Summer’s rest


For as long as I can remember I have been head-over-heels in love with summer.

All my vivid childhood memories are summer ones.  Even now I can remember the taste of the blueberry ice cream I enjoyed while watching ocean sunsets and the fresh corn on the cob my grandmother would make for dinner.  I can smell the pine trees that framed our Colorado camping spot and the pink calamine lotion that calmed my poison ivy rash.

One unforgettable summer we had a month-long road trip and we visited several national parks.  Each day’s driving would end in a different KOA swimming pool before I would fill a scrapbook with ticket stubs and postcards.

As a teenager, there were hot July days spent floating down the creek behind our house, baseball games and endless attempts to tan freckly skin.

Becoming a parent only deepened my love affair.  Maybe it is because I am not naturally a routine person, but I could hardly wait until my children were done with school for the year.  I just loved the lazy days of August with pyjamas until lunchtime, trips to parks and pools, and backyard shenanigans until the light faded.  No homework or school uniforms, just lemonade and flip-flops.


This year has been unusual for the UK with little or no rain for months.  We have had weeks of humid, hot days that start before we wake up and end long after we have gone to bed.  And I have loved every minute. 

You see, my kids are all grown up and I am counting down to my daughter’s wedding in October.  My husband has been facing the toughest work pressure of his entire career.  The days are full, the emotions are high and the temptation to worry is relentless.

But there is something about summer, something about the sunshine and the long days that remind me that there is a remedy for mother-of-bride fretting.

The remedy is rest.

And really isn’t that why we love summer so much?  Isn’t that why vacations are so often the highlight of our year and our sweetest memories often involve sand and swimming and bare feet?



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It is because deep inside our hearts, we long for rest.  Not a nap or a late morning start, but God’s rest.  His rest is an inside-your-soul kind of summer where life feels carefree because daddy has got it all in His hands.  It is permission to laugh and to play and to let go of what you can’t control.

It is an invitation to enjoy being a child of God every day, in every circumstance.

We were, of course, created for that kind of rest.  Adam and Eve tasted it in the garden and they didn’t appreciate what they had until they lost it.

We know that one day we will enjoy again this God-given gift.  And it won’t be a harp playing, floating-on-clouds rest.  It will be an ‘it is finished’, death-swallowed-in-victory rest.

But what I so often forget is that this victory rest is actually available to me now, even as I sit in my garden writing wedding to-do lists and dreading my empty nest.

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When life wears me out, when the future looks scary or when decisions overwhelm me, there is a place underneath God’s wings that is forever summer.

I will find that place today, put my toes in the sand and enjoy being His kid.






Its OK to stop

A few years ago our family decided to hike up to the top of Mount Snowdon in North Wales.  It was a beautifully warm August day and the conditions were perfect.  The path that we chose gently inclined and the scenery was beautiful.  It was all so pleasant, so easy.

243529_608306497399_1559077759_oThen our way took a turn and I found myself hiking/scrambling straight up a verticle trail.  I needed all my strength just to keep up with the others and within an hour my legs just gave out.

They felt like jelly and I couldn’t take another step without risking a fall.  At this point, a little panic took over.  My teenagers had jogged to the top already and were looking down wondering what was going on.  I could see the end of the trail and the top of the mountain but I couldn’t think of any way to get myself there.  Unfortunately, going down the mountain was also out of the question.  I was well and truly stuck.

So I did the only thing I could do, I sat down.  I drank some water and had my protein bar and laughed a little.  And do you know what?  In half an hour I was at the top.

To live life carefully in this world, we need to know when it isn’t safe to take another step.  

We need to know when to be careful with ourselves.

There are times when disappointment or loss leave us wobbly.  Shaky souls need time to recharge in God’s presence and refuel in His Word.  Life decisions can wait. This is not the moment to try and figure everything out!  Worship first and then you will be ready to walk.

Know yourself well enough to recognize spiritual and emotional fatigue so that you make time to rest and recover.

Allowing ourselves to stop means that before we know it we will be back on our feet and hiking to the top of that particular mountain.

If this is you today, if you need rest and encouragement and renewed hope, please know that it is okay to stop as long as you know where to sit.

mount snowdon


Tending Treasure



As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

My mom, Barb, and I share many qualities.  We both love to read and write.  We are deep thinkers, life-analysers and daydreamers.

Unfortunately, that means we are also both serial pot-burners.

Both of us, on more than one occasion, have left a pot simmering on the stove before leaving the house for the day.  Both of us have had the awful discovery of opening the front door and being greeted by a cloud of decimated-stew smoke and both of us have had to look up ‘how to get rid of the smell of smoke’.

So, as you can imagine, I am now an enthusiastic owner of a slow cooker, or as Americans call it, a crock pot.  This is the stew-making gadget for dummies.  I don’t need to worry about stirring or turning down the heat or leaving the house.  I just put everything in and forget about it for hours.  Perfect.

But not all of life is this simple.

In Genesis 2.15, God gives Adam responsibilities in Eden.  Notice that even before sin has entered the picture there was already important work to do.

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.’ Genesis 2.15

We were created to tend.  Other translations say work, take care of, cultivate.  God created a world where humans would have responsibility.  His will is that we would know Him as our God and then partner with Him in tending to things that matter.

And by implication, we see that God has created a world that needs cultivation.  Things can’t be just left.  Our relationships, our walk with Jesus and our own hearts need to be carefully treasured and cared for.  They need our time and attention.

Like flower beds and pots on the stove, areas of our lives that we neglect can end up overgrown or burnt.

But the problem is that when life gets crazy, tending is often the first activity to drop off the to-do list.

