myself, be with GOD…).

I need to pipe down, already.

And I need to be o-BE-dient.  

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As I let that verse right there weave together with the original message I got from God, a more gentle wording came out:

Dear Wendie,

Will you please just be with Me for a bit instead of trying to DO things I haven’t even asked of you yet?  How about we start by taking care of you and your own four walls (literally and figuratively)?  I’ll be right with you every step of the way, but – for the moment – you need to STOP IT with all this other stuff. It’s going to be worth it, trust Me. 

And since you are wondering, YES – I see you. I hear you. I know you.  I adore you. I love you. You matter more than you can fathom.  And you’re Mine -always and forever.

Thanks, sweet one. Carry on being you by being with Me.

Xoxo,

God

Geez.  He writes really good letters, doesn’t He?!

So, why am I telling you all this?  Because I’m wondering if maybe He’s writing a similar love letter to you, asking you to let Him into your “four walls” for a bit.

With Lent starting on Wednesday, I’m asking you to join me in committing these 40 days to honest-to-goodness o-BE-dience to His voice and will.

After all, isn’t that the point of the season?!?

To be, rather than do.  To pray, rather than produce and plan.  To listen, rather than think/talk so much.  To let it “be what it is supposed to be”, rather than expect so much or try so hard to change it. To let “it” change us.

So what is this going to look like?  I’m not sure; it’s going to look different for each of us. We’ll just have to let each other know how it all shakes out in 40-some days.   All I know for now is that I’ve got my own four walls to focus on:  a guest room to clean out (long story…), a body to care for, some great people to love on (including YOU!), and an amazing God to hang out with all the while.

Not too shabby of a season centered on living in o-BE-dience, right?

My yoga teacher ends every class instructing us to take a deep inhale, and then exhale everything out that won’t serve us. I’m taking that seriously this Lent.  I’m breathing in the good stuff He has for me, and letting the rest go. Well, that and being a little more quiet, too! 😉

Love you and miss you girls so, so much.  Smoochies all around!

Peace, love and JESUS-LEVEL JOY!

Wendie

PS: (If you are looking for something different and meaningful  – and QUIET –  to try this Lent, join me in participating in this fantastic idea on praying for others! http://catholickatie.com/writing/my-favorite-thing-to-do-for-lent.html )

PPS: If you like awesome Christian music, click here to take a look at my current playlist!  It’s soooooooo good!  😉

See ya on the flip side, sisters. XOXO

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A Letter to My Favorite Sister Friends Ever (HINT:  if you have ever been a Stringing Pearls Bible Babe in any way, shape, or form…I’m talking to YOU):

You know how there’s that saying, “She’s a woman of few words”?

Yeah. Well, whoever “she” is…I’ve never met her. 😉

I mean, that has certainly NEVER been said about me (and this post will prove that, sorry…).

AND it hasn’t been said about any of you either!

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Verbose. Wordy. A little too hyperbolic.  Yeah.  That’s us when we get around this table of ours we lovingly call “BS” (Bible Study, people.  Sheesh, move your mind up! 😉 ).  There is very little that I can think of that makes my heart happier than a lively gaggle of girlies yakking it up around said table together about life, and specifically spiritual life with Jesus!

Because one thing has become abundantly clear to me this session: life around the Bible study table matters.  It defines our people and our relationship to them. It gives us a sense of belonging. It provides a space in time and place to rest our souls with sisters we trust and it blesses us with opportunities to serve each other.  The table, sweet friends, is where it’s at.  And somehow, it’s magic.

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“Woohoo!” (Oh Margaret Feinberg, we DO love you…! 😉 )

We each bring a solid support leg to our table. Without each leg in place, the table doesn’t feel quite right.  It can function, for the most part, but it’s far more stable with all of us holding our unique seat, set by God with a royal place setting meant only for the one seated in that spot.

