Saturday, 2 March 2013

Properly putting your feet up {rest in the Lord}

Do you ever have times as a Mum when you are told to "put your feet up and rest". It's invariably a piece of advice that will elicit a good old belly laugh from the woman who was given the advice.

"Put your feet up and REST"?


With 7 children to look after, meals to make, problems to sort out, disasters to avert, hurts to kiss better and lots of other things to deal with, resting is not something that's always possible.

I have had a bad cold for just over a week, and when I was feeling at my worst I would have loved nothing more than to not only put my feet up all day, but to go back to bed!  However, such luxuries cannot be afforded by a mother.  It's simply not possible.

I have had times in pregnancy where I have been advised to rest.  I suppose that, relatively speaking, I have at those times "rested" more than normal, but total rest has not been possible.

I don't know about you, but the only time I properly REST, is when I jump into bed at night.  The amount of times I have sighed a big sigh of happiness, and declared "I love my bed", is innumerable   Your feet are finally off the floor, you weight is taken completely by your comfy bed, your head is snuggled into your pillow.  Rest.  At last.  BLISS!

That is, until some small person wakens up and our rest is disturbed.  I think I can safely say that some Mums I know have almost forgotten what proper rest IS!  Between a baby needing fed, or a toddler having a restless phase, even older children with bad dreams or growing pains.  It all happens.

No to mention health issues, or troubles of the mind that may keep us awake.  Tossing and turning with concerns and worries floating around in our head.

What about motherhood and the instruction to "wait"?

How many times do you have to tell your children, for the milllionth time, to "WAIT"!!!

"Just wait a minute, I can't do it right now!"

"No, your birthday is not tomorrow, or the next day, or the one'll just have to wait!"

"It's not the right time to ask me to help you with that, you will have to wait for me to do it."

"Asking me the same thing over and over and over will not make it happen - just WAIT!"

Our days seem to be filled with telling our children they have to "wait".

We are told, in the Psalm 37 verse 7, that we are to

"rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him".

As a busy Mum and wife, we hear that instruction and it seems like a big ask.



Two concepts that are a struggle for us, on a regular basis.

We live busy lives, just by being a wife and mother at all.  Our days are filled with caring for a husband and children.  The very nature of our "dominion" is one of serving and giving.  It's a busy life - physically, mentally and emotionally.

To be instructed to "rest" seems to be almost impossible.

I think there is a key truth we have to grasp, in order for our lives to gain the victory and satisfaction that this verse enticingly promises us.

"in the Lord"

Our rest must be in the Lord.  We need to rest upon Him, wholly and completely.  We need to throw that burden off our backs - we need to hand it over to Him - and put our feet up, our weight coming off our own two legs, and resting fully upon Him.  Upon the one who is strong enough to bear all that we have to carry, and who is able to give us that rest.

Rest implies a state of peace.  A lack of turmoil and struggle - an absence of distress. That true peace and rest can only be found in the Lord.

So, how do we find that rest?

Rest for our minds

"Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee."
Isaiah 26:3

This verse shows us that our minds can be at peace and rest, if we keep it focussed upon the Lord.  If we trust in Him, and rest in the knowledge that He is in control, and all things work together for our good, then we will have perfect peace.

It's easy for our minds to go to places of fear, anxiety and stress.  To set our mind upon the cares and trials of the day.  To worry about things that have happened, are going to happen, or may NEVER happen!  Everywhere except where our minds SHOULD be.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. "
Philippians 4:8

These are the questions that we need to ask ourselves, if our minds are tending towards unrest.  Are the things we are thinking about true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of a good report?  If not, we need to put them from our minds, and focus instead upon the Lord and His Word.  Memorise passages that put to rest those concerns and fears. Keep your mind stayed upon HIM, and be kept in perfect peace.

Rest in our hearts

"I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 
Psalm 16:18-19

The desires of our hearts, and the concerns of our daily life, can be at rest.  Why?  Because we put the Lord "always before us".  We keep our eyes upon Him, and remember that He is right there with us through "thick and thin".  Keep His Word before us.  Keep the truths that he gives us in the forefront of our minds.  Meditate upon it, and let our minds dwell upon it. It even assures us that our flesh will rest, or dwell, in hope. We will focus on hope and not despair - on being at rest and security and not desperation.

Rest from our labours

"I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety."
Psalm  4:8

The Psalmist begins, in this Psalm, by telling us that it was written when he was in a time of distress.


Yup, we all know how that can feel.

Ok, well, we THINK we know what it means to be distressed, but really what we think of as distress is just us getting things a bit out of perspective.  If he, in genuine distress, could rest in the knowledge that he could lay down peacefully and sleep, then we can claim such a promise too!  No matter how much our bodies are worn and tired - no matter how much our brains can be whizzing about, thinking about the day that is passed - or the one that is to come - we can be assured that the Lord can give us rest and peace. Sleep is such an important element, to give us the strength we need for every day.  Claim that promise, sister!

"He giveth His beloved sleep."

Rest from our burdens

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"
Matthew 11:28

Oh, such a comforting verse this one is.  We can identify with this one - so many moments, of so many days, in so many ways.  We feel "heavy laden" with the struggles that we face day to day, especially as a mother.  Children have a way with them, which burdens our body, heart and mind.  Their lives begin with us in labour, and the labour continues with each moment we are blessed to have them.  It's not a complaint.  It's simply a fact.

It's hard.

It's wearying.

It's trying.

It's a joy.

But, all these struggles are very real, as we labour in our role as a mother.  In order to mould our children, and shape them, and train them, and nurture them, we need to labour.

And, it's tough.

"ye shall find rest unto your souls"

What a comfort to remember, though, that all we need to do is to bring our burden to the Lord, and He WILL give us rest.  It may not come in the way we would choose, or expect, but He WILL give us rest.  It may not be physical, but it will certainly be spiritual.  Our souls will find rest.   To have that weight taken, spiritually, and to have rest from all our burdens, is such a blessing.

So, put your feet up tonight.  Find that rest, at the end of a busy week filled with trials and struggles, in the Lord.  Take the weight off your own shoulders, and rest completely on the Lord.

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