Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Life After Loss~ April 16, 2013

LifeLossFeet“What do you mean there’s no heartbeat?”  I stared blankly at the radiologist who I happened to know personally as she batted back tears in an attempt to remain professional.  “I am so sorry, Valerie.”  That was all she could muster.  She quietly wheeled me back to my room in the emergency area of our local hospital.

Let me back up just a bit.  I was 10 & ½ weeks pregnant with my third child and something just felt “off”.  My husband and mother along with all of our friends assured me I was being paranoid.  In my heart, I knew they were wrong but so hoped that they were right.  So my husband drove me to the ER where my sweet pastor’s wife met us to take my then 2 year old daughter home with her.  The day drug on for what felt like an eternity.  It started with blood work to confirm my pregnancy.  All looked normal so I patiently waited for my ultrasound to see my little peanut safe and sound.  As afternoon approached, I called Holly and asked her if she would mind to get my older three children from school.  “No problem.  We’ll see you soon.”  All was still right with the world.

Shortly after 3 pm on April 16th, 2010, I was dealt the shocking blow.  The emergency room doctor explained to me that I was having a miscarriage.  He went into detail about what I could expect to happen in the coming days.  I was numb.  I couldn’t talk, couldn’t cry.  There was no way this could be happening to me.  I had been through two successful pregnancies that resulted in two beautifully healthy babies, so why would this one be any different?

It wasn’t until we had left the hospital and were headed to our pastor’s family home that the reality of what just happened began to sink in.  Jamie had called ahead to let them know the horrible outcome of our day spent in waiting.  By the time we made the 5 minute drive, I was on the verge of a break-down.  It was then that I fell into the arms of my dear friend and we cried together.  She comforted me the best she could while her husband explained how God is the giver and sustainer of life.

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

(Colossians 1:17)

We gathered our kids and returned home to break the news.  They were still young so they couldn’t really grasp what daddy meant when he said, “Mommy isn’t going to have another baby right now.”

In the coming days I was surrounded by family and the church hospitality team kicked it into overdrive.  I felt blessed and cursed at the same time.  While everyone was pouring out comforting words about how sometimes things like this just happen, I was battling my mind that was screaming it was my fault.

  • I ran too much when I should have reduced my exercise.
  • I shouldn’t have used the flavor packets in my water, some ingredient in them is known to cause miscarriage.
  • And the worst thought, I’ve disappointed God and He is punishing me.

Every possible thing I could think of was what caused me to lose my baby.  I refused to think that it “just happened.”

A couple of months later, I found out I was pregnant again.  I was terrified.  It was too soon.  The twisted part about it was my due date was April 15th, 2011…just one day before the anniversary of the worst day of my life.  I barely breathed for the first trimester.

It was during those nine months that God comforted and reassured me that there is indeed life after loss.  The very fact that I became pregnant so soon after losing a child was proof of that.

On April 11th, 2011, I delivered a very healthy baby girl.  In those first few moments with her, I had the painful realization that had my previous pregnancy been a success, I would not have my precious Isabella in my arms.

We may never fully grasp the workings of our Lord.  He gives and takes away according to His perfect plan for us.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

(Job 1:21)

The best thing that we can do when faced with a devastating loss is cry out to our Father who keeps track of all our sorrows and stores up each tear we cry.  (Psalm 56:8)  While it may be difficult, praise your way through your circumstances knowing that God’s ways or higher than our own.

It has been three years since that aweful day but the memories are as fresh as if it were only yesterday.  It’s not easy to talk about something so devastating but in my pain, I found the most comfort from others who had gone through the same.  If you too have experienced this life altering loss, I pray that God would heal your broken heart as only He is able.

 

~Spiritual Health~ April 15, 2013

MBSLogoI am terrible at maintaining healthy eating habits, good exercise rituals and Lord knows my sleep pattern is all out of whack!  My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and I should take care to treat it that way, but I don’t always do so well with that self-discipline.  What I have noticed though, is when I am eating right, running regularly and doing my absolute best to get at least 6 hours of sleep, I am a much nicer version of me.  On the reverse side, if I stuff my face full of every piece of chocolate I can find hidden in my kids room, ignore my need for activity and choose a late night marathon of Duck Dynasty over a good nights rest, well, let’s just say the world need beware.

