A positive attitude to help move on
Through losses and gains
As life deals a blow
Staying optimistic though difficult to do
Learning from failure
Hang on… Don’t let go
A change in course now be resolved
Standing in confidence
Release stress and angst
Strength in community
Not drained nor emptied
Now rise from the ashes
From “My Words to Live By” c-a allen
Blink, flash… rumble-rumble. I paused to watch the display in the night sky. Cool air, smelling of rain, drove away the last of the day’s heat. Watching from a distance provided a larger perspective and I considered the power of the storm and the wideness of the heavens. As the storm drew further away, I drew a deep breath and the rain-washed quiet began to draw from mind and body the day’s lingering roar. It was good to stop and rest.
When I find myself caught up in the rush and stress of life, taking time to pause helps both mentally and physically. Can’t you just imagine that “ahh” as you sink into a favorite chair, slide into bed, or arrive home after a long and busy day?! Wherever our “comfort spot” may be, it is a place to rest our soul and calm our spirit for a time.
When the crowd was pressing around Jesus, he too needed a time of rest. For those who wanted to follow him, Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” * Like us in our daily lives, He too had to seek those special times and places alone and in prayer with his Father, God… places of rest and places where daily needs could be met. The book of Mark tells us that the apostles, the followers or disciples of Jesus, had the same challenge and had to be intentional about taking time to rest. After they had shared with Jesus all that they had been doing and teaching, he reminded them of the importance of ‘stepping out of the stream’ for a while. “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while,” Jesus said, “For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So, they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.” *
I think sometimes we don’t give ourselves permission to step aside and rest. We are driven by so many things… I pray for you “rest stops” along life’s way. Times of comfort with friends and family. Quiet reflection with God who loves you. A welcome place to pause, stretch your legs, and relax before continuing on.
*Matthew 8:20 & Luke 9:58; Mark 6:31-32
• Roads are paths of decisions
• Those decisions lead to many destinations
• Consider all that you encounter along the way
• Some ways are direct and easy to traverse
• Sometimes things ahead are stormy
• It’s hard to see beauty when moving through our storms
• Potholes and cracks develop from stressful situations
• Remembering our origination can help us persevere
• Roadside stops are helpful to the traveler
• Moving along accustomed routes may give a sense of stability
• Sometimes we get stuck or lost and miss the alternate routes
• Whether through wilderness or quiet streets… we seek clear ways
• We may become stiff and dry from the rigors of life
• The warmth and compassion of others can restore and renew
• A friend who listens is like a welcome scrub
• Scrubbing helps clear away dirt and accumulated grime
• Rinse away stress and fatigue
• Rest after a job well done
• We can become musty from disuse
• Putting your skills to good use is satisfying
• A worn cloth is full of memories
• Warm companionship and thoughtful service transform
• Sometimes we feel a little stretched
• Stretching can be good
• Over-stretching can have negative results
• It is good to be flexible
• Flexibility eases stress
• There are times to let things rest
• Letting go can hurt
• We often take each other for granted
• We each fit different tasks
• Rubber bands hold things together
• Mutual support brings greater enjoyment
• We were each specially crafted by the Maker
• We all come in different sizes, styles, and colors.
• We are made for different purposes.
• Our character is revealed in the way we live.
• The way we live can add positive fun and enjoyment to life.
• Take steps to protect yourself from unforeseen injury on your journey.
• Sometimes we travel through messy places.
• When traveling through messy places, we may become stinky and dirty.
• When we become stinky and dirty, a thorough cleaning is advised.
• After a long day, removing stress and worries brings relief.
• Stress and worries should be given to the Master Shoemaker.
• The Master Shoemaker creates, repairs, and refurbishes us.
Have you ever noticed how a mother bird will spread her wings over her chicks to provide protection and to hide them from the eyes of predators? That space under the shadow of her wings is a refuge, a place of safety and comfort. The chicks trust the hen and so they stay close-by and are nurtured, protected, and guided.
What a powerful image that is for us when we feel overwhelmed, attacked, or swallowed by grief and despair! In the books of Ruth and Psalms, God is a loving protector who gathers us in the shadow of His wings. Like the chicks, we are His children, knowing our own weakness and need. When we come to Him, He offers us a place of security.
Ruth realized that her mother-in-law Naomi had something special; she came to God when all seemed lost. The psalmist said, “Hey, this is a good thing! I’m going to stay here with God forever, walking close-by and covered when times are tough!”
How easy it can be to wander off. Jesus lamented, grieved deeply, for the people of Jerusalem who had turned away those God had sent. “How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37 & Luke 13:34). At times my own thoughts churn endlessly, stressing over a day’s events or unresolved issues and troubles. This image of God surrounding us with His sheltering wings provides comfort, security, and hope for everyone and reminds us to stay close to Him.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 36:7 (NIV)