Rest for the Best

Rest for the Best

Are You Resting?

Rest. White Space. Down Time. Be Still. Quiet Your Soul. Free Time.

Whatever you want to call it, for some of us, it seems elusive and unattainable.

My husband and I have enjoyed over a year of great health, that we believe is mostly due to the Paleo lifestyle (which in large is due to the lack of sugars). However, last night, as we started off our date night, it was clear that our streak of great health had been interrupted. After paying and taking the food to go, we found ourselves seeking some good old REST at home for the rest of the evening, and now into today.

I have this theory about rest…

If we don’t take the time to seek rest in our schedules, our bodies will make it happen one way or another. I have experienced this several times in my life, and each time, I remember my theory, and dutifully obey my body, and let it rest. I believe this is a God-designed function in our lives to a) keep us humble and b) keep us healthy.  So often we think we are invincible and can go without stopping.

As I read this morning, God decided to make it even more clear:

“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” Psalm 127:2

I am his LOVED ONE.

YOU are his LOVED ONE.

HE will GIVE US REST.

If only WE give him our time.

Now maybe this may not be your problem. Maybe you have too much rest in your life and need to get off your booty and get going? This is not the post for you.

I am writing specifically to those of us who cannot stop, who have this achiever drive in them to constantly go harder, do more, be better, aim higher.

It is not a bad drive within us! HOWEVER, we do need to remind ourselves of WHO our ultimate goal is. Jesus took time to rest, time to pray, and time to eat.

I think we can all fit a little More of LESS in our schedules.

Factory of Truth

Factory of Truth

I heard the buzzer sound, signifying the start of another work day. The whir of the machines and the lights flickering to illuminate the warehouse full of information. Some was stored in shelves reaching all the way to the ceiling. Other information was spilled out as if it had popped off the shelf unexpectedly. Then it started rolling towards me. My job was to decide whether or not it was useful, true, a lie, or if it was completely irrelevant and needed to be destroyed altogether. Loads and loads of information came my way and not too long into the day, I realized I was starting to run behind. It’s not that my hands and mind weren’t fast enough to keep up, but some of the information was so deceptively sneaky that I had a hard time deciphering if it was actually truth or a lie. Some things had a little truth in them, but there would be something that just didn’t seem right about it. The more I tossed, the more I saw just how much junk was accumulating.

Every once in awhile, I would think back to something I had tossed earlier in the day, dig through the discarded items until I found it, and re-examine it. Why was this so hard? I had the rest of my life to work at this factory and I can’t even get the job done for a couple hours without backtracking, rethinking, and reevaluating.

Soon, I started to feel overwhelmed with the noise of the machines and the constant load of information that came my way for me to decipher through and sort.

I found if I turned off the tv for most of the day, there seemed to be a lighter stream of info. This made the job a little more bearable, but also a little more real since I didn’t have funny stories or intriguing dramas to keep me occupied.

As the days and weeks wore on, I noticed that when I intentionally started my morning with information that I knew was the truth, I found it easier to recognize more truth throughout the day, and stay focused.

Eventually, I realized I had a helper standing next to me the whole time who was willing to help if I only asked. As I turned to gaze upon the face of this glorious helper, I saw wisdom, love, and compassion. Here was the answer to my prayers, the one that would help me discern the truth, keep the truth and discard the lies.

We have hoards of information coming our way every single day. It is up to us to decide what is truth and what is not. Sometimes we are spot on, and other times we let lies creep in thinking they are truth. What we often forget is that it is not our job alone. We have the Holy Spirit as our helper who intimately knows us and expansively knows the truth. We can rely on him to help us sort the lies from the truth. Sometimes we need to remove the distractions, remove the outpouring of lies from the start and give ourselves a little space to breath, to discern, and to listen to the Holy Spirit.

Praying truth into your day today, and all the discernment to find it.

 

Simple Things in the Neighborhood

Simple Things in the Neighborhood

This past weekend, we went into the neighborhoods to pick up trash, pass out flyers and candy, and pray with neighbors. Some would say these things are simple and ineffective, but as the day progressed, we noticed the difference we were starting to make.

Not only did the area start to look a little cleaner, neighbors were out, they were actually opening their doors for us, and they actually had prayer requests that we prayed for.

One woman who had driven by us a couple times, decided to purchase some waters for us because she so appreciated what we were doing. She purchased enough flavored water for all 15 of us to have a water bottle.

The group that was with me was not from Omaha, and not even from Nebraska. IT was a group of middle school students from a youth group in Iowa. They were able to knock on doors and pray with neighbors.

One such moment was unforgettable and will forever stay with me. A group of three or four students walked up to a house, knocked on the door and offered their flyer and bag of candy. The elderly woman gladly accepted and when they kids asked if they could pray, she requested prayer for her family to grow closer together. One kid prayed for her and then it seemed like they were coming to a close when a girl asked if she could jump in. She prayed passionately for this woman and her family and spoke of how important and special family are. By the time she was finished, both the woman and I had tears in our eyes.

One small prayer can be effective. One small act can be effective. A knock on a door or a little bag of candy can be effective.

We need to stop searching for so many big things to transform, and discover how small you can get.

The simple things this past weekend didn’t just affect the neighborhood and the people we encountered. They affected me, and each one of the people who were with me. We saw and experienced the power of a simple prayer, a simple kind act of picking up trash.

You will be surprised at who will say yes when you ask if you can pray. Try it!

Praying for the courage to step out in small ways and see how God will move.

Our Morning Without Water

Our Morning Without Water

Water is a necessity we all use daily, to drink, to shower, to cook and clean. When it’s taken away, we wonder how we will live or get ready for work, or wash those dishes in the sink. Yesterday our water was missing from our lives for just a few short hours.