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My favorite tablescapes are the ones with vintage or super unique table cloths and each setting has a different plate and mismatched flatware. I adore different glasses and mugs.  A vase with wildflowers and sunflowers just makes it all the better.   Every single thing is different and unique in its own right, but gorgeously perfect nonetheless.

Just like you and you and you

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If there’s one thing we can say about doing life around the BS Table, it’s that we are never bored, never at a loss for words, and NEVER at a loss for love. These seven years have been so full of wonder, haven’t they?  Never in a million years could we have put ourselves together as a cohesive, tight-knit group of sister friends without God’s divine intervention.  Sure, some of us were friends beforehand, and many of us attend the same churches and schools. And yet…we couldn’t have all found each other without God.

OH how like our God, right?!  Our amazing and WONDER-FULL GOD.  He did this.  And I, for one, am forever in a stunned state of gratitude and giddy joy because of it.

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He’s got plans for us, doesn’t He? That is the first scripture we learned back in 2009 (and then grew by leaps and bounds in 2012!) when we all took a big ole step of faith and formed this ministry together.  So it seems like we should end this chapter there, as well.

 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.

Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.

Plans to give you hope and a future. 

Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

You guys know how much I love that verse. It always give me hope.  But I’ve suddenly realized that I’m a girl that likes it a bit more spelled out.  Like – “HERE is the plan I have for you – now go and enjoy the prosperity today!”  But that’s not what this verse says, is it?  It’s basically saying, “Girlie, chillax.  I got this.  It may (or may not) be awhile before you get to see it.  But either way, just remember that I got it.  Keep calm and carry on. xoxo, God.”

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The thing is…I want to know NOW.  I’m a little like Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  (as in:  “I want a Golden Goose NOW, Daddy!”).  It sorta reminds me of this HGTV show I love.  It’s called “Fixer Upper”; you’ve probably seen it, too, because it’s like, UBER successful. I love it for so many reasons starting with Joanna, and I’ve sort of fallen for Chip, too – he is such a goof!  They’re basically my “reality show crushes”!

But the huge-iest reason  I love the show is the big reveal.  (I know. You are SO going to miss my made-up words and awesome grammar…) If you’ve seen the show, you know what I’m talking about .  It’s that moment when Joanna and Chip are standing in front of this fixed-up renovated place and, in unison, they enthusiastically yell out, “Are you ready to see your fixer upper?”  And every time, my heart screams back, “YES!  YES!  YES, you guys!!!  I’m SO ready for the big reveal!  Show me the finished product of what you have had planned all along!”

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It’s almost as if I’m just begging God to make my life as tidy and easy to wrap up as an episode of Fixer Upper…

*sigh*  🙂

So if you are anything like me, I want to leave you a smidgen of encouragement “in the waiting” as we take this hiatus from BS together because it is something I, myself, am totally struggling with.  Here’s the cool part:  what I’m starting to learn is that there are these perfect blessings hidden in the uncertainty of the “big reveal”.  I’m starting to learn that it’s all about faith IN the uncertainty, not in opposition to it.

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Click here for an amazing piece of poetic comfort on the blessing of the wait and unfolding: Pierre T Peilhard de Chardin’s lovely piece about growing within  uncertainty. I’ll hang here while you read it…

Goodness me, I love that. And I love you.

Thank you for taking the leap of faith to join me and your sisters in this awesome adventure of Bible study.  I am honored, humbled, thrilled, and giggly happy to have been your guide for a season.  We’ll be back together in some fashion or another; I just know it!. And I know that Jesus is so happy with you, so proud of your commitment to growing spiritually and making this a priority in your world.  Keep up the great work, girlies!

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Thank you for allowing me the time, the space, and the grace to step back and let him work His Fixer Upper magic in my life for a season.  And I can’t wait to see and hear what He does with your spiritual renovations!

I will miss seeing your unbelievably gorgeous grins each week so don’t be strangers, okay?  I won’t be one either.  (Unless you run into me in the grocery store, and well…most of you know what happens then…ha ha ha ha ha!)

