When a woman needs rest



Tomorrow I leave for my 5th Annual Creative Retreat. Each year has been a little different, though the quorum of woman have remained the same.  We've retreated to a lake-house in Northern California, a poolside oasis in Southern California, and this year we are gathering sea-side in Clearwater, Florida. But more than a change of locations, each year has held different, transcendent themes.  There was the year when we laughed the most, and the one where we cried, another when we created the most, and that one spectacular year when we ate our way through... This year I believe we will find rest.




Oh, I am hopeful that I will have a productive five days at the keyboard, because I'm writing a book and the manuscript is due in September, but even as my fingers fly I hope to know deeply healing heart-rest. Stepping away from the blessed grind of daily life allows my personal rhythm to return to it's resting tempo once again. Though I love my three boys and the man I share them with, there is so much going and serving and running and pouring out and bending over to pick another wet towel off the floor, that sometimes I get tired.


[Tweet "Even the most grateful woman can get tired. But rest promises to build her back up again."]


DSC_0036_tlp2013_CR1_21table picture_tlp2013_Bethany_1lake teaCreative Weekend - pgotopancake brunch

Photos courtesy Tammy Labuda Photography


Oh my, looking back I see that food has truly been the over-arching theme every year, let's not fool ourselves. But this year I hope to ingest great gobs of healing rest as well.


Here are three types of REST that women need to learn to lean into:


Resting in the loving hands of Christ - When life goes hard and we question if we're doing it all right or failing miserably, women can rest in the assurance that God is sovereign over our days, and the family members who depend upon us. Though I'm not perfect, I am perfectly flawed... My flaws are a gift. They allow me to find eternal rest in His Saving Perfection.  Salvation is always a bed of grace designed for rest, both now and forever more.


I am bringing my Bible with me this week, eager to find my rest in the book of Exodus - The picture of God leading His people out of bondage, in order to bring us all into the rest of His Promise Land.  He offers that to me.  He offers it to you.


[Tweet "I find my soul's true rest in the Bible. It's the original King-sized bed! "]


Literal rest - I am eager to sleep well - long and hard. Without middle of the night growing pains to rub away, or early morning hungry bellies to feed, I will stretch, roll over, and fall asleep again.  Rest is healing for the body, and the spirit.  "Be still and know that I am God..." It's a command that is hard to cultivate in these years with little people and their constant needs.  Retreating allows me the literal rest I need to restore, so that I might return home again eager and able to love fresh.


The rest found in safe friendships - It is safe to be with these women.  They are my tribe, my people, my cheering squad and prayer warriors.  They celebrate my joys and weep with me in my sorrows, and their nearness offers me rest. We laugh over bacon and gorgonzola pancakes, and pray around the fire pit, and walk together in silence, each stopping every few steps for more pictures.  We share what we've written, the pictures we've captured, the dreams we each have, and the hard knocks we've taken since our last time together. The safety net of friendship is a glorious hammock for rest.


[Tweet "The safety net of friendship is a glorious hammock for rest."]


Tonight I am packing up all my pretty vacation clothes, my orange sandals, notecards, and that Bible of mine. As I do I am taking moments here and there to lift up my friends who are joining me, and those of you who are stopping by to read this post - asking the Lord to guide you all with His Spirit, into His refreshing rest today - even if you can't getaway.

In His Word, in your bed, in your dear friendships... seek rest.

Question: What else offers you deep soul-rest? 


Labor Day Rest - for moms

It's Labor Day Weekend, Y'all!   Time to turn up the music, open wide the windows and enjoy perfectly temperate days!  BBQ some ribs, make a peach cobbler, float in the pool, and drink homemade lemonade.  Then wake up early and pack up the car for a sandy day at the beach.  Don't forget the surfboard and shovels, or the cooler heavy laden with drinks and grapes and sandwich meat.  Then Monday let's go for a bike ride as a family and peddle till our muscles ache and our brows drip health and happiness. At least  that's our relaxing agenda this long weekend before school starts up Tuesday.


Here's the nitty gritty truth about "LABOR DAY"...

It's a laborious prospect for Moms!


All this eating and going and sand ground into the seams of our hardwood floors.  Just getting ready sends my head to spinning.  In preparation I'm cleaning house today, making sure all the laundry is done, and planning fun meals and holiday snacks!  Out I go into the garden to gather late summer roses for each table, and hang the water colors our boys have painted over this long season of fun.


watercoloring watercolors


Ironically, this day that celebrates REST takes a whole lot of work!  Can I get an Amen from the choir heading to the grocery store this afternoon ?


Be Still and Know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10


Personally I wonder if this spiritual challenge was ever intended for Moms' hearts!  But there's the spin:  The heart not the hands.  The heart, not the serving and the loving and the moving.  That can't always stop.  It's the heart.


The Heart


The heart that learns to rest in the whirling dervish we call motherhood, in the chaotic fun of holidays, in the constant roll of summertime's Yes, is the heart that gets to actually enjoy God amidst it all.  For our hands and our feet can't always be still, though stopping is so very good for us, but our meditating hearts that keep constant communication with a loving God allow our souls to rest... In Him.  Even as we prep another meal, and bring poolside a fresh picture of iced tea.


And so I offer you today, this challenge:


Be Still Your Soul!  


Let the strains of the ancient hymn lift up and renew your heart, when your hands are full of fresh towels.  Let the cease from striving message of God's Gospel rest, be manifested in your quiet heart and your joyful demeanor whilst you put graham crackers and marshmallows and chocolate squares together on a platter as the sun dips low.  And in the quiet spaces you literally find, or carefully make and take, breath in and out slowly and fully.  Right.  Where.  You.  Are.  Amidst the ones you are laboring for in love.  And lift up your heart.


It's a continual feast, this life.  I know.


And so, I leave you today with one of my favorite summertime salad dishes, received via text message from a friend of mine last Labor Day.  I share it with you here today.


quinoa salad pic



Quinoa Salad

Mix together:

4 cups Rainbow Quinoa (cooked and cooled)

1 bell pepper; yellow, orange, &/or red (chopped into small pieces)

1 bunch green onions (finely sliced)

2/3 cup feta cheese crumbles

2/3 cup tomatoes (chopped)

1 avocado (either chopped and mixed in, or sliced and served op top)

Mix together for the dressing:

4 TBS Olive Oil

2 TBS Red Wine Vinegar

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp minced garlic


Add the dressing to the salad and mix it gently.  Personally, I don't use all of the dressing.

I often serve this alongside a medley of other salads, but it also goes wonderfully well with bbq chicken!

It is seriously the best!

And Best Rhymes with Rest!

So go and be Blessed!


quinoa salad