From Dormancy to Bloom

by Dr. Mel Tavares

Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NASB

There is power in the dormancy of winter, which bursts forth as new growth in the spring.

Did you ever look at deciduous trees in winter and think about how dead they look? There are no leaves, no blooms; seemingly no life is left. Yet beneath the surface, hidden from sight, new growth is happening.

As surely as night turns to day, my dead looking apple tree explodes with blooms every spring. I marvel at the beauty of its budding from the once cold, grey, seemingly lifeless branches, and then at the fruit that begins to grow.  

The same power of dormancy is true of perennial plants. This morning I walked past my daffodil bed and saw no evidence of life in there. If I didn’t know better, I would have dug up the dead-looking bulbs last summer after they stopped blooming. With my background in horticulture, I know there is life in the bulbs, but they go  into a period of dormancy to protect themselves from the stressors of the environment.

God gives us rest in seasons of dormancy. A person may look at us and think we are not fruitful in the Kingdom. But spiritually mature people will recognize the work God is doing beneath the surface in preparation for the next season in life.

Like plants in extreme cold or heat, many of us go into survival mode. If you’ve experienced this, you know that trying to keep up with the day-to-day requirements becomes too much. Personally, I tend to “shut down” at first. I can physically cook, clean, and work but cannot handle emotional and mental fatigue. My psyche goes into a state of dormancy. Can you relate to this?

Sometimes, the Lord will call us to a time of dormancy before moving us into the next level and season of life. Others may question your well-being if they observe your withdrawal from activities and interactions. Explain if you must but know there is power in this off-season. Don’t feel guilty about stopping for a time.

When plants are in a state of dormancy, the foliage and blooms cease growing, but the roots are still alive and growing. The same is true when we power down for a while. Our season of introspection is not in vain. We are being recharged and rejuvenated. Growth occurs deep in our spiritual roots as we dwell in the presence of the Lord, listen to worship music, and read the Bible.

Emerging from this time should be a gradual process. Leaving room for the emotional and mental stressors that continue to come and scheduling times for rest and relaxation will allow the fruit of our lives to bloom once again. And we will emerge more powerful and effective in ministering to our family and those around us.

Lord, thank you for teaching me the value of a quiet, seemingly dormant season. Help me to rest in your presence as you prepare me for the next season of life.

This article brought to you by the Advance Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Mel Tavares is an accomplished writer and speaker/teacher, both in ministry and in her career. She is passionate about encouraging and teaching writers. Her target market is women who are hurting and in need of Biblical hope. In addition to ghost writing and authoring her own books, Mel is a contributing author to several books, including the recently released DaySpring “Sweet Tea for the Soul: Comfort for Grieving Hearts.”  She writes for several online Christian communities, teaches classes online, conducts Facebook Live series, and is a podcast guest as opportunities arise. She is a wife, mom to seven, and grandma to ten.

Join the conversation. What growth in yourself have you discovered after a season of dormancy?

The Year We Cancelled Christmas

by Sue Badeau

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV)

“You have HOW MANY children?”  Upon hearing that the answer is 22; 2 by birth, and 20 adopted, the next statement many people make is “Christmas must be amazing in your house!”

Truly, Christmas IS amazing in our house.  Our traditions include doing something special on each day of advent to allow the anticipation to build, as the light and joy of the season grow day by day. The whole month of December became a magnificent, chaotic cacophony of joyful noise and bustling energy. 

December in our house never included a moment of rest.

One year, things had been particularly stressful for months.  Bad news, seemingly insurmountable challenges, illnesses, and even deaths were piling up along with the endless stack of bills to be paid.  My husband and I reached our breaking point.  “That’s it!”  We declared that we were “cancelling Christmas.”  We held a family meeting and told the children that this year, there would be no Christmas.  No activities, no cookies and eggnog, no lights, no tree, no stockings hung from the bannister, and no gifts.

