Friday, February 10, 2012


Yesterday I was exhausted. Emotionally, physically, I needed rest. Often on Thursday nights, I try to get out in the evening, just to get out, go somewhere by myself (without 4 kids in tow!), and have some fun. Yesterday afternoon, I didn't know how to spend my Thursday night. My girlfriend couldn't join me, I wanted to shop but didn't have much money... I felt discouraged because I didn't know what to do. I asked God to give me rest. What I really wanted was to fly away with Todd to Mexico for 5 days and sit on the beach in the sun. That's REALLY what I wanted to do. But since that wasn't an option, I prayed for rest.

I felt led by the Holy Spirit to visit my neighbor. She's a modern day widow. She's divorced, lives alone, physically housebound for the most part. She doesn't need food or money like the widows of the Bible, but she needs company. I get lonely when Todd's out two nights in a row. I can't imagine how lonely she gets day after day by herself. 

But I admit that I didn't really want to go. I didn't think it seemed restful. Thursday was MY night! My rest! It was supposed to be a time to refill my tank, not further empty it again. But I also wanted to obey God and where I thought He was asking me to go. So I went. 

We had a very pleasant time. We chatted about our houses, the neighborhood, marriage, her health. I stayed about an hour. I was so glad I went. 

I came home, planning to sit in front of the T.V. and eat junk food. (Now that's real rest, right?) But for some reason, I didn't. Instead I went to my bathroom that I've been painting and redoing, and I finished the work I'd been doing that day. I even cleaned it, hung a new medicine cabinet and picture on the wall, put away the paint supplies, put all our toiletries away in the cabinet. (Still not "restful.")  Eventually I did end up in front of the T.V., with a smile on my face. (I skipped the junk food!)

Before bed I've been trying to read a Psalm every night. I'm teaching at our upcoming women's retreat on worship, and I want to learn to worship. I turned off the light to go to sleep, and the Lord reminded me to read my Psalm. So I got back up, and this is what I read:

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.               Psalm 23:1-3a

I'm still amazed when I read something and it says something completely different to me than the last time I read it. Also when Scripture so directly speaks to where I'm at in that exact moment. Two things, here:

1. Just three psalms earlier, David is praying that the Lord would give him the desires of his heart and grant all his requests. Here, he's saying that he doesn't have any wants. It's as if God has, three psalms later, filled the desires of David's heart and granted all David's requests.

Last night I prayed for rest. God led me to a place I didn't see as restful, yet this morning I feel rested AND joyful! I feel more rested than I have all week.

2. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. God knows what will give us rest. Physical and spiritual rest. (Both are important!) These verses are a picture of rest. I've been asking God for a while to teach me about rest. As a busy mom of four kids, a leader of women's ministry, and a woman involved in many people's lives, I get tired! And I don't always know what will bring me rest. Sometimes it is T.V. and books. Other times its coffee with a friend. But sometimes my method of "rest" just doesn't work, and I'm left feeling discouraged and not rested.

What I'm seeing is that I need to ask God for help, even to rest. Psalm 23 tells me that He can give me rest, and I saw His provision in that way last night. He knows what I need that day, that moment. He knows what will truly give me rest. He knows that sometimes what I call "work" in that moment will actually bring me peace and give me better rest.

I'm so thankful to God for giving me rest last night. I feel like I can do another day. I'm also thankful that because of God, I shall not be in want. Thank you, Father.