It would never have been in my plans to make an international move pregnant, but that is exactly what I did in the fall of ‘99. When I was thrown into the newness of being a first time mama six months later, I was still wrestling to grasp a language as different from English as possible, learning how to lead a ministry alongside my husband, and finding my place in a new culture.
I was swimming in transition.
My love for our host country, coupled with a deep need for external validation, drove me through the spring to squeeze life out of every hour: studying the language while our son napped, taking him with me to meet students, our team passing him around as we met and planned. I once nursed him with one arm while wiping a poop explosion off the wall with baby wipes so I could finish in time to meet a student for discipleship.
I wanted to do it all. Six months later, I was overwhelmed.
That fall, I was still helping my husband lead a ministry team, and coaching two of the women on it. I was leading a Bible study with five students, discipling each of them one-on-one, and one of them was my language tutor. Then, our son became mobile and I knew something had to give.
I’m exhausted just remembering it.
In my desperation, I cried out to God, and He led me to Jeremiah 6:16. It reads,
Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
When I read that, my soul ached. I longed for that rest.
Throughout that fall, I asked Him to show me the good way, and how to walk in it. Slowly, He opened my eyes to my pride in trying to be unstoppable and unlimited. He helped me see that I had come to that place because I had followed my own ambition, not His voice.
He led me to wise women who helped me evaluate the wisdom of each activity, and prayed with me over what to let go. By the beginning of the next semester of the school year, I knew what He was asking me to pass on to others, and was surprised to find greater effectiveness in a lighter load.
Each time I face again the uncertainty of a new season, and I am tempted to run ahead, filling my time with what feeds my ego more than my soul, I am reminded of this verse.
It tells me that He knows me. He knows both my gifts and my limits, and how to give me a fruitful place in the midst of them.
He knows my way. He knows what He wants to do in me and through me in each new place.
He knows the path that leads to grace and rest. I have only to ask and obey.
Whenever my life shifts, this truth calls me to slow down and humbly, contemplatively, listen for His voice guiding me to paths of life. Stand, look, ask, walk.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Talk about a perfectly timed post…I really needed this today. I have felt the weight of things on my plate grow and my feet get more sluggish like I was walking into quicksand. How quick I/we are to try to rely on our own devices, our own figuring, our own…… Clearly God wants me to do three things – STAND (at the crossroads which means I have to stop for a moment). ASK for the ancient paths and where the good path is and then, when I hear God’s voice, WALK in the way HE ordains for me not what I would choose. That takes setting my pride and self-sufficiency aside, but that’s obviously what I need to do. Again, what a well timed post and Word from God!
I’m glad it was timely for you-it was for me as well actually! I’ve been in a place of questioning again lately, and it was good to remember this lesson. He knows the good way. Thanks for reading and letting me know that you were encouraged!
Rene Cargal Bryant says
Thank you. As I began to run ahead and do more and more. God stopped me in my tracks with my health. Four trips to the hospital in 2 months and me continuing to try and do everything. And each time I’d ask God what He wanted me to learn that I obviously wasn’t getting. Now I think I know. Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome! Sometimes we have to learn the hard way don’t we?
Thank you so much for sharing your devotion and reference to scripture that I so much needed to hear. I am at a crossroad in life too, but at the opposite end being older. I know God is telling me to slow down in many ways, and you have confirmed that to me again. I can still serve him in my daily walk, but do not have believe I to be all things to all people and be filled with His grace and rest in Him.
God bless your walk “in Him” and for being His light to others. May you continue to bring His voice through you, His eyes of compassion to all you meet, and His healing hands through your touch, in Jesus name.
Thanks Bonnie! It’s so hard to pull back from activities. I’m in a place of needing to decide what to take off my plate too. It’s good to remember the promise that his way is good and restful.
Thank you for this. I am pregnant with my third child, and am due in March. I’ve become consumed with decision of whether to keep working after my maternity leave, or take the time to stay home during these precious years. This was a good reminder to listen for God’s voice and direction.
That’s a tough decision! Glad this was helpful.
