Finding Rest...

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; 
My hope comes from Him."
Psalm 62:5

One of the things I wanted to do in this new year, was to join the Scripture memory team from Beth Moore's blog and commit to a year of intentionally memorizing scripture, with accountability. Two years ago, they did this and memorized 2 verses a month, on the 1st and 15th of each month.  I regretted not doing it that first year and when she said they would do it again this year, I jumped at the chance.  And by the way, you can do it too!  Anyone can join and you can read all about it here if you're interested.  I'll probably share most of my verses with you, but maybe not.  I've found that often I need God's word to speak to me in such a personal way, about very personal struggles and I don't always need to share that with the world.  But more often, I love to share what the Lord is teaching me, because I think my struggles are very common and hopefully there is mutual benefit in being honest and open before both you and the Lord.  So in light of that, here goes...

I'm not sure how January 1st strikes you, but in the face of a new year, I already feel so "behind."  The perfectionist in me loves to start a new year with a fresh dose of reflection, a new calendar, new sharpie pens, and goals.  I know I don't need to elaborate on that, because by now, you could have predicted that about me :) But as I sit here, on the 3rd day of January, without my new calendar, pens that are drying up and not much time to reflect on anything but who ate last and who needs a new diaper, I find that familiar feeling of failure already creeping up.  And I hate that.  Because I'm a clean slate kind of girl, who loves a blank piece of paper more than a lined one.  But if I'm honest, this year I don't even have the paper yet, and that is such a perfect reflection of this particular season in my life.  

It's wonderful, chaotic, incredibly intense and I'm always feeling behind.

I don't say that lightly, as if to complain about the hand I've been dealt.  It's a great hand and one that I am very thankful for.  But organized and well played, it's not.  And so, while I want to put more expectation on myself and implement a plan to "get it together" I'm sensing that the Lord may just have me in this season to teach me a lesson I need to learn.  If I began this year, organized and on top of things, I know that my tendency is to then believe that I have it together, and that I can do this because I am a good mom/wife/daughter, etc.  But with so much room for I in my life, there is not much room for Him.  So while I want to be in control, there is beauty in my state of chaos.  Beauty because my soul is weary of myself and there is room for my Savior to come in a take over.  This year, my hands are tied and my heart is longing to surrender.  

So as I have been contemplating which verse I would start this new year with, I realized while standing in front of my kitchen sink today, that it's been staring me in the face for months.  This summer, I added some scripture to our walls when I went through my "crafty" phase, weeks before Carter was born.  I wrote out several verses from Psalm 62 and this morning, I locked in on verse 5.  It spoke to me and gave me a perfect answer for how I want to start my new year.  

"Find REST, O my SOUL, in God ALONE..."

In this season of my life, rest does not come easy.  The very legitimate demands of 2 little ones eat up 90% of my day and as I'm discovering, while physical rest is necessary, it still isn't cutting it when it comes to my soul's needs.  On the days that are the hardest for me, my body may be still, but my heart is often downcast, my mind is cluttered and overwhelmed and my soul is weary.  As this verse reminded me, I feel all of those things because I'm desperately seeking rest everywhere but in God ALONE.  I'm looking to my husband, to my family, to my friends or even to my kids to give me the "break" I need.  And yet, while they might attempt to help me, they just can't give me what I'm really seeking.  Only God can.  When I seek my fulfillment in Him first and alone, everyone else in my life is freed up to be the blessing that they are.  Oh how I want to get rid of the expectations I've created for the people I love the most and look to Jesus first and foremost for my needs.  He is our peace and He gives rest to those who are weary and heavy-laden.  His yoke is easy and His burdens are light and I'm delighting in that truth today as I look around and see the clutter that can often drag me down.  The endless loads of laundry, the mess that never goes away, the grind of another meal prep and the cries from hungry tummies, dirty bottoms or lonely hearts.  I'm pulled in a thousand directions and yet, my soul CAN find REST from God alone, because...

"My hope comes from Him."  

As only He can, He gives strength to the weary and He invites us to cast our cares on Him.  So as this new year begins, I'm dwelling on the truth of His word.  I want to know Him more this year and love Him while I do.  I want to preach the Gospel to myself, everyday, reminding my soul who my Redeemer is and how He has rescued me from sin and death through the cross.  My hope cannot be anchored on anything else but my Savior or it will fail me time and time again.  He is worthy of my devotion and capable of giving me everything I need for life and godliness.  

I hope this is a new year of JOY for you and one that doesn't have defeat and failure fighting for victory over you.  But if you're like me and your January didn't start on the perfect note, with the perfect set of circumstances, then drink deeply from God's word with me today and...

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
My hope comes from Him."
Psalm 62:5


Anonymous said...

Oh, dear, sweet Steph...

Change the "season of life" to the ages of my children and place that we are as a family... and this could have been me writing.

Thank you for this...

Love you, dear sister,

Joyce said...

As a mom to almost grown up daughters I would just encourage you to be kind to yourself. I have the perfectionist gene too : ) One thing I want to do this year is read the bible chronologically...I've never done it before. I just managed to get started today (Jan 3rd) so was already behind. This sort of thing has been known to make me crazy. I was stressing about how best to catch up and finally I just dug in and read as much as I could...I'm not quite caught up but I'm okay with it : )

I'm also participating in the SSMT... I did it last time and was tremendously blessed. My girls are doing it with me this time which makes my heart happy.
I am memorizing the first chapter in James this year for my verses.

I don't often comment here but read when I can. Enjoy this season of life you are in. It is too short and too sweet : ) Happy 2011!

MiMi said...

I've decided to jump back into blogging again AND the SSMT...I'm excited to be going through it with you and so many other awesome ladies! I love the verse the Lord gave you and I may have to make that one of mine for 2011, as well! Thanks for sharing!

Toni :O) said...

Loved this post...thank you Steph. I too need to just savor all this beauty and sweetness called life. Happy New Year to your sweet family and thanks for sharing your life with us...your blog is certainly one of my favorites!

The Martins said...

okay...too funny! I'm doing the scripture memory too on Beth Moore's blog, and as I scrolled down I saw "Stephanie, Minnesota", so I clicked on it and it was you! Glad to know you are doing it as well, so we can encourage each other!