Monday, September 26, 2016

It's Time to Move!



While my husband was in seminary, I would often daydream about being called to serve at a small country church once he graduated.  I envisioned a New England white steepled church with a big oak tree out front and quaint graveyard in the back, a graveyard that marked the stories of those Believers who once sat in the church's pews many years before.  I imagined the current congregation behind the doors of the New England white steepled church, loving the Word of God as much as I did, and accepting my husband and I, flawed sinners, saved by the Grace of God.

Indeed, soon after my husband graduated from seminary, a small local country church was looking for a new Pastor.  It may not have been the quintessential New England white steepled church I had daydreamed about, but it had its own charm - the church building was housed in a converted dairy barn.  The inside was bright and airy with lots of open space.  I couldn't believe that for the most part what I had envisioned our future church home looking like was indeed a possibility...

I certainly know that the church isn't represented by a building, but by the body of Believers.   That a building is not the focus of a church, but the Believers inside who show the love of Christ through service within and around the community and beyond, and who honor God through obedience and study of the Word.  I also know that a church doesn't need a building to be called a church.  For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20

But as a woman, by nature, I still had a desire for what my future church home would look like...

I remember sharing with my Pastor's wife who was mentoring me while my husband was in seminary, that I was feeling guilty for having such a specific esthetic idea of a church home.  She encouraged me that it could be the Lord put that very desire upon my heart.

So as my husband was going farther in the interview process for the country church in the old dairy barn, I was becoming more and more excited at the prospect of serving there.  Unfortunately, my enthusiasm may have actually clouded judgment in moving forward as several flags were raised to my husband on the spiritual health of the church.  But we reasoned that my husband's strong love of the Word may be just why the Lord was calling Him to that particular church.

My husband served as Pastor at that church for just two years faithfully preaching and teaching the Word.  The loving church family I had hoped for ended up wounding us deeply.

After much prayer, my husband and I made a decision to part ways from that body, a decision that was mutually agreed upon by the church leadership.

The country church I had dreamed of, the one that appeared so bright and airy on the inside, was for the most part dark and spiritually dead on the inside.

The Word of God, so faithfully preached by my husband, was dismissed.

A faction began working against my husband...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.  But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them,  they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country,  and there they continued to preach the gospel.
Acts 14:1-7

We know that nothing touches us, except what comes from the loving hand of our Heavenly Father...  
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and 
not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

that the will of the Father may take us through fiery trials, but He is always right there with us...

 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king...   Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”  He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
Daniel 3:16-17;24-25

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2-3

And we know that in all circumstances, God's will is accomplished...

The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, "Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, 
and just as I have planned so it will stand.
Isaiah 14:24

Peter and Paul did not become discouraged when their ministry in Iconium was being undermined by the unbelieving Jews, and the threat of being stoned loomed large.  Instead, they fled to Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding country.   And without missing a beat, continued to preach the Gospel.

I believe the Lord drops spiritual bombs in the midst of Believers to signify that It's time to move! Those spiritual bombs come in many forms, and I think more times than not, a trial may be the only way to get us to move.

We become complacent in our ministry or in our calling when things are going well, and may lose our effectiveness.

Or as a body, we become so comfortable in our church's walls, that we are no longer striving for the Kingdom of God.

The Lord may send a situation to disperse the complacent body of Believers or to move the person in ministry.

For my husband and I, although that was a very difficult chapter in our lives, especially being our very first experience serving as Pastor and Pastor's wife, in hindsight, I can see how the Lord was signaling, "It's time to move!"

My husband entered into a very fruitful pulpit fill ministry, a modern day circuit rider if you will.  I was used by God in several women's ministries at the church we moved to, and not only did God use me, but He grew me in areas I never saw myself ministering in.  He showed me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

As for the congregation we were called to leave, and which ultimately folded after going through another Pastor, I would like to believe that they are better off dispersed.  I hope they are attending different churches from each other, thinking for themselves, and allowing the Word of God to penetrate their hearts.  I also know that God's Word never comes back void and through the faithful preaching of my husband and the Pastor that followed him, seeds were planted.  God can use the Pastors they are sitting under now to water those seeds and bring about the fruit of Salvation.