To quasi-quote Ruth, “We are each other’s people.  We share the same, amazing God.  Let’s do this thing called life together.”

Until we meet again, here’s my prayer for you, most fittingly from Paul…my Bible boyfriend:

Be assured that from the first day I heard of you, I haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. I pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. I pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.  Colossians 1:9 MSG

Peace, love, and so much JOY and gratitude for your incredible selves,

Wendie

The WONDER of Forgiveness…

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This past summer, I learned an interesting tidbit of American history this about dams. Now, dams themselves have been around for as long civilization.  Dams are structures that help control the flow of water for irrigation, prevent flooding, create reservoirs for times of drought, etc.  But it has only been really within the last century or so that technology and structural engineering techniques have made it possible to create dams powerful enough to generate massive amounts of electricity .  But in order to do so, they change the landscape of the land surrounding them by actually flooding over entire valleys and the towns in them.  The result?  Hundreds of towns across the country have been strategically and intentionally flooded and are underwater.

So there are actual man-made lakes around the world that look beautiful and tranquil on the surface, yet lurking just below the surface (in some cases as little a 5-10 feet below the surface). Lovely to look at, but a little suspect for swimming!

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One of the things we know is important to Jesus is that we are women of integrity. Believers whose outside appearance authentically represent the state of our insides.

How do I know? Well, many of you will recall this verse from our study of the Beatitudes:

 You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. Matthew 5:8, MSG

When we, as believers in Christ, refuse to forgive someone, we become like those flooded lakes. We may look good on the surface, but anyone digging any deeper into our spirits better watch out for some jagged wreckage in there.

We block God’s mercy – we dam up grace – when we refuse to forgive.  We gotta learn to let that forgiveness FLOW.

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But how? Especially when the issue seems so unforgiveable to us.  But this is where the supernatural power of true reconciliation, when we actually take our unforgiving hearts to God, gets going.  Because for the big stuff, we cannot do it by ourselves.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Mathew 19:26, NLT

When Jesus says everything is possible, he means everything. So how do we do it?  Girls, this has been a bit life altering for me and I’m just getting used to it, but listen to this for a sec:

1 Peter 5:5-7New English Translation (NET Bible)

…all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.

CAST. YOUR .CARES. 

That’s where we begin.

Cast your cares, cast your cares, cast your cares! Your cares include issues surrounding forgiveness, girls.  So, in all humility, on your face, cast your cares.  You say to him, “Lord, this issue with forgiveness about __________ is about to crush my spirit.  This is beyond painful and it is splitting me in two.  This is compromising my soul integrity. I cannot do this alone and I need you.  So I’m giving it to you because only YOU can do something positive with it.”

And so the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit within us begins. And then we change our mindset. We move our minds up and out of the mucky mire of unforgiveness with purpose and intent, because we KNOW we have a faithful God and we let Him know we fully expect Him to work this out.

Of course, all of that along with the humility of saying we know He will work it out in His time and within His will for it. We know He wants us to live with forgiving, merciful, grace-filled hearts.  That’s how we know we can expect a victory here.

I get it. I’ve lived with stuff that I find it almost impossible to think God could forgive someone for so how in the world am I supposed to do that?  Nowhere is it written that it’s going to be easy.  But because scripture says ALL things are possible with God, I’m going to try.  Regardless of/with whom it is I need to reconcile and regardless the issue – myself, someone else, or even God.  I’m going to try.

Following along with our series, Wonder-FULL?!  This is our LAST week of wonders!  Finish up reading the main book, Wonderstuck, and complete week 6 in your participant guide!  Meet us back here next week for a wrap up of the series and a special announcement of what we’re up to in 2017!

Peace, love, and WONDER!!!

Wendie

 

“I love bread!” (Me too, Oprah ;) !)

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I was so incredibly excited when Oprah signed on with Weight Watchers.   I mean, I’m thrilled that she’s getting healthy and all that.  But honestly, the best part was when she said, – ON NATIONAL TELEVISION –  “I love bread”!

