The most important reason we need rest

 

Busyness. It can be worn like a badge, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve readily and proudly admitted when my answer to “how have you been?” is “Busy!” It makes us feel productive. Like we are worthily accomplishing something.

Rest is not easily accomplished as a mother, so I am learning. 24/7 you are now caring for the needs of a little one(s), your hubby, and your home. Plus likely balancing volunteering, work, family and friendships. Rest is utterly important, at every stage of life, and I don’t think it’s impossible, or God wouldn’t urge us to do it. We just have to be creative. For me, right now, rest looks like my morning coffee with some time in the Word before Elizabeth wakes up (that length changes daily!). It looks like trying a new recipe and experimenting with food. It looks like reading something other than non-fiction – currently, the story of the little Swiss girl, Heidi, lent to me by a friend.

My husband, Troy, knows this about me – that I have an extremely hard time resting after Elizabeth goes down for bed until clutter is put away, and the kitchen is clean. I rest better without clutter and mess. So the word “rest” has been on my mind as I mull over what God wants me to focus on in this season.

Did you know the word “rest” occurs 308 times (ESV) in the Bible? For a frame of reference, “love” occurs 551 times. So clearly, rest is important. But as I looked up this word, rest, it seemed that sometimes it takes work to rest. Doesn’t that sound funny? But if you think about all the work you put into planning a holiday, it does take effort!

Hebrew 4:9-11 says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”

Other places where ‘rest’ is mentioned are when Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Or in Exodus 33:14 where God says, “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” This is clearly a gift from His presence.

Psalm 16:8-9 also says, “I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure (ESV).” Some versions say “shall rest in hope”. What is King David saying? Because he has set the Lord before him, he is able to find rest and dwell securely in knowing His Lord has things in hand.

What do I learn from looking up the word rest? Two things:

1) Rest is both a place of peace (noun) where we find relaxation and strength, but it is also a verb, where we intentionally choose to refrain from our own way, trust, and find confident hope in the Lord.

2) Rest comes directly from His presence, from putting the Lord before us, and it keeps us from living a disobedient (unbelieving) life.

So while rest sounds like a passive word, it is actually a very intentional word that we are to seek.

As a new mom, and someone who is learning to be a homemaker all in the same breath, the idea of rest can seem like something far off – like 18 years from now. But God urges us to find rest in Him, and this will keep His presence in our lives and keep us from walking in unbelief in our hearts. Whether this is while you cook with a toddler at your ankles (amen, I have tried to find rest in this new season in this very act!), or while finding a few moments in the bathroom before your little one finds you (amen and amen).

I know there are areas the Lord has wanted to heal me of unbelief, where I don’t fully trust Him, even after all of these years. And that can only be done by coming to Him with my labor, ceasing to do it on my own, and abiding confidently in Him.

As an exercise, I took these verses and paraphrased them into my own words. Perhaps this will help you grasp what is being said…

Psalm 16:8-9 – I continuously run to Him, in my mind and in my heart. I feel His presence throughout my day, and I know He is the one that will keep me anchored. So I can live joyfully and at peace in my whole being; even physically I feel a peace as I choose to confidently abide in Who He is and what He’s done.

Hebrews 4:9-11 – There is still a way of finding total rest when you walk with God, because when you are in relationship with Him, there is a new peace that comes because you cease from doing things your own way, on your own strength. God is our leader, our Father, and even He rested after creating all of this! But it takes intention. You must work hard at resting in Him, in what He has already accomplished, and find confidence in that. This will protect you from falling into deep unbelief.

Matthew 11:28 – Come spend time in my presence, and my presence will calm and quiet your heart, and give you the strength you need.

Why is rest so important? It keeps us in His presence. And that keeps us from unbelief in our hearts, keeps us resting securely in Him.

I can’t think of any more important reason than to find ways to abide and run to Him!

My 10 favourite Amazon purchases for 9-12 month olds

 

I don’t know about anyone else, but being pregnant and becoming a mom has made Amazon my best friend! I love the fast shipping of most items. I joined Prime (at first by accident, but its easily paid for itself!) which means you get quicker and free shipping on most items. There have been a few lifesaver items that I’ve loved for Elizabeth, so I thought for this Friday I would share a few of my favourites!

Melissa & Doug 20 Wooden Animal Magnets in a Box – $12.99
I glued some felt from the dollar store on to some magnets I had at home. These magnets sufficed for a while, occupying Elizabeth from time to time as she passed the fridge or dishwasher. But these ones that I actually have spent money on have been stellar! The whole back is magnetic and aside for maybe a couple animals, they are all large enough for her to play with (not a choking hazard).

