(A special welcome to new friends joining us for the first time from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. We’ll have fresh content every Tuesday including periodic book recommendations and giveaways. Scroll to the end for a suggestion specifically for you.)
Take a deep breath. Pull in the scent of salted air and fresh-mown grass, fried dough and peach pie.
Hold onto the moments. The tall days and long shadows, the winking of fireflies in the pine forest. Children playing tag in the damp heat.
Exhale. Let your breath cool your skin, calm your spirit. Release your worries and receive what God has for you this season.
Last week, we dealt with the weightiness of life – a topic we’ll return to again. As Cheryl commented, “We could talk for years, plumbing the depths of this assault [depression] on mind and body—and the heights of its healing.”
Jill shared presidential speechwriter Michael Gerson’s definition: “Depression is a malfunction in the instrument we use to determine reality. The brain experiences a chemical imbalance and wraps a narrative around it.”
Often the stories in our embodied lives resemble the jagged lines on a stock market report – a sudden surge upwards of wild joy and answered prayers. A painful lurch downwards when a call comes with distressing news. Or when a call doesn’t come at all.
But today, in these early days of summer when nine months of schoolwork, church programs, and volunteer activities give birth to new freedom? When the daily schedule stretches like a cat on a sunny windowsill, relaxing like gluten in warm dough?
It’s time to savor the season, friends. How do you plan to do it?
I was dismayed recently when I reviewed our summer schedule only to discover our calendar is filled for weeks to come. Yet then the relief of realizing it’s because we’ve prioritized time for rest and family, reading and re-creating space for the care of our souls.
- This coming weekend in New Jersey celebrating a big milestone with grandson Everett, my birthday twin. Each of us reaching the perfect number 7 (the zero that will soon appear after my 7 means nothing, nada, zilch!)
- A long weekend for Mike in Texas house-hunting with our youngest son who’s moving to Austin for a new job opportunity.
- A few quiet days in a beach house on upper Cape Cod generously loaned to us by old friends.
- Year #42 of our annual weeklong Rowe Family Camp in West Virginia: 67 rowdy Rowes coming together in July.
- Visits from old friends as well as new ones we’re eager to make old friends out of.
May I encourage you to intentionally cultivate both relationship and rest this summer?
Rest is such a welcome word. A rest stop on a busy highway is a respite, and so is a rest home. A musical rest provides space between notes, better to appreciate the melody. As John Ruskin famously noted, there is no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it.
“My soul finds rest in God alone.” A promise (Psalm 62:1).
“My soul, find rest in God alone.” A punctuated pause, a command.
I have enough ministry commitments this summer to keep me chained to a computer until Labor Day: Keynote talks to write, Zoom workshops to prepare, the beckoning detritus of a literary life. Your responsibilities are equally demanding – especially if they have human voices.
How vital it is to return to the Source of our strength in these golden days between the June solstice and the September equinox. Rest brings restoration, but only if we listen, heeding our deep personal need and our Shepherd’s distinctive voice.
May we not be like the ancient Israelites who disregarded God’s command to enter Sabbath rest. “In returning and rest shall you be saved. In quietness and trust shall be your strength, but you were unwilling.” Isaiah 30: 12-15
Soak in every turn around the sun this summer, friends. Let the slower pace and a fresh view or two sooth your senses, dissolving slowly like a lifesaver on the tongue.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
- Maggie Wallem Rowe, 2023
Recommended Reading: I have just finished Beth Moore’s beautifully written memoir All My Knotted-Up Life. This transparent, searingly honest account of the beloved Bible teacher’s family life and ministry experiences makes for a read I could not put down.
I’ve had the privilege of spending extended time with Beth on several occasions, and I can attest that in private she is as loving and deeply humble as she appears to be in public. My only critique of the telling of Beth’s life story is that she’s much too hard on herself. She loves Jesus and his people with a passion and has done nothing to deserve the irrational, politicized firestorm of criticism hurled her way in recent years.
Purchase the audio version for your summer road trip so you can hear Beth’s story in her own voice. Highly recommended.
Special note for those of you who attended my workshops or met with me at BRMCWC last week: If you don’t already receive the Monday newsletter “Rush to Press” from ECPA, I suggest you subscribe. It will keep you up to date on industry news, career openings, and Christian bestseller lists. email@example.com. It's free.