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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:
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  1. I must say, I have been anxiously awaiting this post!! I couldn't wait to hear of your experiences there, after I read about your plans to go. It sounds so wonderful. Oh, dear friend! Surely God is leading us towards peace and rest! This world is so full of busyness and things that rob us of our inward rest, but I love the verse in Hebrews that says, "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God", and it goes on to talk about how that rest comes from ceasing from our own works or something along that line. That deep rest of the soul is what we crave, and truly, it will spill out into all other areas of life. I am so thankful you had a wonderful time and got to meet Mary and enjoy this precious serenity and church service. Thank you for sharing about it was so interesting. Love and appreciate you so much!

    1. Cheryl, Awe you are so sweet! I hope it didn't disappoint! ;-)

      I appreciate you so much and the wonderful insights that you always add in the comments. They edify me so much!

      You are a treasure Cheryl!


  2. Those are all such beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing this post. I am so busy and complain a lot. I think this post was meant for me. I will try to realize that rest is a state of mind, the next time I start to complain about my chores.

    1. Thank you Brenda! You are very welcome!

      Praising God that you found conviction and encouragement through this post. I need that very same reminder.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.


  3. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures and words. I grew up close to the Amish of Northern Indiana, so this stirred up so many memories! They are truly a kind and caring people, who seem to understand that rest is so important. I am still learning that myself, and agree with you that rest IS a state of mind! --Blessings to you!

    1. Bettie, Awe, thank you so much for sharing your experience.

      Praising God that you were blessed by good memories.

      May we all adopt rest as a state of mind. :-)


  4. I am so glad you found a place to rest. I agree - vacations seem not just go! go! go! but it is still cooking, straightening, doing. I do need a vacation after the vacation - and I am rethinking how we do that, especially as a family. There is a beautiful slow-down in our menonite communities here - and, oh, how I long to pause in it! I do believe it is 1) a state of mind, and 2) being intentional in claiming those pauses, those slow downs, those sit long and talk much moments!

    1. Me too! :-)

      Thank you so much for sharing in the conversation. I enjoyed your thoughts so much!


  5. That sounds like such a relaxing and fun vacation. :) Blessings! - Tasha (visiting from Cozy Reading Spot)

    1. Tasha, It really was!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. :-)

  6. I think you've nailed it. So much of rest really is a state of mind. How many times have we been unable to rest even while reclining because our minds would not shut off and we did not surrender all our cares to the Lord?
    Thank you for so aptly writing on this subject.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on rest. Your insights added so much to the post. I appreciate it so much.

      You are welcome, and thank you for your kind words. :-)

  7. Karen! What a beautiful post about a beautiful experience. It makes me long even more than usual for rest and peace. But as you point out here, that is a state of mind and a choice I can and must make, not a reality that's just going to come over me in the midst of maybe the busiest season of life I've ever been in. Will try to keep all this wise counsel in mind as I parent two teenage girls, including one high-school senior. But if my family finds that I've disappeared someday, they just might find me at Mary's house. ;)Lovely to "see" you again, sweet Karen! Stopping by from Tuesday Talk!

    1. Hi Elizabeth!!! It's so good to hear from you!

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

      I can so relate. It really is a habit we have to develop, a habit of rest.

      Haha!! I love that. "They must might find me at Mary's house."

      I always enjoy your sense of humor! Thanks for taking the time to comment and for the chuckle. You are always a delight!

  8. What a wonderful vacation - forcing ourselves to really soak in the creation of the Lord is so essential. I love how you shared it with us! Thanks for sharing with the Cozy Reading Spot!

    1. Marissa, It really was!

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and kind words.


  9. The Lord has been moving in my heart on this subject of late too. Thanks for sharing this post at Booknificent Thursday on! Always a pleasure to have you.

    1. Tina, You are welcome! Thank you so much for sharing your own heart on rest.

      And it's always a pleasure to visit. :-)

  10. What a joy to read of such a relaxing vacation! I am thankful you were able to go and enjoy some true rest and relaxation without all the busy-ness that electronics seem to bring into our world. We don't have tv in our homes, and internet is used sparingly, and we are not on much social media, in fact blogging is my only social outlet. I think every day just how blessed I am to not have to live the "rat race" that so many live who are so attached to their electronic devices do. What a lovely thing Mary was able to show you, and how lovely that you were able to enjoy such a refreshing service with them!

    May the Lord continue to bless you in your journey with Him :)

    1. Thank you for your kind words about our vacation.

      Indeed, you are blessed! We went to a cabin in Maine two summers in a row where there was very little internet connectivity. We didn't watch TV. I had no idea what was going in the world or in social media and it was wonderful!

      Yes, Mary was such a blessing to us.

      Thank you dear friend. May the Lord bless you too!


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