Three of our children – ages 11, 12 and 14 – had a different idea.  They had a small after school job helping to deliver firewood.  Secretly they decided to pool their money and buy gifts for the entire family.  Stealthily they accomplished their mission with no one, not even mom and dad, catching on.  Excitedly, they waited until after everyone had gone to bed on Christmas Eve and then tip-toed into the living room and filled every stocking and added a pile of wrapped gifts around the fireplace. 

The astonished faces and tears of joy that graced our home that Christmas morning have never left my mind, or heart.  It was only by accident that I discovered who the 3 secret elves were, and I have kept their secret. 

Like the very first Christmas-mother, I too have “treasured up all these things and pondered them in (my) heart.” (Luke 2:19). We learned a simple and profound lesson that year. Christmas simply cannot be cancelled.  Even in the darkest of times in our life and even in the darkest spaces in our world, the light of Christmas will not stay under the bushel-basket.  The light will burst forth, spilling and spreading and dancing brighter and brighter as it is shared.  The light of Christmas brings not only joy but refreshment and rest to the weary and satisfies those who are feeling faint. 

Are you feeling weary this season? Lean into the rest and refreshment that only Jesus can provide.

This article is brought to you by the Advance Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Sue Badeau is a Christian author, speaker and adoptive parent who trains, consults and speaks nationally and internationally on trauma, racial justice, family engagement and self-care .She and her husband, Hector are lifetime parents of 22; two by birth, 20 adopted, and have also been foster parents to 75 including refugees from Kosovo and Sudan. They have co-authored Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip, Adopting and Raising 22 Kids and Building Bridges of Hope: A Coloring Book for Adults Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma. Sue also has authored a 6-week devotional book based on Psalm 51 and her experiences living with and loving people with trauma histories, entitled Clean Heart, Renewed Joy and she has a collection of short stories with holiday themes entitled, Our Special Christmas Joy.

Join the conversation. What unusual Christmas have you experienced?

Monday Morning Blahs

by Terri Gillespie

ADONAI [the LORD] delights in those who revere Him, in those who trust in His lovingkindness.  Psalm 147:11, TLV

Ahh. Mondays. For many, it is the beginning of the workweek. The weekend’s relaxation or fun activities are but memories and posts on social media. Time for the drudgery of work, eat, bed, then repeat. All the while counting down until the upcoming weekend.

That’s one perspective of Monday—or whenever your workweek begins.

Did you know the Scriptures only have one day of the week with a name? Shabbat — the Sabbath. According to the Bible it’s the seventh day of the week and begins Friday at sundown and ends sundown Saturday (Genesis 1:5; Leviticus 23:1-3).

What about the other days of the week that we’re accustomed to? The names of the seven days of the week in most Latin-based languages come from the Roman calendar, which related each day with seven celestial bodies considered to be gods: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. There are other pagan influences that sneak into the names, too.

But according to ancient Jewish tradition, each day of the week is more like a countdown to Shabbat. Sunday is known as “Six Days to Shabbat”, Monday, “Five Days to Shabbat,” and so on.

That simple act shows not only a reverence for God’s very first Biblical festival (Genesis 2:2-3; Leviticus 23:3), but joy and anticipation. Shabbat. A festival celebrated every week. Which is cool.

My parents had friends who were Orthodox sheliachs—emissaries or messengers—from Israel. Yossi and Michal and their children were sent to America to encourage the Jewish community to make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel. It was shortly after the Yom Kippur war, and, well, the locals were not interested. In fact, they ridiculed our new friends and treated them poorly.

Surprisingly, Yossi and his family became good friends with our family—Christians and Gentiles. As a result, they welcomed us into their world and taught us so much about the Biblical feasts. Especially Shabbat.

Once Shabbat was over—on our “Sunday”—Michal was already planning for the next Shabbat. Everything from menus, cleaning, and what fun activities and lessons to teach their children about the love of God. Each day of preparation was special and readied their hearts, minds, and homes for the upcoming festival.

There were no “blahs,” just excitement and discovering new ways to honor the LORD and bless their families, at the next Shabbat.