Breakfast toast with red heart jam symbol on a red checkered table cloth.

ME TOO, Sister Oprah! Me too!

My favorite kind of bread is homemade and hot out of the oven, fresh as can be, and with special touches (like organic sundried tomatoes baked right in and homegrown rosemary sprigs on top, and maybe even a little finely shredded artisan cheddar thrown in for good measure) that everyday, store bought brands just cannot produce.

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(Excuse me while I salivate…)

I’m coming out of the anti-gluten closet and admitting it.  I’m a girl who loves artisan bread.

I ALSO love craft beer and single vineyard wines.

I like small batch iced teas and I love the health benefits and freshness of organic food.

I’m “all-in” on the farm-to-table movement.

I completely support the sustainable food agenda.

I’d much rather each a whole food than one that’s been processed.  And don’t even get me started on stuff that’s been genetically modified or chemically enhanced.

(Let’s ignore my diet coke habit for the moment, shall we? *Ahem.*)

People  who love and care this much about food know ONE THING for sure: the process is just as important as the end product.

For instance, a food artisan knows everything about the ingredients and process of what she’s making, and often uses traditional methods.  Why?  Because she’s learned that tried and true ways of doing things endure; traditions create consistently masterful products.

The craftsman makes his product by hand, using minimal processing and checking each step of that process to ensure it is done to his specifications for a quality product that he’s proud to call his own.

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The small-batch creator believes in taking the time and effort to make each batch just so, just right, to please her consumers and make them feel special in receiving something that got such care in creation.

The food producers, shops, and restaurants who subscribe to the farm-to-table philosophy understand the value of cutting out the middle-man and ensuring the good stuff is coming directly from the maker.

And everyone who buys into the concept of sustainability is 100% on board in making sure that the resources we have will not be used up or destroyed so they can replenish as needed and continue for as long as possible.

The artisans who create these kinds of foods and drinks have two things in common:

  1. They are intentional in what they do (meaning they put thought, care, and time into each part of the process); and,
  2. They are specialized in their trade, not diversified (meaning they don’t have a million different things going on) which allows them to focus on the passion of their particular trade.

That’s pretty amazing stuff right there, don’t you think?!

So, what if we applied these concepts to something spiritual in addition to food? What if we used these ideas to radically affect our prayers and how we spoke them?

I think we’d be equally as nourished spiritually as we are when we eat cleanly!

I’m encouraging each of  us to do one (or more!) of the following things this week as we set some time aside for intentional prayer:

  • Apply the principle of organics: cut out the stuff that doesn’t need to be there!  Don’t be so verbose, adding in all kinds of words that don’t add anything to the purity of your prayers.  Keep it simple, sisters, and just say what you need to say as simply as possible. Then quietly sit back, waiting for Him to speak back to your spirit.

 

  • Use the concept of small batch creations and artisan work: be intentional in how you speak your prayers, carefully thinking about them and making little notes for yourself before you dive in.  Use traditional methods passed down to you from previous generations that honor the sacred process of prayer.  Use time-honored prayers you’ve heard in your own faith tradition to enrich your prayer life instead of saying those prayers as rote and perfunctory obligations.  Rewrite them in your own words in order to make them come alive to you again.

 

  • Subscribe to the main idea behind the farm-to-table “theology” and cut out the middle man! You have a direct line to Jesus!  Don’t “worry your prayers” with friends and hope God was listening while you did it; instead, sit down with God one-on-one and offer him your best instead of worn out and tired thoughts and prayers.  (“Go to the throne, not the phone!” 😉 )

 

  • Focus on sustainability in your prayer life. Try different methods until you can settle in on one or two that make it possible for you to be consistent and create quality, positive interaction between you and your Father.  Tend to the “soil” of your prayer life – if you will – which basically means to get your heart in the right condition to not only offer up gratitude and praise, but also to receive nourishing sacraments like forgiveness and loving correction.

