Rest

What does the word rest really mean? Well, I sat down at my computer and “googled” the word rest. Here is what I came up with:

1. Cessation of work, exertion or activity
2. Peace, ease or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of an activity.
3. Sleep or quiet relaxation
4. The repose of death: eternal life
5. Relief or freedom from disquiet or disturbance
6. Mental or emotional tranquility
7. Termination or absence of motion

Wow, the word rest has a lot of different meanings. Out of these seven meanings, which one(s) are what you think of when you think of rest? Why do you think that is so? I would say for me, the meaning that most comes to mind is sleep or quiet relaxation.

I am now in week three of an online bible study, Stressed-less Living. With each new day I am trying to carve out some time of quiet relaxation. A time where I can just sit still and listen to the Lord. I have started to create a “spiritual garden”. This garden is fairly large in size and is located in front of my patio. Currently I have several rocks, with inspirational words on them, scattered throughout the garden. A couple of hostas are planted there and are already starting to bloom. I just love this time of year! I really want this to be my “go to” garden. You know, a place where I can rest in the arms of my Lord. To do that I felt there should be more than just flowers. I am looking into purchasing either a garden fountain or chimes in the garden. I am also going to create a labyrinth out of mosaic tiles and place them on a “stepping stone”. The labyrinth will then be placed in my garden. I will be able to trace it with either my finger or a stick. Do you have a “go to” place? A place where you can connect with the Lord without “outside” distractions? If not, I encourage you to think about what that space may look like for you. If you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear your plans.

As my “spiritual garden” develops, I will post some pictures of it. I would love to see your pictures as well. I pray that you have a wonderful weekend. Take time to smell the roses and to hear the voice of God.

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God Saves

“Lord, help!” I cried in my trouble, and he saved me from my distress. Psalm 107:19 (NLT)

This is the scripture verse I focused on this week. I chose the NLT (New Living Translation) version because it spoke more to me. It just made more sense to me as I was reflecting on it. “Lord, help!” How many times have we all cried this out to God? Maybe it was a few days or weeks ago or maybe it was a few seconds ago. No matter what time of the day it is or where we are, God is always there listening.

I know in my life, I have cried out to God more times than I can count (I think this is a pretty good thing, right?). God has never let me down. He has always been right by my side. He may not respond or reply back to me as quickly as I would like, but as I am quickly reminded God is in control, not me. God has saved me through so much turmoil just in my immediate family through the years. He has helped me to forgive and to rebuild relationships. I am so grateful and thankful for this. Through these trials I have grown even closer to God. I however yearn to have an even closer relationship with Him.

Through this online bible study (Stressed-less Living) as well as other bible studies I am involved in, they have helped me to be more intentional in reading and studying His Word. I feel so close to God when I am doing this. I am learning so much through the stories of the Bible, even though I grew up hearing them since a very young age. The Bible stories seem to come to life more now. I am always learning something new and that excites me. I look forward to each time I open the Bible. I feel so blessed!

Are you carrying stress and just want to cry “Lord, help!”? What stressful things are you hanging onto that are out of your control? Give your stress to God and let him control it. I know this is easier said than done. But if you are able to do so, you will feel the weight leave your shoulders. A sense of peace will wash over you. If you are visual person, like myself, take a few moments to close your eyes and picture this. Amazing, isn’t it?

Please share your comments below.

Out of My Control

How many of you feel like you are in control of your life? That you have it all worked out. Well, no matter what we think, God is the one in control. I don’t know if I truly embraced this fact until recently. You see, ever since I was around 6 years of age, I just knew I was meant to go into the medical field. My Grandfather had passed away due to cancer. I remember it just like it was yesterday when I told my Mom that I was going to find a cure for cancer. I continued with this life plan into my college years. I took classes to major in Biology to get into a pre-med program. I was well on my way, but God had a little something else in mind. My family doctor had known me from my middle school-aged years to my early college years. She knew I had aspired to become a medical doctor. During one visit she spoke to me about becoming a “Physician Assistant”. I had never heard of this profession before. Well, as soon as I went home I had to research this role. I found that becoming a Physician Assistant would give me the flexibility I wanted. Several years later I graduated from Hahnemann University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physician Assistant studies. I have worked in various specialties as a Physician Assistant (PA) for a little over 10 years now. I have enjoyed all of my many roles as a PA. I could not imagine a more rewarding profession. So, now you know a little bit about my background but my journey doesn’t end here.

