Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Tag: peace (page 1 of 3)

Unexpected Joy

untitled-3We’re wrapping up the weekend of thanks (or dare I say the day or hours of thanks before singing the songs of praise over finding good deals?). And while I had plenty to be thankful for on turkey day, my grateful-barometer runs over even more today.

Yes, today. A non-scheduled gratitude day.

A non-everything day, as in nowhere to be other than church (and even then, we had multiple service times to pick from). Non as in the mental list of things to was simply that: mental. Any and all things that I suddenly chose to erase could slip away without anyone knowing. And non as in nothing fancy planned. No outings or big events.

And yet, in the midst of the non, the peace bubbled over, a warm tea type of feeling that penetrated beyond the simple “I’m grateful for a house (which I so very much am!)” or “I love my kids” or any of the other cliche gratitude standbys. Nope, this was the deep kind of gratitude that swells up from the unexpected.

It was unexpected because the challenges I faced yesterday still exist today. So are the uncertainties and the dreams I hope become a reality, yet find myself apprehensive to let my heart hope for them.

In the midst of the routine of life, joy jumped out in full force. Perhaps it was because I got to spend more time with my Girlie today, something I’ve missed as I’ve spent too much time the last few weeks recovering from a minor surgery. Or maybe it was because I finally gave myself permission to non, to unplug in a way that had no deadline or schedules.  Or maybe it’s because that thing called gratitude that I once held so dearly onto but somehow let slip away ounce by ounce came thundering back in and these once-strong muscles of gratefulness are finding their way yet again.

Whatever it is, I wish it for you, too. I know we’re entering the season of hurry, but don’t pack the gratitude away like I accidentally did. Instead, give yourself permission to stop, savor and be filled–filled with joy and peace!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

Stacy Voss

Nonsensical Peace

This is undoubtedly the oddest pre-Christmas post ever. Then again, this has been the oddest pre-Christmas for me ever. This past week I didn’t meet with a funeral director. Nor did I talk to the cops. Not even a judge. And somehow, these things I didn’t do come to define this past week as better than the ones preceding it.

Yes, odd. Yes, painful. Surreal and whirling. And if there’s a Santa, please leave me an off button under the tree, for I’ve been on this crazy ride for much too long.

So here’s the odd post, written by me, for me. Those of you living in the odd-season, desperately wanting it to stop or hoping things would return to normal–whatever in the world that might possibly mean–can listen in.

A doe crossed the path no more than ten feet in front of me last week. Crossed really doesn’t describe it, for it wasn’t a “why did the deer cross the path” kind of thing. Leapt is more like it. Gazelle-like. Full of grace (something I admire, probably because my lack thereof).

I’d been running, but how does one possibly go on running after seeing such a stunning sight? I stood, hand over heart, gaping in amazement. And then he came. You know, Mr. Buck. He wasn’t as carefree as the doe, flitting across without a care. No. Mr. Buck stared me down as if to question if I would somehow use my water bottle as a weapon. Um, no sir. My hand rests against my heart only because I’m admiring your beauty.

He walked across the path, looking at me while he did. The doe kept gazelling along, careless, oblivious. Mr. Buck, however, remained aware of my presence, eyeing me continually while catching up to the doe. As she seemed to do her “I have no cares” dance through the fields, he approached her and ever so gently guided her with his antlers. She didn’t mind, at least didn’t appear to. It wasn’t a forceful push, just a tap that led her to the scrub brush. Within seconds, I could no longer see her whatsoever. I knew she was there, yet she was completely hidden from view. Same with Mr. Buck.

Almost.

All I could see of him were the tips of his antlers poking out from the brush. While she was completely safe, Mr. Buck would still have been in jeopardy if I were an armed hunter.

And then the thought, the quiet whispering into my soul that made me gape in even more amazement than at what I had just beheld:

“Don’t you see, my child? That’s how I feel about you. That’s what I do for you. Give me your cares, child. Let me protect you. Hide in the shelter of my wings, for it is there that you find refuge.”

I’d like to say I’ve fully accepted that offer, that sweet, generous gift of letting me flit about yet again while One much stronger, more powerful, and One who fully loves and accepts me offers me refuge. Sometimes I have, or perhaps just a bit more than before. Other days, like now, I look more like Mr. Buck, watching over my shoulder, fearful or just plain overwhelmed. But as we finish wrapping presents, there is one I want to unwrap now. Today.

Rest.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1

With my world swirling the way it is, I make no promises if I’ll be back on here before Christmas. If not, I pray it is rich and full of God’s mercies and blessings. But perhaps more than that, for you and for me, I pray we find comfort, rest, and nonsensical peace.

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My Quest for Rest

I’ve been feeling a bit harried lately. I can’t really explain why. Maybe some of it is working to get donations for next month’s Great Gratitude Giveaway (and trust me, you won’t want to miss it because the prizes are AMAZING!). Maybe it’s because I’m supposed to be working on a talk about preventing anxiety, yet the reality is studying anxiety is making me even more anxious. Whatever the cause, I began an unintentional quest for rest.

I thought I could find it by:

  • Hitting a resort. A commercial claimed a mountain was a ski resort. I was tempted to strap on some skis just for the chance to go to a resort, but the times (yes, plural) I’ve been pulled down said mountain by a rescue team wasn’t restful.
  • Taking my Bubba and our dog to a quiet little secluded spot with a dingy duck pond. Trust me, diving in to rescue my dog after she broke through the ice was not restful!
  • Working harder. Yes, you read that right. I love what I do, so why not do more of it, find more satisfaction in it and be more at rest? Ha!

I could look high and low, but the answer is right in front of me. Actually, it’s within.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

When I’m frantically running around, thoughts racing through my head, it isn’t because Jesus went back on His promise. It simply is that I didn’t receive that gift. There isn’t a litany of stipulations on it. No “you must get your life in order” or “work really hard to please me and then I’ll give you rest.” Just a simple invitation.

Come to me.
I’m ready to receive it. How about you?
What do you do to help enter God’s rest? How have you learned to slow down when life spins out of control?
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Linking up with Five Minute Friday: Rest

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