Warm Wednesday Words: Margin for the Other Side Journey

BeFunky_IMG_20150315_081054430.jpgThe pendulum has swung wide for me recently on life events, and there have been moments in the stormy times, I’ve lost sight of the other side.  Because stresses and griefs tug at the heart even through the elation of miracles, I’ve had a time of it.  Yet the recent warmth of personal kindnesses and encounters threatens to thaw the icy numbness that settles and resettles in my arms.

I will highlight a few, but not all, of the weekend warmths God sent my way.  On Saturday, a friend and marathon runner committed one of her many miles she runs to praying for our family.  She says she likes to pick a friend and devote a mile to them in prayer.  I’m humbled, honored. and grateful.

Sunday I received a “random” message from an out of state friend who I have not been in touch with for months.   Among many other encouraging words, she said, ‘I am praying that the Lord carry you through the storms and calm the waves. May you always remember that the Lord is in the boat with you and that because He is, you will make it to the other side. When the Lord went into the boat with the disciples, he said to them “let us go to the other side“.  There was no doubt that they would make it to the other side.even in the storm…even though they were afraid when the storm came…because Jesus was with them and He knew they would make it, it was not yet His time. It is hard to Trust in the storms that shake us, but Jesus says “Do not be afraid, Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the earth….” ‘ 

Again on Sunday (after church and a deeply satisfying nap) I did some catching up in the “Breathe” Bible study (by Priscilla Shirer) that I am in, on making room for the Sabbath, boundaries, etc.  After discussing boundaries and margin, Shirer quotes Brad Lomenick, respected innovator and leader of the Catalyst Movement in America as saying several things about the powerful concept of ‘margin’ in several areas of life, including this quote, “Margin in our friendships creates significance and impact.”

If there’s anything new I’ve concluded about friendships over the past year or so, it’s that in my own strength, I might be able to encourage and pass along the love of Christ to someone on occasion, but any consistency is lost on me without some margin in my  life for such efforts.  To have margin requires that I set boundaries.  To set wise boundaries necessitates time in prayer to be sensitive to what parameters I need in order to keep the proper things in their place, and to be guided to friendship as the Lord would lead.

Hebrews 4 says “for the person who has entered  his rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His.  Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.”  Entering into a “rest”, or a cessation of normal activity, and especially to focus on God, counters the physical world and is the beginning of true freedom and blessing.

Oswald Chambers says, “are these things crushing us? Are they badgering us out of the presence of God and leaving us no time for worship? Then let us call a halt, and get into such living relationship with God that our relationship to others may be maintained on the line of intercession whereby God works His marvels.”

Today, I was blessed with a friend who I haven’t seen for weeks coming by my place of work just for a quick hug.  And then blessed again with a good ole chat with my mom, who I will never stop needing.  I’m touched in those moments and more recently by many around me who get off the merry go round of their normal activities and in effect, say, ‘Let’s go to the other side.  I’m with you.  And, oh, yes, there IS another side and we’re headed there together!’   I’m so thankful to God because He sends those who would speak His Words, and actively care the way He does.  That is what points to Him and reminds me what I momentarily forgot about the other side.

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Warm Wednesday Words: For the Love of Naps!

nice long napI love a good nap.  There are several kinds of naps, beginning at a few seconds, a couple minutes, twenty minutes, and my favorite…the lazy nap, which is nearly an hour or more.  The lazy nap is the only one that gets one into the REM sleep, which is the most purifying and restorative sleep.   If I can’t make it to the REM stage before household noise prevails, then I easily wake and am frustrated and groggy; not refreshed and energized!   My children can attest to my attempts at naps when they were young and I desperately needed a little extra shut eye.  They remember well the verbal threats of near “torture” if they could not be quiet for one measly hour.  On such occasions their giggles and sometimes mini wars usually began about the time I would lay down and the noise would increase at a steady crescendo until I would give up and perhaps try coffee instead.

going to bedI admire the folks able to micro nap and hope to acquire that skill someday.  It could really come in handy for those days when just a few seconds of stolen sleep could make all the difference.  My dad was well known for taking all sorts of naps in all sorts of places, even occasionally public places!

But meantime, I’m resigned to try to speed up the onslaught of REM sleep sooner then average when attempting to engage in a “legal” nap in my own noisy home.  My favorite day of the week for this luxury is Sunday, usually no sooner then 2:30 p.m., since we often have casual lunch company after church.  Then, with dishes cleaned up, and everyone about their own hobby or nap, off I go to a cozy pile of pillows on a bed with one special pillow to cover my head and muffle noises.  Sunday afternoon naps and quiet times date back to my childhood, where we often read books, snacked on bananas or cookies and sometimes fell asleep, even before the age of real nap appreciation had set in.

busy doing SundayOther nap deterrents is accidentally ending up with our cat or one or both of the Bostons in the room with me.  These furry companions can be quite cozy when they want to be, but they have many clever ways of ruining a perfect nap for me.   First their route to the doggy door, which is in the master bedroom, becomes like a rush hour thoroughfare, with the Bostons suddenly needing to bark to protect me from every bird tweet or leaf blowing.  When they feel they’ve got all the scarey things outside the french doors under control they scratch on the side of the bed to be lifted back up (never mind that if they wanted to they could jump it easily).  I reluctantly lift them up, and they turn circles and finally settle down just upwind of my nose.  At this point, they begin to relax and so does their intestinal stress!

boston noseAt some point during the Boston fiasco, the geriatric cat has decided she needs to scratch her head on the pillow that I have over my own head.  This is not a gentle scratch.  I think she believes she has antlers that need the velvet removed and my pillow is the perfect tree.  After I shove her away, she instead decides she would like to sleep on my arm and quite determinedly settles down to nap nose-to-one inch from my nose with whiskers supplying the final ticklish touch.

catThis is usually about the time that the phone rings and if I forgot to bring it back with me to the bedroom, I practice my 50 yard dash from the tangled zoo on my bed, open the door, dash around the corner to the end table at the far end of the couch where usually sit one or more oblivious teenagers engrossed in their laptops or other gizmos.

IMG_6593Coming from the recliner at the other end of the living room sounds like the rhythmic noise of a freight train, but is actually the snores of my husband, who is deep in REM.  Meantime the Bostons have followed me out and cozy up on the recliner with him.

IMG_5080I make a beeline back to the bedroom shutting myself in without one live, breathing creature other then myself.   Ahh…zzzz

a girl and her bed on SundaysFinally, in no time, I sink into a deep sleep.  I hear tell there is often the sound of a second freight train, but I don’t believe it.  Sometime later I wake up.  Is it minutes, hours or days?  Where am I?  What am I supposed to be doing?  What day is this?  I momentarily think Rip Van Winkle has nothing on me.  I look out the french doors and let my brain cells gather data for a few seconds.  I’m still not sure about anything, but head out to see the clock and the coffee pot.  Now that, at last, is a perfect Sunday nap!  According to Wikipedia, “Napping was found to be both physiologically and psychologically beneficial. Napping for 20 minutes can help refresh the mind, improve overall alertness, boost mood and increase productivity. Napping may benefit the heart. In a six-year study of Greek adults, researchers found that men who took naps at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-related death.”  What is your best method of rest and rejuvenation?  Have you nailed down a regular method?  Did you know March 10 is National Napping Day?