Take a Breath

Rainy Day

This picture doesn’t capture the colorful glimpse I caught of the world yesterday. Yesterday, I saw soft blue paneling where there is actually eggshell paneling. A yellow shine on the roof reflected the light of a red setting sun. The grass sparkled green, cloaked in rain drops.

This sweet weather (grossly humid, but visually beautiful) was a pretty picture of sweet simplicity.

I took a breath.

In the midst of all the tired moments, God does not fail to provide rest and peace for his children. He amazes me with His faithfulness.

In all of the busyness of life, sometimes I forget to breathe. At least, I forget to take a deep breath. But there is so much to be thankful for and to admire.

One of the most beautiful blessings is getting to spend the rest of my life with Landon. Five weeks ago, Landon asked me to marry him, and I was so happy to say yes! This young man has blessed me. He has loved me in a way that reveals so much about the love of Christ. I couldn’t ask for more because I think he is the best already.

emily and landon 34

Landon teaches me so much about the Lord and about life. Recently, he reminded me to enjoy these moments of engagement now. This season of engagement naturally looks forward to marriage as we plan our wedding in December, but that isn’t the destination. We are in a relationship now, and it can still be filled with moments of joy and fun instead of crowded with stress and decision-making.

Enjoying the present is a difficult endeavor. But it is worth it.

With the stress of planning a wedding, it is so easy to get caught up in the details and forget to see the joy in everything. But I believe that it is more than worth it to actively pursue rest and joy.

For pursuing rest is an active quieting of the soul. It is actively trusting the Lord.

And I would rather not choose to dwell in my own stress when I can relax in the presence of the Lord.

 

Holy Rest

The Most Holy humbled Himself. In a manger, Mary made do with what she was given. The shepherds heard from the angels the resounding chorus that announced their Savior’s birth.

This. This was the Savior of the world. That was Israel’s promised rest. His was the Sabbath fulfilled. This was the end to striving. This was Holiness robing us with His righteousness.

Advent is awaiting Christ’s coming. We celebrate His first coming, and we eagerly anticipate His return.

O come, O come, Immanuel…

“God with us.”

Holiness with us. Holiness given to us. We are now robed in righteousness when we have done nothing to deserve it. We could not earn our rest. We could not earn our holiness. Yet the Lord paid the price so that we may be made holy.

Baby Jesus, Christmas, reminds us that God has not abandoned us. He remembers us. He established rest at creation, and Jesus fulfilled the Sabbath through His coming.

Hebrews 2-4 has a lot to say about that Sabbath rest:

In the Old Testament, the Promised Land was a place of rest for the people of Israel, but many of the Israelites missed the rest that the Lord’s desired for them. Many attempted to earn rest through the Law of Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6), and some blatantly disobeyed and forfeited the promise of rest (4:6).

The Lord, since the foundation of the world, established rest for the people, through faith (4:3), even though Jesus had not yet come. Joshua brought temporary rest, but Israel missed out on the even greater everlasting rest – an eternal rest for the soul (4:8). Deaf ears and disobedience kept the people in a state of restlessness.

When the author of Hebrews says to “strive to enter that rest” (4:11), it is not a command to depend on one’s own works to acquire rest, but it is a daily reminder of one’s place before God – humility leads to repentance and a desire to be obedient. As believers today, “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard” (2:1) in regards to salvation, so we can rest in what Jesus did on the cross, not neglecting what we have heard and read. It is through the promised Messiah that rest is found. A Sabbath rest is an outward expression of an inner, intimate rest in Jesus Christ – a regular reminder that we do not have to work for the rest that the Lord offered us freely long ago.

Our Sabbath rest is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, His coming about 2,000 years ago.

Though rest can still be watching a movie and lounging in fuzzy pants, “holy rest” is something different.

As I mature, reading the Word of God is more and more restful. Yes, it takes more brain power than Hulu (I’m too cheap to pay for Netflix), but it is more fulfilling, by far. The Word of God is the letter that declares our freedom, our rest.

This is “holy rest.” Jesus came to give us holy rest, Sabbath rest.

So while my break could be filled with hours of television and social media and movies (that doesn’t mean I am not going to catch up on a couple favorite television shows), I think my break is better used in the Word. It is better used working hard for the glory of God. It is better used preparing for next semester.

My break is better used resting in the holiness and righteousness of God.

You are here

You are holy

We are standing

In Your glory

All Sons & Daughters, God with Us

The White Outside My Window

There is something fantastically and captivatingly beautiful about snow.

There is something beautiful about it quietly resting on the tree branches and softly crunching under your feet. When the snow sleeps on the ground, the night seems so much quieter.

It sounds lazy, but this year, with the wonderful snow day Columbia surprised us with a few days ago, I enjoyed opening the blinds, making me a nice cup of coffee, and cuddling up with a blanket on the new couch in my dorm with the Word of the Lord.

Over and over again, the psalms mention peace and shelter. They advise the reader to wait on the Lord. They urge the believer to seek Him.

And in the quietness of a snowy morning, I best understand what it is like to rest in the presence of the Lord.

In the softness of the day, I see how the Lord takes the gray of winter and the dinge of the dirt and covers it with the white of the snow. How beautiful a picture of the Lord washing His believer as white as snow!

Despite our sin and the darkness of our hearts, the Lord redeem that time of biting cold in our lives. His blood can cover over a multitude of sins, a nature of dirt and darkness, and leave the soft, beautiful snow behind.

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.