Now that’s a paradigm change. Every day before Shabbat is an anticipation to rest in the LORD, to praise Him, to fellowship with family and loved ones. We’re not only revering the celebration but revering our Creator — our Abba. This could include walks or visits to the beach to take in God’s creation. Reading. Games. Bringing a meal to someone in need.

According to today’s verse, GOD delights in us with this shift in our priorities to Him. We delight Him!

Have you ever noticed it is difficult to doubt our Father and praise Him at the same time? We can share the whirlwind of our concerns from the week, but our landing place — our resting place — can be praise and celebration in Him.

Praise takes us out of our heads and turns our minds to reverence and trust that He’s got whatever is troubling us. No matter how many times it takes to remind us, our Heavenly Father has us. Perhaps that’s why He set up a weekly reminder—the Sabbath.

And when we rest and praise and worship and celebrate His festival and His family, the Creator of the Universe smiles. I like that.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, because of His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, released in October.

Sweet Rivalry is the story of twins separated by a troubled mother. One twin is lovingly raised by her grandmother who owns a small-town bakery. The other sister is raised by an addict mother. They discover one another through a televised baking competition. But will rivalry break them apart again?

Join the conversation: How do you make the Sabbath special in your family?

Obey and Take a Nap!

by A.C. Williams

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. Psalm 139:1-4 NLT

Little babies make a lot of noise when they cry, and the angrier they get, the louder they scream.

I don’t know much about babies, but I’m at the age now where all my friends have them. So I’ve had a crash course. The other night I was trying to get my best friend’s exhausted 10-month-old to sleep. It was late, and the baby was so tired. But she was having none of it.

How dare I force sleep upon her! How could I betray her in such outrageous fashion? (This is how every 10-month-old speaks, by the way.)

This fourteen-pound squishy-child full of applesauce and drama can throw her head back and squall loud enough to rattle windows. Big wet tears pour out of her eyes. Her little toothless mouth twists all up, and she just howls like the world is ending.

There was nothing wrong with her. She just didn’t want to miss out. The child desperately needed sleep, but she fought it every step of the way. All I could do was hold her and rock her and reassure her that the world would look so much better if she’d just admit how tired she was and let go.

After all, I knew better than she did.

In response, of course, she flailed and punched me right in the face and sent my glasses flying across the living room.

And then, as I was laughing at her, I felt a very pointed tap on my spiritual shoulder, and I could practically hear the Lord whisper in my ear: Now you know how I feel with you.


I stopped laughing at the squirmy, wiggly, bawling child in my arms and nearly started crying myself. Because, as usual, God was absolutely right.

That very day was supposed to have been my Sabbath, but I’d worked through it. Like every other adulting adult, I have deadlines. I have people who are counting on me. So I sacrificed my rest in order to do my work, which is pretty much the opposite of what God desires (Exodus 20:8).

I fight against rest as fiercely as this little baby-child does. Maybe it’s my fear of missing out. Maybe it’s my fear of letting people down. Whatever it is that keeps me working when I ought to be resting, it’s connected to fear. And I’m fairly certain that I’m not supposed to be making decisions that way (2 Timothy 1:7).

God knows me better than I know myself. He knows everything about me. He knows what I think before I think it, what I say before I say it, and what I want before I want it (Psalm 139:1-4). That means He’s the one who knows what’s best for me. So when He tells me to rest, I should rest. Not throw a tantrum. Not howl and bawl about it and fight it, like an infant who wants what she wants even if it’s bad for her.

Know what I did the very next day? I slept in. I gave myself a day to rest, and I felt better about life. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

We all need rest. Sure, there are always exceptions, but if rest weren’t supposed to be part of following Jesus (Matthew 11:28), I don’t think He’d talk about it so often.

So maybe it’s time for us all to just take a nap. Can you make space for that today? I think I will. Looming deadlines or no, I’ve learned that God values obedience more than sacrifice.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)

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About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks won’t match. An AWSA Golden Scrolls finalist and an editor at Uncommon Universes Press, she believes that God works miracles through stories. Learn more about her coaching services at and subscribe to her daily devotional emails at Amy is offering a special: the first seven days free, then $5/month.