Along the same lines, my attitude towards others is directly connected to the amount of time I spend in the word, nurturing my spirit.  While my physical body has many needs that require my attention, my soul craves direction from God.  When I deprive my body from essential needs, I become worn physically and unable to perform certain tasks.  When I starve my soul of the nourishment it desires, I am emotionally unfit to handle even the slightest hiccup in my day.

Studying God’s Word requires the same discipline and endurance as maintaining physical health.  It will not always come easily.  There will be days when you will try and talk yourself out of it.  Sometimes you are going to want to choose a bad habit over what you know to be best for you.  That is why you must train yourself to make time reading the Scriptures part of your daily routine.

I have heard it said that it takes only three weeks to develop a habit.  This is normally used in reference to exercise & dieting but it can also hold true to establishing a devotional time.  For the next 21 days, I challenge you to set aside a dedicated time each day for you and God.  No two people are alike, so you may decide on 20 minutes first thing in the morning while another may prefer a time during their lunch hour.  Be sure to set a goal that is reachable for you so that you will stick to it.  The point is to make a commitment to yourself and to God to do something that is sure to make you a better person in the long run.

Just as it takes time to see results from a new diet & exercise regimen, it may take some time before you notice a change in your spiritual life.  But I am betting within the first week, you will be hooked.  Nothing you do during your day is more fulfilling or can sustain you like a conversation with your Creator.

I hope to hear from you all how you progress through the next 21 days.  Should you choose to accept this challenge, please let me know & allow me to encourage you along the way.  Be blessed and happy learning!

“Exercise daily in God – no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful,

but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever”

(1 Timothy 4:7b-8, MSG).

 

~Delight in the Lord~ April 12, 2013

My_Hearts_Desire

“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.”

(Psalm 37:4)

To delight in someone or something means to experience complete satisfaction.  When is the last time you truly delighted in something?

You can rejoice simply in who the Lord is and be satisfied even if the only thing He ever does for you is provide you your salvation.

However, I find quite often that new believers and even those who have a seasoned faith, find it difficult to find joy in the Lord unless He is meeting their every request.  Take note that in the above Scripture, the call to delight in the Lord comes first, then it says He will give you your heart’s desires.  I do not believe this verse to mean that God will give you whatever you want.  I think that if we take pleasure in being in His presence and focus on Him, that He will change our heart’s desires to line up with what He wants for us.  Then we will be satisfied that our wants have been met along with our needs because they will be what God desires for us and not our own selfish yearnings.

Today when you pray to God, instead of rattling off your list of “I wants,” try starting out with words of thanksgiving and praise to the God who has saved you from an eternity in the pits of hell.  Then ask Him what He wants from you, and not the other way around.  Try this.

  • Replace your prayer for more cash-flow with “God, what are you trying to teach me through this financial struggle?”
  • Rather than beg Him to send you a better job, cry out to Him “Lord, show me how to be thankful for the employment I have when so many are desperate for work.”
  • As opposed to fussing and complaining to Him about the wide array of difficult personalities He has plopped into your life in the form of your children, say “Thank you, Lord, for the gifts that my kids are to me.  Help me to embrace them for their individuality and show me how to love them for who they are and not who I want them to be.”
  • When you start to question God as to why He had you marry this person who is so obviously your polar opposite, say a quick, “Lord, thank you for this partner to walk through life’s joys and pains with; even when they drive me slap nuts, thank you for the blessing of marriage that is sacred to You.”

When you change your perspective to see what God wants for you as opposed to what you think you need, you will see every circumstance of your life in a new light.  You will be able to delight in the Lord at all times.

 

~Devoted to God~ April 11, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:41 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BabyBellaFrameToday is my baby girl’s 2nd birthday!  It seemed only fitting that my post today would be all about her.

She came into this world with difficulty.  I was mentally and physically exhausted after she made her arrival, so much so that we did not even name her until the next day!  I couldn’t wrap my mind around a single name that was appropriate for our newest, (and final), addition to our little family.

