Taking Care of the Rest

Sometimes it seems difficult for me to slow down, to rest. But when I do, what a gift rest is.  My body, mind, spirit all know how much I need it.

This past weekend I had the blessing of enjoying sweet quality time with 11 of my Proverbs 31 Ministries’ coworkers at a dear friend’s beautiful Kiawah Island home. Not only do I have the joy of working with these talented teammates each day, it was a joy to get to know each one even better.

We ate delicious home-cooked meals, laughed until our sides ached, rode bicycles on the island, played the piano, walked on the beach,  cannonball jumped into the pool (hilarious!). We also talked about our blessings and our struggles. We encouraged each other in our faith journeys.

This past weekend showed me even more how healthy and necessary it is to get away and rest, relax.

Brilliant Renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation. For when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer…Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller, and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and a lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen.”

In fact, it’s one of the Ten Commandments, not a suggestion, to rest, to honor the Sabbath.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God…For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” –Exodus 20:8-10a, 11.

I am thankful to my parents for encouraging our family to honor the Sabbath and rest. It helps  fuel back up for the week. If the Lord can do it all in six days, what makes me think I can’t?

Give yourself permission to rest and relax.  Let’s make more of an effort to unwind.

As Roman poet Ovid said, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

Reflect:

–When is the last time you truly relaxed, truly rested with friends, your spouse or by yourself? Please comment.

–How do you observe the Sabbath? Please let us know.

–Are you over-programmed?

Renew:

-“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” –Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

–“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.” –-Hebrews 4:9-10 NIV.

Recharge:

–What plans will you make to intentionally set aside time for vacation, rest, relaxation? Please comment.

–How will you plan to be still, be quiet for a time?

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True Friends: Standing in the Gap

“Hold a true friend with both hands,” a wise, Nigerian Proverb says. So true… A true friend. How would you define a true friend?

One of the biggest blessings in my life, even life in general, is the cherished gift of friends. The Lord has blessed me with friends I can call on in a moment’s notice. And friends who, even when we don’t see each other for months at a time, we just pick up right where we leave off. Friends who stretch me, grow me, grow my faith. Friends who quietly stand in the gap for me in prayer.

I just read about a  friend to Paul in the Bible, a friend who I would love to more like. He’s only mentioned twice in the whole Bible and only in the book of Colossians. His name is Epaphras. Have you heard of him? Good, me either. He’s new to me.  What a cool, well-respected guy.

“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.” –Colossians 4:12-13 NIV

Isn’t that awesome? I love how he is “always wrestling in prayer for you”…I pray to be more like Epaphras for my friends and family.

In this shiny, new 2015, may we always be wrestling in prayer for others.  May we always strive to be like Epaphras.

Reflect:

–Describe an Epaphras in your life. Please comment.

–For whom are you a true Epaphras friend?

Renew:

–“You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.” –Colossians 1:7 NIV

–“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” –Exodus 33:11 NIV

–“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” –Proverbs 18:24 NIV

–“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” –Proverbs 27:7 NIV

–“Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father…” –Proverbs 27:10a NIV

Recharge:

–Please pick up the phone or go see a true Epaphras friend of yours this week.

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Loving Your Neighbor, Post #51

Bob turned 95 years old last August. His bright, blue eyes sparkled behind his thick, smudged glasses. His black cardigan sweater was his uniform, soiled with food and drinks missed by his mouth and napkin. His mind was sharp and his sense of humor lightened every setting. His Canon camera hung round his neck always ready to capture each moment.

Bob served as the patriarch of our neighborhood cul-de-sac. Retiring from Chicago as a graphic artist, Bob and his wife Lee paid $50,000 cash in 1986 for his Charleston home to be built. His graphic design firm was instrumental in creating the Coca-Cola Santa Claus. More importantly, he created a customized watercolor card for each of us for our birthdays and designed a beautiful pen and ink Charleston scene as his Christmas card each year. He was a legend.  Bob’s wife passed away in 1993, and he never remarried. He lived alone. We as neighbors adopted him.

Both my grandfathers passed away before I was born, so Bob became my surrogate grandfather.   He and his wife Lee bore four children, three who live in Illinois and one in California. Bob created his local family with his church family, Optimist Club friends, and the neighbors. As neighbors we worked together daily to take him meals, reminded him to take his medications, drove him to Wal-mart, and took him to the barber shop. My special job was to accompany him with his walker on a stroll several times a week around the cul-de-sac for some sunshine and exercise.

Last year both Bob and the neighbors realized he was getting too frail and medically dependent to live alone. He and his children decided he would move to Illinois to live with one of the daughters. Bob took the news pretty well and just kept talking about the cold. He slowly began to gather boxes and we helped him pack his most prized possessions, like his photographic scrapbooks, chronicling almost each moment.

Last August 2nd the neighbors and I threw a 95th birthday and farewell party for Bob at his church along with his children and Optimist Club friends.  In all about 100 people attended. His pastor said it was the first party of its kind he had seen with the Guest of Honor also celebrating in the room. Still there to hear the sweet accolades instead of waiting until the honored guest had passed away. Bob had no doubt he was loved. He flew to Illinois the same day the moving truck came for his belongings. He didn’t have to see the For Sale sign being put in the front yard.  Bob passed away on September 26th of pneumonia, less than two months after he moved.

My life is so much better for having loved, learned from and laughed with Bob. May we all love our neighbors, love the Bobs in our life. 

Reflect:

  • Who is your Bob (neighbor)? Please comment.
  • Who can you love on a little more?

Renew:

  • “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” –Mark 12:30, 31. NIV84

Recharge:

  • Name one neighbor or person you will intentionally reach out to as we approach this season of Thanksgiving. Perhaps it’s calling and taking a picnic basket to your older neighbor or a loved one in an assisted living facility. Perhaps it’s riding bicycles with some neighbors and their children. It takes just a few moments.
  • Please let me know what you decide to do.

Resource:

  • Robert “Bob” Anderson’s art legacy lives on. Please consider purchasing one of his beautiful “Charleston Orphan House” prints as a gift at the Shops of Historic Charleston Foundation, 108 Meeting Street in Charleston. (843) 724-8484.
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