Time to Restore, Replenish, and Refocus

Dear Readers,

When I begin to feel overwhelmed and have to put more pressure on myself to write a weekly blog post, I am learning I need to let go and withdraw into rest in body, mind, and soul. Also that I shouldn’t feel guilty about doing so. So I have decided to take a break from blogging this summer. I need to spend some time allowing God to restore, replenish, and refocus my heart and mind. I’m not sure how long, but for sure the month of June and possibly even July. I am going to try to relax, let go of my grip on my own agenda, and allow God to lead me into His plan.

Meanwhile, you all will remain in my heart and prayers. Even if you are silent readers, I care about you. You are always welcome to email me (email in the right-hand column) if you have a prayer request, need someone to care, or just want to chat.

Above all, God cares about you. He is always available 24/7. He loves you so very much and longs for you to let go and allow Him to love you.

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.”
2 Corinthians 13:14

“Lion”
by Rebecca St. James

“This is not a dream that I’m living
This is just a world of Your own
You took me from all that I knew
Shown me how it feels to hope
With You with me, facing tomorrow together
I can learn to fly
Feels like I’m living in a lion’s mouth, but the lion is (an angel)”

May the God of all hope
heal your heart,
free you to fly,
and fill you with His joy!

New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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GOD HEARS
by Newsong

“But there is hope, my friend
You will sing again

‘Cause God hears when there are no words to speak
God hears when your sorrow runs deep
And it feels like all your faith has disappeared
God hears, God hears…”

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ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 This month I have added an “A” Word:

❤︎ Abiding Love ❤︎
“We have come to know
[by personal observation and experience],
and have believed [with deep, consistent faith]
the love which God has for us. God is love,
and the one who abides in love abides in God,
and God abides continually in him.

1 John 4:16 AMP

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Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray

“A unique 40-day devotional detox that will guide you to a place of intimate rest. Be the beloved.”

If you have not yet read my review, you can find it here.

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Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

“We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up His permanent post as High Priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:18-20 The Message

💞  Unshakable Hope  – Read Bill’s amazing testimony of the grace of God and how God is using him to minister hope to others in the midst of the heavy trial of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Bill says, “This trial has taught us that the only way to experience genuine and consistent hope, peace and joy in the midst of a trial is to view our life and situation through God’s eyes.” I am linking to a particular blog post as it has a link to the interview he and his wife, Mary, had with Moody Radio.

💞  31 Days of Hope for Moms – “In 31 Days of Hope for Moms, we will be taking a look at some of the common challenges of mothering younger children (disorganization, frustration, depression, behavioral issues, the marriage relationship and more). We will be seeing what the Bible says about these situations as well as talking about many practical helps for pressing on with joy during this beautiful season of life!”

💞  How to Find Hope in the Midst of Suffering – “We often will not know what our hurt is accomplishing, but Christ’s death is our guarantee that God won’t waste a tear. Our tenacious belief in a relational God who is good is our only hope through and in our hurt. But this tenacity doesn’t come from us, for we are extremely weak. Tenacity is achieved by very real nails driven through very real wrists on a very real cross. And today Jesus prays for us without ceasing before his Father and we are filled with the Holy Spirit to suffer as well.”

Nature Retreat

“Nature is not a place to visit.
It is home.”

~ Gary Snyder

The top four are recent photos from my brother, John, in Arizona. The bottom three are photos taken when one of my sons, Glen, and his wife went to Cancun, Mexico.

American Coots

An American Kestrel with a Zebra-Tailed Lizard

Tarantula Hawk Wasp
You certainly don’t want to get stung by one of these! They have the worst insect sting in North America and the 2nd worst in the world. They also paralyze tarantulas and lay an egg on them for the larva to eat and grow.

Quatu

My son said these quatus ran around looking for food. They would line up at a garbage can and would take turns climbing in, one at a time, to find something to feast on.

A Sunrise in Cancun

🐾  10,000 Birds – “Welcome to 10,000 birds, just the place for people who love birds, pictures of birds, and people who write about birds, birding, conservation, and much more.”

