Tag Archives: rest

“Come to Me, All Who Labor”

%22Come to Me, All Who Labor%22

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” –Jesus, ESV

Matthew 11:28-30 is one of the most frequently quoted Bible passages regarding labor versus rest. For me personally, it has a more literal significance. As a little girl in the Presbyterian church I grew up in, I would lay my head down on my father’s lap as the sermon began. As I drifted off to sleep, this verse was the last thing my blurry eyes focused on. It was painted on the front inside wall of the sanctuary. These beautiful words penetrated my mind and heart every Sunday, even as a young reader and child of immature faith taking rest more immediately than perhaps the passage intended.

The best part was when I figured out it was Jesus doing the talking. When it’s Jesus talking in the Bible, it’s a promise I can hang my hat on.

It seems to me that rest is more or less what Labor Day seeks to offer us in its recognition of the “social and economic achievements of American workers” by taking off a day for observance.

But, what does it mean to really labor in a biblical sense? What does God require of us? How do we then get to the rest part? Read the rest of this entry »


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Does Your Weary Heart Need to Find Safe Harbor?

safeharborThis past week, I came crashing into Thursday morning. Ever have one of those days/weeks/years? We’d experienced a few days of inflexibility, stress, and angst. There were a lot of extra appointments and assessments going on for one of my children, and the red flag of “I’ve had enough, Mom!” was going up.

And it’s not that I didn’t see it.

It’s that I didn’t want to. It was inconvenient. I was tired of setting things down for it. I was weary of red flags popping up everywhere, even though they are God-given safety measures I am truly thankful for most days.

As it turns out, when I failed to step up to the plate, my child knew what he needed without me.

Read the rest of this entry »


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When God Tucks Us In


Recently, I have been visiting my parents for a few days at a time in Amish Country. I wasn’t raised here. They moved here a few years ago. But I remember the days when Chester County, Pennsylvania, was similar in landscape: rolling hills of undisturbed cornfields and cows. My life in Boston is much more densely populated and busy. Horses and buggies are a welcomed sight after highways of minivans, Mercedes, and Land Rovers.

I have to admit: This started out as an idea of taking each child on a fun road trip, one at a time, to get some quality time with their grandparents, to make individual memories. But it also metamorphosed into more selfish reasons: Coming here is like a retreat, a respite. I could hole up here for weeks reading, writing, and conducting small amounts of business from an Adirondack chair facing farmland and Amish laundry hanging straight on a line. Peace and rest. Order. Clean air. Quiet countryside.

As I was trying to snuggle under some incredibly warm and enduring afghans from my childhood on my parents’ couch, my father came over and asked if I would like to be tucked in. He had seen that the afghans were slipping from the smooth leather couch onto the floor, and I clearly was in need of being wrapped like a bed burrito. He was happy to oblige.

Backing up a bit, Dad is recovering from bladder cancer. I guess a more accurate way of putting it is that he is recovering from bladder removal. Cancer has become his frequent, persistent, and most nagging companion over the course of 34 years. So not only is my recovering father tucking me in with his bladder bag saddled to the side, but he was caring for me, the one with fewer years and better health.

And it is a picture I simply cannot get out of my head.


Because God tucks us in that way. God is a Father Who loves this way. God offers protection under His wings, rest for our souls.

I’m 42, and my earthly father can still wrap me to sleep on the couch.

I’m 42, and I still desperately need my heavenly Father to wrap me in His shadow and under His wings.

I will never grow out of that need.

Neither will you.

And I love it.

The key is that we must remember that we are welcomed to be that child nestled under our Father’s strong arms and wings of protection. He loves having us there.

Mom actually made those afghans many years ago. In her own way, with those afghans, she comforted feverish children, covered chilly knees and feet on cold winter nights, brought warmth to a 44 year old man convalescing from radiation in 1981, kept the chill off the 95 year old matriarch of the family as she watched Lawrence Welk.

That afghan is family history from start to finish. It spans time and memories. It warms the soul and invites those needing the deepest of rest.

Like God, it knows our history and covers us in spite of it—when we trust Him and in Him.

Doesn’t that sound so inviting? So nourishing?

The verses that follow show the Truth of what God offers us, and it’s so much more than an aging, cozy afghan on a slippery couch.

It is ours just for crying out and being willing to submit to a Father in heaven Who wants to be our Loving Parent in the most significant and hope-filled of ways: forever.

May 2015 be the year these verses settle deeply into your hearts and minds—that you know how deep and wide and enduring the Father’s love is for you, and that you daily cry out for Him to tuck you into those promises when you come with the heart of a





Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus speaking, ESV
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Psalm 91:1-4, author unknown, possible Moses, ESV
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.


Dad’s story and tales of treks to Amish Country can also be found in “Waiting for the Telephone Call” and “Cows, Cornfields, and a Father Who Cares for It All.”

More stories of how tender a relationship God offers us through His Son Jesus can be found in the recently published Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day.

This blog has been shared at Christian Mommy Blogger and Pick Your Pin Tuesday.


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Happy Thanksgiving from Espressos of Faith!


Happy (U.S.) Thanksgiving!

I truly appreciate those of you who regularly follow “Espressos of Faith” as well as those of you who stop by to check it out! You have made this blog what it is, and I’m thankful for you.

I’m going to make this short, since we are hopefully all with loved ones and/or taking some good rest and food to restore ourselves. For those of you working, blessings on your day, and thank you for working a holiday for others who do not have to work it this year.

