It has been over a week since I have sat in this chair, staring at this screen, and tried to find words. Lately, He's calling me to Silence and the flow of writing is slower, shall we say. Because of that, and because He is still calling me to a 'glorious lack of productivity' (His words... not yet mine!) I am linking up with all the places, so this post will graciously
be --or at least start!-- in classic Five Minute Friday form.
I have missed you, but it turns out that God didn't want me to just WRITE about Rest. He wasn't asking me to just remind you guys again and again, but He was wanting me to literally slow and stop and actually do the work of entering in to His Rest for a time!
How many know and can attest that sometimes it really IS work to enter in?
It was like a little mini refresher course of what I learned during my Summer of Silence and there is freedom in remembering that social media or the internet is not the boss of us!
In my Resting... He is reminding me of the importance of protecting the relationships that mean the most to us - and to Him (...and how we best go about doing that!)
I'll give you a hint: it includes expressing thankfulness, speaking life, and knowing (and remembering) who you really are!
This enables you to bring your best self to the table!
We'll start off like this: This is Five Minute Friday (- a five minute timed free write) and our One Word Prompt for the day is: PROTECT
I know... I know! I saw the prompt and with 4th of July on the calendar, I knew I could easily go in that direction! Because, of course! Of course I am thankful for all who have laid down their lives, who sacrifice daily - both here and overseas, to protect the freedoms I can so easily take for granted.
But what the Lord has been reminding me of during these past few weeks is how vitally important relationships are to Him. Ours with Him... first, of course! Individually... He is so for us... He is all in and never withholds His goodness or love.
But our earthly relationships matter to Him as well! Our marriages and our families... our communities and neighborhoods...
Relationships matter to Him because people matter.
We are called to protect the way our hearts are intertwined here on earth. We are made for connection and we really are supposed to be better together. But this world can pull at you and push you around.
Words can wound and hurts don't always heal the way we expect them too. It takes work to make a marriage (or friendship or relationship) thrive.
But thrive is what we all desire, yes?
I know I do... in all of my relationships, but in my marriage especially. I will focus in on that, but please don't check out if you are single... these truths relate to all of our connections!
In my marriage, well... I am blessed - like, it's ridiculous, y'all! My Honey is amazing! He takes such great care of me and my heart and our life. I never question if we are a priority for him.
But ministry can be hard! I will just say: Starting a church is no joke on your marriage!
We are solid and strong, --even better for it, I dare say, but a couple of months ago we endured the hardest, longest, painfully-quietest, most wounded and walled-up weekend E-V-E-R of our twenty five years of being together!
It was hard... and heartbreaking... and lonely - even when we determined to stay in the room together...but we DID stay in the room.
In the end, what bridged the gap and brought our wounded hearts slamming back into each other was the realization that, no matter what, --we win because we are all in...with no holding back. We win when we remember that we are one.
If we have to lay things down, we are willing.
If we 'fail' or face trials outside of us, we know that we will survive because we will do it together.
And with that, we remembered to Speak Life into to each other... to say the things that we love and cherish and are Oh So Thankful for --you know, OUT LOUD and to each other, not just about each other! (So often we remember to do this with our friends, our sisters, even our leaders... but our spouses or those closest to us? We can forget to say these things on purpose!)
We had a situation arise at the onset of that weekend where things had been building up over time and conclusions were drawn on all sides without actual communicating. (This should always be a red flag, yes?) Words can be said aloud, but communication requires more than that.
As I said, what brought us back to center was remembering that when it is all said and done... it is just us two (-becoming-one.)
At the end of every day... it's us.
It has to be us.
So we chose words on purpose and we talked it through and we remembered the importance of protecting our relationship... of not just standing beside but of standing with...
We remembered the value of being thankful. We count gifts, one by one -- and we are remembering to do it out loud, side by side or shoulder to shoulder, always heart to heart!
In the past year of juggling transitioning to empty nesters, starting a new church, balancing a full time job (him), a part time non-paying job (me... here.), and both volunteering for full time ministry... well - even though we have a solid foundation in being one and in knowing our true identities... the push and pull can cause you to make little shifts or exceptions to who you really are in order to meet the needs.
If you are not careful, you can find yourself overwhelmed and careening toward burn out...
We must pay attention and stay present. We must spend enough time, with each other and with the Lord, in the quiet in order to recognize when the noise is too much and the busyness, too bossy.
This life is fast-paced and it can scream at you with needs, lists of things to do, and with all kinds of busy. There are seasons when you are called to that, sure. But even in those times, protecting the connections that hold your heart is vital.
Sometimes it is hard work,
but always it is holy.
It's important because it is these very relationships that feed your soul and refuel your tank.
The Lord is still speaking to me about the difference between building walls and laying boundaries. I realized over that weekend that there were boundaries we had not yet laid, and once they had been crossed, there were walls erecting at lightning speed around my heart.
Listen, sweet friends, there was nothing hard or holy about it.
There is a time and place for self-protection. There is. But when your flesh is the boss of you and offense or wounds are stacking walls up high... we must stop the building and simply breathe.
In the midst of marriage, or those close friendships where intimacy has been cultivated and trust has grown...
Walls are dangerous and divisive.
Boundaries may need protecting, but walls close off, cut off, and cage off the gateways that bring healing and wholeness... that can bridge the gap and breathe new life.
So the importance of protecting your marriage is for the both of you and the best way to go about it is on a daily basis!
Protect it by speaking life, by giving thanks and being grateful for the good in each other and in your life that you are living. Protect the relationship by learning, being, and staying true to who you really are, and allowing room for grace to abound and for love to gently pull you back to center when the current of life knocks you off course!
...Always remember to:
I'm also linking up with the lovely writers and communities listed and linked below :
#FreshMarketFriday... how adorable is that?