Weekend Walk, 04/28/2012

Hiding the Word:

We had plans. Big plans.

It was pirate weekend in Yorktown Virginia and the annual book sale at our public library.  Add in my niece singing the lead role in an opera, church, and a birthday party and you had a full weekend.

It was inevitable, I suppose, that after two of my daughters spent time on the couch this week with fever and vomiting that the third would get sick, as well.  I sent her to bed Friday night with the beginnings of a fever.

This morning, she emerged looking bedraggled and ill and asking, “Do you think I’m better yet?”

Her skin, fire to the touch, clearly said otherwise, but I humored her with a thermometer test.  103 degrees.  “No, babe,” I said, “you’re pretty sick.”

Then there were the tears of disappointment, trading in a weekend of fun for a weekend of ginger ale and napping.

It’s one of those lessons you just can’t learn often enough in this life–that you can plan and schedule and postulate, but God has the prerogative to interrupt your agenda and alter your plotted course at any time.

Even when you know it’s for the best, that His design for you is better than you can imagine and what ultimately comes to pass is for your good, still it’s nonetheless disappointing in the moment.

For us, these interruptions are sometimes minor losses and daily annoyances; sometimes they’re the source of great sorrow and bitter grieving.

Regardless of their magnitude, we can all learn to pray as Jesus did, kneeling in the garden and submitting His will to the Father’s.

“Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42b).

It’s the verse for this week, to contemplate and memorize.  Maybe it seems short, but it’s truth is powerful and perhaps a little painful.

Weekend Rerun:

He Rested

Originally Posted on April 26, 2011

“And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done”
(Genesis 2:3 ,NIV).

For months, one week in April glared off my calendar menacingly.  My husband and I focused all of our attention and energy on getting to that week and getting through that week—appointments, birthday parties, wedding, special church services, meetings, and holiday activities piled on top of our normal schedule.

I had the individual events in my calendar circled in different colors multiple times so that I wouldn’t overlook any one of them.   When people asked us about May, our eyes glazed over uncomprehendingly.  May?  What’s May?  As far as we were concerned, finishing April was the goal.

I’m sure you have weeks on your calendar that look like that, too, an overload of busyness, and you hold your breath in anticipation of it, stress when you think about it, and dream about making it through.

But then our week was done.  The last event finished.  We survived.  We drove home.  We rested.

It sounds so easy, really, to say “rest,” and yet for me rest takes great effort.

I’m physically incapable of napping.  Instead of sleeping, I lie awake thinking about all the things I should be doing instead of sleeping.  By the time I finally give up and throw back the covers in defeat, I’m frantic about the wasted time and move faster through my to-do list to make up for it.

I feel guilty for leisure, embarrassed by free time, and apologetic for fun.

Accepting help or taking a break feels like failure and an admission of weakness.

There’s something else at work here beyond just an addiction to adrenaline.  Oh, how I hate for it to be true, and yet digging down deeply enough reveals its ugly presence—-pride.  Truly, it feels good to be needed.  It feels important to be so busy.

When I run around in a breathless pace, doing, doing, doing all the time, I act as if the world depends on me to function, as if me sitting down for 15 minutes would create cosmic meltdown.

And that’s why God, from the very first week of creation, instituted a Sabbath rest.  It wasn’t for His benefit, as if the Almighty God who created a sun, moon, and planet with the power of His words grew weary and needed to sleep.  No, the Sabbath was not for God.  Instead, Jesus “said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).

He created a day of rest for you and me.  It’s a reminder that the universe can exist without our involvement and labor.  It’s a re-ordering of our perspective, so that we remember it is God who is essential and not us.

So often, we forget that our jobs, our families, our ministries, our relationships, our everything depend not on our ability, but on God’s power.
We stress about meetings because we think everything relies on how well we present ourselves.
We plot out conversations because we think the outcome depends on the words we choose.

We think.  We plan.  We do.  We fix.  We busy ourselves.  We worry.  We analyze.  We lose sleep.