Today, I am thankful for family and friends, for healing and things still in the process of healing, for a published book (Not Just on Sundays), and for all those who made that possible (editors, artist, photographer, book marketer, printer, pastor, readers, and people who encouraged and prayed me through).

I’m grateful for lessons learned and for places where God is working out my character and peeling off areas of pride and replacing them with areas where I hopefully rely more on Him. I am thankful for His Holy Word, which brings the only true wisdom to me in managing marriage, raising children, getting through challenges, fighting things that come against us, seeing blessings even in the valleys we walk through, and healing relationships.

This has been an intense year for our family for many reasons, and I’m so thankful for lessons learned—sometimes painful—in the valley, where answers still were not on the horizon, and all we had was faith in things unseen. I’m grateful both for the people who walked through the valley with us as well as those currently in a valley of their own who allowed me in to hold their hands for a while.

Hebrews 11:1, Author unknown but he is recording the words of God, ESV 
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Apostle Paul speaking, ESV
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

We are thankful for the warm hand of Jesus in ours as each step we take—in work, our families, and our faith—is often uncertain, except for with Whom we are walking.

May you know the peace, rest, love, grace, mercy, and incredibly deep love of Christ this Thanksgiving and always!

Grateful for you,

[Did I mention I’m also thankful for chocolate-covered pretzels? And pie! 🙂 ]


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Pressure-Cooker Culture: Is High School in America Becoming an Initiation into a Lifetime of Stress?


My high schooler recently sat down next to me and told me about friends taking five (sometimes six) honors classes in ninth grade (the school only recommends three at the most at a time), doubling up in advanced math/science/engineering. These students are 14 years old.

There was an unspoken question somewhere in him telling me that.

So, I took a deep breath and told him that while I would never put anyone down for that, because clearly academic achievement is a noble goal, our family makes a different choice because of our placing equal value on everything else that he does outside of academics: marching band, youth group, karate, robotics. I told him that:

  • We value good grades (“personal bests”)—but balanced with mental/emotional wellness.
  • We want to instill a good work ethic, along with built-in moments to unwind.
  • Statistics show way too many overworked, over-pressured high school students keeping themselves artificially awake in unhealthy (or even illegal) ways round the clockending up in psych wards having emotional breakdowns, or taking their lives. Yes, I realize there can be several factors playing into those situations, but academic pressure is one of them. In my opinion, one kid suffering in this way is one kid too many.
  • Ivy League college entrance letters and highly successful future careers are admirable things to reach for, as long as we keep perspective. Training my kids to live in a constant state of lifelong, self-driven pressure and stress, however, is not my end goal.  

I know some folks feel that the United States could increase education standards. I realize that the bar could be higher. It always can. I also know how well other countries around the world do in math and science. I attended college in one of those countries for a while, and I get it. I do. And I know in this increasingly high-tech world, kids are being pushed to take college-level classes sooner, push math advancement, interface with technology at earlier ages. Nothing is inherently wrong with that. I’m all for seeing what people are capable of and letting kids grow toward greater responsibilities, setting personal goals to do better.

But I also value well-rounded individuals with a wider understanding of the human experience. In the United States, college admissions counselors still look for after-school club involvement, community service, and extracurricular activities on the field, in the studio, and at the track. And they should. I don’t think we are doing 18 year olds a favor having them think the world is so narrow that as long as they can program in Python, they are all set for their future.

On the flip side, they need to learn how to balance stress, work and school, and the people in their lives, so I’m also not in favor of high school students in such a state of relaxation that they play video games for 6 hours straight while parents do the laundry and cook their meals. Either end of this pendulum swing has its pitfalls and dangers.

Honors-level classes are awesome if students can perform at that level. Go for it! Call me American (because I am), but honors classes at the expense of everything else—social interaction, activities that broaden character, serving the community, etc.—is where it can sometimes be out of focus.

Life outside the 40 to 60 hours of work per week these future adults will put in has so much more to it. If we teach our kids that academic achievement is the ultimate striving, then where is their personal satisfaction and fulfillment during downtime, when they are just kickin’ it with their families for a few days, or when they want to contribute something non-academic to society?

As one of my social media friends shared, when I brought this up in public forum: “It isn’t good to base an entire life on performance.” And that’s true of anything out of balance: performance of any kind, really.

In my humble opinion:

  • They need to learn how to talk to humans: their boss, their parents, other people’s parents, their coaches, their teachers, their peers.
  • They need to know how to stop and breathe when stress piles up, to prioritize a hectic schedule, to find a way to rest (which ironically, is designed to ultimately keep them at optimal performing level when they take the gift of rest), to wrestle through issues of faith, morality, and justice. To grow into adults who function emotionally, mentally, physically, socially, spiritually.
  • They need to see know how awesome it is to help in a soup kitchen, to run a marathon, to get a black belt in karate. Of course it’s not about doing all of those things—or even those particular things—just people-to-people interactions in general.

As I read my niece’s college application essays this summer, I thought: Well done! She is a high academic achiever but also mentored younger students in cheer, held a job, babysat, went on mission trips, anchored her school news reporting, among other responsibilities. She doesn’t appear to have let any one of those things get out of focus.

I’m glad my son and I had this talk because I saw relief on his face that we don’t expect six honors classes at a time. My parenting wasn’t so much in my saying “no, please don’t take that many” but rather in the why we don’t expect that. I saw the panic button stop going off. There was a life lesson right there that I hope he teaches his own children someday:

Balance, Son, balance.

Because if there’s anything I want my kids to know going into adulthood, it’s when to rest.


Exodus 34:21, God speaking through Moses

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.”

Mark 6:30-32, Apostle John-Mark narrating

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 




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