Restorative Practices for Moments of Rest

As a Londoner, you learn to ignore the weather or let it bully you into a corner memorizing the cracks of your walls and ceilings. The absence of light can be a disappointment or an opportunity for restorative practices to do some good work, it’s really a choice isn’t it?

Before we left American soil I was warned about long, dark, dreary days of cold, wet, and drizzle. And maybe it’s just me, but I heard those thoughtful warnings more as challenge to be conquered than facts to be accepted. Come, let’s go on a misty walk together and picture ourselves as characters in an English novel.

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The Light is always present and like a good game of hide and seek with the Creator, I am determined to find, capture and bask in the brightness.

Light will overcome the darkness and our circumstances are not a deterrent unless we succumb.

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During a period of my teenage years, I was alone and without parental presence, living with a friend’s family who graciously took me in. Lying on a bed in a new room, I flipped through stacks of magazines, cutting out photographs for a history project. I knew I was going to make an A because the pictures were stunning, unlike anything I’d ever seen before.

Those photos gave me hope, not just because I had to finish an assignment but because the beauty spoke of possibility beyond circumstance. I longed to experience what I was seeing.

In absence we identify what we long for deep in the soul. And in order for change to happen, we must long for something first.

What do you long for right now? How could God be using the absence of something longed for as a way to challenge your faith?

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Last Wednesday, I took the risk of pushing work aside to be present with women from church, touring Isabella Plantation with my camera. On paths surrounded by a patchwork of vibrant azalea and rhododendron during the height of their showing off. It was only afterward that I realized the rain held off until we were all safely back inside our cars. The sun was hiding but we rested for a few hours in awe of God’s creation.

In the absence of rest, we identify where we need God. And in Sabbath our longings are fulfilled in Him.

Sit down, take in your surroundings and find the beauty among the mess. I challenge you.

Sabbath moments cultivate a sunny heart whatever the climate of life circumstance.

Take a meander, then tell me about it in the comments.

Want to make rest a rhythm of life, not just something you fill in between the cracks of your busyness? Join the Sabbath Society. Follow Sabbath-keepers in community with the hashtag #SabbathSociety and #RhythmsOfRest on Twitter and Instagram and our Pinterest board, Surrendering to Sabbath.

 

3 Reasons Why It’s Time to Rest from Hospitality

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Join me on Instagram @shellymiller120 for more photos.

A few years ago, shortly after I moved to South Carolina, I welcomed my extended family over for dinner during one of their annual summer visits to our resort community. As I was giving my Dad a tour of our beautiful new house, traipsing through the huge master bathroom and delighting in our spacious kitchen, I pointed out how worn the carpet was in most every room. I lamented about not having enough financial room in our contract to replace bad carpeting with wood floors like we planned.

Instead of being thankful for an extravagance of riches, I was defining our transition by the stained carpet. I didn’t realize I was highlighting the negatives until my Dad brought it up later in an email.

After reading his words, I pushed my chair back from my desk, hung my head down and repented. He was right, I was ungrateful.

It made me think about the times I’ve volunteered to serve with expectancy only to be squelched by negative remarks from leaders about the people they serve.  Offered to help a host in the kitchen and ended up being an ear for wishes about newer countertops, a more helpful husband, and an updated oven.

Motives are often revealed in our off handed criticisms but sometimes those judgements aren’t as much about character as they are about a chronic state of unrest. When we are worn out, a rhythm of grace is elusive. We tend to find fault easier when we are tired.

Join me at Grace Table where I’m sharing three reasons why you might want to rest from hospitality.

For Mothers: A Prayer and Response

As Mother’s Day approaches, we can sometimes feel unworthy of celebrating motherhood if we feel as though our efforts, or the dreams we envision for our children, haven’t measured up somehow. Today, I offer you this prayer and response inspired by Psalm 86. May it be a sweet surrender of the ways you are hard on yourself. A long embrace from God because he made you the caretaker of another human.

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Lord Jesus, as I unfurl thoughts about you slowly, interrupted, repeated, and finally contemplated with intention; grant your divine favor on this small moment of reflection.  May this pause be looked upon with the brightness of your face shining upon me. Allow my racing, frantic, hurried heart to leave what is undone for what is most important now.

Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.  For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

For the times I have refused help, not because I didn’t need it but because I associated receiving help as weakness, forgive me.

Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.

For the times I’ve confused discipline with control and acceptance with popularity, forgive me for suffocating the good work you began in the young hearts I mother. Thank you for redeeming my misguided motives.

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

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Forgive me for wanting to be right more than I’ve wanted to follow you. Thank you for waiting patiently and never giving up on me.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.

Forgive me for the times I’ve judged my children as a knee jerk reaction before choosing to love and believe the best in them. Thank you for redeeming my mistakes into something beautiful.

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Awaken me from complacency in parenting. Give me the courage to begin again, not as a consolation for the ways I have failed, but as a means of removing the idol of comfort I’ve made as the goal of daily living.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.

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When I wax nostalgic with a tendency to keep records of the ways I fall short, change my perspective into a collection of memories that document your nearness with us, always.

For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

Because I am tempted to fret about the uncertainty of their future, grow the smallness of my trust into a big, mighty Savior. Remind me that you love them more than I do.

Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant.

Help me to leave the work of what you have entrusted to me into your hands. And rejoice in the gift of motherhood this day. For great is your steadfast love towards me, you have delivered me from myself.

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Happy Mother’s Day!