If you find yourself in a trial or at a crossroads, ask the Lord, "Is it time to move?"

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; 
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psalm 32:8

And if after praying, you feel the Lord is indeed calling you to move, claim this promise from Him...

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, 
I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? 
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19

The Bible is full of accounts of people the Lord signaled that "It's time to move!" - from Abram to the Apostles.  With obedience, came blessings,  not only in their lifetimes, but for future generations.

The Lord still shows us when, "It's time to move!".

It may not always be a physical move.  It could be a spiritual move...

An area of besetting sin that we need to repent of; a relationship that needs healing; or a new spiritual discipline to develop, just to name a few...

Will you obey when the Lord calls you to move, whether it be spiritually or physically?

May we all respond...

  Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! 
Thou art the potter, I am the clay. 
Mold me and make me after thy will, 
while I am waiting, yielded and still. 
Adelaide A. Pollard


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday

Monday, September 19, 2016

Do you want to know the future?



He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you"...
Acts 1:7-8a


Have you ever wished you knew the future?  

To know ahead of time whether or not you will contract a disease or even to know how long you will live; to know how the lives of your children will turn out, whether or not they will walk with the Lord, and whether their lives will be filled with joy or pain.

It's probably safe to say that a majority of us would rather not know the future concerning the above circumstances, and instead would hold on to hope for a long life, and to see our children live their lives in the joy of the Lord.

There are other situations where I wish I did know the future, but more from an outcome basis perspective regarding circumstances already set in motion. 

I assume that could be said of many of us.   To know whether a person will be healed from a serious addiction or a difficult diagnosis; to know whether a marriage that is in trouble will ultimately survive; to know whether all of the prayers for the salvation of our children, spouses and families will be answered with a "yes"; to know whether a prayed for child will be conceived...  

I'm sure you could add many other outcomes that you wish you could know the future...

Yet some people find themselves in devastating circumstances where they do ultimately know the future. 
Simeon prophesied that Mary would see her son Jesus be opposed by many and that a sword would pierce her very soul.

Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, 
but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. 
And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
Luke 2:34-35

I witnessed first hand a young mother who would end up knowing the future...  

Her baby was born with a terminal disease and a life expectancy of only 2 years of age.   It seemed so cruel.  This young momma had longed for a baby before she even met her husband.    At first, the baby seemed fine, but by two months old, this sweet momma knew what the future of the baby would hold here on earth...  But God...

As the months went on, I watched this young mother pour her life into her baby, living every day to the fullest, not allowing grim medical predictions to steel her joy. 

She had faith that the Lord would heal her son, whether it be in the physical body or deliverance into the loving arms of Jesus.

Her life emulated that of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”...    “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26:36; 38-39


This young mother's incredible testimony throughout her son's life Glorified the Father.  And still, in her son's death, this young mom brought great Glory to her Heavenly Father.  

During the Memorial Service, her son's life and death were shared in such a profoundly beautiful way, weaving in the life and death of The Son's life.  The Gospel went forth in power in the mighty name of Jesus through His deliverance of their precious, precious baby boy.

This young momma is able to endure profound grief knowing that her baby boy is happy and pain free, in the presence of Christ, and that one day she will be reunited with her son and will meet the Son of God face to face.

For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame,
 and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2


The date and time had come for this young momma's son's future to be at hand, but indeed, at the time ordained by the Father, the Holy Spirit came upon her with power, upholding her through profound grief so that she could put one foot in front of the other and continue living her life in honor of her son's life, for the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in the joy of the Lord.

No matter what the future of Believers holds here on earth, whether we have a glimpse into it or the future remains a mystery, we can trust that the Holy Spirit will infuse us with His power so that we may walk through it in strength and joy.

My times are in your hands; deliver me
Psalm 31:15a

Do you want to receive the Holy Spirit's power here on Earth?

Do you want to know what your future is?

Trust in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus to remove your sins as far as the East is from the West.  Turn away from those sins.  Do not trust in your own works, but accept Jesus as your personal Savior.   Once you entrust your life to Christ, your future will be known - a future in Heaven with Jesus.