Good soil can take years to cultivate, right? And even a novice gardener like me knows that sometimes the fields you use to grow something great need to be rested every now and again to maintain and regain their efficiency.  So be patient with yourself in this process and remain flexible in trying new things along the way, okay?

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The important thing is that you DO commit to trying to create something artisan with your prayers. Why?  Because it will make the difference between a processed, plastic bag of white bread and a hot-outta-the-oven, multi-grain loaf bejeweled with morsels of deliciousness!

Following along with our Wonder-FULL series?  (You can click here for more info!)  We are reading chapters .005 and .006 in the Wonderstruck main book and completing section 4 in the participant guide!  And check out our song of the week:  “In Your Hands” by Unspoken.  This acoustic version makes me SO happy!  Enjoy!

Peace, love and JOY!!!

Wendie

Up Next Week:  The Wonder of Friendship

 

 

Burned Out and In Need of Rest? Me too.

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Softball tournaments (like most sport tournaments, I imagine) can bring out the best in people and sometimes the worst.

The best comes out when the team is playing together, supporting one another, coaches encouraging the players instead of critiquing them during the game. Parents cheering  from the sidelines.  And then there’s the snacks.  I mean C’MON – Swedish Fish AND Jimmy John’s?  Nothing’s better.

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The “worst” doesn’t come out very often, but when it does, it can teach us perspective and lessons of epic proportions – even spiritual ones.

This summer, I headed out to one of Elle’s Saturday afternoon game. It was one of  those ridiculously hot July afternoons with no wind (why is there never wind at the fields when it’s hot – only when it’s freezing?!).  When I got to the field, the game before Elle’s was still going on so I sat down to watch the end of it.  The first girl I noticed on the field was the catcher.

Many believe that that the catcher, if she’s doing her job, is basically be the one who controls the game. She often calls the pitches, she is the only one with a view of the entire field from the plate perspective, and many times she’s the one calling out direction to players to move left or right, in or out, and even calling where the ball should be thrown once it’s caught.  She keeps the game moving and she, herself, is constantly in motion and thinking about what is coming next.  ALL the positions are super important and needed in order to win the game.  But there’s just something about the catcher that has always sort of fascinated me – the multitasking and everything…it resonates.

As I watched this game, I noticed the catcher  seemed a little unsteady on her feet when she’d stand to throw the ball back to the pitcher.  The ump noticed it too, and called “time” and told her to get some water.  After a few seconds of her trying to convince the ump she was okay, her coach (who happened to be her dad) came out onto the field with water and a cold towel.  She refused the towel and only took a quick sip and got back down into her catcher’s crouch, indicating that her “break” was over.

The next pitch got past her and as she rose to get it, she fell into a heap at home plate. I don’t know if it was heat exhaustion or dehydration or what.  Regardless, she was down.  After a few minutes of teammates grabbing her gear off her and sitting her up, she took some sips of water and begrudging got off the field so another player could take her place and the game could continue.

Her coach/dad was trying to help her off the field and, while I don’t know what he was saying to her, I could tell it was kind and spoken from a place of concern and care for her.

But she wanted nothing of it. She whipped her glove to the ground and screamed, “FINE!  FINE!!  I’m finished.  You wanna take me out of the game?  You want me to rest?  FINE!  I’m tired, okay?  I don’t want to play this game anymore anyway.  I’m done!  I’ve had it!  I’m sick and tired of it and I don’t want to play anymore!”  And then she burst into tears and fell to her knees.

I’m a contagious crier; if I see someone else cry, I start too. So as I’m watching her sob, I feel my eyes welling up too.

My first thought was, “Oh, poor girl!”; I just felt so bad for her.

But then.  THEN. 

This next thought popped right up and into my soul:  “I know how you feel, sweet girl.”  And as soon as that thought popped into my head, I went into full-on ugly cry.  Not for her.  But for me.  Because I honestly knew how she felt.

