Rest

I know you might be wondering why I would choose this image with this title. Well, for one thing this picture invites all of me into a space of rest. It brings my heart to calm, it slows my thoughts, it quiets my spirit, it soothes my mind and I feel it inviting my weary body to sit and embrace all of the beauty that comes with rest. If we would be honest the recent pandemic called all of us into a place of rest, most of us were unwilling to do it but the invitation was certainly there. We were called into a place to slow down and see those who we love in a deeper way. We may never admit it, but before pandemic a lot of us lived on auto pilot. I myself would do things but not remember doing them because it was what I was use to doing. I didn’t even have to be mentally present to do it because it was embedded in my mind because of repetition. I didn’t even know how desperately I needed REST, till I got injured at work and had to be out. Sometimes we are forced into things that our necessary to save us from self destruction.

I will never forget how long it took me to give myself permission to actually rest after the accident. I was home and laying in bed but I wasn’t truly resting. My mind was constantly going with the why and how questions. I was sleeping at night but my body wasn’t resting. Did you know that mental well being works together with your physical well being. When I finally let myself REST mentally, I noticed my physical body begin to rest too. Rest is not an indication of laziness. Slowing down in your life is not an indication of laziness. It actually is self care at its best.

So the quote below pretty much sums up my thought about rest. It takes mental and physical rest together in order for our bodies to reap the benefits it brings. You feel better and you think with more clarity when your entire being embraces REST. Rest has a way of soothing tired muscles and relieving stress. Rest has a way of bringing new fresh perspective about situations that have been troubling our heart. Rest is like deep restoration to our souls. There is one other kind of rest I want to talk with you about. This rest is a rest that we can enjoy in Jesus. Did you know that he loves to give us rest. Those times when everything seems to be falling apart and you don’t know what to do, how to feel, where to turn or even how to take the next steps, you can rest in knowing that Jesus has you. Please stay with me here in this next paragraph as I share with you a more excellent way to rest.

Rest in Jesus is more like trusting in him. To trust in anything it has to be tried and proven to be worthy of our trust. When we trust Jesus we find that we can confidently rest in him. We have an assurance that he is going to work it out for us. Now be reminded working it out for us does not mean he will always give us what we want but be assured that he will always give us what we need. When we find rest in Jesus, we can rest from striving knowing that if Jesus is in it, everything is going to be alright. I notice that when I finally rest in Jesus there is this peace that floods me. Now the situation may not change but I change in the situation. Peace overwhelms me and I remember that Jesus delights in me resting in his strong arms of mercy. There is safety in the rest that Jesus offers to us.

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

I want to invite you today to rest from all the things today. You know the things that have been weighing your heart down. Those things that you have absolutely no control over. Rest in knowing that Jesus created you and he knows the very numbers of hairs that are on your head. He knows you from the inside out and he loves you unconditionally. You are always on his mind, just because he loves you that much. Rest knowing that you are seen, known and loved.

Father thank you for the one reading this. I thank you that they will find rest in knowing that you are always at work. Let them rest in your everlasting love for them. Father help them to stop striving but find sweet rest in all that you are. We praise and thank you for being God. Amen

Hold your head up

So this beauty of mine(my daughter) sent me this photo of her. I was immediately captivated by the message I felt building in my heart surrounding it. I thought of this scripture and wanted to share it with you.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of glory shall come in.
Psalm 24:7 KJV

I know life itself can burden our hearts. It can make us forget about the beauty we find when we find the strength and courage to hold our heads up. There was a time that life felt so overwhelming for me that my head was down. Not in the literal sense but spiritually. I was so bound by my circumstances that I was missing beauty all around me. I will never forget the moment that I noticed the beauty of the sky and I immediately realize in that same moment that spiritually my head had been down. This scripture was such a blessing to me. It tells us to lift up our heads….hold your head up beautiful and see that though life is hard in this moment, there is still hidden beauty for us to see. The ugliness of my situation was robbing me of the beauty that was still there. My strength was beautiful, my perseverance was beautiful, my courage was beautiful and more than anything Jesus was still taking ashes and making something beautiful.

to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3 KJV

Did you know that looking up can give you a different perspective and new hope? Looking up refocuses your attention on how far you have come rather than on how far you have to go. Lately the sky has been absolutely beautiful. I’ve found myself drawn into all the beautiful colors and designs found when I look up to the beauty of the sky. I would not see the sky holding my head down nor would I see it if I was not looking for it’s beauty. So, once you hold your head, then look for the beauty, it’s there I promise. Life is beautiful. Is it hard? Yes, it’s hard but it’s also amazing. Every single breath you take is beautiful. So, I want to leave you with this thought,”Holding my head up invites me to see the beauty still around me”. The situation might be ugly, but your courage is beautiful. The circumstances might be difficult but your strength is beautiful. The desire to quit in it is real but the beauty of your perseverance is amazing. The struggle to keep your head up is painful and exhausting, but the beauty of the peace and rest that Jesus gives us life giving.

