Permission for Rest

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again.  I’m not good at resting.  My mind prefers to work and ticking off the boxes on my to-do list can seem to be the ultimate satisfying goal.  But my to-do list easily becomes my idol and expectations (usually self imposed) become more important than walking daily with Jesus.  Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 9.08.06 AM.pngI’m still trying to figure out what this means practically for me.  Finding that balance between productivity and trusting in the ultimate care of my gracious savior.  Struggling against the lie in my head that tells me I’m lazy or unworthy, when I know that I am a beloved child of God.  Coming to a place where rest is not guilt inducing but instead sweet and rejuvenating.

Please pray with me and know you’re not alone if you also struggle to find peace and rest.  Know that you’re not alone if a call to create margin in your life induces anxiety and worry.  Know that we were not created to bear the burden and weight of the world on our own shoulders.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “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.”

A Day Off: Nature Spa and Beach

One of the best perks of having a real weekly schedule is the ability to plan for and actually take a day off each week.  It has been over a year since Ryan and I have had a rhythm to our week that actually allows for the space to rest on a consistent basis.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had lots of amazing adventures and travels over the past year and there has been some rest within that but there is something really special and life-giving about having a weekly day of rest.  You might be saying, what about Sunday!?  Well, Sundays are lovely and we are getting a bit of a break being in a wonderful church community but Sundays are simply not rest days in our line of work.  So for the foreseeable future we have dedicated Fridays as our day of rest and fun exploration.  And this week we kicked off the adventure with a drive south along the coast to an area known as the Nature Spa.Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 12.12.49 PM.pngOh that’s right, I said drive because this week we bought a car.  Just like the provision of so many things along the way for us, this is another amazing testament to God’s ability to provide for us in ways above and beyond.  But that story is for another time because just look at that spectacular coastline.  This is a seriously beautiful place to live.screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-12-12-15-pmThe wind was picking up by early afternoon when we arrived but we decided to first go up on the rocks for a look around.  We spent a good amount of time all afternoon talking about all the people we know who would love this place.  If you come and visit, we can bring you here:-)  Rocks to climb up, places to explore, white sandy beaches, beautiful crashing waves and the Nature Spa.screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-12-44-59-pmThe Nature Spa is a natural area in between these rock walls where salt water pools and collects.  Despite the wind of the day, this area was very protected.  The ocean seeps through the opening you can see here but also splashes through other little ravines at the side.  If you look on the left side of the pool, the white water is caused by a mini waterfall that happens because of the waves.  The water in the pool gets warm because it’s shallow and calm but the water splashing over is cold, right from the ocean. screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-12-55-34-pmWe staked claim to a large flat rock in the sun and enjoyed the warmth of the day hearing the ocean waves and watching people come and go enjoying this beautiful place.  We were never alone and I’m sure the Nature Spa can get pretty crowded on weekends and holidays but we would definitely come back again.Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 2.01.23 PM.pngAfter we finished hanging out at the Nature Spa, we climbed back up the rocks.  It would be easy to twist an ankle here but we made it out injury free.  Before we left for our drive home, we wanted to check out the beach along the other side.  And I’m so glad we did!
screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-12-10-49-pmThis beach has beautifully deep soft sand and we had it all to ourselves for a little while.  The waves were powerful and bubbling and perfect for just standing in and enjoying.  I’m sure the current coupled with the waves along here would make it dangerous to swim but it was perfect for an afternoon frolic.  These pictures don’t do this amazing coastline justice.screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-12-13-56-pmOur day ended with an uneventful drive home and a lovely sunset.  We’re looking forward to more days off when we can go on adventures, get to know Perth and other parts of Western Australia!

Remembering to Rest

I struggle with taking breaks.  I struggle with relaxing.  I struggle with taking time off when there is so much that still needs to be done.  And if I do take a break and/or relax, I then struggle with feeling guilty.  I know I’m not the only one with this mindset.  But knowing that I am not alone is not enough to completely remove the anxiety.  So mornings like this one are good for me, despite my very real struggle yesterday with whether or not I could “give up” the time to attend a breakfast with friends.  I went, enjoyed the fellowship, enjoyed the food and left with a very thankful heart.screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-1-41-38-pmToday reminded me three truths that I already know but still need to remember often as I continue to navigate how I spend my time.

1. God created us for fellowship.  Being with people is important and it’s ministry.  Our fellowship and conversations can build us up, encourage us and give us strength.  We are stronger when we share each other’s joys and burdens.

2. Face to face relationships are important.  As much as I am thankful for social media when I am far away, I need to take advantage of the time I do have with people now.  This in person time is precious.

3.  Rest encourages productivity.  We can only do so much.  We only have so much time.  And we all know that burning the candle at both ends only lasts for so long.  I need to be recharged and for me, that means time with people.  These times of rest allow me to work better and push through when I need to.

It’s nice to slow down every once in awhile and remember simple truths.  This morning that was done at a table surrounded by new and old friends sharing a meal and stories of God’s faithfulness.  “God is Great.  God is Good.  & We Thank Him For This Food.  Amen”

Enjoying the Moon

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-2-06-38-pmRyan and I have been enjoying the rainy weather in Northern California.  But when the rain stops, we enjoy the crisp fall evenings too.  Last night Ryan took the opportunity to step outside and enjoy the moon.  It’s the little moments that provide rest and rejuvenation in between the long days of work.

Basking in the afterglow of Catalina

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.05.00 PMIt almost goes without saying that we had a wonderful time on Catalina.  I grew up going to Campus by the Sea family camp but it has been 10 years since my last family camp!  We often stayed in the Pelican’s Perch cabin and that’s where Ryan and I slept this week, too.  I have many wonderful memories with my family and all the amazing people who work and attend the amazing family camp that happens each summer for 6 weeks.  If you’re in southern California, want your family to bond in a beautiful place where they will be poured into and steeped in the love of Christ, then it is definitely worth checking out. Here are some highlights from our week at Campus by the Sea (CBS) Family Camp.  Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.05.59 PMCBS sits in a sweet little cove facing Los Angeles.  It’s a wonderful, relaxing break from the fast paced normal life that we all tend to live.  This week Ryan and I spent a lot of time hiking in the hills beyond the camp, swimming and kayaking in the ocean and simply enjoying the company of each other as well as our fellow campers.Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.06.12 PMThis camp pours into people emotionally, relationally and spiritually.  We especially loved the takeaways from some amazing teaching time as well as our small group time.  It was really encouraging to share life for a week with other newly married Christian couples.  And we loved all our conversations that happened throughout the week with couples, singles and families in all stages of life.  It was a huge blessing and a great encouragement to us in so many ways.Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.05.47 PMOn Wednesday we hiked into Avalon and this was the view that greeted us after 4+miles.  It was a beautiful day and I loved showing Ryan all the places that I enjoyed hanging out when I was a kid and would go with my dad and uncle and cousins into town for the free day at camp.Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.05.29 PMOf course a trip to Avalon wasn’t complete without a little gooney golfing.  This is by far the BEST mini golf course I have ever played.  The holes are inventive, challenging and fun.  My favorite you can see just above my head and to the right.  Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.05.15 PMAnd Ryan’s love of pizza fit perfectly with a little visit to Antonio’s.  This is yummy pizza, a fun atmosphere and of course the crazy mirror in the hallway upstairs near the bathroom.  I remember when this mirror distorted my face and not my bottom half:-)Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.04.32 PMWe had such a wonderful refreshing week.  I was sorry to leave but it was great to be rejuvenated a bit before the next phase of our journey.  Thank you CBS for being an amazing retreat!