Join the conversation. What do you plan for practicing rest on the Sabbath?

Taking Our Thoughts Captive

by Chris Manion

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

The year felt hard. My work as an author overwhelmed me. My shoulders and spirit sagged under the burden of what I felt called to do. Long signs gave evidence my lungs needed air after my thoughts pressed it out of me. Christmas neared and my heart hung heavy, not like the light-hearted child of God I am.

God spoke to my heart through a friend. “Your body is telling you you’re doing too much. You need to rest.” I heard the truth and embraced it. I went to bed early and slept nine hours, more than I’d slept in one night all year.

I recalled my husband’s words as we looked at the flowering bush in our yard that December morning: “Praise you, God, for your daily encouragement. Praise you, Creator of all beauty and life. Praise you, O wonderful Counselor, for your wisdom and truth that blooms in my heart.”  The bush continues to bloom.

When I finished praising Him, I noticed I was smiling. My heart lifted like a joyful child. I analyzed what just happened. I’d been obedient to His word of truth spoken through a friend. I rested my body, the temple of the Lord. The morning light filled that temple with grace and beauty. My spirit sang its praise. The overwhelming exhaustion as well as my focus on my shortcomings disappeared with the dark of night.

This practice of obeying God as He directs my life confirmed Paul’s command to the Corinthians above. I also heard Isaiah’s proclamation in my soul: “See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV).

More Scripture verses bubbled up in my mind like sparkling water. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me” (Psalm 28:7 NIV).

His directive to rest my body shielded me from my burdensome thoughts and gave me strength for this new day. Praise God and His blessings! Once again, God had shown me my childlike need to trust and obey Him. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Dear God, help me to control my thoughts by obeying you and enjoying your gifts of peace and joy that continue to bloom. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Chris Sauter Manion loves to speak from her core Scripture verse: “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). She’s an award-winning author, leadership expert, and inspirational speaker who uses skills from building a $20 million sales organization to help people of all ages embrace the give and take of a deepening relationship with God. Chris lives with her husband of forty-plus years in Florida‘s panhandle where she kayaks and photographs the Gulf coast’s natural beauty. She is a grandmother of five wee ones and loses all sense of time when gardening, creating and cooking. Reach out to her at

Join the conversation: How do you attempt to control your thoughts?

Finding His Float

by Amber Weigand-Buckley @BareFacedGirl

You know what the hardest thing about floating in the healing peace, joy, and rest is? The challenge to get to the water even though it might be but a few steps away. 

My head likes to tease me with the hope of REST. I tell myself: As soon as you do this, you can step away from your desk and take a 15-minute snooze… And sometimes, even crazier: As soon you get this call made, you can eat and go to the bathroom. 

Are you killing yourself trying to earn a restful float in the healing pond, away from the stressful monotony of your day? We get so comfortable believing if we can get one more thing accomplished, we will find our healing peace. 

This mindset reminds me of the lame man in the Bible, who was sitting by healing water. He knew if he could “get there,” he would find the relief he’d been talking about. Why then was he stuck in making excuses?  “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me” (John 5:7 NIV).

 It took Jesus to shake him out of his mindset. It took Jesus to break into the reality that peace and healing were mere inches away from his hopeless place. 

Jesus said simply. “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.” He was healed instantly. 

You might be thinking, “Can’t the people around me see my need for healing space and rest and time in the water simply to float?”

The answer… yes, they can see your condition. Yes, your friends know which way you should go. But that guidance can only do so much to carry you. It’s only in a willingness to get out of our mindset of carrying the load and into the healing power of the water that we can find His healing. 

The truth is, we can break away from the sickness of the stuck in doing: thinking this is the lot I’ve been given… just suck it up girlie. 

I remember what it was like to take a skydive. The most fearful part was when my foot was stuck on the edge of the plane. In fact, from 10,000 feet up, the heights didn’t scare me, because I was so far from the ground, I couldn’t perceive hitting it. But when my foot got stuck on the edge of the plane as I walked out on the strut, it scared me for a second … it was so close… things weren’t working right. 

