Thursday, 28 June 2012

Enjoy knowing REST is okay :-)

I lead a busy life....
Five children and all the tasks that come with caring for each of them, a hard working husband and all the jobs that come with working around his shifts and caring for him in the way a wife should, serving in three different ministries at church-one of which we lead, the other two I'm on the core team for and am actively involved in, attending Bootcamp fitness classes three evenings a week, studying to further my career prospects once baby Livvy is in the education system, housework, cooking fresh meals everyday, maintaining relationships with friends and family, serving those in need with a meal or some groceries....get the picture...still with me? ;-)
I'm often told I'm a very capable person- Ive been told this from a very young age actually....people ask with big eyes how on earth I manage to bring up five children so well and still wear mascara and paint my nails..? People often tell me I'm an encourager...when they feel anxious, depleted, scared...I come through with the right words and prayers to brighten their day and situations... I love this..I really do....it makes me smile...feel of worth...
BUT...
Truth is this capable encourager has been feeling rather low the last couple of weeks. I've felt lost in the hustle of life, I've felt alone in the whirlwind of circumstance, I've felt abit dumped on by people I've needed to wrap their arms around me and tell me I'm doing okay, that things will improve again, I've felt second best to my husbands demanding job at times.. But, more scarily I've felt cheated on by God....I can confirm this is a horrible place to be in...feeling as though God has taken your heart, your thoughts, your prayers, your works and screwed them into a big ball and dumped them in the trash can.
It's no coincidence that we've just finished a season of FiC- the ministry my hubby and I lead at church. We had a great six months with a fab group of people and the course was a huge success...I've been a Christian long enough to know Satan hits when we've either been through a personal step of Faith, or helped others through theirs.
Only, sometimes....just sometimes, for reasons such as circumstances feel overwhelming, the kids demanding so much more of you than physically possible, friends busy with their lives and not that in tune with yours, husband working long night shifts resulting in you feeling like a lone parent...it's hard to turn to Gods truth over your feelings and easy to fall into the trap of beleiving what Satan is whispering to you.
I know I haven't been easy at times over the last two weeks....as a wife, friend, mother, daughter. I also know I've worn a mask at times pretending I'm okay..."can't lose that capable crown Stace!".... but I thank God that despite my feelings...my desire to shut myself off from my nearest and dearest, that there was a plan in place... I recognised last Tuesday things had reached a head and couldn't continue the way they were going.. Husband and I had had quite harsh words with one another regarding something that wouldn't usually get that kind of reaction from us, but also looking back was a silly thing to fall out over. Going on Facebook later that evening, there were several messages for me...all asking something of me...I felt stifled and overwhelmed with frustration...and decided there and then that I needed a break from virtual world. I recognised I needed to spend time with real people who would feed me wisdom, not drain me, that I needed to talk with my husband and settle the air between us and more importantly I needed to put the invisible violin back in its case and spend time with God.
I met with a couple of truly beautiful ladies and asked their advice and wisdom, I de-activated my facebook account with the rule that I would go back on it only when I felt God say so...whether this was a day, month or even a whole year (gulp) I knew this was a challenging yet positive step, and I humbled myself and put things right with my best friend, my lovely patient hubby.
Then last weekend was my church's annual women's conference. I had booked my ticket at last years event and was really looking forward to it...I'd bought my mum a ticket and had arranged to be with a great set of girls and share lunch together. It was on paper set to be a great couple of days. The theme of this years conference was based around REST...hmmm, I thought, I may hear something that strikes a cord?
On the Friday evening I was so blessed as soon as I walked into the entrance area. A lovely friend was welcoming on the main doors and wrapped me into the biggest bear hug I can remember...she encouraged me to have a great time and just be...I was also so truly blessed to be sitting with my mum and two amazing girls (yes Ruth and Sally...that's you two cupcakes) who saw my broken-ness...weren't scared to prod it, tell me a few truths (biblical and loving telling off ones) and stood with me as I cried and asked God to heal me, speak His truth into me in a fresh way. I left after Fridays session feeling a teeny bit of hope had restored itself in my heart...
Last Saturdays sessions were just amazing, it felt like every word was wrote and spoken for me...every song was being sung into my life...I'm certain many if not all the ladies there felt the same way...but last Saturday I was feeling selfish...I didn't want to share the feelings of it being just for me! It was as though God had taken every thought, prayer, circumstance that I'd thought He'd screwed up and thrown away and instead made them into a beautiful but incomplete tapestry...amongst the fine threads were scriptures, words, pictures of things still to come.
I learnt that there's no shame to having the rule of rest in our lives...that's it's biblical and needed in order to do life well.
I felt God say "Stace, take off all the many hats you've been wearing over the last 10 years and let me tell you which ones to put back on!"
I again was so blessed to have women stand with me, wipe my tears, hold my hand, tell me I was enough just as I was...it was a day of change on so many levels..
I could write forever on what those changes are, but I won't...I'm still praying for Wisdom over some choices I know I need to make, but God has already confirmed a couple of things...one being that right now, in this season I am a mummy of five beautiful healthy children all aged under 10 years of age...this is fun...but so busy. I am a wife and married to one of the Godliest, gentle men you can find, He deserves to have a wife who has timne for him...these six people are my main priority...
Secondly that to be the best mummy and wife I want to be that I need to be happy...rested...secure. So I have made a list of things that in this season of life are good for me...reading, exercise, an hour every day (yes I can do this when baby is sleeping before afternoon nursery run) where I'm at home, listening to worship music, studying my devotional, praying, napping if needed...basically doing something for myself that will help me appreciate me time, help me know God loves me and wants me to be the best I can...something that will allow me to get on with looking after my big family whilst looking after myself also. It's so easy to put ourselves last on the list...
Another thing I've realised is that whilst it's easy to have 400 Facebook friends, it's not possible to have 400 real life ones. So as much as I adore my many friends I chat with on Facebook, I've recognised the people who in this season of life (atleast) I can be real, physical, meet up and have fun, share life in the flesh friends with.
I've also decided that I don't have to be on top of everything ALL the time...if my living rooms cluttered and you happen to come in for a cuppa...enjoy being in a living room that is actually lived in...please don't expect a show home...yes I am a bit of a clean freak but I've had a wake up call that my family and I make this house HOME by the things we do here, store here and share here. So...you will find a rather large piece of gym equipment in my lounge at present as that's part of this season for me...you will find a large green plastic chest of toys next to the radiator because that's part of this season of life for us...you will see the stains on the carpet from goodness knows what...and despite having it replaced and then cleaned, it still gets dirty...cos thats a part of this season of life right now...you will find a cupboard in the entrance area full of shoes, coats, bags, games, and books because that's part of this season of life for me...and to clarify there will still be 4 pairs of school shoes under the entrance area radiator because it's a faff getting them out the cupboard every morning! What you also will find is plenty of love, laughs, tea, fresh flowers, beds made and a clean toilet...some things I wont compromise!!!
I've also recognised the activities that are good for me and my family in our busy weeks...how much of me I can actually share without being drained and feeling zapped...I'm excited as God has totally reconfirmed where He wants me and the area I WILL be working for Him in once Livs is older...not in this season....but in the next!

