3 Things to do when You’re Called to Stay on Shore

Recently God gave me an illustration for where He’s called me. I’ve realized that He’s not called me out into the waters but He’s called me to keep my feet on land – at home.

That is such a difficult realization because our culture puts little merit on stay-at-home moms. And though I teach my children at home that doesn’t really count as productive, contributive work in others’ eyes.

So, I’ve been thinking about what we can do as we watch from shore – as we see others cast off and pursue their dreams. There are 3 things that we can do if we find ourselves in this situation.

1. Pray that God will help you see the purpose where you are.

Sometimes is seems like there is no point in folding the same shirt for the umpteenth time. But there is purpose there within those walls. We are doing kingdom work because He has called us there and whatever we do, if it is unto Him is worship.

2. Pray for those who’ve gone after their dreams.

I know that it is difficult to stand back and constantly watch our friends, acquaintances,  and those on social media going places and accomplishing things. But if we can just remember that we are to encourage and build each other up (I Thess. 5:11) we’ll be able to rejoice with them instead of coveting what they are doing ( so much easier said than done – one I have to work on daily).

3. Find a way to support your passion.

We can’t languish here getting sucked into the nonsense that we don’t have anything to offer. What interests you? What sets your heart on fire? Is there a certain ministry that you can support by raising awareness? Can you support a Compassion child or host a trunk show for that ministry that gives jobs to exploited persons?

There are things that we can do even here.

A verse from Colossians has always stuck out to me. Paul is delivering a message to a man named Archippus. He says,

“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

So, if you’re like me and feel that God has called you to stay on the shore, don’t buck against the call. Take heed to the ministry and remember

whatever we do is for His glory.

When You're Called to Stay on the Shore

When You’re Called to Stay on the Shore

“Oceans” came on this afternoon while I was cleaning up after lunch. I’ve been struggling with being left behind. So many of my friends are moving on and doing things – amazing things – and I’m still here amidst the dishes, laundry, and school books.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

Read more: Hillsong United – Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Then it hit me. God hasn’t called me out upon the waters. He hasn’t called me to start a non-profit, or a ministry to the exploited and abused, or even something closer to home.

My friends talk about the time drawing closer when the freedom to pursue dreams will be at hand. The freedom that will come once their children are all in school. I just nod, give a thin smile, and listen. There isn’t much to say because for me that type of freedom is so much further away.

You see, I’m realizing that He hasn’t called me out into the Waters – He’s calling me to stay on shore. With the call to homeschool my children comes the call to stay.

Oh, and that chafes! I want to go. I want to have hours in a day to keep my home in order, to write, to exercise – to do any myriad of things! To pursue my not-now dream of becoming a post-partum doula. I want to get together with friends for coffee at 10 in the morning.

But He hasn’t called me there yet. He’s given a dream – a dream that might one day call me out into the waters. But right now, He’s asking me to stay on the shore to tend to the things here in the not-so-glamorous.

 The not-so-glamorous. That is where we are right now, isn’t it? I feel almost as I did growing up. It was never said out rightly, but you knew. You knew that the only holy work, the worthy work, was in full-time Christian service. And if you weren’t doing that, then you were second-rate. We were encouraged to be teachers, pastors’ wives, or missionaries. Any other dreams were less than.

I get that same feeling when I see and hear about God-sized dreams and giving God our best yes. What about those of us He hasn’t called to the ‘big’ stuff? Are we any less?

My mind keeps going back to John 21 where the disciples went fishing after Jesus had been resurrected and He showed himself to them. They went fishing through the night and caught nothing. Just as day is breaking, they come near the shore and someone yells a question to them – “Children, do you have any fish?” And they said “no”. He then instructed them to cast their net over the right side of the boat and that they would find some. Their net was so full that they had a difficult time hauling it in. They then knew that it was their Lord talking to them.

What strikes me about this passage is that Jesus was on the shore. He was on shore waiting for them – waiting to minister to them. They were tired and worn out after a long night of nothing, and their Savior was waiting for them, to love them and to meet their needs. He could have showed himself to them right there on the boat and brought that haul up to them in the middle of the night. But He didn’t.

Maybe that is exactly what we’re supposed to be doing, those of us who are watching others chase their dreams. Maybe we’re supposed to be Jesus to those who come back bedraggled because their dream isn’t turning out like they think it should. Maybe we are the ones who will do the praying and the ministering .

Who knows how God will use us.