That is because the urgent always shouts louder than the important.  Before we know it, we have neglected the areas of our lives that we know are a priority but seem to be okay.  As the saying goes, it is the squeaky wheel that gets our attention and our oil.

It is so easy to take for granted our good marriages, happy children, close friendships or a strong faith.

But, if we can learn to tend the most precious areas of our lives we will save a lot of trouble in the long run.  It is much easier to just give the pot a stir than to get the smell of smoke out of our curtains!

Take a moment today to think about what most matters to you and then give it a stir.

Hug one of your kids, call a friend, kiss your spouse.

Make time for the people that you love. Eat with friends.  Laugh with kin.

Fill your days with thoughts of gratefulness and worship.

Believe God for big things.

Pray.  Forgive.

Be generous with your time and your money and yourself.

Treasure what you have and live life in such a way that everyone around you is in no doubt about what most matters to you.










There is a lake near my home and it is my favourite place to walk.  I have walked around it dozens and dozens of times, in hot sunshine and in rain.  I have been around it so many times that I know the path like the back of my hand.

But sometimes I like to take my camera and try and find views and scenes that I have never noticed before.  I like to explore the smaller paths that wind between the rhododendrons and camellias and look for something new to photograph.

It is the same lake, of course, but there is always a fresh angle or a new perspective waiting to be discovered.  And, the more I discover, the more I love it.



I think knowing God is like that.

If I am going to live carefully and wisely, as described in Ephesians 5.15-17, if I am going to understand and grasp God’s will, I have to always remember that I don’t know everything.  There is always more.

God is bigger than my particular political persuasion or my preferred church denomination.  He is bigger than my own personal view of the world.

That is one of the reasons that we need each other.

In Romans chapter 12, we see that we are all gifted in different ways and in verse 5 it says, ‘we being many are one in Christ and individually members of one another.’  The New Living Translation says, ‘we are all different but we depend on each other.’

One of the ways in which Christians depend on each other is for the different perspectives we each bring. 


It is so easy to read things we already know and to only spend time with people who are just like us. When we do that, we are missing out because we often learn the most from those who are different from us.

This doesn’t come naturally though.  It can feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.  It involves listening more and never being so set in our ways that we can’t learn something new about God from someone else.

If you are a bit of a bookworm like me, someone who is always reading and writing and thinking, it might be time to hang out with a Christian who serves the needy in more practical ways.  Watch and learn as they get their hands dirty and love others with actions, not just words.

If your natural inclination is towards serving other Christians in church, you could dare to spend the day with an evangelist.  Their love for the lost will infuse you and challenge you and change you.

If prayer isn’t your thing, find a friend who is a committed intercessor.  Listen to the passion they have for prayer and let them lift your faith with their tales of God’s supernatural answers.

If you have been a Christian for a long time, nothing will refresh and revive you like the energy of a new believer.  It is so sincere and pure and totally contagious.  If you are newer to the faith, find a mature Christian and just watch them.  See how they live life, make decisions and raise a family.  Ask them anything you don’t understand.  Follow them as they follow Christ.

Don’t read the same authors or go to the same conferences all the time.  Try something a little different.  As long as it is Biblical, learn from someone with a new perspective. It really is life-changing.

Don’t spend your life just re-enforcing what you already know and believe.  Look to learn every day.  This is how we grow.



We must always remind ourselves that there are things about God we do not know or understand yet, however long we have been Christians.  God has so much truth to reveal to you and so much new beauty for you to enjoy.  There is treasure you haven’t found in the Bible yet and ways of praying you have never thought of.

This Creator God we call Father is indescribable and uncontainable and it takes a lifetime to scratch the surface of His goodness and love. 

There is so much to seek, to chase and to discover in God.

And God promises that whenever we seek more of Him, we find more of Him.  







Positioned for promises


Times of waiting on God can be tricky.

In Genesis chapter 15 we see Abraham’s bright idea to help God by having a child with Hagar.  And then, in one of the saddest chapter of the Bible, we watch as his human solution plays out.  It’s not pretty.

When chapter 17 begins, 13 long years have passed.   I am sure God’s promise seemed a distant dream as each day Abraham watched his foolishness wreak havoc.

But then the Faithful One, the very author of the promise, speaks.

‘I am Almighty God; walk before me and be blameless.  And I will make my covenant between Me and you.’

And hope returns.

Almighty God, I am, Yahweh has spoken and He still has the full intention of doing everything He said He would.  His promises are irrevocable because He is the One who keeps them.

But He wants something from Abraham.  He wants Abraham to walk before Him.  The Hebrew word for the phrase, before Him, is the same word used for the presence of God that Adam and Eve hid from after they had sinned.

God the Creator wants to be known.

Can you wrap your head around that today?  This God we serve, who is working out His plans and purposes in the earth, isn’t some CEO of the universe who barks orders, directing His will from afar.  He longs we would know Him, know His heart and His presence every day of our lives.

It reminds me of  John 15.15 where Jesus says, ‘I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I call you friends for everything I learned from the Father I made known to you.’

Our God wants us to be part of what He is doing on earth.  He has places for us to go and things for us to do.  But first He wants a relationship.

And we need to know God in this way because just like Abraham, our human solutions often fall short at best.  At worst they cause pain and loss.  But the answer isn’t to live in fear of getting anything wrong or making silly decisions.

The answer is walking close to our Promise-giver God.   It takes humility but also confidence and boldness, believing that God will do everything He has promised in His perfect timing.

Are you waiting for God today?  Is there a promise you are believing for or a decision that needs to be made?

There is wisdom in being quiet enough and careful enough to hear God’s way of doing things.  And, there is safety in God’s promises and in His presence. 

Do what it takes to position yourself for both today.