Friday, August 15, 2014

Verse of the Day

Jesus said, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest." For there was constant coming and going. They didn't even have time to eat. (Mark 6:31 MSG)

True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. (Psalm 23:3 MSG)

This past year has been one of the most difficult years we've experienced, individually and as a couple. We celebrated 36 years of marriage last month, so we're talking about a long time. The difficulties seemed to come from all directions and on several levels of intensity, many times burying us under the vast weight of them coming all at once. However, this past year has also brought us many huge blessings—a much nicer house to rent; a beautiful granddaughter, Peyton; the release of the book of my heart—assuring us that the Lord has everything under control. 

The last three months have been particularly intense, with two conferences, my annual writers' retreat, vacation to meet our new granddaughter, and a family reunion—all of which required travel. After this last trip, coming on the heels of 15 days in Pennsylvania, I literally am at my breaking point physically, emotionally, and mentally. But I keep hearing the Lord speak the words to me that He spoke so long ago to His disciples after a particularly intense time of ministry: "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest." 

Notice that He included Himself in this invitation. He doesn't intend for me—for any of His followers—to take a rest break without Him. Nor is He saying it will take a long time—though I do think if I don't take Him up on this short break, I may end up taking a much longer time and not so pleasant physically or emotionally. As I said to my wonderfully patient and loving hubby the other night, I feel as though I'm going to break. I'm as fragile as glass. 

The timing is a little ironic in that my book, Calming the Storm Within: God's Peace for Depression and Anxiety, released two weeks ago. As I was working through the final proof copy, I kept thinking I needed to take my own advice! No, I'm not clinically depressed, but the defeated enemy would like me to think I am. However, for my own physical and emotional mental health I need to rest a while. My body, plagued with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis (both chronic conditions with lots of pain and fatigue), is telling me I'm nearing a major collapse. My mind is fuzzy with fibro-fog and fatigue, and emotionally even I don't know what to expect. 

So after much prayer and counseling and advice, I'm taking a short break in order to rest in my Lord, to regain some physical strength and emotional stability. It's not a total break from my responsibilities, but it is a granting myself permission to take life much slower, spend much time with my Lord and less time with all the work piling up on all sides. I'll still do some of that, but only as I have the mental acuity I need for writing, editing, and yes, even marketing Calming the Storm Within. I'm taking the next two weeks, through Labor Day, and then we'll assess where I am. If I need more time, I'll take it, but I'm hoping that by then I'll be restored and ready to take on again the many responsibilities of my calling in the Lord's strength. 

Pray for me, too, as I look at everything I'm doing and seek the Lord's direction to prioritize or drop the many responsibilities I seem to collect. I sense I am at the threshold of new ministry opportunities, but I want to be sure these are truly of His leading and not of my own devising. The Lord is truly my Shepherd, and I believe He will do as He promised in The Message paraphrase of Psalm 23: He will "let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction."  

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