Last week, my kids and I went to stay with my father-in-law for the week while we visited friends and the kids participated in swim lessons. It was such a nice, busy week! I knew I wouldn’t have much time to focus on writing or to cross many things off my conference to-do list, but on Tuesday evening I found myself with 45 free minutes. My awesome FIL took my kids to a picnic while I went and had pictures taken for my book (a very fun but incredibly awkward thing – moms should definitely do this!!) and then had a conference call. So, in between those activities, a free 45 minutes.
I spent it journaling, and felt God calling me to think about the Sabbath. God’s call for His children to rest. I shared this with my husband, who told me that this idea has been on my heart for a while. It has! I remembered writing a journal entry on it a while back. I pulled up that journal and found it. I wrote it on 4/30/14 – just a small, short entry:
“Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors.” Jeremiah 17:22
Underneath, I simply wrote “May challenge!!!”
Let me tell you how that went. It didn’t even start, at least not at first. I didn’t journal about life, but I remember it. I had two children, ages 6 and 3. Both were in school, kindergarten and preschool. I was involved in both classrooms. It was May, so if you are a mom with young children, you know the significance of May. Oh, and I was pregnant. And not an easy pregnancy, mind you. We were merely a few weeks out from first being told something could be really wrong with our baby, and then finding out it didn’t appear there were any major issues. And I had recently surrendered my life to Christ. Yes. 2014 was an exciting year.
So practicing a day of rest each week? Yeah no. Didn’t happen.
Until God stepped in. And put me on bed rest. For nine weeks.
I had a good, solid nine-week rest. In that time, I read the entire Old Testament. I started journaling more. I followed along with our church’s summer sermon series. I prayed. I started my first real blog about my pregnancy and my faith. Two days before my forced rest ended, I heard God’s voice louder than I had ever heard it. There was no denying it.
As I have been thinking through this new direction of my book, I have realized my biggest hope: to encourage other women to set aside their busy schedules and find time to rest with Christ each and every day. I want to encourage women to focus on Him and not this world, because when we are so overwhelmed with our schedules, technology, our own selfish desires, taking care of our families and friends . . . we push Him out. Something has to give, and let’s be real – it’s easiest to push aside God because He isn’t tangible. We can’t visibly see Him with our eyes or verbally talk to Him and hear His voice talking back like we do with our friends, family, acquaintances, even strangers. And, we know He’s never going to leave us. So we take for granted that relationship, and we focus on what this world is telling us we should be doing. Just for now. Just this season of my life, it’s so busy. Seriously? It’s not going to slow down.
Here’s the biggest reason I want you all to SLOW DOWN with me. And I’ll go into this more in my book (there’s my pitch!). When we are so busy and so distracted, we cannot clearly hear God. When we stop, read Scripture, and pray – because we want to and desire a relationship with him, not to check a box off our list – we are able to discern His voice from the world. I can’t imagine what I’ve missed out on because I was so worried about my life on this earth.
From now on, I am going to put into practice what I am writing about. I am casting aside my idols and focusing my heart on God. I am completely putting aside technology for an entire day each week. I am praising Him more. I am praying more. I am listening for Him to speak and doing my best to just rest. Is it easy? Absolutely not. If it were, this wouldn’t be an issue for so many of us! Will I be perfect in it? Absolutely not. I’m human. God knows my heart, and my desire is to rest in His presence so I am filled with peace and joy instead of stress and negativity. Yesterday, I did just that and it was good.