It only took my jump guide to lift my foot up a tiny bit… and oh my, it was the best float of my life. 

Are you listening to God’s call today to lead you into His floating space? Are you thirsty for the water, but are thinking I need to do that one more thing, and I will get there? Do you need his hand to pull you out of stuck and into your much-needed healing place?

All the one more things of our day add so much to our weighty burden, piling even more up on our frail human frame. 

But today Father, I’m giving every one more thing of this day to you, because you’re calling me to rest. I’m willing to let go of this mountain of to-dos to fall into the float of abiding in You. You are where my healing comes from, and I will take the few steps I need to get to the water. 

No matter how busy you are, you NEED to feel Him, but no one is going to bring the pond to you. But it’s there. Come to the water. Find your rest in His Float. Abide. 

Finding His Float – encouragement from Amber Weigand-Buckley, @BareFacedGirl on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Amber Weigand-Buckley is the editor and art director of Leading Hearts Magazine. Text LEADINGHEARTS to 64600 to get the latest issue free and check out

Join the conversation: When is the last time you found your rest in the Lord?


Sitting With My Savior

by Cindy Martin

I find myself wrestling with a new twist on an old issue. I posed a couple of questions to God a while back, “What do You really want me to be doing with my life? How should I actually be spending my time here on earth?” After seeking His heart on a day I’d set aside to ponder these questions with Him, His answer was clear….well sort of. His inaudible, but unmistakable response to my query was, “Be available.”

What does “be available” actually look like? That day, I was at a crossroads, asking God which of the many options before me He wanted me to pursue and He asked me to BE available. (Notice that He didn’t ask me to “do available”, but rather to “be available.”)

Herein lies the wrestle – the age old wrestle – how do we BE available? How do we live in the tension between being and doing? After all, the incessant doer in me knows that things still need to get done. Yet my heart knows there is more to it.

The writer of Ecclesiastes articulates my frustration but also brings some clarity to the issue. What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 NLT).

Work was God’s idea and is His gift to us. ‘Doing’ and ‘being’ both originated with Him. They were not intended to be in opposition to each other. Rather, their kingdom design was to complement each other. The fact that God “planted eternity in the human heart” means that our spirits know that we were created for something more than mere physical labor and existence. But, because we can never understand all that God is up to in our lives, we spend a lot time ‘doing’ in an effort to figure out ‘being’.

I’m learning that ‘being’ is not the cessation of activity so I can engage in monk style meditation, but rather making space in my mind and in my schedule for Him to have full access to my undivided attention. I call this time, “sitting with my Savior”. I’m not reading Scripture, I’m not praying, I’m not even engaging in worship. I’m simply sitting still with my palms turned up in a posture to receive from Him, giving Him opportunity to pour into me what I need from His divine hand.

Sometimes it’s encouragement for my soul; other times, it’s wisdom for a circumstance I’m facing or direction for the road ahead. I’m amazed by His attentiveness to me. The more time I spend “being” with God, the more He informs my “doing”. Sitting with my Savior deepens my trust in Him and sweetens our relationship. The posture of my heart is changed, and I leave our time together renewed, refocused, and ready to “do” His will!

Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go’, Whether to the right or to the left.  Isaiah 30:21 NLT

Sitting With My Savior – encouragement from Cindy Martin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Cindy MartinAbout the author: Cindy is a writer, speaker and certified personality trainer who has a heart for helping people to get unstuck. She is passionate about teaching others how to live beyond their circumstances. She lives with her husband Walter on an acreage near Calgary, Alberta (Canada). They have two adult children.

If you feel angry, impatient, or overwhelmed and feel unable to stop the relentless internal revving, there is a better way to live. Living With Your Heart At Rest invites you to step out of the blender and into deep soul rest. Cindy shares with passionate conviction and authentic experience that it is possible to live with your heart at rest … before you’re laid to rest.

Join the conversation: When is the last time God had your undivided attention?