When You're Called to Stay on the Shore

Rest in Spiritual Practices

 Though February is over and I haven’t let you in on it yet, I’ve been mulling over another area of Rest – the area of Spiritual Practices. If you’ve read any of the Thoughts from a Recovering Fundamentalist, you’ll know that what I experienced growing up was anything but Restful. But the Lord has been doing a work in me through a series of events, books, a conference called Allume, and different blogs. He’s been whispering to me in ways that I couldn’t imagine about things that I could never have considered having a place in my heart and life.

The idea of Spiritual Practice has only recently started to feel comfortable and maybe that’s because I’ve started to see the doing in a different light. God is showing me, ever so gently, that the things that I disdained, can actually draw me closer to Him.

There are several areas of Spiritual Practice but two that I want to focus on this month are the Daily Examen and Lent. I’ve researched the Daily Examen and there are several parts to it. According to Loyola Press you start with Stillness, Gratitude, Reflection, Sorrow, and lastly, Hopefulness. The idea of the Examen is so appealing because it is done in quietness. Part of this pursuit of Rest means slowing down and taking time to just be – to just be with God.

If you would have told me twenty years ago that my 35 year old self would be researching Catholic websites for instruction, I would have thought you were a liar. But maybe it isn’t so much how far I’ve drifted from my upbringing, but how close God is bringing me to Him.

These practices, they aren’t about approval or being ‘good enough’. They are meant to draw us closer to the Heart of God. And I yearn for that.

I yearn for the peace and rest that comes only when we are right up next to the Father.

 

 

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The Fringe Hours – A Review

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What fills you up? What brings a smile to your face feeds your soul?

These are just some of the questions Jessica Turner asks in her new book Fringe Hours. After reflecting on this question, I realized that it was one that I couldn’t answer.

I’ve always felt guilty for spending time on myself, but when I read her quote,

“your life is meant to be lived with joy”

I realized that I’d been living it more in drudgery. What I thought was selfish ‘me-time’, Jessica refers to as self-care. I discovered, as she advises, that I need to give myself permission and grace to allow for that ‘self-care’.

Jessica goes on in part 2 of the book to help you re-discover the things that fill you up, those interests that have gotten buried under the responsibilities of life. She gives practical tips on how to find time to pursue self-care in chapters such as “Embracing Help”, “Prioritizing Your Activities”, and “Using Time Efficiently”.

There are so many universal principles in “The Fringe Hours” – principles that women at any stage of life can use. Though I did notice early on in my reading that this book is geared for the working woman  and that many of her ideas and suggestions depend upon a two-household income.

That being said, if you’re like me and don’t fall into the category of ‘career woman’, don’t dismiss this book. We SAHMs can find fringe hours (aka minutes) too.

Overall, this book has truly helped me in my pursuit of REST. By doing one small thing daily – even just 5 minutes to read, write, or peruse knitting patterns – I’ve felt my tank filling back up.

I’ve felt more rested and able to give back to my family.

And that was worth the read.

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Month in Review – A Pursuit of Rest

It’s been a month now since I started the ‘Rest Challenge’. And, I have to admit, it’s been rather difficult at times, but I have learned a lot.

If you haven’t read the first post, for this month I gave up Talk Radio and started to limit my Social Media time. Social Media is still something that I need to work on, and as much as I would love to be able to uninstall the FB app from my phone entirely (anyone know how to do that?), I’ll just have to work on staying logged off and setting specific times for that particular activity.

As for the Radio, well, that’s another matter. At first, I just didn’t turn on the regular station and kept it on our local Christian station. That got tiresome after awhile because, as much as I like the music, I can’t stand the fluff that they talk about. Let’s just say, I’m not into cat videos (please don’t hate me).

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My husband suggested that I install the app for another station further away that had teaching in the morning. And, that worked out okay, until the app quit working. So, now a dilemma.

I know, it’s just radio, right?! But I realized after having it off all day long, that 5 o’clock would hit and I would be itching to turn on the talking heads. And then it clicked

I needed to hear another adult because I knew that it would be another 1.5 hours until my husband came home.

So, after some thought and looking around, I finally figured some things out and here is a list of what I’ve replaced Talk Radio (aka “all Gloom and Doom, all the Time”) with, and hopefully some of these will spur some ideas for you too.

1. Podcasts – Kat Lee over at Inspired to Action and How They Blog, has some great podcasts on developing as a women/mom, and writer if you’re into that sort of thing.

And, I’m a nerd, but I got really excited when I found out that there are gardening podcasts – who knew!

2. Pandora Radio – I love to listen to music and Pandora seems to completely fit that love/need that I have. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a streaming music app that you can download to your device. One of the features that I love is that you can customize your stations according to artist and Pandora will play artists similar to the one listed on your station. The stations that I’ve found to be particularly good have been Rend Collective, Sovereign Grace, Matt Maher, and Judah and the Lion (if you’re into Americana folk music).