During the latter 5 years of working as a PA, God was nudging me little by little. What a patient God we have! I, of course, kind of dismissed these gentle nudges. I was however feeling a connection to Women Ministry. I had attended several women’s retreats and groups. I loved the topics that were covered but mostly I enjoyed the fellowship. I then knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to have a group for women of all generations to get together and support one another. I had read various Bible studies by Lysa Terkeurst and Beth Moore and would say to myself “Now, this would be a great study for a women’s ministry.” These two women continued to influence my thoughts of a women’s ministry. Another year or so went by and the “gentle nudges” become more like “tugging”.

To shorten the story a little bit, there was a need for someone to lead “Small Group Ministry” at my church. Because the tugging was becoming stronger and stronger and harder to ignore and my work situation had changed somewhat, I was able to become the Director of Small Group Ministries at my church. Now you might think that maybe this is where God has called me to be, working in ministry as well as working as a PA. Well, I’m afraid not because the tugging continued. The tugging became more like a “magnetic field” pulling me further into the field of ministry.

Right now I am trying to process all of this. I know that God is in control, but it is human for me to want at least some of the control, isn’t it? I am still trying to digest all of this. I mean, I went to school for 8 years and became a Physician Assistant. I am still paying off my student loans! Am I supposed to stop practicing as a Physician Assistant and follow this new path God has set before me? My financial situation will change then, as well as my lifestyle. Do I want this? Can I do this? What will my husband think? Due to all of these questions I have and more, I currently meet with a Spiritual Director as well as a Life Coach to hopefully help me figure all of this out and to accept God’s will for me. I have “fought” these nudges, tugging’s and now magnetic field, thinking I can change God’s calling for my life. Obviously I was wrong. We may be able to prolong the process for a little while but in the end it is God’s way not ours. God is in control.

Please continue to join me on my journey. I believe my faith is strong, but it could be stronger. I have tried several times to place everything in God’s hands and give him all of the control. I really do mean well when I do this. There is a sense of calmness that I feel when I do so but then something comes up and before I know it, I have taken the control back. Do you find that you are playing this “tug of war” game with God as well? How are you making out? What would you like to turn over to God today and give him control?

I look forward to journeying with you. Please share what you are holding on to. What are you trying to control in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Many Blessings,
Danielle

All Things Are Possible With God

Currently I am participating in an online Bible study using the book “Stressed-Less Living” by Tracie Miles. This is being offered through Proverbs 31 Ministries. This book applies to all of us. I mean, who isn’t stressed these days with the economy the way it is and people becoming unemployed. We are also just stressed in our day-to-day lives. Come and join me and together we can work on becoming less stressed. Go to http://www.melissataylor.org. On her website she tells you how easy it is to join. You will also see that we just started this study. If you are like me, you will enjoy that she gives you an outline of what to expect for the upcoming week. I hope you will join me!

I would like to share something with you. One of our first assignments with this study was to look at the scripture verses at the back of chapter 1. Tracie calls these “Stress Busting Scriptures”. We then were to look up the verses in our Bible and highlight them. Now I am going to share something a little personal with all of you now. You see, I grew up learning that you do not crinkle, crease, draw, highlight or make any marks in your Bible. Can any of you relate? As I grew up and became involved in small groups I realized that what I was told all those years was not necessarily true. There is one particular woman who has strongly influenced me. I will share that story in a latter blog. Since then, I have wanted to “mark up” my Bible but I just could not bring myself to do so……until now. I was just so excited when Melissa had, as one of our assignments, asked us to highlight these verses. She even said to use “sticky notes” in our Bibles and even write on the Bible pages if need be! Wow!! Let me just tell you. I whipped out my highlighter and I went to town on those verses. After that I had a smile from ear to ear. I felt so much joy. I would like to share these scripture verses with you.

“I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” (Psalm 55:22)

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.” (2 Samuel 22:7)

“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Let’s lift our worries, fears and stress up to the Lord. With God all things are possible.

Tell me what scripture verse(s) above speak(s) to you. Why do you think that is? What things are you stressed about? What would you like to lift up to God?

I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Many Blessings,

Danielle