I learned something from my dog, Rivers, this morning…well, really from God but through my dog. We were out on our morning walk and I kept doing as I always do, nudging her to keep walking and she did as she always does, kept right on sniffing areas for way too long in my opinion! This time, though, I was reminded of the fact that she hadn’t been out on a walk for several days due to rain so I was trying to be a little more sympathetic and give her a few more seconds of sniffing pleasure.
That’s when it happened…I felt my Lord saying to me, “Why the rush? Rivers isn’t rushing and what do you have pressing that requires so much rushing through this time? Enjoy this.”
WOW! How many times do I have to be reminded to just stop rushing?! I KNOW this but I don’t act on it. I know that there are not people that say on their death beds that they wished they had rushed through life just a little more. NO…truth be told we probably all need to stop rushing through life and “stop to smell the roses” (to use an old adage).
Sometimes, too, we will be able to hear the Lord speaking a little more clearly. As I was just reminded at beachCHURCH this past Sunday through our pastor, Todd, God doesn’t speak with a loud, thunderous voice. He speaks in a gentle whisper.
Thank You, Lord, for using Rivers to show me how to enjoy moments You give us. Thank You for helping me to see that time already flies so fast that I don’t need to miss it. Help us all to let up on the leash just a little bit and allow You to speak into our busyness, allow You to help us enjoy life just a little more. Thank You for loving us even when we’re rushing and loving us too much to let us stay content in the rat race. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
The other day I was getting ready in our bathroom and I “felt” the Lord speak to me…
I have always been a person who wanted to do things ‘by myself.’ My family always kidded me, “Oh don’t try to help Kristi open that jar. She wants to do it by herself!” It’s true. I wanted to open the jar, the can, the whatever, by myself. I guess, in this way, I wanted to be independent. I wanted to feel the accomplishment. I wanted to be proud of what I could do alone. I’ve always looked as this personality trait as a plus, something I was kinda proud of, something that meant I would always give everything to try my best. I still think it can be a positive trait; however, as I felt God speak to me the other day, I started to think of it in a different way…
I have a daughter who is the same as I was (am) in this. Sidney wants to do everything ‘by herself.’ She wants to be independent when she wants to be independent, if you know what I mean. I’ve told her many times over the years that she’s just like me. Lately, though, I have seen Sidney not wanting to ask for help, even from the Lord. She seems to think she doesn’t need to ask for help.
Maybe I was thinking about this the other day or maybe God just needed to tell me while I was in one place doing one thing, brushing my teeth. He impressed on my heart that even though I’d always wanted to do things myself, He never created us to be alone. He created us to be in community, to need others…most importantly, to need Him.
WOW! I had never thought of my need to do things ‘by myself’ as a form of pride…until then. I had never thought of my need to not ask for help as something that was keeping me from allowing others the privilege of helping someone…until then. Until then, I had prided myself in the fact that I had always wanted to do things, sometimes over and over again, with no one’s help, mind you! God spoke, though. He told me it’s okay for me, and Sidney, and you, to want to try to do things on our own. It’s okay to even try to do them over and over again, as long as we know that we know that we know we need others, most importantly, our Lord and Savior, to help when we struggle.
We were not made to be alone. In Genesis 2, God even said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Rest. What a seemingly simple word. It is only four letters. But, oh, the implications it can have on a life that actually does it!
My husband, Russell, will often say to me, “Sit down…rest.” There’s that word again. It’s sometimes, (I’m being a little too easy on myself), it’s often difficult for me to sit down and rest. We homeschool our children, Will and Sidney, and this year is the first of many years to come of a lot more to do. Will is in eighth grade and Sidney is in third grade. Their workloads are only increasing from here. So, as I write this, I am looking back on yesterday – a Saturday that we were actually home and not out on the road doing ministry. I had a terrible day because I couldn’t seem to rest. There’s that word again!
Saturdays, in my mind, were meant for catching up on the things you couldn’t get done during the week. Well, because I homeschool, I had laundry, tons of emails to go through and send, and just the normal cleaning. What I needed more than anything, though, was to rest. There’s that…you get the picture.
Jesus had a few things to say about resting. He tells us to come to Him, all who are weary and burdened and He will give us rest. He says our souls will find rest. He told His apostles to come away to a quiet and desolate place and rest a while because there were so many people needing them that they hadn’t even had a chance to eat! We are to “be still and know that He is God.” We are to rest.