I think some of you might, too. The feeling of burning out; of doing it all and continuing to do it even when something inside of you is dying for a rest.  Even when your body, mind, and spirit are telling you to take a break.  But, in order for you to do so, it has to be forced on you.  And really, those “forced” periods of rest don’t provide us with all the time, space, and refueling we need.  We rush through it to get back into the “game”, so we don’t miss anything.  That is, until we just can’t rush anymore.  And then?

Well, we’re totally taken out of the game; we’re sidelined.

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There was a survey done on a group of men and women who experienced migraines. They were asked that if there was a pill available to them that could take away the possibility of ever getting a migraine again, would that take it?  Can you guess what the majority of survey participants said?  They said NO; they would not take it.

The researchers were completely baffled by this finding so they went back and asked for some comments and explanation. The common thread went something like this:

“It’s not that I want the label of being a person who suffers from migraines. What I want is the opportunity  – AND the understanding of others that it is justifiable  – for rest.  If I have a migraine, people expect me to turn inward, to go home, get under the covers…REST.  No one thinks less of me because of it.  It gives me the excuse to stop moving; to stop DOING.  I get to rest; and it is accepted and understood.”

Many of us have become people who believe that the only way we can deem it worthy to rest is if it is forced upon us, because anything else makes us appear weak.

Why are we like that?  I don’t exactly know, but what I find really interesting is that Jesus knew we would be.  Why else would he have said:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out…? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30, MSG

Jesus is essentially saying “I want to show you how this is supposed to work. Rest is simply another (actually, the BEST) avenue for you to experience grace; MY grace.”  He is saying, “Please don’t miss out on grace because you’re too proud to admit you need it.  I don’t want you to stop playing because you are exhausted.  I want to fill you up while you’re still in the game so you can keep going when needed  and be strong enough – healthy enough –  to take a break, too.”

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Rest is beyond valuable to us if we are to be awake and mindful to the wonders of God. When we participate in the unforced rhythms of grace that rest provides us, the energy arounds us shifts and becomes less charged and chaotic.  We become more positive, have a better memory, and have a noticeably slower “ramp up” rate!  We find ourselves to be calmer, more resilient, more centered and even more even-keeled.  We walk with grace.

So.  I don’t know about you, but I sometimes I need some rest. I don’t want to quit this “game”  because… love my team! Like that catcher this summer, I just get a little tired of assuming I need to control the field and feeling like I’ve gotta catch whatever is thrown at me. Amen?

Here’s the honest truth.  It all comes down to control.  And by that, I mean YOU trying to control the field.  But the thing is, there’s probably another catcher on the bench who can come in for you AND DO A FINE JOB.  It may not be the job you would do; but the job can be done, at least for a little while.

It ALSO doesn’t mean you’ll lose your spot on the team.  It doesn’t mean you can’t come back into the starting rotation.  It just means you realize the value of being strong enough to take a rest.

Jesus offers me (and YOU) that option in Matthew 11, don’t you think? In essence, his invitation to rest is the same as saying, “Let me tell you a thing or two about how to improve your game – and it has nothing to do with playing harder. It’s about playing smarter and playing WITH the team, not AS THE ONLY ONE ON THE TEAM.  It’s about resting your muscles when they are tired (because they WILL get tired) and seeing the playing field with fresh eyes again. And the only way you can accomplish that is by spending some time with ME.”

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Take a break, sweet friends.  If not for yourself, take one for the team, okay?  😉

Following along with our wonder-FULL study?!  Click here to find out more!  You can read chapter .004 on “The Wonder of Rest” in Margaret’s book!  And, if you are working at a Level 4, complete Week 3 in the participant guide.  AND, for you CCM fans out there, here’s a link to a contemplative tune called “Here’s My Heart”, by I Am They.

See you back here nextfor our thoughts on The Wonder of Prayer!

Peace, love and WONDER!

Wendie