How exciting to know what's good now, what's scary now, what's testing now....is just the now...it's not forever as that next season will come at the right time! Right now I feel happier. I had the Godly encounter I so needed and wanted and know how much He loves me...I know He only has great things in store...that my destination isn't yet complete which is so exciting...and scary in one. That He looks at me and says "Stace, you are so beautiful...I am so pleased with you, and am here, always...ready to help!"
Thankfully, the selfishness of wanting it all for me on Saturday has melted away and I want to encourage anyone who reads this very humbling, blunt rambling that you too are in a season my friend. Take a good long steady look at what's good about this season and what's dragging you down. Don't be scared to rest...don't be ashamed to say no to things yöu know will only burden you in your already busy life. Whether you recognise it or not, God loves you so much and has made you in His perfect image...this isn't talking about your latest hair cut or whether you need to lose 10lbs or not...this is talking about the real you...the you that makes people laugh with your hilarious sense of humour, the you who knows when that friend needs a bunch of flowers as her weeks been pretty tough, the you who reaches out to the person most would steer clear from....the you who has desires, dreams, needs and hopes...He is so ready to fulfill all these things. Yes, we all have times where our seasons feel tougher than others...sadly no-one including God ever said life would be easy...but hey...it can be easier when you have a healthy balance in place of everything you need.

I'm learning...I'm not ashamed to be this honest...and this certainly doesn't mean I won't be up for a spur of the moment shopping trip...cuppa...reunion...whatever...this just means I've grown up a level...I've recognised I'm one person...with limits...and feelings and needs...I want t be the best wife, mummy, friend, daughter, leader, servant I can...this is how it happens...by having sensible teeny rules in place and for me being fully in tune with God and His plans for me.

Lord Jesus, thank you! Thank you that you so love us, that you want us to live fulfilled lives...lives that are full of all the things we need to function fully...including rest. Thank you that even when we feel low...neglected...insecure...cheated...that you are ready with open arms to restore and heal and uplift. I'm so grateful for your gentle kindness over my life. I pray you bless any one reading this post Lord, that you would give them fresh wisdom to look at the areas of their lives that may be overwhelmed with un-necessary activity. That you would direct us, guide us and fill us with your hope. Help us rest in you Lord...help us be in tune with you plans and help us encourage one another in loving ways. In Jesus name, Amen!

Be Blessed :-)