When Rest Feels Like a Prison Sentence {Link-up}

“Take the keys and go,” my husband said.

It wasn’t a question. From the time he’d walked in the door my tone had been short and snippy. He knew I’d had a long day and needed time to myself, even though I was insisting on cleaning up the dishes.

After stalling several times on my way out the door, I left. I played worship music in the car and talked to God about the things that were bothering me.

I didn’t take much time to listen. I didn’t pause to see whether he had an answer to my endless list of concerns and complaints.

But since our God is faithful and more patient than I deserve, he kept speaking.

One day in early February the weather was crazy warm. Spring warm. Our family went for a walk, and our five-year-old paused every five seconds to pick up rocks and sticks. He found his favorite bridge (a slat of wood) and hopped across, quite pleased with himself as he ran down the other side of the ravine.

Of course, I was trying to keep up the pace and burn some calories on the first nice day we’d had in weeks.

“Come on, Gabe! Bye, Gabe!”

“Wait for me!” he cried, running up from behind.

He was all dramatic but he knew we weren’t going to leave him. Within a few minutes, he was pausing again to explore.

I felt the cool breeze on my face and sensed that little nudge in my spirit.

You could learn from him, you know.

And it was true. I knew it. But was I willing to be taught?

They say knowledge is power, but is it really?

Knowledge may bring power, but wisdom comes when we’re willing to change.

For months I’d known what God wanted me to do: Rest. But I’d resisted. He wanted me to let someone else shoulder some of the load, but I wouldn’t open my mouth to ask for help.

I lived in a prison of my own self-sufficiency. Instead of receiving, I insisted on pouring out.

And pouring some more. But you can’t keep pouring from an empty cistern.

Even when I gave myself time to rest physically, I knew what I needed was spiritual. Soul nourishment. Time listening instead of talking. Time noticing his gifts instead of racing past them.

When we don’t see immediate fruit, we often think our time is wasted. But friends, time spent resting is not a waste.

Some of the most abundant fruit we produce will come after seasons of rest. Seasons when we’re willing to let someone else yield the harvest. When we’re willing to sit at the feet of Jesus instead of running ourselves ragged.

Fruit needs time to ripen before it is harvested. And the time God spends refining us is just as important as the time spent reaping the benefits.

If you feel called to a period of rest right now, do yourself a favor and take it. God will use it to teach you and mold you.

He may even show you some scenery you’ve been missing along the way.

#RaRaLinkup Time!

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Are We Smothering God’s Fire With Well-Meaning Activity?

margins of life

I poked at the fire, frustrated that it wasn’t staying aflame. This girl was no scout. The temperatures outside had reached single digits, and our furnace was having a hard time keeping up.

After spending an hour trying different techniques, adding wood, scraps of paper, and using more fire starters than any person should, the flame blazed hot enough for the wood stove’s fan to cut on, circulating the heat throughout the house. My mouth spread into a victorious smile.

The problem was, I didn’t know what I’d done right.

Later, after my husband returned from a business trip, he explained the basics of fire building to this city girl. I listened intently, determined not to have the predicament repeat itself.

Even my son, the cub scout, knew the basics of fire 101. I guess I should have asked him, right?

As any seasoned camper should know, fires need three basic components: heat, fuel, and oxygen.

It turns out, I had given my fire plenty of heat and fuel, but I’d neglected oxygen almost altogether. Instead of giving my flame room to breath by spreading the wood in a triangular shape, I’d smothered it.

Fires need room to breathe. And much like the flame I’d suffocated with its own fuel, I often adapt the same pattern in my spiritual life.

Will you continue reading with me today? I’m sharing what I learned about keeping God’s flame alive over at Purposeful Faith. Click here to read the rest of my post.


Linking up with these communities: Grace & Truth

Why Sometimes You Have to Abandon the Routine

life unstuck intro

I am a woman who thrives on routine. As much as I love the longer days of summer, the sleeping in and the trips to the coast, a few months in I always go a little crazy. The lack of a schedule makes me start counting the days until the school doors will open around late July.

So when my husband suggested we take a spontaneous trip to a state park yesterday, my first thought was, “What about church? We always go to church on Sunday. Should we?”

The more I listened to my inner monologue, the more I wondered when I became so legalistic. Like church had become more like an item to check off my to-do list than a place of rest.

Sickness had wiped out our family for the past two weeks and it was the first Sunday in weeks when the sun was shining. Vibrant, fleeting fall colors beckoned us. With an upcoming conference and work trip on the calendar, I knew it would be one of our last opportunities to savor these days before winter settled in to stay.

“Let’s go for it,” I said, feeling like a kid as I envisioned flowing waterfalls and treks through the woods.

Sometimes to become unstuck, you have to leave your routine at the door.




Our faith is as integral to our family as breathing, so gathering together to worship and build community is important. But yesterday God’s creation became our church.

The reds and ambers became filters for the sun which shined a little brighter and stay a little longer, all because we chose to notice it and linger. My husband gave each of our boys a camera so they could capture the images in their own way, through their eyes.

It was not a perfect day. Little one’s camera’s battery died as soon as we got to the falls. Shortly after we made the hike down to the river, my oldest slipped into the water and had to hike the rest of the trail with a soaked shoe. And I did not get the family photos I visualized in front of the falls.

I know, perfect photos with kids involved? Not likely.

But when we recounted the highlights of the day later that evening and my seven-year-old said, “This was the best day ever,” we all had to agree it was. And I realized spontaneity and lack of a schedule was just what we needed.

It was a day set aside for rest, and rest was exactly what we did.


*This post is part of the #Write31Days challenge. You can find all posts for this challenge here.

Time to Rest


I’ve had a still-in-my-pajamas-at-noon kind of day. The hubby is out of town for the week, my little ones have been stretching me in new ways that I never even knew existed, and I’m so tired and overwhelmed that the idea of cutting up veggies to make myself a nice salad sounded like too much work. I settled for easy-mac. Yep, it’s that kind of day.

We all need time to rest. Time to recharge our batteries and put away our phones. To stop checking email and Facebook and Twitter every five minutes and let our souls reconnect with the One who made us. Time to quit striving and chasing and people pleasing and just be.

The God who created us put the need for rest within us so that in our weakest moments, we would call out to Him.

We see it in the Psalms of David. We see it in the Garden of Gethsemane.

There are times when I think that if I take a break from this blog for a week or two or even a month that I will lose the online community I’ve worked for over a year to build. I realize now how crazy that idea truly is.

We need rest.

It is part of who we are. Who God created us to be. And considering the fact that at the end of next week I will be at a very intensive writing conference, I think now is a good time to take a break.

Over the past several months, I’ve met women in the online community who have encouraged me, loved me, and pushed me to be brave. They have showered me with much needed grace. Some of them I may never meet. Others I will meet in ten days.

So for the next two weeks, I’m taking a blogging vacation. I’m going to use the extra time to enjoy my family, soak in the Word, and pray.

To everyone who has said a kind word, offered encouragement, and pushed me to keep going, thank you from the very depths of my heart. As much as I love writing, there are times when doubt and discouragement get the best of me. It happens to us all. We all need people who can take our hand, lift us up, and propel us forward.

If there is someone in your life who seems like they are weary, can I just encourage you to reach out to that person today? You will be so glad you did.

Much Love,


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28


Today I’m linking up with the following online communities. Each one offers encouragement, inspiration, and grace in its own unique way. Click the buttons below to learn more.