I have to realize…it’s okay to rest. Our bodies are designed to rest. We can’t function properly without it. Sometimes we just need a day, or even a few hours, doing things that instill joy into our lives: playing games with our kids, watching a movie, or just napping or taking a long bath. Maybe you haven’t just sat quietly and waited for the Lord to speak. Tell yourself, “It’s okay to rest!” Say it with me, “It’s okay to rest!” One more time, “It’s okay to rest!”
Now, I wonder if your family will notice? I think they will. I think mine will. When we’re rested, we can hear The Holy Spirit’s voice louder, easier. We can feel the joy that He intended for us. I think our Heavenly Father will smile as we take time rest.
Now, can you count how many times I used the word REST? Oh stop it…go rest!!
About three years ago, we began meeting with some other couples about a potential marriage event in Myrtle Beach. At the time, there were no other marriage enrichment events in the Myrtle Beach area, but we felt that God was leading us to begin this ministry. We have been extremely blessed to be a part of so many great marriage events over our years of ministry, like Lifeway’s Marriage Impact, where we will be again this summer, and God has continually presented us with opportunities and intersections for encouraging marriages. Out of the initial meetings, the Adore Marriage weekend was born.
Earlier this month, we held our second year of Adore Marriageat the Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation. I can truly say that God is good and has blessed this ministry immensely. When the conference team had done all that was humanly possible, we know that God took the next five steps that only He could. To Him be the glory for all that happened during and around Adore Marriage. God presented us with a new ministry team partner, Theresa, whose contacts and skills propelled the conference forward by miles. And in addition to that, we ended up with about 30 couples from 6 different states who attended the conference.
Most exciting for us is the prospect of adding a second Adore Marriage event each year. With the Myrtle Beach weekend, we sought to keep costs as low as possible and make sure that the most value was given to couples for the costs they paid. We have tried to keep the costs as all-inclusive as possible, as well, so that when a couple commits to attend, there are no hidden costs.
In the weeks leading up to our Myrtle Beach weekend, we were presented with an opportunity to take Adore Marriage out to sea on Royal Caribbean later this Fall. While we weren’t actively looking, the opportunity came up and fell into place through God’s divine plan. So, at our conference earlier this month, we announced an Adore Marriage Cruise setting sail October 19-22, 2012. We are very excited to see what God has planned for the future of this ministry.
We have a busy summer of marriage events with our ministry partners Lifeway and the North Carolina Baptist Convention. We will be leading worship for two Lifeway Marriage Impact events later this summer and those events are always fun. Hosted at Lifeway’s Ridgecrest Conference Center, the weekends offer a great marriage getaway to the North Carolina mountains, along with all sorts of activities in the area. We will also be traveling to Ft. Caswell to lead worship for a Pastor and Wives event sponsored by the NC Baptist Convention.
We just went to see the movie “Courageous” for the first time. I wept! There’s no other way to say it. If you have kids, you probably wept, too. I was so encouraged to see a movie that had such a powerful message, was produced well, and had no cheesy acting. I really had nothing negative to say. I saw the director’s ministry heart all the way through the movie. Not to spoil the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it, I want to say we came out of the theater with a renewed sense of our purpose and role in God’s plan as parents.
Sometimes, I know I can lose that sense of purpose when my day seems to be consumed with homework and refereeing. Our kids, Will and Sidney, go to a University Model School, which means they go to school on Tuesday and Thursday and are home on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We are with them often because of the nature of what we do as Christian Musicians. We are so thankful for that and often sit together for lunch and tell the children how nice it is to be able to have the time we have together. That being said, we, kids included, are together a lot! So we can sometimes forget the amazing privilege it is to have the time we have together. I guess that’s normal – to not take advantage of the time you have when you have it. I don’t think someone would think we’re bad parents for not realizing every moment that the time we have is such a gift.
But isn’t it good to be reminded, once in a while, how the people in our lives are gifts from God? Isn’t it good to sometimes be reminded that God has a purpose for us as parents, and children, to be the ‘gifts’ He created us to be? After all, He knows the plans He has for us and they aren’t to harm us. His plan is to give us hope and a future! (Jeremiah 29:11)
Thank You, Lord, for the little (and big) reminders You give us. Thank You for my kids, Will and Sidney. Please help Russell and me to be the parents You’ve created us to be. Help all of us as parents to be who You’ve called us to be and deny what this world says we’re to be. This is, after all, about You and Your plans. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.