“i just have one question for you, danielle.  when are you going to take some time for yourself?”  those were the strong, yet encouraging words of a ministry friend that just might know me too well.  all the kidmin events for the summer were winding down and i was a bit worn.  (ok, who am i kidding?  i was way more than a bit worn.)  i thought i was hiding it beautifully, but i am increasingly grateful for friends God puts in my path with keen senses of discernment and loving hearts for His best for me.  so this began my mind reeling.  yes,  i wanted rest.  i longed to get away, but as a single girl time away by myself felt more restricting than renewing.  the last thing this girl, who despises the sound of silence, longs for is more of it.  so i made it a matter of prayer.

through many God moments and His leading, i decided to take a trip to visit sweet friends that are more like family.  i had done a poor job maintaining the relationship, because i once again allowed the events and details of the fabric of  life to squeeze out time for the relationships that make it so beautiful.   even though my whole being was eager and excited to get away, nothing could prepare me for the ministry of rest i would receive in auburn, al.

from the moment i arrived i was welcomed with open arms and unconditional love.  through many hours of conversation and quality time;  i was encouraged, listened to, shared with, and prayed over on a screened-in patio that doubled as a sanctuary.  things were spoken to me and over me about God’s plan for me and how He uses me, that i had been too buried in ministry to remember.  there were few, if any, moments that Jesus and/or scripture were not the center, springboard, or conclusion to our conversations.

i had spent so much time in the months before being “on” it felt good to pull back the layers, let down the walls, and just be me – simple, imperfect me.  there was no pretense and no pretending.  this time was God using sweet friends to minister to my soul and heart and lead me to His sweet rest.  i was able to linger in my quiet times and get real before my Father.  i finally got still and quiet enough to be reminded He is God and He holds my life in the palm of His hand.  the days became a haven for one worn from ministry.

i felt as though i gave very little and received an abundance of love, grace, encouragement, and direction from servants that love our Savior so much.   God used a family He brought into my life 14+ years ago (through children’s ministry camp) to saturate me with the ministry of rest.  i will be forever changed and eternally grateful.

i think in children’s ministry we tend to give until we are empty, lead until we are worn out, and serve without making the needed time to sit at the true Servant’s feet.  i know i often don’t feel the “need” for rest and surely don’t feel like i deserve any encouragement.  those thoughts don’t make me super-spiritual, because they just aren’t scriptural.  Jesus beckons us to come to Him when we are weary and He will give us rest.  i am now a firm believer in the ministry of rest.  what about you?  when is the last time you took time off and away to be still, be encouraged, and rest at your Savior’s feet?

the copes... my gracious and godly hosts in alabama.

P.S. WAR EAGLE!

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