On Wings Like Eagles

We were blessed to have a houseful of family and friends join us for Easter. It was a delightful time of celebrating and visiting.

 altar

And by the end of the day, I was ready to put my feet up for a few minutes after being sure the food was properly stored.

 

On Easter Monday, with a quiet home, and a lovely, sunny day, I began to strip bedding, gather towels and clean the floors. What surprised me most was the negative feelings for all the “work” that was left behind.

 

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WHAT!?!

 

It surprised me to realize that resentment was welling up within my inner being.  I had enjoyed the company. There was plenty of help. I had simplified the menu, largely because of what I have learned through observing Sabbath.

 

As I continued to do the clean-up, I asked God to change my heart. In answer to that, He whispered in my ear, “Pray for those who slept on the sheets, who dried themselves with these towels, who took time and effort to come to your home and shared their time with you.”

skipping

 

What a difference it made! Soon my heart was singing with thankfulness for having family and friends to celebrate Easter Sunday.

 

Practicing Sabbath gives me space each week to tune into the quiet, gentlemanly voice of God. As I listen each week, I am more sensitive to the gentle whisper and more quickly repent—turn 180 degrees—and return to walking closely with God.

 

Had anyone been watching me that day, they may not have seen any change. But my heart went from weighed down to rising on wings like eagles!

There IS Rest

“Sometimes life feels like you’re running on a treadmill while someone keeps pushing the button to increase the speed faster and faster.” from “The Lies of Busyness: Devotions from Time of Grace”
 
As I read that, I remember that feeling. Even after the girls were grown up and creating homes of their own, it seemed there was never enough time in a day or a week.
Swinging
 
But as I read this quote this morning, a quiet voice nudged my thoughts.
 
“You don’t experience this feeling too often anymore, do you?”
 
It is true.
Quietly, imperceptibly, I am learning that the treadmill continues to go around, but I can choose to step off.
 
Two things have changed that.
 
#1 – Observing Sabbath rest.
First, I chose to do only tasks that weren’t on my list, tasks that felt creative on that day. For instance, baking cut-out cookies and decorating them with my granddaughters was NOT on my “to-do” list, but on a “Make memories with grandma” kind of list.
When that got easier, I began to give myself permission to read for a couple hours. Something fun,something frivolous, something that wasn’t on any list except my own “Books I want to read someday” list, or a recent recommendation from a fellow reader.
Then I was introduced to an on-line friend friend at a retreat in the middle of Nebraska. Shelly Miller’s Sabbath Society is a weekly letter about learning to observe Sabbath through the ups and downs of life in our day.
So I am journeying toward observing Sabbath. Not always perfectly, not always quietly, but recognizing it as a day to invest in people, relationships, and my inner self. It is not a day to catch up on what didn’t get marked off my to-do list or, even more damaging, getting a head start on the list for the coming week.
Rather than dread Sabbath, as it seemed so terribly dull to me as a child, and wasteful as a busy, employed mom, it has become a defining rhythm of my week, and as I discovered this morning, of my life.
It is a gift of God, reaching down, helping me to step off the treadmill.
#2 – Hosting Christmas 2013, knowing that it was very likely the last Christmas we would have to spend with Kenne’s mom. Though I had begun planning early for the 24 hours her immediate family would spend together in our home, I found myself adding things to the list to make it a memorable time for all twenty-two of us.
While the last minute purchases of prizes for a couple games were fun, and the photo booth that my girls helped me put up at nearly the last minute made a back drop for some fun photos, it did not define our time together like laughter, singing, our traditional program, and spending time reflecting on favorite family memories.
But it did help me realize that while lists can help me to focus on what needs to be done, my tendency is to keep extending the list.
Sabbath reminds me that the list needs to have a stopping point. That Christmas’s never-ending list is a marker for realizing my propensity for continually adding to a list.
But what a gift this morning that I am learning, slowly as it may be, that time is not my master. God’s gift of Sabbath, once I embraced it, has helped me be more subject to Him, my Lord and my Master.
So yes, I am learning that God wants me to step off the treadmill, to slow it down, to rest in Him.