Thursday, November 18, 2010


This season lingers with whispers of His grace.

The massive tree ten steps from my picture window has now shed most of its leaves. The tree top is green and gold. The lower part is sparse with golden, withering growth, and as I watch the wind gently blow through the oak's branches, the golds, piece by piece, fall gracefully eastward. The new fallen leaves then waltz in the cool, November air, looking to nest on our ground. They seem to seek for rest from their shady work, while they wait to be cured and carried away.

I love to watch their descent. I love to walk in the dead leaves and enjoy their crunchy texture and think of the hope they give. 


Yes. My falling and fallen leaves speak of a forward glance. They make me think of Thanksgiving, Christmas, a new year, and even a spring to come. The death of an old season gives me pause, as I anticipate celebration with family and build expectation of new life in a season to be born.

Yes. Fall gives me pause, an intermission, a tarrying, a choice time of lingering, a restful breath, a temporal stay from past activity.

Author Eudora Welty spoke of a pause as a slowing down, "like a merry-go-round after a ride." I can relate to her metaphor. As a child, I loved a merry-go-round, and if given a chance, I would still love to step onto the huge turntable and pick my seat, hoping for a carriage, where I could sit and enjoy riding and watching.

I would hate for the ride to end, but the slowing down before its stop would pull my heart and head into balanced reality.

Balanced reality. Restful waitings. Temporary stays. Intentional breathings.

When placed together, those four phrases sound very enticing.  In imagination their ideas resonate with desire.  In reality, they are met with resistant pleas.

They are, nonetheless, part of our Father's pattern for Christian existence. 

God's word is full of intentional breathings.  Thank of Jacob's fourteen year wait for Rachel; Joseph's three year wait in prison; Jonah's three-day stay within the fish's belly; Jesus' three-day wait on Resurrection power; the disciples 120-day wait in the Upper Room, and our Father's sovereign choice to rest one day after His six days of creating the world.

Jesus spoke about the need for restful waits. His words to His disciples when they were weary from ministry anchor my soul. Listen to His authoritative, compassionate plea, as Jesus speaks of the need for pause:

"Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest" (Mark 6:31, ESV).

Receive those words for your life. Not only were they spoken for Jesus' disciples over two thousand years ago, but Jesus speaks them for us now. In my mind, I can hear His compassionate, Shepherd's voice. It is so personal and caring. Its gentleness breaks my soul in pieces. To grasp His loving reach is so humbling.

Yet, I sometimes tire in my grasp. Have you ever prayed with tired arms? "Father, I know you love me. I need you. I can't live without you, but my soul is weighed down with __________________. I long to reach back, to let the power of your love soak my dryness. Help me rest and believe."

The Greek word Jesus uses for rest in Mark 6:31 is anapauo (an-ap-ow-o), which means to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength; to refresh; to give one’s self rest; to keep quiet; to be calm and have patient expectation.

Some seasons of our lives feel like a movie stuck on pause. Can anyone relate?  The seeming suspension of time is frustrating and discouraging. The sense of stillness is unnatural to our flesh and makes us question our purpose and future. The craving for rest is powerful, but seems beyond reach. Isn't it ironic that the simplicity of ceasing can be such a war for us?

The craving of resting in Christ vs. the desire to find our own way is an exhausting fight, and it's a war we cannot win on our own. A lot of things may help, but only One can deliver. Only Jesus' strength is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Take time for breathing. Yield to Christ's call. Create a place for some restful waiting. Let Jesus' words give life and healing as you choose to be in His presence.

He speaks. He offers rest. He extends renewal.

As falling leaves prepare my tree for a new season, so God's pauses in our lives prepare our souls for fresh grace. Rest is not a delay of God's best. It is part of His best. And, friend, for spiritual wholeness, it's really not an option.

Take His hand and go with Him. By yourself. Find a quiet place and rest your soul in the strong arms of your Father.

Waiting and Expecting,


  1. I can so relate to this post. You worded it beautifully. Since my husband lost his job over three years ago, I feel as though we have been in a huge pause in life. Thank you for these wonderful examples of times others have waited too.