The Almighty Shadow of Rest

by Christina Rose

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, 
my God, in whom I trust.”                                                                                                                                          Psalm 91:1-2 NIV

We were happily married and joyfully expecting our first baby. We enjoyed a carefree life on San Francisco bay and never imagined anything could go wrong. I still remember the day a notice arrived from the lab showing abnormal test results. When my husband came home, I was too overcome by grief to speak and just handed him the notice. Further testing revealed that our baby was thriving, but I had to quit working, rest often, and notify my doctor with any problems.

There were many sleepless nights as I constantly prayed that our baby would survive and be healthy. In the early hours of dawn, I would head to my rocking chair by the fireplace and look out over the twinkling lights of San Francisco to the south. To the west was our lush green lawn and a view of the mountains. Deer would arrive in those early morning hours to feed on the grass before the sun came up. Their peaceful presence would calm me as I prayed. They had no worries, and I decided that neither should I.  I learned to rest and find peace in the shadow of the Almighty.  Months later, our beautiful little daughter arrived, perfectly healthy.

Now, many years later, sleepless nights have led to more rocking chair prayer in the early hours of dawn. My trip home to California was cancelled due to the pandemic of the corona virus. As I sit in the silent, dark hours, in Denver looking west towards my family in California, I choose to rest and trust in God’s perfect plan.

While this pandemic has seemingly paralyzed the world, it is instilling humility, compassion, and gratitude for many things we took for granted. This is a time of great harvest, as formerly self-reliant people are now turning to God for guidance. We will emerge from this global reset with a greater appreciation for our families, jobs, health, food, shelter, and most importantly, more trust in the God who has provided these things.

Not being able to see or hug our loved ones, especially in times of sickness and death, is something we have never known. But the silver lining is, once the crisis is over, we will embrace each other with greater love and affection. We will joyfully celebrate the simple pleasures that were temporarily taken away from us. We will have a greater appreciation for one another and all of life itself, realizing that each day is a gift from above.

As I watch the sunrise casting pink shadows over the snow-capped Rockies, I think of all the magnificent wildlife that is stirring in the mountains. I think of the vast beauty of the majestic mountains, lakes, streams and wildflowers that are starting to bloom. I think of my family on the California coast and pray that I will see them soon.  When we learn to rest in the shadow of the Almighty, we learn to find the peace that surpasses all understanding. We learn that while we may seem to be in the middle of a dark storm, it is merely a pause to reflect while God is birthing something new and wonderful.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

The Almighty Shadow of Rest – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: What have you been learning through the corona virus crisis?

Time for a Nap

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.                                                                                                                               Psalm 4:8 NIV 

I seldom ever take a nap during the day. It’s not that I’m opposed to naps, but I’m one of those perpetually fast-forward personalities that has a hard time slowing down long enough during the day to take one. But the other day, my late nights and early mornings caught up to me. I was so sleepy and sluggish; I couldn’t concentrate on anything and needed a power nap.

Setting the timer on my phone for 45 minutes, I curled up on my bed and started to drift off to sleep, but the room was so cold, I couldn’t relax. My husband keeps the thermostat set at “frigid” in our house. Remembering the quilt folded at the foot of the bed, I pulled it over myself. With the heavy warmth of that quilt wrapped around me, I instantly fell into a deep, restful sleep.

It feels good to have a fresh start; and grabbing a little rest is needed. When my timer went off, I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

We normally just think about rest in terms of our physical bodies, like when I ran out of steam in the middle of that day. But rest is essential for our soul and spirit as well. We tend to forget about our need for spiritual and emotional rest. It’s easy to become weary and worn out when our lives are filled with concerns and worries for our family or marriage, work issues, finances, health, or even ministry.

Hey, let’s face it, we live in a cold world, and as much as I needed the warm quilt to relax and rest in a cold room, we need a covering over our minds and hearts to relax and rest in the Lord. That’s where we find peace for our weariness.

God has provided a covering for us that is even better than my warm quilt. Look what it says in Psalm 91:4 NLT: “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” When our minds are filled with a million thoughts, when we are stressed out, when life seems out of control and when things aren’t going the way we want them to, it’s time to step away and rest under the soft downy feathers of God’s faithful promises.