Thanks Gina. I copied parts from your devo in my journal. New year…seeking guidance and I am thankful for your wise words. “He knows the path that leads to grace and rest. I have only to ask and obey.” I know the “do more monster” very well and have a tendency to slip into “earning” His grace. Thanks for sharing. XOXO
You’re welcome Paula! Yeah, I’m on too familiar terms with the “do more monster” too.
Seems like every season of change comes with a ready-made crossroad, doesn’t it? In the newness of everything it’s easy to run ahead without realizing we haven’t stopped at that crossroad and asked for the path. Lovely testimony, Gina. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
You’re welcome Brenda! I tend to run ahead way too often.
Corena Hall says
What God ordains is not what I try to accomplish. In the new season in my life I am halted and waiting…For His guidance and to remain in His will. Of course the world is not happy because I have willingly allowed my own self to march ahead to please them. My family and I have been placed in a box we know now in prayer we have permitted and participated. But the talents and gifts He has given us have to be used for His glory and those were being stifled and stopped. No more. The Holy Spirit has lead each of us in my family to recognize that. It is His will that we serve but with our talents not what others prefer not to do.
Corena-yes! It’s so hard to stop and listen when others are accustomed to us doing and doing. I’m glad you’re finding the space to rest and pray.
Alecia Simersky says
LOVE your words!! God’s timing for me reading this is perfect. Thank you.
I was just reading in Exodus about Sabbath rest and thinking rest sounds so nice. Thank you for sharing this. It was very timely in confirming that I need to rest. I’m so glad you told us how yo sought God as you released things. What a great blueprint to follow!
God brought this verse back to me again just this week. It’s such a good reminder. Glad it encouraged you!
This is so perfect. I can easily get busy doing. God always has a way of slowing me down and reminding me that His ways, His timing, and His results are much higher than whatever I’m busy & stressing over.
Thanks for the reminder!
You’re welcome Lora! God has ways of slowing me down too, and they’re usually not very fun. I’m trying to learn this lesson of listening first!
Rebecca L Jones says
God talks about the rest they would not enter. I have learned to do that, now I will definitely stand and follow the right path. I am limited but He isn’t.
Amen! So true.
Nancy Ruegg says
“He knows the path that leads to grace and rest. I have only to ask and obey.” Praise God for his wisdom and guidance! And thank you, Gina, for this timely, insightful reminder. Those words of yours I’ve quoted offer a faith-statement we can assert when pride pushes us into overdrive!
Nancy-you’re welcome! Yes, I should probably cross stitch those words on a pillow so I keep them in my sights.
Naomi Fata says
This touched my heart. Thank you. So often I am the one to run ahead. The type A personality that has a check list of things to do, even if most of them are focused on ‘serving’ or furthering the kingdom. I am learning to rest in His perfect ways and to have the confidence to say no when I have taken on too much
You’re welcome Naomi! I’m still learning to rest too. So thankful that God doesn’t tired of teaching me!
Thank you for being a faithful servant and listening to God’s wisdom to post about this topic on this day. They are words and a picture that have brought so much comfort to my soul today as I sit unexpectedly in a foreign Muslim country wrestling with decisions about what path to take. However i know that the wisdom in your devotional is something that will serve me well for all of years and is now bookmarked for ready reference to remind me of God’s love and wisdom that is available to bless us if we would just slow down and follow him.
Kathy-I’m glad you found comfort here today!
Michele Morin says
SO late to this party, but I have to let you know what a blessing your words about THE Word have been to me today — Thanks, Gina, especially for this: ” He helped me see that I had come to that place because I had followed my own ambition, not His voice.” Good words for a soul evaluation . . .
Hi Michele! So glad I could bless you today. 🙂
Beth Williams says
To often we get busy with activities. Oh we say these are all good & yes they might be. Could it be that we are rushing in ahead of God doing what He has planned for others. My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11 “for I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you”. He desires for His children to rest in Him and seek Him fully. Then we can go out into this world and show them His love!
Beth Moore says
This is the very place where my husband and I find ourselves and God has graciously brought those into our lives to speak wisdom in how to proceed along His path instead of filling it with our own distractions. I’ll be writing this verse down and sharing it with him. Thanks for the encouragement of sharing your story!