  2. Andrea, this is powerful!

    I loved this paragraph especially: "Take time for breathing. Yield to Christ's call. Create a place for some restful waiting. Let Jesus' words give life and healing as you choose to be in His presence."

    Thank you for sharing!
    Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Hope you have an awesome week!
    Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

  4. It IS ironic that the simplicity of our ceasing is such a war for us! Just stepping out of such a season. But God saw me through it, and when I FINALLY surrendered it all...every line in Zeph. 3:17 sprang to life...The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; he will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing!!
    AMAZING GRACE... needed, and I'm so grateful. He will refresh his weary inheritance!
    Thank you Andrea -

  5. Dear Andrea,

    Thank you so very much for these wonderful devotional thoughts. We are definitly in a season where we feel "like a movie stuck on pause" here at our home. We have been dealing with job losses and health issues. This devotional was a blessing to me and I covet your prayers.

    Trusting only in Him,

  6. I love the idea of "restful waits" and "intentional breathings." And that when the leaves fall from the trees, you can see the landscape so much more clearly. These words are a balm to my soul.

  7. Take time.....that's so what I need right now, Andrea. Thank you for those words.

  8. Written just for me, if not for anyone else.

    Restful pause; trusting in the silence; watching my tree limbs become sparse, all the while awaiting the promise of Spring. Even in the midst of my "winter season", I still sense growth and my eternal rooting. I'm not one who dreads the cold and brittle of winter. Instead, the stripping gives me holy focus!

    Thank you for this today; a good word for my morning coffee, or cranberry juice as it is.

    Love you, sister.


  9. Wow, Andrea -- we are talking the same language these days! I just posted on Caesura on on Tuesday, and it's as if we compared notes.

    This is such a big issue for Christian women today, I think -- balance. I'm doing a lot of thinking, praying and writing about it. Thanks for this!

  10. Dear Andrea,
    This post is so precious. You speak of things close to my heart. Whenever I notice that you have a new post, I always want to take time to read what your have written...choosing the right time to come over, when I know I will not read your words hurriedly, but slowly, like sipping a freshly brewed cup of special coffee. I want to savor every drop.

    Honestly, I was waiting for you to come by my blog - hoping you'd read one or two posts I had written along the same theme - entitled Holding Hands, Unfolding Grace... Maybe sometime, if you have a bit of time to visit me. I'd be glad to keep you company.

    Only because I feel like we're conversing with each other in the posts we write! Variations on the same theme.

    This one is truly a confirmation of what God is speaking to me in this season of my life. Awesome...

    Thank you... always, thank you. For sharing your heart so beautifully.


  11. Andrea:

    What beautiful words you've expressed. I know they ring true in my own heart. The struggle for the 'simplicity of ceasing' is definitely one of mine. It is never easy for me, and yet... it's where my attention is re-directed back to the one who makes all of life 'work together for good'. And even in the middle of those times... the promise of Spring!

    Love you and hope it's a wonderful Thanksgiving week for you and your precious family.

  12. Happy Thanksgiving Andrea...I have prayed that prayer many times and the lord has always answered in the most gentle way.Smiles and hugs. Dee

  13. Precious words of rest from our Lord. As always, love to read your words--and I love that photo.

  14. "Fall gives me pause, an intermission, a tarrying, a choice time of lingering, a restful breath, a temporal stay from past activity." - ah yes, the full effect of Thanksgiving.

    Breathing with you today, and wishing you & yours the richest of Thanksgiving air.


  15. Nature is often my teacher, too, Andrea. Like you, I love Fall; and knowing that Winter is on it's way; then Spring. It's all so very hopeful.

    I am learning to relish the simple art of breathing. The quietude it affords soothes my soul and buoys my spirit. I listen & learn best when He is the only desire of my heart.

    Love you,

  16. Andrea,

    Everytime I visit your blog I feel as if your posts are God speaking to me! This one has touched my heart and given me joy. Thank you for all of the spiritual joy that you share:).



  17. Breathing...I need more of it. Such a special post that drew me into its truth.


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In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,