A Gift of Rest and Joy

As the summer begins for us I feel a sense of joy and rest that seems to want to sneak in with it. The idea of early morning sunshine and endless hours spent outside brings a comfort to my heart. Especially as I spend these new sunshine days as a mom. I get to absorb the laughter and joy that my children seem to radiate. And while I love to sit in these precious joys life gives me I have to go back to the true source of joy that doesn't fade with the sun. 
The joy that doesn't end when the laughter stops and the rest that doesn't fade into chaos when the sun goes down and the realities of chores and life flood in. I love to sit in these temporary moments because I believe that these are little gifts from God. They are little pieces of happiness that we get to touch because he also loves absorbing our laughter and joy. 

We all love to think that this happiness and this sense of rest we find in life doesn't fade and we also like to believe that in some way we are in control of these precious feelings. The reason I want to share this with you is because we all know that those things we like to think are not true. The truth is, that happiness is fleeting and "rest" has become a luxury and is usually something that belongs to someone else. This is a very sad and hopeless view but it has also become the reality of the world we live in. We spend our time reading self-help books and listening to celebrities tell us that we just need to focus on ourselves and these things will come. We need to find our inner happiness and our inner peace and we will be ok. 

Now before you stop reading I want to tell you that this isn't the way it has to be. There is joy and rest out there that is stable and very attainable but it has nothing to do with finding what makes us happy or even slowing down life to give us rest and we have it right at our fingertips. 

So for all of us who are looking for joy when the winter rolls in and those of us who are scraping the sides of the bowl to find a tiny piece of rest, this is my prayer. That we will cling to the truths of God's word and that we would begin to unravel the true meaning of these precious commodities. 

"There are many who say, 'Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!' You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety."- Psalm 4:6-8

I am very grateful for the life that God has given me. I have a loving and hardworking husband, two healthy kids who are already falling in love with Jesus, a home for them to run free and experience God in a beautiful and natural setting, and so much more. I feel that my "grain and wine abound" but these things are temporary and I have no control over the ups and downs of life. There is loss, brokenness and pain that creeps up in a split second and can wipe these amazing things away. So what is left when that happens? In the hands of God and through his amazing grace and love we can find ourselves in the most trying of times and still be so full of his joy and rest that our heart abounds and we can lie down and rest in safety. 

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."- Matthew 11:28

"So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."- John 16:22

This is the kind of rest and joy that I want to hold onto. That I will know that in my most laborious times I can and will find rest in Jesus  and in the deepest corners of my sorrow I will rejoice and I can have the full assurance that no one and nothing can take that away. But where does this come from and how can we all have it?

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."-Philippians 4:4-7

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."- 1 Peter 1:6-9

Now this is the part that I find is so cool. While the world tells us to pick up our problems and solve them God tells us to pray and give them to him and then we will find rest and peace. I just get so overwhelmed by that because that is someone who really loves us. Through Jesus Christ and our surrender to him we will find a joy that is "inexpressible" and a "peace...which surpasses all understanding." We find so many reasons to fight God but why would we when we can have this. When all we have to do is let go and let God. When all we have to do is stop trying and just fall into his rest and joy that never ends. 

Now that's what I want and that is what I am so excited to share with all of you! So enjoy your summer days, your children's laughter, the lazy days by the pool and rest in the assurance that even if these things fall away there will be rest and joy waiting with open arms. 


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