🐾  Animal Expressions – I love this! Not all the photos are wild animals, but I’m certain they will bring some smiles into your day! “A look at the interesting faces of all kinds of creatures and different forms of communication among the species.”

🐾  8 Animals You Won’t Believe Actually Exist – Very interesting! This is a 6-minute video of rare animals many don’t know exist.

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Quotes

❤︎ “Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment. ~ Napolean Bonaparte

❤︎ “I place no hope in my strength, nor in my works: but all my confidence is in God my protector, who never abandons those who have put all their hope and thought in Him. ~ Francois Rabelais

❤︎ “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Whispers of Rest: A Book Review

“Then Jesus said, “Come to Me,
all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 NLT

I sat down at my desk to reply to comments from last week’s post. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t write. Anxiety and worry churned and thrashed within my spirit like stormy waves crashing against the shore. Knocking the wind out of my sails. Triggers of past abuse and pain for abused souls weighted me down and overwhelmed me.  I gotta get out of here!

I left my computer, grabbed my camera, and drove to one of my favorite walks along a bike trail.

Voices in my head added to the storm inside. So loud and persistent. Voices of inadequacy, worthlessness, and condemnation. God, I can’t take this anymore!

As I started out on the path, a butterfly circled me, flew further away, then returned to my side. I couldn’t get a clear picture, so I just stood and soaked in the refreshing sight of a beautiful swallowtail fluttering God’s peace into my heart.

Only a few feet away were Canadian Geese with their little ones.

Wow, God! Thank You! I just started walking, and He already showed me His love. Birds remind me of His faithful and loving care over us. And butterflies remind me of being freed to fly in Christ Jesus. Freed from the cocoon of abuse that so tightly held my wings together. Peace filled my heart, and the negative voices and heavy burdens of my heart slid away.

As I walked to a bridge over the river, I scanned the woods carefully, looking for deer. Nothing. As I returned, I felt disappointed. God, I really wanted to see a deer today… At the same time, I had to thank Him for already showing me so much and speaking peace to my heart.

Then suddenly, there they were. Three of them! Thank You, God! 

In Bonnie Gray’s new book – Whispers of Rest – she encourages us to take time for what brings us joy. Walking in nature is mine. I can’t begin to count how many times God’s creation has refreshed my soul. It always reminds me that God is still in control in all the messiness of life.

Whispers of Rest is a 40-Day spiritual journey that guides us to a place of rest where we can more deeply experience the Savior’s presence in our everyday life, invites us to come away to a quiet place and surrender our hearts to Him, and encourages us to embrace our identity in Christ Jesus and live as His beloved.

“God’s whispers of rest guide us to
a beautiful destination of hope,
an anchor for the soul in a stress-filled world.
Our destination for this journey isn’t something, but Someone.”
– Bonnie Gray

 Each day includes God’s Story, God’s Whispers to Us, a Prayer, questions to prompt us to reflect on and journal our stories, tips to practice, a challenge, and soul care tips.

One of my favorite practice tips is the One Word Prayer, a suggestion Timothy Keller shares in his book Prayer. This practice is used throughout the book. It’s to reflect on a word or phrase that draws our attention, and then to use it as a prayer prompt to spark a conversation with God. As we think of the word, we ask ourselves what feelings, questions, or thoughts emerge. Then share them with Jesus.

Already on Day 1, I knew this book was for me. The first quote that connected with my heart was:

“Don’t listen to those voices.
Step closer to the One Voice who knows you.”
– Bonnie Gray

I struggle a lot with those negative voices, and I long to let them go and follow that One Voice. This book nurtures my soul as it points to Jesus and His unfailing love for us. He loves us so much that He wants us to nurture ourselves. And He doesn’t want us to condemn ourselves or feel selfish about it. (That’s really a tough one for me.)

I believe you will not be disappointed when you read this book. In this busy world, we can so easily push aside the necessary soul care we need each day. But we need vitamins for our spirits even more than for our bodies.

“Come away with Me by yourselves
to a quiet place and rest awhile.”
Mark 6:31

“Here”
by Kari Jobe

“Come, and rest here
Come, and lay your burdens down
Come, and rest here
There is refuge for you now…”