Rest. This word, more than any other right now, plagues me.

Rest means stopping. Rest means not getting everything crossed off of my list. Rest means not meeting the needs of everyone in my life. Rest means slowing down. 

Why is resting so hard for us now days? Why do we always have to be doing something? When is the time when we can lean back in our chairs, without a cell phone or an iPad, and just be?

Today, this very minute, I want you to breathe. Go ahead, breathe in and out one time. Do it again. Do you hear the sound? The sound of life. At this moment, you have slowed down just enough to breathe.

Breathe. Everything will be okay. 

Breathe. They can wait until tomorrow. 

Breathe. Let the phone ring. 

Breathe. Your family really does love you.

Breathe. The diagnosis is not the end of you. 

Breathe. This semester in school is just a moment in time. 

Breathe. You’ll recover from the heartache. 

I’ve found when I get stressed I just talk a lot to God…about what I want to happen. This is the plan I’ve made, so will Y ou please bless it, Lord? If You would just show up at this date and this time, I would be really happy. Father, I am so grateful for all You do for me, but could you come through just one more time? 

But here’s what I’ve learned over the past week: I need to stop. And I need to listen. When I talk the whole time, God can’t get a word in edge-wise. I’m sure He’s looked at me before thinking, “When is this girl ever gonna draw a breath?!”

When I stop (and I literally have to stop), in the middle of my stress and strain, the fog begins to clear. I’m able to take a deep breath and God whispers a gentle, “You can do this,” to my heart. When I slow down and remember the emails can wait until tomorrow, or the blog post doesn’t have to be perfect, I notice a change. My stress turns into a song. The pressure becomes praise. And the hurry becomes hallelujahs.

Psalm 22 shows us that God dwells where our praises reside. Translation: He IS what we say of Him (and so much more, I might add). So, when I praise Him for His provision, even when I’m waiting for Him to provide, I am proclaiming, I believe You will come through for me, Lord!! 

Below is a prayer I wrote last week, when I needed God to BE what I said of Him. He did a wonderful thing for me, as I believe He will for you. As I wrote furiously, a beautiful peace settled in all around me. The feeling was almost like a blanket tucking me in, every part of my being fully covered. In the time I was praising Him, I was so consumed with giving Him the glory, that I found myself in a place of rest. I wasn’t concerned about the email I had to compose or the errand I needed to run or the call I had to return.

I was fully focused on praising Him.

As you read over this prayer, may it be true in your life. I pray that you will discover a God Who loves you beyond your wildest dreams. A Strong Tower where you can run. A Life Line on which you can cling. And a Father Who is just waiting for you to praise Him.

Go ahead. He’s done so much for us. As you read this prayer, open your mouth. Say it out loud. Proclaim this over your life. And be blessed!

Dear Lord, 

I love You. You are the Everlasting God, the Great and Mighty King, my Counselor, the Creator of all the earth. You can take apart nations even while You hear the small cry of one of Your children. You are Majestic, Holy, Honored, Adored, Respected. You are smarter than the wisest professor and stronger than the greatest athlete. You have no beginning and no end. Time is not Your concern– for a day is like 1,000 years, and 1,000 years like a day to You. You see all, know all, hear all, and are in all. There is no place I could hide from You. And there is no place You wouldn’t come to find me. 

You are strong like a mighty gale force wind, but tender like a newborn baby. You don’t treat us as our sins deserve, but look upon us with compassion and love. You are the Ruler of all the earth and galaxies, but yet You desire to know me. You want to know about my day, my struggles, and my joys. You just want to know me. Even though You already know everything about me, You long to hear me say, “I need You.” And I do.

You see the past, present, and future all at once. You are not phased by war, famine, sickness, or hardship. But Your heart does hurt when Your children do. You are the Miracle-Worker, turning impossibilities into possibilities. You hold the stars in Your hands, the same hands that have my name engraved upon them. You are Healer, Joy-Giver, Comforter, and Leader. There is no heart You will not search for, and there is no cry You will not answer. You are the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are powerful and Ruler of every authority. But You’re also my Dad.

You were there when I was born; when I took my first steps; when I scored my first goal; when I failed my first test; when I got my first kiss; when I graduated; when I had my first heart break; when I experienced loss; when I heard the prognosis; when I cried out to You for salvation; and even when I ignored Your guidance. You were the gentle whisper leading me away from certain people, the strong Protector shielding me from unseen trouble, and my greatest Friend when I sat all alone. You were the loudest cheerleader on the sidelines and the patient instructor in the classroom. You were always there with me. 

And still to this day You paint me a sunrise every morning to get me going, and a sunset every night to calm me down. Just when I get hot in the summer, You bring a gentle fall breeze. And when I’m freezing in my boots, small spring flowers begin to bloom. You are the Source of all my joy and the strong shoulder to lean on in all my pain. Every decision I’ve ever made was known to You; every action I took, already seen. At times in my life You have told me which way to go, and at others, You’ve let me choose my own way. 

Countless times I have failed You, but countless times You have picked me up, dusted me off, and set me back on the path. You are always with me. My past has no hold on me, for You have called me, “new.” The choices I made, the people I interacted with, the life I lived before You does not define me. I am not who I was. Your cross tells me otherwise. I am a child of God, Your daughter. I have been bought by the blood of Jesus, set free from the chains of sin, and set down among the Heavenlies. 

Your Word even says You sing over me! Your love is limitless; Your forgiveness unending; Your mercy extravagant; and Your grace overwhelming. But You are also just. There is no evil that will prevail; no lies that will remain hidden; and no sinful practice that won’t be exposed. You hate sin. And through the death of Jesus on the cross, sin is no longer able to hold us down. You have defeated death and opened the gates to Life. Forever I will praise You and forever You will call me Your child. 

You are God. You are Savior. You are Lord. You are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You are my Everything. 

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