When you need encouragement to rest…
Earlier this week I shared the truth God gave me on my flight to Chicago about national security…as a nation under God. In God. With God. True security in Him alone. And you may have been curious…Where was Heather going? Why was she in Chicago? Well, here is the rest of the story…
After the Color Guard carried the flag-covered casket, honoring a life lost in service to our nation, the plane emptied in silence. I walked out of the airport to greet grace in the form of life friends. Seeing friends who loved me for my insides and not labels or latest trends stripped me of the first layer of “try hard” that weekend.
We drove to the seemingly vacant, seasonally tourist town of Michigan City, Indiana (nothing like being on the beach in the snow). Yet our little beach house with bright robin blue paint beckoned:
“Come inside. Rest your weary soul.”
There remains a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God rest also rests from his own work just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest... (Hebrews 4:9-11)
For two days, beyond talking, eating, sleeping, and crocheting (yes, without prior coordination, 4 of us brought yarn & hooks), we reminded one another of God’s love.
We reflected on His provision in the past. And how His never-changing character meant He would provide in the future.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
There was freedom to share doubt & concerns & insecurities. On Saturday night (spilling over into Sunday morning), each of us told her current story…what was weighing her down and how we could lift her up. After each shared, we circled round her in prayer. Laying hands and hearts, lifting up a dear sister to the only One who works in mysterious ways.
Apparently I was reluctant to take my turn as I volunteered everyone else before myself. Pushing off the inevitable….till the very last minute.
I don’t know why I resisted. These women offered a safe place–removed from my day-to-day life, yet kindred in a love of truth & mercy.
So finally I poured out my struggle of knowing God & His truth but not loving others well. I want desperately to show Christ to my kids, but often deal harshly and love conditionally, resulting in feeling guilt & shame…daily.
This is the image of hope these women gave me and I want to share with you:
Think of a time you felt God’s pleasure in you. Think hard.
Think of a time you felt Him smiling down on you.
Hold onto that image.
Now imagine His pleasure being a rope tied between you and God.
One friend said she pictured sunrays pouring down on her from God, His favor raining down on her. Reading the book “Jesus + nothing = everything”, she reminded us there is NOTHING we can do to make Him love us more. Nothing. You. Can. DO.
This was the piece I have been missing in this God-centered mom journey. I understood this life was not my own. I replaced myself & my kids with God in the middle.
And then I began the “serious work” to keep centered <— this is where I went WRONG!
It isn’t my work that keeps me centered.
It is His unmerited favor (grace) that holds me center.
He has me tethered to Him…whether I work on it or not. Whether I’m aware I’m centered in Him or not, He holds me in the center of His grace.
I have “gained access INTO this grace in which” I stand (Romans 5:2)
I picture myself inside a giant grace bubble, God pouring His love into my heart by His Spirit.
These disciplines (solitude, breath prayer, lectio divina) are not what make me more God-centered.
They are to remind me of my position…IN Him.
More than semantics, it’s a huge change in perspective. No longer working to earn His favor. Instead I am drawn to do all I can to be reminded of His favor. To sit and dwell and soak in His love.
Oh what joy and freedom and peace come from this adjustment in my mindset!!!
So lean in & hear me:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus. For you were made rich in every way IN him, in all your speech and in every kind of knowledge…He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
(1 Corinthians 1:1-4)