Throughout my pregnancy, I had been completely convinced that this baby would my line-backer so I had not considered any girlie names.  I had always been fond of the name Grace so that was a given, but I was coming up empty handed on first names.  Cue the hubs.  He and my mother both loved the name Isabella and having no better suggestion myself, she was given the moniker Isabella Grace.

Just recently, for Easter, I decided to look up the meaning of my children’s names to print & frame as part of their gifts.  I know this is something I should have done before I named them, but hey, lesson learned.

Very much to my surprise, we had unknowingly named our baby girl perfectly.

Isabella- Devoted to God

Grace- God’s Favor

I can’t think of a better namesake for our girl who already sings praises to Jesus and asks, “I go church?”  She is full of life & love and is the happiest child in the bunch!  She has brought me more joy just by being herself.  Her ability to make anyone laugh is not unlike that of her father.  The fact that she also is the spitting image of him has earned her the nickname, L.J. (Little Jamie), while her daddy calls her Belly Grace based on her extreme love of food.

I can not imagine my life without this girl.  I would like to think that I am molding and shaping her into the godly woman I pray she becomes but truthfully, I think she is making me the better person.  There is much to be learned from our children and my beautiful Isabella has taught me to slow down and enjoy each day for what it brings.  Whether that day be filled with non-stop requests for more of everything, fits of tears when I tell her no, shouts of joy as we run through the yard, or quiet cuddle times as we watch her favorite movie.  I am forever thankful that God has given me this precious gift in the form of a stocky, short-legged cutie-pie, who may be a girl but I haven’t completely ruled out the possibility of her future football career.

Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet girl.  Your smiling face is a reminder of God’s abundant love for me each morning.  Why else would He trust me with the most wondrous creation of all?

“Children are a gift from the Lord;

They are a reward from Him.”

(Psalm 127:3 NLT)

 

~An Exceptional, Ordinary Day~ April 10, 2013

“My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”

And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

(Psalm 27:8 NLT)

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day.  After making my drop-off rounds to three different schools, I returned home with just my Bella.  We made our way through the house trying to decide what chore to check off my to-do-list first.  Feelings of anxiety started to creep in.  How is it possible to have so much to do every. single. day.  That is when my little doll looked up and said, “I go outside?”

Who can say no to that?

We spent the better part of our morning just hanging out together.  She dined “al fresco” on her pop-tart while I sipped coffee from my favorite mug.  We walked around the yard exploring all the fun sights and sounds of spring.  I paid no attention to anything other than her.

That is when it dawned on me.  We had made it through an entire morning without a single fit….from either one of us!

Most days, I am so overwhelmed by all the things that must be done, that I take little to no time to just “hang” with my baby.  Having so many children, I know how quickly they go from cuddly itty-bittys to back-talking pre-teens.   So you would think I would know better than to let these times slip through my hands, but I’m guilty of letting life get in the way just like the rest of you.

It is important that we make time with each one of our children a priority.  The difference in my daughter’s behavior was an indicator as to just how important it is.  When I made a conscious decision to put everything else on hold and give her my undivided attention, she was a totally different child.  Why?

Because she wasn’t having to compete with anything else for my time.

In the same manner, we need to block out time for just God.  When no one or no thing can take our focus away from Him.  We must shut out all the noise of the demands that scream at us to “go here, do that, fix this.”  At first, you may feel like you are doing something for God but by the end of your time together, you will be the one made to feel special.  You will be the one reflecting on how precious these times with Him are and how careless you have been to allow days to go by without these moments carved out just for the two of you.  You will notice a change in your attitude and behavior just as I did with my girl.

seatalone

“It is necessary that one should have a silent corner in which to converse with God, as if nothing else existed…”
(Edith Stein)

 

~Prepare Your Heart, Not Your Storehouses~ April 9, 2013

Have Matthew6-20-21you ever watched the show Doomsday Preppers?  It is a documentary about people who commit all their time, money and energy preparing for the “what-ifs” in life.  Their stock-piles of food, water, and weapons, along with a whole host of other necessities, envy that of your local big-box store.  All of this so that when whatever disaster they fear most strikes, they will be able to sustain themselves and their families free from outside assistance.  They spend thousands of dollars on things such as armored cars and converting hot-tubs into water filtration systems, (you can’t make this stuff up).  A whole business has evolved from people’s paranoia; building pods that can be installed at safe distances below the earth’s surface to protect you from…well, anything I guess.  In their minds, it is only a matter of time before tragedy of apocalyptic proportions will strike and they feel that all of their “stuff” will save them from total demise.