 In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, 
I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. 
You know the way to the place where I am going.”…
John 14:2-4

May the God of peace fill you will all joy and hope knowing that your future here on Earth and in Heaven are secure in Him.


Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because i know he holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives

Bill Gaither

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday

Monday, September 12, 2016

Running in an Ultramarathon




A few Friday's ago, my husband and I were taking our nightly walk at our town's gorgeous local park situated next to the bay.  Following our usual path, we were surprised to come upon one of the fields filled with tents and signs that said, "Ultramarathon".  We continued our walk wondering out loud what it was all about...  My husband had always understood ultramarathon's to be 100 miles!  But he quickly dismissed that thinking that couldn't possibly be what was taking place.

Once my husband and I got to the walkway along the water, we needed to step aside to allow runner after runner safe passage by.   Runners that came in all shapes, sizes and ages; some seeming quite tired already...  A race that had only started 45 minutes earlier...

My curiosity got the best of me and while sitting on a bench watching the runners and the sunset, I googled information about the race.

Indeed it WAS a 100 mile race lasting 24 hours!!  Except for when my son-in-law was in the Marines and completed the 72 hour crucible, an event where the Marine is broken first to build them up to complete, I could not imagine what a toll a 24 hour 100 mile race would take on an average runner, ESPECIALLY when it was so hot out!!

For context, the following excerpt was taken from the Anchor Ultramarathon website describing the details of the race:

"There are 4 different races in the Anchor Down Ultras, which include 6 hour, 12 hour and 24 hour timed events and also a 100 mile event. All 4 races start promptly at 7:00 PM and end respective to their lengh, with the 24 hour event lasting until 7:00 PM on the following day, Saturday. The rules are simple. Run as many loops of the 2.45 mile course as possible in the alloted time. Take a break when you want to, rest when you must, or keep pounding the pavement. You can drop out at any time during the race when and if you've had enough. Only full 2.45 mile loops of the entire course count towards your total distance. Runners will be ranked higher as they cover more and more loops, and time will only be used in the event of a tie."

My husband thought this type of race was genius!  You can actually rest during the race (hence the tents), but you can't leave the race course except to the tent area.   Otherwise, runners would be disqualified.   But what my husband found most interesting was that the race was more about how many loops were completed in a certain amount of time in order to receive a finisher's medal rather than about one racer winning the ultimate prize according to their time.  It was really about an accomplishment of endurance and personal best.

What I found intriguing was the allowance of "pacers" in the ultramarathon.

"Pacers in a race as soul-searching as Anchor Down can be part of your success, and part of the fun. Adventures like this are better with friends... 

The Anchor Down Ultra allow "pacers" in the second half of both the 12 hour and 24 hour events. (No 6-Hour pacers allowed.) In other words, you may have a running friend join you to help you keep pace, make goal and stay in the race.

Pacers may not mule for runners (aka carry their gear.) However, pacers CAN provide shade for a runner (ie umbrella) or wet them down to minimize the effect of the heat."

As darkness set in, we were heading home to settle in for a good night's sleep, leaving behind the runners, headlamps bouncing along the pathway, gearing up to run all night, and some, most of the next day...

I couldn't shake the image.  Where does one find the mental and physical strength to endure such a race?...

...And where does one find the mental and physical strength to endure the ultramarathon of Life?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw
 off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with 
endurance the race set out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and 
perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.…
Hebrews 12:1-2

When we allow the world to consume us,  we become heavy laden with the sin of fleshly desire and worldly care.  The world and sin may feel good in the moment, but both cause all manner of mental and physical ailments, sapping our strength and hurting our witness.  

But God's Word tells us to protect that good witness despite our struggles...

 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Acts 20:23-24

...for His grace will carry us.

Many times we falter and languish in life from the sin of desiring to control it.  We are so focused on self and how we have determined life should go, that we forgot the Author and Protector of our lives has ordained our every step for our good and His glory.   Therefore, we should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus every hour of every day...

For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. 
Isaiah 50:7

 ...for the Lord God will help us.

