Finding Forgiveness

My mind has been preoccupied this week with preparations for our upcoming vacation, but I’m not so distracted that I have missed the headlines.

I’ve never been one to hide from troubles or look for an escape from conflict. Still, I’ll admit that I will be greatly relieved to jet off to another part of the world for a bit. For two weeks I will be immersed in the history of Israel and Jerusalem — visiting landmarks, museums and holy sites. I will hear about ancient battles, and learn about some still being fought today. During this time, I will try to forget all the anger and division I am leaving behind. And I will pray.

I will pray for peace when tempers flare.

I will pray for courage that I might share.

I will pray for comfort when friendships end.

I will pray for grace and forgiveness again.

In the midst of all this anger and division in our nation, we need to find forgiveness, even when it is the hardest thing to do. Jesus taught us that forgiveness is not a quantity. It dwells deep within the heart. It is like an abundant and overflowing well that never runs dry.

Perhaps we can each find someone who is thirsting for forgiveness this week.

Resting in Peace

What a blessing it was to be the guest speaker at my church’s annual Mother’s Day Tea this weekend!

Although I usually shy away from public speaking, I decided to talk about a challenging area in my own life: finding peace. Specifically, I wanted to share ideas on how we can each find peace in our everyday lives, no matter where we are in that moment.

If you have been reading my blog posts regularly, you will know that peace and rest are important topics to me. Despite my busy schedule, I’ve learned to find peace through intentional rest. I say “intentional” because we must recognize our need for rest, and then be very deliberate in making it a priority.

Forced rest is no fun when you allow your pace in life to run you into the ground. Trust me . . . I know. Internalizing stress led to chest pains and an overnight stay in the hospital last year. Fortunately it was nothing serious, but that scare caused me to re-evaluate my priorities and I learned a valuable lesson in the process.

While God wants us to use our gifts to glorify Him, to care for our families, and serve others, we cannot do that if we are completely exhausted. God did not create us to live life with our foot on the gas pedal from morning to night, yet for many of us, that is the only pace we know. We have accepted this as normal and we feel powerless to apply the brakes.

Intentional rest doesn’t require taking a vacation day or spending an afternoon at the spa (although that does sound tempting 😉). Instead, I ask God to help me slow down as a reminder that my personal peace needs to be a priority. It does require loosening my grip and letting Him take control, but God always provides me with that much-needed time and space to re-charge, even on my busiest days.

Finding peace may look different for each of us, but for me, it’s as simple as taking a walk around the block, reading a devotional, or just lying down for a quick nap.

So the next time you feel yourself running on empty, slow down, take a deep breath, and seek peace in the Lord’s presence. Let Him be your resting place.