Seriously people, is this not hilarious to you as well?!  I find it amusing that these people actually think that all their planning will do them any good in the event of nuclear warfare, a string of natural disasters or whatever else their brains can concoct.

They are focusing all of their efforts on the wrong things.  When they should be seeking God and His provision, they have turned into self-seeking hoarders.  They have become so obsessed with preparing for disaster that they haven’t prepared their hearts for the Lord.

I see a lot of comparison between the “preppers” and the man from the parable that Jesus told in Luke 12:

“A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops.  He said to himself, “What should I do?  I don’t have room for all my crops.’  Then he said, ‘I know!  I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones.  Then I’ll have enough room to store all my wheat and other goods.  And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come.  Now take it easy!  Eat, drink, and be merry!”

“But God said to him, ‘You fool!  You will die this very night.  Then who will get everything you worked for?’

“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

(vs. 16-21)

What good are wealth and supplies if you do not have God?  How sad will it be for those who think they have everything they need when Jesus Christ returns and all they can say is, “Hey Lord, I was so busy preparing for the worst that I forget to make way for the best!”  Or even worse than that, they confuse the end time events with just another disaster.  They’ll think of how right they were to prepare and be ever so proud of themselves for taking precautions for their families.  While they are busy patting themselves on the back, they will miss the trumpet blast and they, along with their misguided families, will be left behind as the saints ascend into heaven with the Lord.

Do not make the same mistake as these “preppers,” being so plagued by fear and worry that it becomes all consuming.  Instead of trusting in your own abilities to protect your family, put your faith and trust completely in God.  Rather than devoting your garage to your disaster supply area, open up your storehouse and give it those who need it right now.

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

(Matthew 6:20-21 NIV)

 

~Casting Stones~ April 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:58 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Casting-StonesShe was contemplating an affair.  Immediately my mind went to, “How can a woman of God be so foolish?!”

Someone dear to me was experiencing gut-wrenching heartbreak but all I could focus on was the fact that she oughta’ know better!  Instead of listening to her and trying to think of how to guide her through this struggle, I was thinking of all the Scriptures that speak against adultery.  There wasn’t a helpful thought in my head, just judgement, plain and simple.  Then the Lord recalled to my memory,

“let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

(John 8:7 NIV)

Whoa.  How many times have you and I been quick to pass judgment on another for a mistake they have made?  How many times in self-righteous indignation have we scoffed, “I would never do such a thing!”  We’ve never contemplated this particular sin so we can’t wrap our feeble minds around how a fellow Christian can allow themselves to fall into this trap.

No one sin is greater than another and not one of us is without sin, not one.

Think about a time in your life when you slipped.  Had it not been for godly counsel, would you have found your way back onto the right path?  If someone hadn’t loved you enough to come alongside you and help you walk through your valley, where would you be now?  The Bible tells us this,

“If one of you should wander from the truth & someone should bring him back, remember this: whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death & cover over a multitude of sins.”

(James 5:19-20)

If you see someone you love beginning to roam aimlessly, offer words of wisdom and truth; not words of condemnation.  I’m sure you have heard the expression, you catch more bees with honey.  The same can be said for our Christian friends.  They will be more receptive to what you have to say if you cover your words with grace & humility.  And if you are like me and question whether or not it’s your place to say anything at all, think about verse 20-you will save him from death.  The truth, spoken in love, can save someone you care about from making a mistake that can lead to their spiritual death.  That’s heavy.  It is a huge responsibility to offer counsel to others, one that should not be taken lightly.  If you make yourself a student of God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit guide you, you will become more confident in your responses when someone comes to you for guidance.  When you do respond, let the words of Proverbs 15 ring in your heart:

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

(vs. 1)

 

~Laugh it Up~ April 5, 2013

mother-and-childrenWell, I survived the week, but the last few days have been doozys in this house!  For starters, my youngest who is not quite 2 has perfected the art of escaping her crib.  Nap time is usually “me-time” for mommy but the other day it was spent running up and down the stairs with my cutie-pie in tow, attempting to make her stay put.  Who needs a tread-climber & a trainer when you have 12 steps and a disagreeable toddler?!  Naturally, my 5 year old followed suit and found great pleasure in watching me grow more and more aggravated.  After two grueling hours of this song and dance, I gave in.