Reusable Food Pouch – $15.99
The ones I bought (Nature’s Little Squeeze) are no longer available (I wonder why?). I bought them because I was trying to find something in which I could stick smoothies and on the go snacks in for E, other than puffs! She loves smoothies, and it’s been the easiest way to get some greens like spinach or kale into her! They are super difficult to clean, and require a rinse, dishwasher and shaking hot water throughout. Here are some similar to the ones I bought, that look like they have great reviews. Good luck! 😉

Stuffed Girl Bunny Rabbit Doll – $18.99 
You can see how unenthused Elizabeth was with this gift at Christmas! She has started to like it more and more, inspecting her eyes and parts. How cute is it?! I leave this in her crib… her lil dollie! I just thought it was such an adorable little ‘baby doll’, and friends have even asked me where I got it.

Learning Resources Rainbow Bean Bags (6-Piece) – $18.20
So, I did not spend this amount on these bean bags (I think it was more like $7!), so that goes to show you how prices fluctuate. These have held together well. Elizabeth isn’t quite at the stage of throwing things into a bucket, but they’ve been a great toy for colors, texture, and showing her how to throw things into a bucket (I use an old formula container!)

Rhinestone floral headband – $2.17
This super cute headband is what Elizabeth wore for her birthday party, and I love it. She actually left it on!

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker – $34.97
This walker has been a delight for her! And us! Around Christmas-time Elizabeth wanted to stand more and was almost crawling/scootching. This has been a great toy to help her mobility and independence. The rear wheels lock, so I always have that locked, as it’d fall out from beneath her otherwise with how fast she goes! Would definitely have this again for next baby!

 

 

Munchkin Extending Metal Safety-Gate – $49.99

We have black iron railings with our maple railing that goes to downstairs, and knowing we were going to be listing our house in the near future, we wanted something that looked nice but was functional. Troy even made an attachment for the railing so we didn’t have to drill a hole into our pretty maple! It’s a super easy to use and pretty baby gate!

Tom’s Flouride Free Toothpaste – $4.97
This was the best price on flouride-free children’s toothpaste that I found, and with Prime free shipping, it was a no-brainer for me! Elizabeth loves it 😉

Bright Starts Little Taggie – $8.99
Elizabeth loved anything with a tag from early on. I found this mini tag blanket on Amazon, though it doesn’t let you choose which color/design. I leave it with her car seat for now, and it’s been great for teething and like a comfort blankie too!

Happy Birthday Sign in Pink – $10.99
I’m just not a fan of super colourful party supplies, so when I found this one on Amazon that was the perfect pink and gold, I was sold! It’s made of thick cardboard, so it can be used multiple times, with plenty of ribbon. It’s already being lent to a friend for her daughter’s party!

If you have a little one this age, or need to buy a gift, I would recommend any of these! Happy shopping, and happy weekend 🙂

New Natural Living area of the blog


If you have followed along here for the past year, you know that I have struggled with my skin for my whole life, but in a new way since my 30’s. You can read more about my experimentation last year here.  I have deduced it down to hormonal reasons, as I have noticed the acne often flairs up the worst a certain time after major life changes. Big moves. Marriage. Motherhood. Believe me, I have tried everything from getting tested for allergies to cutting out certain foods! I could probably be more aggressive in the food department, but where I have been the most intentional has been in removing toxins from our home.

When pregnant, I was super aware of my surroundings and how ANYTHING could affect my baby. Hello first-time mammas?!  In researching different things, I learned about the chemicals in candles, anything with artificial fragrance, most household cleaners, and the such. I had no idea that candles were made of paraffin wax which actually releases the same toxins found in diesel fumes, known carcinogens. YIKES! Candles made of soy or beeswax are safe, but also much more expensive. Here is a great article from Huffington Post on candles if you want to learn more. I also got super sensitive to smells in everyday cleaners and learned how the smells (chemicals) in cleaners can be hormone disrupters. YIKES again!

With a history of skin issues, and a baby on the way, I was determined to try “natural” as much as I could. Enter doTerra Essential Oils. Friends had been telling me about them, and said how they had benefited from them after having a baby, and even with their growing children. Benefits of Clary Sage on their abdomen for healing and during PMS, or having rollerballs with oil mixes for boo-boo’s. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a place for modern medicine and doctors! I enjoyed the help of epidural in labour, don’t get me wrong! (Hallelujah for that! 😉 )But  I also believe that God has given us natural resources that we can, and should, take advantage of!

Troy and I thought long and hard about it, and I finally purchased my membership (you save 25% off the price of oils, so a membership made sense!), the Family Essentials Kit , and a diffuser. And we’ve been hooked. It does take an upfront investment, but once you try them, it’s hard to stop! And over time, you will save LOADS in cleaning supplies and other household items because there are literally hundreds of uses for essential oils, and other things you will just stop using because of them.

