Sometimes Faith Means Taking a Break

When you read this, you’re probably going to think, well, duh, what took her so long? The other day, I got stuck. It had to do with writing, but it could’ve been about anything.

Here’s my not-so-pretty pattern:

I try too hard. Drink too much coffee. Focus so intently on the problem, I shut out the rest of the world. Sometimes … even God.

A tiny thought came to me.

Why don’t you surrender this?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! That word again. Surrender was my theme for 2012.

For me, surrender means saying, “Help me, Lord.”

“Okay,” I whispered, opening my hands and lifting them. “I can’t fix this by myself.”

And then I got a crazy idea.

I decided to stop working, take a break, and make a cheesecake.

I shut down my computer and left my little loft office.

At the grocery store, I didn’t rush around like a madwoman. I smiled at small children and didn’t get annoyed because I got in the slow lane.

Back at home, the football game was on. I even asked the score. 🙂

(Use these cookies and your cheesecake will be gluten-free.)

Because I wasn’t obsessing, my mind was free to think gentle thoughts.

I didn’t lose count with my eggs. My meringue turn out just right.

I’m discovering (after 50 years!) it’s okay to have fun–even when your work’s not completely finished.

I’m finally beginning to understand …

It honors God when I let go  of my problem(s) and take a break.

The answer to my writing problem came a couple of days later, after I stopped trying so hard.

“Do the things that show you have really changed your hearts and lives.” Matthew 3:8 NCV

Have you ever struggled with pushing too hard like me?

What do you do to chill out?

Click here for the cheesecake recipe.

Love,

Julie

What our Front Porch Really Looks Like

Lately, if I’m not careful, I can lose my porch party peace in a hurry. Every morning, my husband and I start the day by having a porch party. We sit in rocking chairs, drink coffee, light a candle, talk a little bit, read Jesus Calling, and pray.

If you were to come over, at first, this is what you’d see.

Then you’d walk up our front porch steps and discover a huge mess. Everywhere you looked, things would be out of place.

The trouble started this spring when squirrels chewed holes in our porch ceiling.

Which meant plywood had to be replaced all the way around the house.

Which meant my husband had plenty of measuring and figuring to do.

Which means ceiling fans are now resting in our hammock.

Hoping to deter the squirrels, he used corrugated metal instead of wood.

The corners are the toughest, he says.

Even with our son helping, it’s a slow process.

After they get the new ceiling up, they have to stain a bunch of boards for molding.

You have to watch your step, or you could trip and fall.

Sometimes I get impatient.

The other day Mother and I were talking about struggles. Difficulties. Mess.

“For as long as I can remember,” she said, “we’ve had problems. Sometimes I think, as soon as this gets worked out, everything will finally be okay.”

“But that’s not how life goes, is it?”

Later, on the porch, I sensed God nudging my heart.

Somewhere, there’s truth buried in this chaos.

I spotted Kitty Thelma. Napping. Smack dab in the middle of the disarray.

And Jesus Calling.

 

Maybe that’s it.

Maybe there’s always a place of Peace and Rest in His Presence.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”. John 16:13 NLT

I know some of you are in a season of chaos. I’m praying.

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Tired, Worn Out, Burned Out?

I am.

Tiredness came slowly, sneaking up behind me like a shadow on my heels.

I tried to outrun it. Move faster. Work harder. Accomplish more. It’s the way I’d always approached life.

I have two autoimmune illnesses–Celiac Disease and Sjogren’s Syndrome, which plays a huge part in my fatigue, I’m sure.

Finally, at 51, I’m learning to rest. Slow down. Be still and quiet. Wait on His Strength.

Taking care of Julie is new for me.

And what I’m experiencing ties in beautifully with my word theme for the year…Surrender.

Last week, my sweet stepfather Gene read me this scripture. If you’re tired, worn out, burned out , I pray this scripture will bring a slow but steady healing.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message.

‘Til next time,

Love,

Julie

If a Sparrow (or a Hummingbird) Falls to the Ground…

As a writer, sometimes the harder I work, the more a story eludes me.

One August day last year, near 100 degrees, my writing wasn’t coming together. I’d worked on the same article for days.  At 4:30 that afternoon, I did something very un-Julie-ish. I took a break and went to the pool at the Y. I plopped in a lounge chair, but my brain kept working.

My cell rang. “You won’t believe what I’m doing,” my husband said “This poor hummingbird got stuck in the shop. She’d been flying around the ceiling, wearing herself out. Probably dehydrated. I stretched out my hand and she landed on it.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Nope. I asked one of the guys to make her some sugar water.”

Bless my husband’s sweet heart.

“She sat in my hand and drank from the lid of a bottled water. I took her outside and she flew away.”

If my husband, the mechanic, cares about a worn-out hummingbird…

I sensed God saying, Julie, you’re just like that hummingbird. Relax. Take a break. I’m here.

I swam in the pool for a while. Then I closed my eyes and rested in the sun. I didn’t work anymore that day. A couple of days later, the missing piece of my story came to me.

“But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” Matthew 10:29 (NLT)

Anybody tired and ready to give up? Rest is a gift, even a form of trust.

Love,

Julie