Please know that I’m writing these same words on my heart as I’m writing them in this space. I’m so grateful for your presence here. I’m honored that you would read my words. I don’t take it lightly. Be encouraged💚

Father I thank you for the person reading this right now. Please fill them with your peace. Let them know that they are not alone. Be with them. Help them to lift up their heads and see the beauty still surrounding them. Please don’t let the ugliness of their situation keep them bound to what they see. Help them to experience your beauty in all of it. In Jesus Name. Amen

Do the thing that fills your soul

What is that thing you love to do that fills your soul? You know the thing that feels like your soul is smiling inside you. Whatever that thing is, set aside time to do it. You know how you make a plan to do other things, put that thing on your calendar and don’t compromise it. As long as it’s about you and creates a space that your soul feels nourished and full go for it. It does not have to be the same thing every single time. It can be different and I honestly feel like it should. There are times our souls need something more to nourish it. I love to study my Bible, listen to podcast, read books(Karen Kingsbury fan), write poetry, sit at the lake, guided meditations and so many other things. Lately I’ve found myself taking quiet rides in the car, no music or nothing, just me, my Jesus and my thoughts. I also love to listen to worship music. These things are just a portion of the things that fill this soul of mine. I realize that when my soul is in a good place, my heart feels lighter and happier which helps me to be better and do better.

I guess your probably wondering why I’m I writing a whole blog about this topic. Well when we do the things that fill our soul, I firmly believe it helps us get or stay in a mentally healthy place. Our soul is deeply connected to our mental health. When we can think clearer and our emotions are not overwhelming us, we can do the things God created us for. I hope you know, your mental health does not negate the call of God on your life. You will read that often in this space. I think we all need to be reminded that a mental health struggle does not make us BAD or UNUSABLE. It might take some exploring to discover what really fills your soul. I’m not talking about what makes you happy necessary but that thing that makes you smile inside first. That thing that restores the weary places in your soul. Now this might surprise you but, I’m going to write it anyway😁👀. That thing might not have anything to do with something spiritual. Hear me with this, I’m not saying it cannot be spiritual but it does not have to. I think it can be connected to self care. A day of self care is a way to fill your soul. I can share lots of ideas but you have to explore things for yourself to know. You will know when your running on empty and hopefully you will step away and do that thing or things that will fill your soul to overflowing.

Catching beautiful sunrises is something that has a way of filling my soul. It’s nothing like watching the sun rise and take it’s rightful place. I like to chase beautiful skies and take pictures of God showing out in his masterful work. I love to think he is doing it just for me, because I’m his favorite 😜. I scroll through those pictures and just smile thinking how faithful God has been in my life. When Satan wanted to take me out by my own hand, God intervened and said NO. So, yes I find things that work for me to keep me mentally healthy. One of those things is doing the thing that fills my soul.

I want to challenge you in my closing of this post. What is it that you can begin to do that would fill up your soul? Now, I want to warn you that this might require you to actually think of yourself, which might be hard for you to do. I give you permission to do it anyway. Trust me, you will thank me later. Honestly when I show up here and write, it fills my soul in ways I can’t explain. I give you permission to go on a exploration of what fills your soul. I would love to hear what you discover or what you already have in place and might just need to add to it.

I’m so grateful and honored for your presence here. I do not take it lightly that you would read my words. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart💚.

Father I thank you for every person who would stop here and read these words. I thank you that they will dig deep inside and find that thing that fills their soul. That thing that helps them to smile from the inside out. May your presence surround them and may they feel your love all around them. Bless their coming and going. I thank you for the sweetest of encounters with you. I thank you for love notes written on their hearts from you. You are faithful and good. We praise you for it, in Jesus name. Amen

Hiding the Lows

Sometimes even in a space full of other humans, we can find a way to hide our deepest pain or feel so unseen in our broken pieces. It’s like we treat the lows as some deep dark secret that even those closest to us can’t see. So we plaster on those fake smiles so that our deep sadness is tucked safely behind them. We do our best to fade into the crowd and not be seen. What would others think if our thoughts were heard out loud. If they could feel what we’re feeling, how would they get through it? Why do we find comfort in hiding the lows? We believe that were protecting those we love from our pain. It is okay to not hide the lows, it’s okay to invite those we trust into those moments. You nor I have to walk through those moments alone. I know it seems best to hide when we’re struggling with a low but, if you feel strong enough to reach out to your safe people, please do it…..please.

One thing I struggle with is feeling ashamed of being in a low place when I’m having a hard time. How do you tell someone your sad but you don’t completely understand why? How do you bare the dark night that is happening within your soul? Those are questions I asked myself a lot. Sometimes I found myself choosing to try and walk through it alone. My walking through it alone looked a lot like crying downstairs, or in the shower so no one saw me. I did a lot of avoiding eye contact with people I love dearly. I found myself slowly withdrawing from hanging out with others. I thought I was hiding it but the truth is they knew I was struggling but didn’t know how to help. I believe my hiding it from them made them more uncomfortable reaching out to me.