How often do we forget that we have a Pacer to run the race of life with us, the Holy Spirit.  Like the pacers who came along side the runners in the Anchor Down Ultramarathon, the Holy Spirit is our Pacer who helps us to keep pace, make goals, and stay in the race...  

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness
Romans 8:26a

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for 
he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, 
and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
John 16:13

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
John 15:26

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32

...for when we allow the Holy Spirit to encourage and comfort us we are free indeed.  Free to stay on course and run the race of life without encumbrance.

The busyness of life or our own spiritual laziness can rob us of our training time.  Training time in the Word of God... 

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9:23-25

...for the Word shares testimonies of grace upon grace, and mercy upon mercy, the grace and mercy available to those who are in Christ Jesus.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:4

...For God brings us hope.


 Father God,

Please help me to remember the great cloud of witnesses that have run the race before me for encouragement in my own run.  Holy Spirit help me to fix my eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  Lord, help me to guard Your testimony by living my life well, testifying to the love and grace of Christ Jesus.  Father help me to relinquish control of my life and place it in your loving hands.  Lord help me to heed the still small voice whispering, "this is the way, {run} in it".  Holy Spirit move me to be in your Word daily so that I will be fit for the race.  Father help me to live my life in the freedom of Christ, unencumbered, so that I may run the race in a manner to receive the lasting crown.   

In Jesus Name,
Amen

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday

Monday, September 5, 2016

What if Rest is a State of Mind?

Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil 
and a striving after wind.
Ecclesiastes 4:6


If you're like me, life in this fast paced world seems to lend itself to two hands full of toil and a striving after wind...

If we are to enjoy a handful of quietness these days, we must be intentional and purposeful in setting aside time to quiet ourselves and rest...  And even then, life distracts us from stillness with household duties, work schedules, school schedules, sporting event schedules and on and on.  Things that are proper and good like being attentive to our spouses, or caring for children or aged parents also can draw us away from a time of intentional rest...

We can find ourselves not even resting on vacation with so many things to do and see.  If you are like my husband, vacations are meant for exploring EVERYTHING that an area has to offer.  We go, Go, GO!  I always joke with him that "I need a vacation after our vacation!"  lol.

So this year, I felt the Lord was calling both my husband and I to a quiet place, a place where we could truly unwind and rest - Lancaster, Pennsylvania...  Amish Country.  You can read about how the Lord brought it all together here.

I've always been drawn to farmland.  Maybe it's in my blood...  My ancestors were all farmers in Northwest New Jersey dating back to the 1600s.  But I've always been especially drawn to Amish Country where lane after lane provide vistas of beautiful pastureland, corn fields, and Amish homes and barns that inspire a sense of rest...





It may seem strange to say that farms and pastures evoke feelings of rest.  There is work to do from sun-up until sun-down.  And not just work, but hard, physical labor.  Yet when you observe the Amish working their land, the women out in the yards tending their flower and vegetable gardens, children playing and giggling on welcoming front porches and horse drawn Amish buggies clip clopping by, you sense the peace and contentment of a lifestyle that refuses to strive, but invests in a rest and quietness that epitomizes               1 Thessalonians 4:11

and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, 
and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

What if Rest is a State of Mind?...

I thought much about this as I admired our hostess,  dear Mary King, a lovely, kind and humble Mennonite who showed the love of Christ the moment my husband and I met her.  Mary welcomed us into the vacation home like a family member would a relative.  Our conversation was so easy in those first moments.  We had truly met a kindred spirit in the Lord.

Each day of our stay Mary would be busy working in her home or out in her yard, tending her plants, and watering her beautiful flowers.  She picked this beautiful rose for my husband and I.


Little children, let us not love in word or talk
but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18

She would take time out from her daily tasks to sit a spell with us on our patio, spending intentional time to get to know us.  I enjoyed our conversations so very much.

After visiting together, Mary would go back to tending her home.  But I perceived a difference in what tending a home meant to Mary compared to what it had meant to me...

Seeing Mary and her Amish neighbors busy in their yards, I could sense a similar work ethic to that of the Amish farmers.  It was as if each of their homes was a representation of a "mini-farm", if you will, where the evident care of their yards outside represented an esteem for God's creation, and the sense of order and cleanliness found inside created a hospitable and welcoming space.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
Colossians 3:23

Mary never seemed rushed.  Her countenance showed an inner peace and contentment.

