Rest

It’s been a long season and the running and panting continue.  I long for a deep sense of recovery, for a peace that circumstances cannot penetrate.  I long for a break from all the fretting and faltering, the hoping and striving, the faith-ing forward and the falling fearful that seem to accompany me everywhere.  I am in need of peace.  Do you know this feeling? The need for rest that eight hours of sleep and afternoon naps don’t touch?  A need for the kind of rest that unrelenting circumstances and unanswered prayers cannot subdue?
I am a living paradox. One moment I am encouraging a friend over the phone, pronouncing the depth of God’s love and goodness for her.  The next I am phoning my sister in tears, in desperation for the pep talk I just gave.  I am in one moment effervescent with gratitude, and the next I am a grumbling mess.  I am enthralled by my three boys- grass stains and mini boxer briefs melting my heart and erecting a smile.  It’s a laundry room moment that is a museum of wonder and delight for me.  Do I really get to be their mama?  But how quickly this sunny experience is eclipsed by a dark pain and I am simply, tears streaming, heart aching, tutu skirt and leotard longing.I can wrestle and rest in truth- attract and repel lies.  I can pronounce God’s goodness and shiver with fear in the shadows. Yes, I am a mess.
As so often happens to me, my great mess leads to a great and holy clean up.  I have found my way back to rest.  I have rediscovered a path through the heavy and the hectic to the heart of God.  It was no discovery of my own- I can take no credit.  Rather, a holy initiation ensued and I found myself caught in the middle of it until I eventually began running in the right direction and found myself, literally, resting in the middle of a storm.  It all began six weeks ago when I received an email from my dear friend Karla sharing a dream she had about me.  The email read:
“There was an explosion in a barn and we ran together for a picnic shelter.  Once there I began reciting over you the first verse of Psalm 91:1.  ‘He who dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the almighty.’”
Her words fell like a waterfall over dry, brittle me and some deep need within was stirred.
Later that day, I went to my mom’s to retrieve a book my grandmother said she had left there for me.  When I went to pick up the book, I caught my breath when I read the title; “Psalm 91.”  I grabbed the book and pulled it to my chest, heart racing from the irony (the providence) of what had just happened.  Psalm 91 twice in one day….
A few days later I sat on the floor lamenting my pain and frustration to Chris regarding my life- my thoughts and sadness over unanswered prayers.  He listened patiently and then after I had emptied the pot, he pulled me to my feet, hugged me and said patiently…tenderly, “Kate I need you to do me a favor, I need you to rest in God.” 
He had never packaged truth quite like this to me before and his plea for me to “rest in God” seemed to seep into every frenzied corner of my heart and mind.  Three times in one week, through three different sources Jesus was inviting me to the rest I so desperately needed.  I felt loved. I felt known. I felt gently pursued and I felt hopeful.  Deep processing began-
 
If I’m not experiencing rest, does this mean I’m not dwelling in Him?  Is believing in God not enough?  I am a Christian- I pray, I read my bible, I love, I proclaim trust, I serve.  Where is this promised rest?  Why am I not experiencing the peace which seems to be promised to me?  How do I dwell in God?
My friend Karla’s dream could not have been more accurate for my life circumstances and how I had been feeling.  Bombs had been going off all around me and I had just been pacing back and forth, shouting at heaven for rescue, pleading for circumstances to change instead of sprinting for the shelter of God.  I had been craving relief instead of peace, change without instead of change within, God’s action versus God’s love and results instead of relationship.
Today I feel peace and not a single circumstance has changed in my life.  I am still a mess and life is still messy and I am still fighting through the stress. But, more than relief I want rest which I have been tenderly reminded can only come from dwelling in the shelter of the Most High.
How do you get there?
My words wear down the path all day long-
“Jesus I need you. Jesus protect me. Jesus guide me.  Jesus I’m a wreck. Jesus forgive me.  Jesus fill me.   Jesus be my answer. Jesus I believe.  Jesus you are good.  Jesus you have a plan.  Jesus thank you.”
In recognizing Him continually and in chanting His name, I am constantly opening the door into the dwelling place of God. And just like the beautiful promise of Psalm 91:1- rest does in fact follow the dwelling.
Paul describes this same beautiful process in His letter to the Philippians-
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-8)
Peace comes as a result of living in Christ Jesus- rest comes as a result of dwelling in His shelter.
My dear mama- recognizing that her little girl was in need of rest, gave Chris and me a couple days away minus the little ones.  On our excursion I sat down with a book I have been eager to read and within the first few pages, rest was once again brought to my attention:
“Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
I smiled as I pondered rest once more- knowing God was determined to massage His truth, His promise, deeply into the recesses of my heart.  I meditated on this for a bit and then got ready to go for a jog.  About two blocks into my agenda, the sky darkened, lightening cracked and the sky began to fall- hard.  I knew there was a park up ahead and I remembered there was a gazebo there.  I ran as fast as I could and made it safely to the shelter.  I sat down frustrated that my plans had been abruptly taken from me.  But as I sat there, huddled in the center of the gazebo, storm raging all around, I looked up to realize that I had literally run to the shelter.  As I closed my eyes I sensed I was hidden under a much greater and unseen shelter. And with the eyes of my heart I suddenly saw a rainbow perched high in the sky above me. For the next 45 minutes I sat at His feet and rest was all that I knew.  Jesus was all that I wanted.
There have been seasons of my life when grief pounded harder than any storm I’ve ever seen and for this pain- there is a shelter, there is rest.  When guilt and remorse come pouring down and threaten me with depression and self-loathing- there is a shelter, there is rest.  When fear and worry rage and when even the step before me is unknown- there is a shelter, there is rest.  When the stress of work and kids and parenting and home schooling and laundry and a list of unreturned phone calls and emails stack up- there is a shelter, there is rest.  When friends call and write in pain, “My friend has just lost her baby, My marriage is suffocating me, my past is hunting me”- even then there is a shelter.  Even then, in the horrid restlessness of pain, there is rest.
Who are you and what storm is wrecking havoc on your life?  Does the thought of deep peace sound like your last chance of survival?
Stand up. Stare your storm in the eye and run for the shelter. Call His name out as you go and dive into safety. Know that unseen eyes stare back at you- eyes that pierce through to the very core of who you are with the power to grip all that renders you weary. Yes, run to the Shelter and come home to rest.

Comments

  1. says

    Kate Kelty, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for calling me to RUN for SHELTER. I am so desperate for the rest only HE can give. I LOVE reading what you write. Always beautiful, always encouraging.

  2. says

    Kate Kelty, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for calling me to RUN for SHELTER. I am so desperate for rest only HE can give. I LOVE reading what your write. Always beautiful, always encouraging.

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