Our situation may not change right away, but His peace that comes with His covering, allows us to relax and rest. After a time of refreshment with Him, we’ll have what we need to get on with the situation at hand.

So, how about you? Are you in need of a spiritual and emotional nap? Cover up under the warmth of God’s wing. He is there for you. Here are a few more verses to read while you rest.

  • Ruth 2:12 (BSB) “May the Lord repay your work, and may you receive a rich reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have taken refuge.”
  • Psalm 17:8 (NIV) “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”
  • Psalm 18:30 (BSB) “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”
  • Isaiah 51:16 (BSB) “I have put My words in your mouth, and covered you in the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”
  • John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.”

May you wrap yourself in God’s peace and be able to rest in Him today.

Time for a Nap – encouragement on finding God’s peace from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.

Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.

Join the conversation:  What are some of your favorite verses that help you to rest?

Teach a Mom to List

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Teach a man to fish, it’s all good. But teach a kid a card trick and be prepared to watch it nonstop for like 12 years.

Like, “Is this your card?”…until college.

Understand, you have to make time for that. It’s one of the reasons schedule-juggling is trickier with kids. I’m not a structured person by nature, so in those years of raising mine, to-do lists became my friends. And enemies.

On any given day, I made a gargantuan list, then had to quick-plan for a dozen things that weren’t on it. Weren’t on any list. Ever. Who can plan, for instance, for an away-from-home potty-training disaster you’re forced to clean up with three Wal-Mart receipts, last week’s church bulletin and a Kit Kat wrapper (give me a break).

Our time raising children is short. I can get philosophical about it, for sure. I’ve long said, when one door opens, another door opens. And then also a side door. All the doors. And they never close. Because you have kids.

I wonder how many months of my life I spent closing doors behind this or that kid running in or out. I had five babies in seven years. That means in a 12-year span I probably slept four hours. Total. Essentially, I traded sleep for door-closing. It’s a thought that makes me smile. And it makes me want a nap.

Ever feel like your soul needs a nap? Jesus knew you would. He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30, CSB).

Rest for our bodies? We do have to make time for that. But soul rest is at least as vital. Anytime we find ourselves feeling burned out, weary, burdened—heavy—it’s time to step back and listen to Jesus’ call to “Come to me.” It’s an open door. And to our delight, it stays open.

When you’re frantically sorting one to-do list from another (is this your card?), and when your mind feels cluttered and weighted down with challenges and stresses, remember your Savior’s reminder that He waits for you. He will be your respite, your comfort, your encouragement. All you have to do is come.

Come to Him in prayer. Come to Him in worship. Come to Him through His Word. Give Him the first-fruits of your time and you’ll find the perspective you’re looking for. So often all the urgent to-dos sort themselves out as we remember His call to come, to lay down a heavy, burdensome yoke we’ve placed on ourselves, and exchange our plan for the just-fits comfort of His will. Would you believe, even when an unexpected disaster thrusts itself upon your list, you can still smile. His easy yoke comes with grace, joy, peace—everything you need for a genuine “successful existence.”

Responding to His “come to me” should top my every list. Relief from my own exhausting yoke. Strength and renewal under His.

As for my other lists, however, I’m still fishing through those. Guess I’m a work in progress. The other day I went to the store without my list and was proud of myself when I only took twelve thousand laps around the grocery section looking for something that wasn’t even on it.

“I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord.   Ezekiel 34:17 NASB

Teach a Mom to List – encouragement with a touch of humor from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novel, Turtles in the Road, co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated: A Novel by [Rhea, Kaley, Rhea, Rhonda]

Rhonda and Kaley have just released a new novel, Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated. When the Heartcast Channel Movie division announces they’ll briefly be allowing submissions for new Christmas movies, Harlow finds herself paired with a reluctant co-star. Jack Bentley may be the biggest Heartcast Original Movie name in the business, but he is anything but formulaic.

Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: What is weighing you down today?