For those of you whose children are perfect nappers or are just as pleasant without one, do not talk to me.  My girls are like something from a horror film when they don’t get their mid-day siesta.  I spent the rest of my day listening to constant bickering, whining and fit-throwing.  I had two very disgruntled shadows on my heels as I tried to prepare dinner, tidy the house and finish the laundry that was starting to resemble Mount Everest.

Finally dinner was served.  By the time I finished fixing the last kid plate, the oldest were licking their bowls right about the moment my butt hit the seat.  My daughter started out towards the kitchen with my favorite hand-painted bowl in her hand.  In slow motion fashion, my beautiful bowl went flying out of her hands and shattered against the hardwood floors sending shards of glass from one end of the room to the other.  My boy’s heads snapped in my direction.  I could read their eyes, they were thinking, “Momma is going to kill her!”  I just stared blankly at my girl who resembled a deer caught in the headlights.  No one uttered a word.  As I deliberately slowed my breathing, two phrases played on repeat inside my head, “It was an accident.  Don’t yell at her.  It was an accident. DON’T YELL AT HER!”  This momma needed a word:

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.”

(Proverbs 29:11 NLT)

Very calmly, I pushed aside my plate and sent all the kids away.  Then I could clean up the mess in private so they wouldn’t see the steam spraying from my ears.  Crisis avoided.  Later that night we joked that from this point forward, Autumn would only be allowed to use plastic.

Fast forward to the following morning, as if a part of some deep conspiracy, all five of my children were in a mood…or maybe it was just me, who knows.  Isabella woke up with a list of demands, screaming at the fridge, “I want apple juice!”  Too bad kiddo, I already poured milk.

We went tearing out the front door, late of course.  I managed to get the older 3 to school without too much drama.  I was unbuckling my girls and my bonus baby, (I babysit), when Isabella’s face started to scrunch up.  “Bella, you ok?”  Too late.  Like a seen from The Exorcist, she threw-up her entire cup of milk.  On me, all over her and across the entire back section of my Suburban.  Nice.  I could almost hear her saying, “I told you so” as thoughts of her request for juice instead of milk ran through my head.

Straight to the tub, clothes and all, while I call a friend in for back-up to run big sister to preschool.  Nearly two hours later, we’re both fresh & clean, the car is airing out, the washing machine is working in overdrive.  All is right with the world once more.

The moral of this story, ain’t no use crying over broken china, spilt milk or in my case…spewed milk.  Shooting off into orbit when life’s MANY annoyances come your way will only make this journey more painful for you and everyone around you.  Try to stay focused on the positive and when that doesn’t work, I have found that a nice long scream into the nearest pillow works wonders.

 

~God’s Masterpiece~ April 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:58 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I am girl.

I have bad hair days, fat days, bite your head off for no good reason days, weepy days, utterly exhausted days…..

But that is not who I am.

Who I am is a child of the most high God.  “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  (Psalm 139:14)  I am not a mistake.  There is no one on earth who is just like me.  I do not have to fit inside some mold that this world sets as a standard for beauty. I am beautiful the way my Creator made me.  I was born with a purpose to do great things to glorify my Father.  It is in His very presence that I am made whole.

There are days when I do not “feel” great about myself.  There have been days, (and probably more to come), when others criticism made me “feel” like less than who God says I am.  However, we are not called to live a life led by feelings.  Feelings are fickle, changing almost constantly.  They are not meant to define us, but to serve as indicators of our emotions.

While I may feel defeated or unworthy at times, the truth is that I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ who loves me.  On the days when I feel like my work is in vain and thoughts of inadequacy creep in, I am reminded that everything I do is for His glory, not for my own validation.

