Rest in Peace…This Summer?

RIP

Perhaps one of the most common acronyms in the English language, ‘R.I.P.’ evokes memories of loved ones lost, eulogies for famous musicians on Facebook, and even corny yard decorations at Halloween. This condolence and outward expression of our inner sorrow and grief wishes a peaceful eternity to those whom we have loved and lost. The original Latin phrase, “requiescat in pace,” means “may he or she rest in peace.”

So, is it a given that you have to die to truly rest in peace?

In my crazy, loud, messy, chaotic household, I have asked myself this question…especially on this first week of summer break! Peace and quiet are a commodity around here. And then there’s the real anxiety and worry. What would I do if I ever lost my husband? Could I handle the death of a child? Am I a good enough wife and mother? Do people like me? Everyday stresses of work and finances alone cause unrest in most households, ours included.

In a recent sermon at Christ Community Church, Pastor Tom Nelson expressed that our cultural landscape is well described as ‘restless.’ No amount of massages, date nights sans kids or vacations will ever bring us true rest and peace. Anxiety and restlessness creep into our moments of quiet and erupt in the middle of our chaos.

Tom noted that even the Huff Post has addressed the subject. In an article titled, “5 Signs You’re Restless With Your Life (and What to Do About It),” Kevin Klatches writes that if you are feeling restless, you should “consider it a warning sign from your soul to take action.” He suggests, “Don’t settle for restlessness…The universe is calling on you to take action. Listen to it.”

He’s so right. The universe is calling on us to take action. The Creator of the Universe gently calls to us…

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke…and you will find rest for your souls.” -Matthew 11: 28-29

Are you living with a restless heart? Is there an unsettling discontent or anxiety that marks your life? Do you feel emotionally and spiritually weary?

In his book, The Life We Long to Live: the yoke, Tom Nelson warns us that “…our thirsty souls are chasing mirages…” We hang out in the desert while the One who offers streams of healing waters bids us to come.

Isaiah 58:11 promises, “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

My only hope for a rested soul is when I seek the transforming presence of God regularly…when I open my heart and let Him meet me where I am – often tired, weary and anxious.

This summer, whether we find ourselves in a sun-scorched land or a pool of anxiety, may we hear the Creator of the Universe beckoning, “Be still and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10.

Because we don’t have to die to rest in peace.

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*This song, Come To Me, by Bethel Music is worth a listen at least once, maybe a hundred times…

“…I am the Lord your peace…
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest…
And lift up your weary head
I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m everything…”

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Freedom for my Soul…and a move to Kansas City

US Map

A friend recently told me about a little sign that his mom posted on their fridge when he was younger.

“If you are feeling far from God, guess who moved?!”

Such great truth in this rhetorical question. And a good one to mull over when we are feeling an air of discontentment or facing a transition or trial we haven’t invited God to be a part of.

In John, Chapter 15, God calls us to remain in Him – to seek His presence in all circumstances. God promises us that our joy will be complete when we remain in Him. He doesn’t promise that all of our days will be ‘happy’. But instead, He offers a consistent peace and contentment – a supernatural joy that is not dictated by our circumstances. So, when we are feeling uneasy and distressed, it is fair to ask ourselves if we have moved away from God.

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you…Now remain in my love…I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” –John 15:4-11.

Speaking of moving, our life in SoCal has been short-lived, as we are moving to Kansas City this summer. Let me tell you – Southern California is just as dreamy, just as beautiful, just as warm…just as expensive, and just as far (too far) from my family as I have always suspected. My heart will mourn the loss of our amazing Southern California lifestyle. But, my soul is at peace. My trust is in God as He leads us.

Three months ago, I couldn’t stomach the thought of leaving SoCal – starting over, yet again. I dreaded even having to tell people that we are moving, again. Moving is hard….something I never planned on doing much. Our twins will have the unique distinction of having lived in four states before they turn four. Our third grader will start his third elementary school. Yep, that’s four sets of insurance, four sets of doctors, four sets of schools, etc. etc etc. But, it’s also four sets of incredibly unique experiences and four sets of lifelong friends I wouldn’t trade for the world. We hope to settle in nicely in KC and stick around for a while.

I’ve had a hard time striking a balance in my mind of how much God is in control vs. how much we make our own choices. These areas are grey. I do not believe that Ryan and I are robots, having been ordered by God from state to state. We have made our own choices. But I do believe that God has led us. And He has blessed us in each new home and community. I have to trust that God is in control as we pray for His guidance and leading. There is sweet freedom in giving over my sense of control.

We often have to make life decisions and face trials that require putting our full trust in God to lead us. Perhaps like me, you also have to occasionally check yourself to see if you have moved away from God. Where can you turn over a bit more trust and control to God in your life today? How can you pull in just a little bit closer to God? After all, the Creator of the Universe has His loving eye on you. Are you close enough to feel it?

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” -Psalm 32:8

No matter where we live, I am learning that true geographic contentment and complete joy is found in the presence of God. No moves required…God just calls us to remain in Him.  Chris Tomlin’s song,“I Will Follow,” has provided recent inspiration for me:

“Where You go, I’ll go. Where You stay, I’ll stay. When You move, I’ll move. I will follow…I will trust in You alone.”

Later in the song, Tomlin goes on to sing, “In You there’s freedom for my soul.” Amen to that! My prayer is that throughout life’s many trials and transitions, we would all seek to remain in God…to follow Him and feel that unique freedom offered by remaining in God’s love…through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I also love Andy Grammer’s song, “Back Home.”

“La-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah. La-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-doe.
And no matter where we go, we always find our way back home.”

These lyrics might just have to be the McMonagle Family mantra. So, Kansas City…the McMonagle Six is coming ‘home.’ (Can you wear swim trunks to elementary school in Kansas?!)
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“The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to joy.” -Psalm 19:8 (The Message)