God knows the pride that burrows itself into our hearts; the tentacles it wraps around us as we seek fulfillment in accomplishments, in tasks completed, in people depending on us.  I’ve written it before and yet need the reminder of my own words:

I’ve seen many women engage in Busyness Battles with each other.   We ask each other what seems like such a simple question, such as “What have you been up to lately?” or “Have you been busy?”  Then, like a Wild West shootout, we breathlessly list our every activity in an effort to “out-busy” the other woman.  The prize?  The personal pride that we are more stressed than the woman we are talking to.  Don’t be embarrassed to concede defeat and say, “Well, I’ve been focusing on de-stressing. On Sunday, I watched a movie with my family and then read some of my book.” You may have lost the shoot-out, but who wants the title of “Most Stressed Woman” anyway?

I read this week that Craig Groeschel, in his book Weird, recommends a to-don’t list.  It’s a tool for those like me who find inactivity takes effort, to help me choose sitting on the deck while my daughters color with sidewalk chalk over doing laundry or choose pushing my baby girl in her swing and listening to her giggles turn to belly laughs over planning church programs.

This isn’t about rules, regulations and law.  It isn’t about Pharisaical hypocrisy and legalism.  It’s about rest and rest is about a humble stepping aside and the placing and continual re-placing of God in control of our lives.


For further thoughts, check out:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King


Turning Aside

Last week, my husband’s work schedule shifted around and as a result, so did mine.  He would arrive home from work, eat dinner, do the evening activities, and then go back to work late at night, sometimes not crawling into bed until after 4:00 in the morning.  Then, the next day, he would stay home a little bit longer in the morning to recover some sleep time (barely) and head to work again in the afternoon.

During this great schedule shifting, I found myself  performing my weekly grocery shopping sans children in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday.  This has never happened to me before.  I like to follow a regular weekly schedule; shopping day isn’t on Tuesdays and certainly doesn’t occur after lunchtime when everyone else in my tiny town is also at Wal-Mart.  But, as soon as I walked through the automatic doors and turned the first corner of the store with my empty shopping cart, I knew why I was there.  It was a divine appointment.  I spotted a friend in line at the pharmacy counter, a friend who needed a chat, a prayer, and someone to help pass the hour-long wait time.

A few days later, because of a special school event, I left my daughters’ school 15 minutes earlier than normal and drove in the opposite direction from my home in order to go to the post office (to mail my delinquent Mother’s Day card to my momma!).  On a normal Friday afternoon at that time, I would still be idling my van in line to pick my daughters up from school.  But not that day.   Instead, I was driving down Main Street when I passed a woman limping along the sidewalk at a painfully slow pace.  I knew her.  We zoomed into the nearest driveway and she climbed into the van for a painless and quick drive to her workplace.  It was a divine appointment.  We wouldn’t have been there if not for God shaking my schedule up a bit.

I read in an  article this week that “the great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant (or unexpected) things as interruptions in one’s own life, or real life.  The truth is, of course, that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life” (C. S. Lewis).

My divine appointments weren’t at all unpleasant, but they were unexpected.  My schedule was interrupted.  My normal messed with.  My comfort in the known shaken up.  That’s usually enough to scramble my mind for a whole day.  I don’t cope well with adjustments to my plans—not the big life plans that I form in the night as I lie awake or the daily life plans that make up my to-do lists and take up slots on my weekly calendar.  I like to make plans and follow plans.  It’s as simple as that.

God, however, often designs a different agenda for me, superior plans always, but different ones nonetheless.  As it says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  As much as I may think I know what’s best for my day or week, month, year or even life, truly God is a better judge of that.

And I can trust Him.  This verse reminds me that even in those moments when things don’t work out the way I’d like, when I don’t get my way in a meeting or my schedule doesn’t meet expectations, even in those moments when I’m pouting and whining before the Almighty’s throne about disappointment and inconvenience, even then the “Lord’s purpose prevails.”  He will win the day.  He will work out every situation I face.  He hasn’t abandoned me or failed me.  He will prevail.

