Learning to Rest

Learning to Rest

The majority of my childhood was spent striving.

I tried really hard to be the best at everything. If I made good grades, there was a chance I would get approval. If I led this or was the best at that, there was a chance I would be recognized. If I worked hard to be perfect, that would be the ticket to love. If I was “good” then that would help keep my family together. The more I worked, the less I was seen. But it didn’t stop me from trying.

I thought that was how it worked with God too. If I read my Bible every day, memorized Scripture, stayed pure, went to church every time the doors were open, and told others about Jesus, then I would have all of His love and He wouldn’t be disappointed with me. I could tell you that “my righteousness was like filthy rags,” but I didn’t really believe it. Trust me, I knew I was missing the mark, but the part about God’s love being so big for me, I just didn’t get it.

Fast forward a lot of years.

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When God is Silent

Beads of water were dripping down my back from wet hair.

My legs were tingling and numb from sitting on them for so long. Her going to sleep, which normally was very routine had turned into bursts of crying. Not the I'm okay, but don't want to go to sleep, crying. But I'm scared. I need you, crying.

They started once again, her cries, and that little brown hand reached out of the crib rails to grab mine for the third time. She just needed to make sure I was there. "It's okay, baby. Mommy's here."

I've walked with the Lord for the majority of my life. I first met Him when I was five. I'm so thankful for the vivid memory of meeting Him. I pray often that my children's memory of meeting Him will forever be etched in their minds, like mine. I skipped into Sunday School, because five year olds skip everywhere, told a teacher that I wanted to meet Jesus (after many conversations with my mama), and I went into an old closet that she had turned into an office. And I met Him there.

It was Spring, and with the newness of the season, there in that closet, new life was born in my five year old heart. I clearly understood that I was in need of the grace that only God gives to forgive my sins. I realized that my five year old heart, was an enemy of God. And that through Jesus' death on the cross, I now had a way to the Father. It was that day, that I was brought from death to life. That day, in the closet, my journey began with Him.

I've gone through many seasons in my

dancing with Him.

Some, where my heart was so tender to His speaking, and I heard Him everywhere. There were the times when He carried me because life was just too hard to walk on my own. There were days of not having the words to pray to Him, because my heart ached so badly. But there were also times, I couldn't stop singing to Him because of His faithfulness and goodness. And then, there were times of silence.

Here, in the silence, is where I find myself now.

These times, might be the hardest. We all have them, the seasons of silence. The Israelites, at one point, went 400 years and didn't hear Him. They had seen Him perform miracle after miracle. He spoke through prophets. They saw Him in pillars of fire and clouds. His Words were written in stone. And then all of the sudden...nothing.

In these times, I pray and whine and beg Him to respond.

And all the while, He is.

In His silence, He speaks, "It's okay, baby. I'm right here."

Just knowing that He is near settles my heart. His nearness calms my anxiety. His hand holding mine, reminds me that I am not alone. He has not forgotten me. I am His. And He is mine.

You might be in a hard place today, sweet friend. You might be crying out to what feels like silence. You might feel like He has forgotten you. You might feel scared, broken, and alone. But just reach out your hand. He is here.

He wraps His arms around you in the hug of a friend. He speaks truth and grace into your heart through His Word. He smiles at you through each sunrise. His hand lovingly holds your face when you feel like there is no hope. He catches every tear you cry. He might be quiet, but He's near.

And He's waiting.

Just reach out your hand.

He's right here.

"Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hand; your walls are continually before me." Isaiah 49:15-16 ESV