They had been working on the pipe up the street since three in the morning, yet must have ran into some complications because it was not finished when they (or we) would have liked. My husband found out when he went to wash his hands and there was nothing there. A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door with one of the workers explaining what happened and that they hoped to have the water flowing by 1pm.

I found out by my husband coming up the stairs, asking how he was supposed to get ready with no water. He had been expecting to take a shower, brush his teeth and potentially do some of those dishes, among other things. As we discussed how we were to manage with no water for a bit, I was surprisingly unflinching.

I had a little water in my cup from the night before and gave it to him to brush his teeth. I had a full water bottle that I keep for class that he was able to use to “wash” his body.

I had face wipes I use for traveling that we could use to wash our faces.

I had dry shampoo to keep my hair fresh.

Just the day before I received a free one liter water from Influenster that would satisfy my needs for the morning.

There was an almost untouched cup of tea that I simply reheated in the microwave.

ALL OF THESE THINGS we had on hand, when just minutes before we wondered what we would do to prepare for the day of work. God knew- and it really wasn’t that big of a deal.

HOWEVER, (and this is where it gets a little more real) there are so many who do not have water daily, whether it is not clean, or they live in a place that the water is so far away that a day’s journey can only happen every so often. There are people who get water and other utilities shut off because they are unable to pay. Some say they made bad decisions and that’s why they are unable to pay for water. What about you? Should you get punished for every bad decision you make with something as extreme as a daily need of water?

Our water actually was turned back on by 10am and it was nothing more than an odd couple of hours where we had to come up with creative solutions. BUT some people don’t have that luxury. Some don’t have the water leftover from the day before because there was none the day before.

I’m not writing this post because I think YOU need to change your mindset or open your eyes to the realities that many in our world face. I AM writing this post to let you know how my perspectives and ideas about the world and how it works are shifting. I believe it is a good shift, and I am thankful for the shift, even when it is uncomfortable-like not having water.

I AM writing this post to let you know how my perspectives and ideas about the world and how it works are shifting. I believe it is a good shift, and I am thankful for the shift, even when it is uncomfortable-like not having water.

It only happens when I get uncomfortable, when life is interrupted and I’m not able to do what I normally do, but instead am forced to be still, think and pray and ponder on things that go beyond myself. Things out of my control.

I AM praying that you will allow yourself the opportunity to get uncomfortable, to allow yourself to comprehend another’s reality, and to sit and ponder and pray about what that means for you in your own context.

UNSUBSCRIBE

UNSUBSCRIBE

How many useless emails do you get on a daily basis? I’m always one for a deal, so I seem to find myself signing up for an email discount, and subsequently receiving multiple emails, sometimes daily from the same places about things I neither want nor need.

I find myself almost every morning, weeding out all of those meaningless emails to find the few good ones that actually contain valuable information for my life. Years upon years of spending time reading through subject lines and deleting thousands upon probably millions of emails, and today, just today, I unsubscribed. Thinking it would be too much of a hassle to unsubscribe from these countless emails, I just dealt with them because I thought I had to.

I “suffered” through the daily bombardment of countless emails unnecessarily! All that I had to do was simply scroll to the bottom of the email, and hit that joyous word UNSUBSCRIBE. It was much simpler than I thought, and got me thinking about some other things I was possibly avoiding because they seemed complicated, when they might actually be quite simple.

Maybe that means actually writing that thank you letter that you meant to send to your grandma

  • calling that friend that you lost touch with
  • cleaning up the mess in the sink (it will probably take less than 2 minutes- you can do it!)
  • Folding the clothes
  • Saying you’re sorry

Sometimes, we build things up in our heads to make them scary and huge, when a simple action can rid us of the worry and anxiety we create for ourselves.

If it actually ends up being bigger, sometimes the simple act can be a good start, and makes it easier to act again, and again, and again.

Unsubscribe.

What is your first response?

What is your first response?

My husband and I met at the nonprofit where we work and are choosing to live in North Omaha to intentionally see the reality of there one day being no inner city in Omaha, NE.

We live in a “lighthouse” where we want to build community and spread love and hope so the people around us can reach their full God-given potential.

Recently we were driving home around 9pm and as we are pulling up to the house, we see two individuals digging through our trash. Immediately I felt this creeping sense of fear and surprise. Why would someone be digging through my trash?! What could they possibly be trying to find? Information? Food? Cans to sell and get a little cash?

Continue reading “What is your first response?”

Irreplaceable People, Unexpected Love

Irreplaceable People, Unexpected Love

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Things are replaceable, people are not. -Tow Truck Driver

So thankful that my person and I are alive and well -a miracle and blessing from our father. And that replaceable thing we drive around in, well God took care of that too.

This weekend didn’t turn out how we expected or desired with a whole tire coming off the car twice- once on an expressway. Somehow -both times- we managed to get to safety without impacting anyone or anything else. God gifted us with people- irreplaceable people- who were willing to help strangers in our time of need. He sent those to check on us and offer rides or help and more to temporarily put the tire back on the car.  It was a miracle how it all unfolded–we are still marveling at it!

At first I cried because I was so scared. Then I cried because so many cared!

With it being the weekend before Valentines, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate love than by experiencing God showing us his love in so many [unexpected] ways. We missed a marriage conference and fellowship with some friends, but we gained a greater understanding of what it means to rely on God, submit to him, and appreciate the things that have eternal value.

I feel our marriage has deepened in a way that only God could have allowed and our faith in him strengthened. He is good and he looks out for his children.

Praying you feel His extravagant and sometimes unexpected love this season.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.’” John 10:10-11