I am learning, then, to “commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3).  As I rise in the morning and shuffle through the house, feeding children, making lunches, (drinking hot tea!), remembering homework, kissing husband goodbye, rushing out the door late and forgetful—in all those moments, and yes even before them while I lie in my bed and quietly pray that my baby girl will sleep just another ten minutes—then I am committing my day to the Lord.  “Lord, help me this day to be the woman of God you want me to be.  Direct my steps, my conversations, my schedule.  Help me to be useful for You.  I need Your strength today to be everything You have for me to be, as a wife and mom and friend and more.”  In that submitting, slowly my plans are transformed, altered sometimes moment by moment, as they are aligned with His will.

It takes a willingness to be interrupted to really see God in those divine appointments.  Imagine Moses in the wilderness outside Mount Horeb, tending his father-in-law’s sheep.  He wasn’t meandering along, aimless and purposeless.  No, Moses had a plan.  He was leading “the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.”  It was there in that holy place that God lit a fire within a bush and captured Moses’s attention.

But, what if Moses hadn’t stopped?  What if he decided that he had a plan and a schedule to keep to?  That the sheep needed to go at a certain speed and travel a certain distance?  That there was a logical explanation for that bush afire and he was too busy to ponder the cause?  He would have missed out on seeing God, hearing God, being called by God to lead an entire nation of his own people out of almost 400 years of slavery in Egypt!

Fortunately, Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight” (Exodus 3:4).

Do you need to be willing to turn aside a little more often from your own plans and allow God to interrupt you?
Are you so focused sometimes on scheduled “ministry” that you miss out on spontaneous ministry moments God lays at your feet?
Are you speeding through life so quickly that you are missing out on opportunities to see and hear from God, all because you don’t turn aside and spend time on the holy ground of His presence?
Have you entered a season of life that you had planned so perfectly, only to find nothing going the way you expected?

Allow God to interrupt you.  Turn aside to see Him at work so that you don’t miss out on the divine appointments on His agenda or the blessing of receiving and pursuing God’s ultimate desires and plans for you.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

Everyday, Ordinary Life

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering” (Romans 12:1, MSG).

I love that verse in Romans and I came across it again today in my reading. The thing is, there are so many parts of my “everyday, ordinary life” that don’t seem really offering worthy.  I don’t mean because they are mundane.  I mean because they’re ugly and messy and well, failures really.

Like when your daughter decides to take the ballet shoes that you placed next to the front door, hide them and then forget where they are 5 minutes before you have to leave for ballet class and you lose it.

Maybe that kind of stuff only happens to me, but believe me, my reaction to this “irritation” wasn’t really an offering worthy of God.

To be honest, how I react to the big crises in life is much more holy and Christian.  I lean in to God and I grow in my faith in the process because I have no other choice really.  I know fully well that I’m not able to handle any of the big stuff on my own.

It’s the daily annoyances, interruptions, and irritants that bring out the worst in me, partly because I forget to look to God for any help or input at all.

So, how—-how do I turn my everyday, ordinary life into an acceptable sacrifice and a way to give God glory?

I’m reading this fantastic book by Eugene Peterson called A Long Obedience in the Same Direction and he drew my attention to something I had ignored before in this verse.  Three little words: “God helping you.” In the NIV translation, the verse reads:  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

With God’s help and in view of God’s mercy, I can make my life–my whole life, not just the “important” parts—an offering to God.

In Romans 9:16, Paul writes, “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”  I don’t know about you, but I’m so thankful to know that my salvation, my joy, my future don’t depend on anything other than God’s great mercy.

That means when I mess it up and lose it over hidden ballet shoes that actually don’t reappear until 3 days later (hidden behind the chair in my room), I can have a fresh start.  As it says in Lamentations 3:21-24:

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.

We fail, but His compassion doesn’t fail.  He gives us new grace every morning.  He is our portion.  He is all we need in every difficult, annoying, frustrating moment of our everyday lives, just like He’s faithfully with us in every crisis.  It is only with His help that my reactions to the daily can be placed before Him as an offering.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King