Today is the anniversary of the heavenly homecoming of my dear friend Dawn.
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My friend exemplified a well-lived life.
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I miss her.
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Reminders of her influence are a regular occurrence:
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Every once in awhile my cell phone for some unforeseen reason pulls up her number. One day I will have to delete that number, but not yet. You cannot know the times since she has gone that I have wanted to dial her number to hear her encouraging voice on the other end of the line. She would be excited about my new educational pursuit.  She would process the questions and fears I have about going back to school. Through her many questions she would lead me out of the fear and into the excitement of the adventure. The awareness of her wise counsel would not even hit until later. Recently, I felt very insecure about a presentation. I wanted to call that number and hear her cheerful and helpful voice on the other end.
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Ironically in a paper in which she wrote about her leadership skills, she described me as her cheerleader. I still shake my head at that one. She was my cheerleader.
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Along with the cell phone number, there is an almost empty bottle of Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion that I dread throwing away. This comforting scent became a symbol of a turning point in our friendship. It is a symbol of the time we learned to listen to each other and appreciate our differences. How this scent became meaningful is too long a story for this setting, but I would find lovely ‘vanilla’ gifts of all types through the years…all from my friend.
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This friendship and mutual respect was not something that came easy. Maybe that is why the relationship was so precious. The effort was worth every ounce of energy expended.
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I miss my friend’s voice in my life. I am grateful for her lovely fragrance of godliness and encouragement. She loved well—she lived well.

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Me and Dawn

©Brenda Pace, 2012

Lord Jesus,

Give me a deeper repentance,

A horror of sin,

A dread of its approach;

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Help me chastely to flee it,

And jealously to resolve that my heart shall be thine alone.

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Give me a deeper trust,

That I may lose myself to find myself in thee,

The ground of my rest,

The spring of my being.

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Give me a deeper knowledge of thyself

A Saviour, a Master, Lord, and King.

Give me deeper power in private prayer,

More sweetness in thy Word,

More steadfast grip on its Truth.

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Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action,

And let me not seek moral virtue apart from thee.

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Plough deep in me, great Lord,

Heavenly Husbandman,

That my being may be a tilled field,

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The roots of grace spreading far and wide,

Until thou alone art seen in me,

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Thy beauty golden like summer harvest,

Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

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I have no Master but thee,

No law but thy will,

No delight but thyself,

No wealth but that thou givest,

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No good but that thou blessest,

No peace but that thou bestowest.

I am nothing but that thou makest me,

I have nothing but that I receive from thee,

I can be nothing but that grace adorns me.

Quarry me deep, dear Lord,

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And then fill me to overflowing

With living water.

“The Deeps” from Valley of Vision Puritan Prayers and Devotions

all photos via google images unless otherwise noted.

"Woman Resting on a Divan" by Georges Lemmen


Here are some comments posted yesterday by friends on my Facebook page in response to Well, Shut My Mouth!
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Amy wrote: “Ahhh, yes- must admit (especially since love language is Acts of Service) real rest is a struggle sometime for me too. Learning from God the last few months re: physical health/ spiritual health, how closely they go together! Devotion today hit home w/ your topic of refreshing and satisfying our spirit…( Ps.119: 103) God’s words spoken to your soul are sweet as honey; nothing satisfies you like God does. (Ps.103:1-5, 107:8-9) Thank you for reminding me of the need to be quenched by God’s presence along the journey he has us on.
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Candy wrote: “It’s when I miss the PWOC (military women’s ministry) retreats the most……………when their was quiet…………..peace…………….birds chirping………no distractions…………no raised voices………..no needing to go to the refrigerator or cabinets in search of ————ok! Chocolate! Just God and me!!!! Oh! and hundreds of women that were also alone with God! How cool is that??????????? Did I just say the word cool???”
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Rose wrote: Oh, yes, my friend. Too easy to run to “rest” and “comfort” in places that truly do not refresh or satisfy. Then get antsy when I try to be still. “Just one more thing that needs to be done,” I think, and then the quiet of my time with Him is lost, as I run from one “just one more” to another. Remembering reading about Sabbath, and that one of the lessons of Sabbath is that we are not so important, what we do can wait one more day. May you find reflection and renewal in the secret place. I love that He points things out to us, not to condemn, but to lovingly draw us to change.
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Diane, Susan and Holly all joined in a resounding “YES!” They too struggle with rest.
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Well, my fellow sojourners, here are a few more scriptures on the quest for rest:
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But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content (Psalm 131:2).
Note to self: It takes some self-control to be still and quiet.
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The fruit of that righteousness will be peace, its effect will be quietness and confidence forever (Isaiah 42:14).
Note to self: Who wouldn’t want to receive a promise of peace, quietness and confidence? Being alone can be lonely, but purposeful solitude can bring healing, hope and strength.
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Bottom line: I have not been willing to be quiet. I have been alone, but I have not been quiet. Too much media and too much negative self-talk have been yelling in the background.
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Help me Lord, to turn off the things that distract me from growing the fruit of righteousness.
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BTW–This article by Adrian Boykin in Leadership Journal challenged my soul. Read his account of being surprised by sloth in “Losing My Edge” here:
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©Brenda Pace, 2012

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This morning I sit in silence. The banishment of spoken word will not last all day, but for these few hours, the moratorium is self-imposed and necessary. For too many months, my days have held too much activity and too little reflection. (Yes, I inserted the word “too” on purpose too many times in that last sentence.)
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I start blog posts in my head, but have no energy, and worse—no inspiration—to complete the written thoughts. No journal entries…very little correspondence…even FB connections have seemed a bridge too far. I wish I could confess my lack of communication and expression was due to a long term Sabbath, or a noble withdrawal from social media in order to tap into the deep well of inspiration. Unfortunately, I have texted, surfed the web and clicked vigorously through channels. My Netflix “recently watched” is lengthy.  What I have not done is taken time to reflect.
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In the past few months, I have planned, prepared, polished and provided public presentations. (Obviously, lack of rest does not affect my use of alliteration.) Public speaking has become my vocation.  I chuckle with both surprise and delight to type such a statement. The fact is I really enjoy every part of the process. The struggle comes in finding the rest that needs to follow all the p’s.
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I know that relaxing my mind is important, but I tend to relax to the point of paralysis. True rest should provide inspiration and fresh creativity, but lately I’ve had nothin’. The well is dry. So, I’m adding some silence to my daily diet. I’ve allowed too much ‘noise’ to drown the voice of God.
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My devotions have settled this week in the book of Isaiah where the words of 30:15 caught my attention: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” The sad part of this verse is the way it ends: “but you would have none of it.” How many times have I been offered refreshment and strength only to “have none of it?”  Today, I choose repentance, rest, quietness and trust and rejoice in the promise of salvation and strength to come!
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Am I the only one who struggles with this thing called rest? What do you do to find the needed spiritual refreshment that follows intense service? I’d enjoy reading your comments here.
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©Brenda Pace, 2012