3. Audio Books – I’ll admit it, I’m listening to the Chronicles of Narnia. They’re awesome even as an adult. Librivox is a great resource for free audio books. Our local library has audiobooks for download and also has those ( I’m going to get technical on you) headset/books that you can check out just like a normal book. Only drawback to those is you have to provide your own batteries and headset.

So, there you have it. All in all this month has been difficult yet good. I’ve learned that I don’t need to always have noise around. Quiet is restful. 

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Looks a lot better now, doesn’t it :)


How did your month of Quiet Rest go? Do you have any tips or tricks that you implemented in your pursuit of Rest?

 

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An Open Letter to Fear

I’ve got eggs ready to pour  into the bowl. Miss E and the radio are both contending for my attention. She wants to pour the wet ingredients into the dry and the talk show host wants me to fear Ebola.

I can’t concentrate on both and at first the radio starts to win, drawing me into the conversation of fear and outrage. Then it hits me – even though I’m not sick, I’m letting Ebola take my life. I’m letting it steal the moments I have with my family. And it ends here.


Dear Ebola, ISIS, Doomed Economy, and the gunmen who live in Talk Radio Land,

(An Open Letter)

Today I decided to not let any of you take my life. You see, you almost had me. I’ve never met any of you, for which I’m truly grateful. I don’t even know anyone whose ever associated with any of you. But still I’m aware of your presence. You lurk at the outer reaches of my mind, whispering words of FEAR.

But not anymore. I know that you’re still there. But there are two things that my Heavenly Father has gifted me with today – reminders that have been my armaments against your words.

First, He’s reminded me that He’s greater. He is greater than he that is in the world               (1 John 4:4) .

No matter what happens, I’ll speak this truth to my heart –

He is greater

He’s greater than a disease.                                                                                                                   He’s greater than an enemy force.                                                                                                        He’s greater than poverty.                                                                                                                     And, He’s greater than death.

Secondly, He’s reminded me that He hasn’t given me – given any of us – the spirit of Fear, but He’s given us love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

So, I’m turning off your voices – one by one shutting off your voices of fear. Because those whispers, they aren’t from Him. His Words are True. His Words are Life.

Sincerely,

Danielle


My mind comes back to the present. I raise my hand to turn off the radio and the silence is jarring for a moment.

“Mommy, can I stir now?” Her sweet voice cuts into my thoughts and I grasp that                   moment – that moment of LIFE.

 

Reflecting His Image

The bell rings and we scramble from our seats. It’s recess time at last! The weather is beautiful – perfect for playing and not at all conducive to arithmetic.

I grab my library book and hold it close as I shuffle into line. Books have become my       best friends.

We stream out the door, finally freed to play on the swings and the jungle gym, but I hold back and take my place on the steps, nestled against the old stone railing. The Bobbsey Twins and me, we’ve had so many adventures so far.

The teacher stands behind me further up the steps and I can feel her presence. I scoot ever closer to the railing and hold my book tight. She never says anything. Books aren’t allowed on the playground but she never makes me put it back. Just lets me read.


I can’t remember what grade that was – 1st maybe? And I don’t remember the teacher, only and an image of a floral skirt and brown shoes. But I realize now, that faceless teacher, she gave me a gift. Maybe she saw that I had no friends. Maybe she saw my need for quiet. I don’t know, but I’m forever grateful to her, for allowing me to be myself and for giving me the chance to recharge through story.

Tonight I had a similar experience only this time I’m 35, the teacher is my husband, and the recess wasn’t from math, it was from life.

I escaped to the back deck and finished The Last Battle by CS Lewis. Once again my soul was recharged by story. Some things, many things change from childhood to adulthood,

But the core of who we are remains the same.

God has allowed me these past few years to learn about, and finally understand how He has wired me.

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So, I pray today for you. The woman who is still conflicted by how God made her and the expectations of others. I pray that you will feel His presence as He guides you. He made you exactly how He wants His image to be reflected in your life.

Revel in that and be free.

A Year of Rest – Join me?

Welcome back!

Last week I wrote about how my soul has been longing for REST, and at the end I invited you to join me in this endeavor. I’m so glad that you came back so we could talk a little bit about what that might look like in the upcoming year.

I’ve been thinking and praying about this for the last couple of weeks and have had ideas percolating. I’ve really felt the Lord leading to work on one thing a month  – one area in which we can implement REST. So each month I or a guest writer will be talking about REST and what that means in our lives.