I wanted to believe I wasn’t alone but the lies of the enemy felt so real. Those lies felt like my truth. You know how it feels when your spiraling down and you feel as if you can’t grasp on to anything of truth. This might be hard to hear and believe but Jesus is right there. We can never hide the low moments from him. He sees them, he feels them and rather you care to believe it or not; he truly understands them. He knows the thoughts you are having, those thoughts that you are ashamed to even voice. The thoughts of ending it all, stoping the pain but leaving those who love you in more pain than you could ever imagine in that moment. Moments no matter how long they feel are only temporary. Those moments are not permanent…..they do change.

I want to encourage you as I encourage myself that there is no shame in reaching out for help in the low moments. There is no shame in admitting that you need prayer or someone to be accountable to in those moments. I actually benefit from checking in with my safe people that never judge the struggle but they just walk with me through those moments praying for me all along the way. We’re going to get through the lows because Jesus is with us. Jesus loves us so much. I believe that his heart is turned towards us in a deeper way in those moments. Don’t be afraid to let him in to those moments. I’m grateful for your presence here. I don’t take it lightly that you would read my words. My hope and prayer is that you will find strength and courage to keep going. I hope you feel less alone.

Father I pray for the one reading these words. I pray that they will feel your presence and know that they are not alone. I pray that they will feel you with them and know that they are surrounded by your overwhelming love. Give them strength for the journey and fill them with your overwhelming peace. In Jesus name. Amen

God Can Hear You

      I cannot began to tell you the many times I have thought I was at my lowest and cried out to God, but I honestly thought he could not hear me. I thought that from the place I was at, there is no way God hears my cries and lets me stay there. My thoughts were, if he could hear me then why won’t he change me, why doesn’t he heal the sadness or stop the intrusive thoughts that keep sending me in this downward spiral. I remember countless times crying out to him but all I could say was ,”Help me”, there were no words to express what my heart felt inside, I could not find words to articulate how desperate I felt in that moment for God to step into my circumstances and fix me. I wanted him to fix the racing thoughts, fix the sadness, fix the isolation, fix the sleepless night….I wanted God to fix me. Something had to be broke inside my heart, inside my mind, inside my life that nothing seemed to be able to fix. I wanted the creator to fix what he made because there had to be a defect. There had to be something he miscalculated when he created me. The truth is in those moments where these words tumbled out of my mouth…..Jesus heard me. I will go even further to say not only did he hear me, he saw me and he felt me. Jesus had not abandoned me in my moment of desperation he was right there. I must admit that every single moment I found myself crying out to Jesus, he truly did help me. I see now looking back how he helped me walk through those dark moments. I see now how he held my mind safe in his hands. I see now how he helped me fight the thoughts of suicide with his power and strength. Jesus is right there, he has got you. 

     

      Anxiety and depression can be scary. I know the feelings of sadness and it seem like people want you to explain why you feel that way. I notice that people need an explanation for the sadness. You can’t just be struggling, there has got to be a deeper reason. You just can’t be crying through the night, just because your depressed. You have everything and your still sad, what in the world could be wrong. You are a believer, you hold a title in your church, for God sake you are always serving at church, how can you be dealing with this? When others can’t understand depression and anxiety, it’s difficult for them to support you in a healthy way. It might take you using your voice to explain as much as you can about your struggle. You will need to shape their views as to how they can support you . Oftentimes people say very hurtful things simply because they just don’t understand. We through sharing our struggles can help others understand. Despite all of that, I want you to know that God hears you and me when we cry out to him. We don’t have to pretend or say certain words to get his attention. God desires to hear from us. He wants to hear what we have to say, he hears our cries even when we have no words left and we only have tears, he hears that unspoken language of our hearts. You know those moments when the pain is so real, so raw , so palpable but you don’t have the language to express it, it just hurts. God hears you. Our pain is important to him. Our struggle is important to him. Your not just screaming into empty space and not being heard….that seemingly empty space is filled with the sweet presence of Jesus. I have to remind myself that I’m not alone because he is with me.

      As I find courage to share different parts of my story, I hope it gives you courage to trust that your story is valuable and important as well. The more we can share our stories, the more we can educate others about mental health struggles and how they can support our community. I share my story along with my faith. It has been my faith in Jesus along with medication at times, therapy, my love ones support, support from friends that has been so much help to me finding a healthier place. Do I still struggle?…..YES , but I keep fighting, I keep believing and trusting that because Jesus hears me, he is helping me and if he is helping me…. together we win.

Lord Jesus help me to trust that when I cry out to you that you always hear me. Lord help me to rest in your love for me. I trust that you are always with me no matter what. Thank you Lord for your love.

Amen