I love that doTerra oils are grown and harvested in their indigenous countries from around the world, making them super potent and certified therapeutic grade oils due to their purity. They also have a philanthropic element, helping farmers in these countries to build businesses, and I love that.

So, from time to time, I will be sharing how I use these oils at home. I love knowing that there are few, if any, chemicals in my cupboards for Elizabeth to get into. I am still working towards investing in dishwasher and laundry soaps (doTerra has both!), as our budget allows. Though I have recently tried making my own dishwasher tabs, but the jury is still out on that! I also love knowing that there are fewer and fewer toxins in our home that could potentially “disrupt” my hormones – hopefully helping clear my skin issues for good. I know there are a lot of other elements to this – such as diet, sleep, exercise. But slow progress, right?!

And the very last thing I want this to come across is a soapbox… I really hope it doesn’t. I just really love the oils, I love having fewer to no chemicals in our home, and would love to help others on that journey!

You can visit my doTerra website here, to start learning more. But please feel free to comment or send me an email at lanilupul@gmail.com if you would like to learn more and jump into getting your home toxin-free!

 

Just yesterday  I used my oils three times by 10am…

  1. Diffusing lavender and pepermint
  2. Soaking my hair brushes in hot water with a few drops of tea tree oil (cleansing)
  3. In a spray bottle, I use 1/4 water, 3/4 apple cider vinegar, 3 drops cedarwood (known to help hair growth), 3 drops rosemary (mmmm), and 2 drops tea tree. This has helped as a conditioner and remove residue in my hair!

Then by nightfall I had… 

…used a lavender rollerball on Elizabeth’s feet at bedtime…

…a rollerball of frankincense and lavender on an owie she got…

…rubbed Rosemary on my sore shoulders…

I hope you enjoy my little posts moving forward of how we are learning to live toxin free and using doTerra! As always, thank you for stopping by!!

xo

When desolate means beauty is on its way

He’s met me in dark places; places that were unplanned, but necessary. His hand reached out to comfort, bring hope. And breathe life through His grip. I’ve had dark places in life – my early 20’s when I didn’t know what path to take, but my emotions ruled me. After heartache, when everything felt unbearable. Upon great change in life when newness was everywhere, and my emotions felt raw. And as a new mamma, desolate places can be as simple (and as deceiving) as the distraction of the things we feel we must do to keep up, portray an image, but no one has actually asked us to do. No matter how hard I try, I am desolate without Jesus. I am not enough. I am not perfect. But. He is.

I’ll be honest, I have this tick-tock dilemma where I want to make everything have a purpose. At our mom’s group at church last week we were talking about personalities. Our table laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants, no joke. I went home with sore cheeks and a full soul! (TMI, but I just don’t care!) I went online after the fact to try this quiz, and lo-and-behold, I’m the rarest personality, 1% of the population. Funny enough, that didn’t surprise my husband. 😉  And in this frame of a personality, I want everything to be romantic and have a purpose, and sometimes, well, that’s just exhausting. And I try so hard to keep up, to a lot of expectations I set up, that at the end of the day I wonder sometimes what I really accomplished that had eternal value.

As we approach Easter, I felt the pressure to add my voice to the myriad of blogs and worthy posts by fellow writers of how much we love Jesus. I wanted to write something New York Times worthy. I want so desperately to tell you how Jesus has changed my life, and continues to redeem me. But this week, I just can’t find the words. I laid on myself the expectation to have something beautifully written… and I’m speechless. Sometimes, even making a difference can become an idol.

I read this morning in some prayers of Jesus where the word “desolate” was a common theme. Desolate means barren or laid waste, deprived or destitute of inhabitants, solitary, lonely. Sounds awful! But Jesus pursued those places.

Mark 1:35 and Luke 5:16 are two of the verses, among many, where it says that Jesus went or withdrew to a desolate place. He seemed to do that a lot. Go to places where no one else would go, and He would change them. Bring life. Have you ever noticed that He never left a place, or person, the same after meeting them? Whether He taught them a truth, healed them, restored sight or brought children back to life – people were changed after Jesus met them in desolation.

So in this self-induced dance of expectations and trying to make everything purposeful, I choose to let the King I love meet me in that place, that desolate place of expectations, disappointment, exhaustion of perfection… and bring His life. I choose to let His life be enough, and know that I don’t have to prove anything here, but share my heart, and hope that it rings true for someone else. That is my desire.

As we celebrate Jesus this weekend, I hope that you let Him pursue you in your desolate place, whatever it may look like. That you quiet your heart, and mind, long enough to hear Him running to You, full of life and newness. Whatever that looks like for you, in what season you are in. Throw open the door of your desolation, and let Him pursue it.

And wait and see what He does. Because in my mind, desolate places also mean something is about to happen. They are quietly waiting for beauty to be restored.