And, though this is an introductory post into this foray of REST, I’ve picked an area for this month – Media. Specifically social media and talk radio. I love knowing what’s going on in the world – hearing opinions and keeping up with events. I love reading the articles that people link to. But I’ve noticed that talk radio, especially, stresses me out because I’ve found that there isn’t much of a balance. The ‘gloom and doom’ isn’t ever balanced by HOPE. And if I’m leaving a program or discussion depressed and worried, it isn’t worth it. God says to trust in Him and these two mediums aren’t helping me in that task.

So, this month I’m turning off talk radio and limiting social media. That pains me to say, just so you know, but it must be done in this pursuit of rest.

Recently I was reading a blog post by Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky and she mentioned an app that she installed that keeps track of her time online. It’s called Rescue Time. It tracks the time that you spend and shows you where you’re spending it. I’m excited to see where I’m spending my days. Hopefully this will help me be more disciplined in my time in social-media-land.

It’s fun to see what’s going on in other’s lives, but more often than not, it means that we’re not living our lives to the fullest.

I’ll be checking back in with you throughout the month to share what progress is being made in the area of the month. I hope you’ll join me in this journey.My heart is to encourage you in the many facets of REST as we explore some of the practical applications and abstract ideas behind the idea of REST.

Be sure to let me know what you’re doing in your pursuit of REST!

 

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Rest 2015 – A Word to define a Year

It’s been quiet here lately in this little corner of the web. The words haven’t come as easily lately because I’ve been struggling. Between all the outer turmoil in the world, the trying to process it all, and trying to manage my own crazy, I’m just plain tired.

I’ve been yearning for REST.

And though the striving for approval is less, there has still been this disquiet, an unsettling in my soul.

Last year I chose the word Intentional as my ‘word of 2014′. I kept coming back to it when my mind needed to be centered. How could I be intentional in home management, homeschooling, writing … So many things to do and implement.

Toward the end of the year I lost steam and my soul started getting restless. I needed something.

Finally, it came to me. I needed rest.

So, that is the word that I’ve chosen for 2015. It’s a word of inaction, which totally rubs me the wrong way. Who wants to be know for inactivity?

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When I first started to think this through, the question I asked myself, was,                        ‘what can I do to pursue rest?’ But that’s the wrong question.

The question that needs to be asked is,

What do I need to stop doing in order to pursue rest?

I wonder if our pursuit of activity is a need to fill the space because                             we’ve forgotten how to rest?

There is no standing ovation for resting. Few people clamor to read about a person who does little.

But I’ve never been one to go with the flow. My drive goes in the opposite direction most of the time – against what’s typically popular.

So, will you join me this year? Will you pursue REST with me?

Come back Monday and I would love to share some thoughts with you on how we can walk this year of REST together.

 

 

Allume – Come and Dine

For several months I prayed for this year’s Allume Conference. Every month I picked a different area to pray for – the worship, sponsors, speakers, staff – you get the idea. And for October, I picked “Unity”. I prayed that all of us there would put aside our differences, what’ere  they may be, and come together to learn how to better glorify our King.

This was my second year to attend and I had been looking forward to going for several months. I expected to grow and learn. What I never planned on was to come away feeling raw.

The verse for this year’s conference was Revelation 3:20

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As the director gave the keynote my eyes kept wandering to the easel that held the verse. I grew up with those words, we even sang a song about it, how many dozens of times, I don’t remember. But it’s there, etched on my mind. Though I never understood them until now.

This year’s theme was Hospitality. We were admonished to open our hearts and online spaces to everyone. We were encouraged to be a people of heart hospitality, leaving people feeling better about themselves than before they encountered us.

But I want to ask you this, how can we be hospitable when we don’t realize that God is a God of hospitality?

I never really felt that verse was for me. For everyone else, sure. But not me. I always pictured myself opening the door, serving Him His food, and then hanging back as He ate in silence, never feeling worthy to sit and eat with Him.

As I sat there reading those words over and over, the truth hit me.

“I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me.” Then I looked around at all of us at the table. Every  meal consisted of friends and strangers sitting together over a meal and communing.

We were sharing something intimate with one another – we were getting to know each other over bread, laughter, and tears.

He showed me that weekend, in late October, that no matter the shame, no matter the sin struggles, He wants to eat with me – with you.

And that humbles me because I know that we don’t deserve it. But He calls to us, comes to us, and communes with us because He wants to.

He wants to.

I’ve always know Him as God, Creator, Lord, and even Father. But now, He’s offered me a seat at His table and I know Him as Friend.