Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I hope that your week is going well so far. It was such a wonderful day at the beach last Friday – talk about perfect weather! We discussed many things including Fall schedules and being busy. We talked about what the world’s expectations are of us (you can have it all; your kids can have it all so go, go Gadget!) and how that affects us and our families. I have a copy of The Message by Eugene Peterson which states Ephesians 2:2 as saying, “You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live.” I love how he’s phrased that! In so many ways, we look to the world for instructions on how to live, yet we are told to live by God’s instructions.
What are God’s expectations of us? He commands us to be still and know that He is God.
In the English dictionary:
Still is defined as remaining in place or at rest; motionless. When was the last time you allowed yourself to be motionless (and sleeping doesn’t count)?
Still is also defined as free from sound or noise, as a place or persons; silent. Frankly, that may be hard to imagine as mothers of young children.
It is also defined as free from turbulence or commotion; peaceful, tranquil, calm. Doesn’t that sound heavenly?
Psalm 46:10 says to "Be still," which literally means relax. It means to "let your arms down to your side"—to be vulnerable to God.1 So why would God tell us to be still? In the Hebrew, it is meant that we are to be “weak” so our faith may be exercised in reliance on Him. “We let go to objectively know the saving power of God in our lives. We give up trusting in ourselves and our own designs in order to experience the glory of God’s all-sufficiency.”2 Have you experienced the glory of God’s all-sufficiency lately?
“I have a deep conviction that what my life needs more of, is stillness. However, it is not a conviction based on needing to be better at it. It is a conviction based on my need and how God met me, answering my prayer for more of Him. So, I am asking God to help me find moments of stillness; to prepare for the next season of my life by factoring in my need for stillness; to resist the temptation to avoid and/or dismiss opportunities for stillness. Because it is in the stillness that I know my Savior’s deep love for me. It is in the stillness that I sense what He is calling me to. It is in the stillness that I truly rest in His sovereignty; it is in the stillness that I learn His voice. It is in the stillness that I sense His presence with me, and sensing His presence changes everything.
No wonder stillness is hard to come by. If these are the results of being still with God, the Enemy of our Lord and our souls no doubt has a vested interest in keeping us busy and preoccupied.”3
Weather permitting, we will be meeting at DeMeritt Hill Farm this Friday, and you’re all welcome to go apple-picking with us afterwards if you so desire. If it rains, we’ll be meeting indoors so check your email Friday morning just to make sure. Looking forward to finding peace with you at the farm (children permitting, of course!) God bless!
1Taken from http://www.preachingtodaysermons.com/stowjostrusg.html
2 Taken from http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Meditations/Be_Still/be_still.html
3Taken from http://www.rdf.org/a-place-for-you/womens_ministries/ms_word_docs/devotional_2004_01_26.doc
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I’m hoping that this week will be nice for our outing on Friday as we’re hoping to make it to the beach! This may be one of the last times we can visit the beach so we’ll be heading over to Newcastle again. We’ll be on the beach around 10-10:30am and stick around until, at least, Noon. So bring the kids and join in on our discussion about Fall Schedules. Now that the school year is well underway, most of your schedules have become busier, maybe more routine and probably a bit more chaotic. Before you delve into a schedule worthy of any female superhero, ask yourself if you were meant to become Wonder Woman or does God have something else in mind for you. Are there commitments that maybe shouldn’t be committed to? Are there times when you should be saying no to others and yes to God? Are your commitments affecting your husband, your children or yourself? In Overcoming Overload by Steve & Mary Farrar, the authors write:
“Simplicity is a mindset that leads to some very hard choices. It is the cutting away, or trimming off, of the good in order to have the best. It is an elimination of the cholesterol that slowly but surely clogs the arteries of the soul. Simplicity is painful because it is the greatest step of trust yet. And few are those who venture to go this deep or this far. The tragedy is that if you walk away from biblical simplicity, you have really missed the very thing that overcomes overload. You’ve lost the very thing that changes the course of your life from that of being momentarily at rest to that of being continually at rest.
…We are good implementers. Simplicity, on the other hand, is a walking away. It is a conscious choice not to act, not to do. Sanctuary says yes to God. Sustenance recognizes the need for soul nourishment. Supplication understands the power of beseeching the throne of heaven. But simplicity says no.
No to overspending or overcommitting. No to opportunities that tear apart families and marriages. No to the pace. No to the world’s expectations.
And we do not like to say no. We enjoy our addictions to the pace. We love the rush of the pursuit of success. We perish at the thought of a missed opportunity or a lesser sense of accomplishment in the eyes of the world. But when we choose simplicity, we are making the hard choices that change the very core of the way we live life. Simplicity reforms our lives. Simplicity resists 24/7 at every turn and puts us on a different path, a path of clear focus and biblical living.”
What kind of path are you on this season? Is it a path you look forward to with hopeful anticipation? A path with just enough joy, peace and solitude to refresh you along the way? Or is it a path that fills you with a sense of dread every time you check your weekly schedule? Are you merely in “survival mode” or are you truly living? We’ll talk about some of these questions on Friday. Also please forward me your ideas and suggestions for topics of discussion. Thank you – hope to see you on Friday!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Last Friday at Newcastle Commons was such a perfectly beautiful day for our first Kajiji Girls of the season! Our small group enjoyed the food, sun and view of the sea while our children ran around the grassy lawn, climbed the rocks, dug in the sand, and watched the cool practice rescue maneuvers performed off-shore by the Coast Guard. It’s always so refreshing to take a breather from our busy lives and spend it with each other in fellowship.
Speaking of busy lives…last season’s Kajiji emails were centered around the vital importance of friendship. I feel led this year to address the gift of simplicity in our lives - as in leading a slower, more meditative spiritual life as opposed to the frenetic pace we set for ourselves and our families. In Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster states that “[Simplicity] is a call given to every Christian. The witness to simplicity is profoundly rooted in the biblical tradition, and most perfectly exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ…In simplicity, we enter the deep silences of the heart for which we were created.” I would love it if any of you have thoughts/contributions to this ongoing discussion via email. If you have a great book on the subject to recommend or even some helpful tips to help us all simplify our lives, it would be appreciated.
Most of us live to a staccato beat, pulled and jerked from one role to another.
I have come to believe that one of the crying needs in me and in our culture
is the need for silence and solitude.
- Gloria Gaither