So ladies, today, with your frizzy hair, without a stitch of makeup, in your elastic waist band pants, complete with that cranky attitude just dying to get out…go and show the world who you really are:  God’s very own masterpiece, a priceless work of art.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling: there is no flaw in you.”

(Song of Solomon 4:7 NIV)

Now fella’s, don’t go thinking I forgot about you!

My husband and I recently had a discussion about why men crave attention and praise from their spouses or significant other…we are the only ones who give it to them!!

Ladies are very privileged in that we are made to encourage and support one another.  We have no problems telling our friends how beautiful, intelligent, and talented they are.  However, guys are not exactly prone to showing another guy some love.  How often does one man call or write his fellow man just to tell him how truly awesome he is?  Well, allow me:

You were made in God’s image, you are His glory.  He has given you power and authority over all creation.  He goes before you, guaranteeing you victory over your enemies.  He has made you the head of your family to lead by His example. So you should,

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor”

because just as

“iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

(Romans 12:10 & Proverbs 27:17)

Guys, compliment a friend today.  I promise no one is going to revoke your man card!  And ladies, do not be afraid to toss the men in your life some encouragement.  Think of how great it feels when they say kind words to you and simply return the favor.

 

~It is OK to Say No~ April 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:59 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

no-newThis goes out to all my fellow over-doers out there…you know who you are!  The word “no” is not in your vocabulary except when applied to yourself.  You say “yes” to every task someone asks of you.

  • You sit on three different boards and offer to chair all special committees.
  • You are the room parent for each of your children.
  • You head up every fundraiser at work, school and church.

This list could seriously go on forever so I will spare you.

However, when your mind, body or soul screams for rest, you give it a resounding no.  I would venture to say, that like myself, your people-pleasing tendencies make you feel riddled with guilt whenever you take time for yourself.

The Lord has dealt with me quite often on this matter and more times than not, His voice sounds eerily similar to my husband’s.

Allow me to share with you some Biblical truths as to why you should occasionally so “no” to everyone else and give yourself a “yes”!

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones.”

(Psalm 127:2 NLT)

I am not saying you should walk in to your place of employment today and quit on the spot!  We are responsible for providing for our families.  What I am saying, is that you have to set boundaries.  It was never God’s intention for us to spend every waking hour slaving away for “the man.”  If you are overworked, (and no doubt underpaid), allow yourself time off.  Do not be consumed with worry over where your next meal will come from.  If God provides for all the animals of the earth, do you not think He will do the same for us whom He loves more than every living creature?

“Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.””

(Mark 6:31 NIV)

When you are constantly surrounded by other people who “need” something from you, it can be utterly exhausting.  This is especially true for those of us with young children and the many who are caring for aging parents.  You can get so wrapped up in taking care of them, that you deprive yourself of even the most basic needs.  It is good to have a compassionate heart that desires to help your fellow brothers and sisters and provide care for your family, but you must be careful that it is not to the detriment of your own well-being.  Mark out some quiet “you-time” on your calendar and make it a priority.  When the time comes, don’t allow yourself to make lame excuses as to why you cannot keep the appointment.  You wouldn’t dare cancel on anyone else and you are just as important.

“There is a special rest still waiting for the people of God.  For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.  So let us do our best to enter that rest.  But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.”

(Hebrews 4:9-11 NLT)

Even God himself took a day off!  What more reason do you and I need?!  Follow in His supreme example and observe the Sabbath.  It is a guarantee that if you continue to work at a break-neck pace, you will fall.  Whereas if you give your mind, body and soul the rest that it craves, you will perform at a higher level on the days you must labor.  Just as physical rest is necessary for your bodies to function properly, spiritual and emotional rest is a must in order to refresh your souls so that you will not become run down in your service to God and others.

One final Scripture to meditate on when you find yourselves saying “no” to your own needs a little too often:

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”

(Isaiah 30:15 NIV)

Resting in God is more than just sleep; it is a peace that comes from knowing that He has offered to carry our burdens in exchange for His.  It’s the hope of our salvation that renews our strength.  It is in the promise of His return that we can endure the trials of this life and Still. Find. Rest.