rest: outstretched arms of yes

rest: outstretched arms of yes

I was given an assignment during a class to describe

my perfect day of writing.

This was a fun exercise and intensified as each class member

shared what constituted a day of stellar creating.

The lesson learned in that wee bit of writing was that most days

aren’t picture  perfect.

Most days are not stretched full of 75 degrees, free from interruptions  and

brimming with inspiration.

The majority of our days are crammed full of people and what’s for dinner and

laundry and appointments and the unexpected in all its various shapes and sizes.

So what is a writer to do?


A writer writes regardless.

A writer writes in spite of the littered landscape.

Writers write because they must write.

A painter must apply color to canvas.

A worshiper must sing.

A parent must nurture and comfort and parent with intention and purpose.

A follower must follow regardless of the clamor of the world.

Last week, my soul cried out for rest.

Rest in the midst of appointments and what’s for dinner and blazing hot

weather and things to do and do again.

The only tools I could control were these (in bold):

  • an acceptable bedtime leading to
  • an early rising time feeding into
  • a devotional time beckoning my heart to
  • pray the Hours as much as possible giving rise to
  • seeing Him within the crammed corners of my day which somehow
  • created extra space for Him

When I think of rest,

I think of saying no.

No to all the extras.

A big stamp of no to activity.

I felt  the word no would insulate and energize me.

To cease  from the flurry of endless motion has anchored me, allowing me

to begin again.

We all need rest.

No is a complete sentence meant to fill me and not deplete

as yes does so frequently.

Yet I have also found that when my mandated reply of no is

trumped, my default emotion is to become cross with whomever

is nearest.

God knew this and gently showed me a different road.

I had no idea  my week would be strewn with yes and
newly define the respite I longed after.

Yes to reading the Word even when my eyes would not focus
the letters for nearly five minutes. I may have to say yes
to large print…heavy sigh.

Yes to praying the Hours, saturated with His Words
eliminating  my inadequate ones.

Yes to sleep and putting my night owl ways to bed.

Yes to going 30 minutes early to Caleb’s swimming lesson
on a 100+ degree day, just so he could swim freely without instruction.
Yes, I have  pictured the beautiful jewel in my crown from that day.
Yes sadly I am still self-focused.
Saying yes reveals a multitude of inner yuck.

Yes to listening to my body post-physical therapy session which left
me weak in the knees and oh so sore.
A planned yes turned into a no.

Yes to touring a brand spanking new hospital. I grew up following
my dad around a hospital and then they became my place of work.
Hospitals are like church to me.
Saying yes to a God who ordains these sanctuaries  for
people in hard places and for those who ladle care and comfort to others on
hard weakened days.

Yes to seeing a sea of people who know and love my husband as we toured
that gorgeous  hospital and reaffirming the gift he is to me. I would have missed
all the words had I said no.

Yes to visiting a loved one in another hospital and being reminded of the frailty
and gift of life.

Yes to chicken and waffles after a full day and a depleted fridge.

Yes to Sabbath at the beach no less.
First saying  yes to our daughters’ need to delay our departure to attend their
church one last summer Sunday before one returns to college.
Oh yes, I remember the one who had abandoned the pews for years.
The timetable of no to yes  on His watch, despite my counting every tick.

So yes, a Sabbath on the beach.
My mindset of ocean and sand and quiet and
getting away.

Yes to leaving the house in disarray, not my favorite thing,
knowing  Monday would arrive on schedule with its work in tow.
Ah yes, the tidying could wait.

Yes came at the beach with waves of
people  stopping us before we could make footprints in those
grains awaiting us.
Hugs and laughter and plans to reconnect.
More work people for Carl with the familiar refrain of admiration.
Our feet hit the surf and more friends emerged.
We sat, we got soaked, we read, we laughed, we dozed, we watched people
and laughed some more.
We admired how God thought up the pelican.
We huddled in a benediction before we turned our back on the
ocean beyond us.
We dusted our feet and donned our shoes and walked directly into
another party of friends.
We lingered and said yes to caffeine and easy conversation.
One last embrace as we closed four doors and  headed home.

Our hearts were satisfied beyond what we had envisioned.

Rest unexpectedly resides not in the tight fists of no but  in outstretched

arms willing to embrace yes.

A follower follows.

The steps may wind  through pastures of yes or no but

as long as a follower remembers Who to follow,

there will be rest.

Go ahead and make my day! Leave a comment!

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