I confess, that I grumble my way through chores whether inside or outside.  Even worse, as I have gotten older, although my house may look neat, it is not by any stretch clean.  In fact, I ONLY clean when people are coming over and THAT is few and far between.  lol.

I want to be clear though, especially to the young mom who can barely brush her teeth each day or the one who works full-time and has a family to care for or any scenario that makes cleaning not always a top priority, I am not saying that cleanliness is next to Godliness, but what I am saying is that a right attitude by which we approach our daily tasks could actually create a sense of rest within us.  I know for me, when I have cleaned my house or worked in the yard, I feel at rest because when things are in order, I feel less anxiety and stress.

How do we make rest a state of mind?...

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


I learned much about rest through Mary and the Mennonite community witnessing lives truly set apart unto the Lord.  Their lifestyle creates a walk of obedience and avoids temptation - a mindset of quietness and rest.

I love how the Mennonite women all use a similar sewing pattern and colors for the dresses that they wear and that all of their hair is neatly pulled back in a bun with a head covering.  It would seem that dressing in this manner lessons the temptation to be vain, jealous or proud - a mindset of quietness and rest.

Mennonites do not have TV's in their homes.  It goes without saying how much temptation is avoided by not having a TV...  I know for me and my husband spending time in Mary's vacation home without a TV, using our evenings to read or play a game together, made me realize how good it felt to rest in quietness, and sadly how much I strive when I'm at home...

The Mennonite people work quietly in their homes.  Those who work outside the home are beautiful representative's of Christ's love and peace.  Their strong sense of community serving neighbors, friends and even strangers creates a habit of selflessness which avoids the sin of self - a mindset of quietness and rest.

And most especially, Mennonites are a very evangelical, non-judgmental, peace loving, Christ honoring people, which very characteristics foster a state of rest.


Mary invited us to attend their Beachy Amish Mennonite Church for Sunday services.  I confess I was a little nervous to attend because I would stand out by how I was dressed.

As soon as we walked through the doors of the church, Mary warmly greeted us.  As I looked into the church, it took my breath away as I looked upon  a beautiful sea of white sheer head coverings and pretty colored dresses all sitting in the pews on the left side of the church and a sea of crisp white shirts and black trousers in the pews on the right side.

We were led up the aisle while the entire congregation was singing in acapella It is Well with My Soul.  I thought to myself, "this is what Heaven will be like..."

I absolutely LOVED the church service!  The Pastor preached on love and what it means to truly be at peace with everyone.  As I reflect on the sermon even now, although the Pastor didn't mention rest, I realize that much of what he taught promoted a mindset of being at rest and not in conflict.

During the service that morning, the church also commissioned several people who were going to the mission field to share the love of Christ.

The entire experience at the church was nothing but loving!  I may have dressed differently, but my earlier fears were unfounded.  I was treated as a fellow believer with such a genuine love and kindness.  I will NEVER forget that service or the kind, humble people.


This was the most relaxing, restful, peaceful vacation my husband and I have ever had.

I feel such gratitude toward Mary and her husband for their gracious hospitality.   They blessed my husband and I beyond measure!

Not only did the Lord bless my husband and I abundantly during our vacation, I believe He called me to Mary's vacation home to teach me that rest is a state of mind.  The Lord saw my recent strivings in this season of feeling pulled in many different directions, and in His gracious and merciful love toward me, brought me to a quiet place many miles from my home where I found rest for my soul...





You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up

Thursday, September 1, 2016

What Birds Can Teach Us




Ever since I was a very small child, I loved watching birds. I would wake up with them! I remember sitting at the front window very early in the morning watching the robins as they hopped around the blades of grass glistening with dew. The robins would tilt their heads to listen for worms and suddenly snatch one up! But this little girl’s fascination didn’t stop there…

Please join me over at Blessed Transgressions where I am honored to once again be featured in this new online Christian Magazine, and where I share about lessons learned from my lifelong love of watching birds.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up