Tuesday, February 4, 2014

unforced rhythms of grace

This week, Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart writing prompt is a question:
“What are the encouraging words you want to hear when you’re having a hard day?”

These are the encouraging words from Scripture that immediately came to my heart:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. —Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

I am especially encouraged by the words, “unforced rhythms of grace”…which always take me back to those lyrics in Darrell Evans’ song, "Your Love Is Extravagant”
Your love is extravagant...Your friendship intimate...I find I'm moving to the rhythms of Your grace...Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place...

Other Scriptures which have encouraged me to trust, hope, and wait upon the Lord are:
We are saved by trusting. And trusting means looking forward to getting something we don’t yet have—for a man who already has something doesn’t need to hope and trust that he will get it. But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently. —Romans  8:24-25 The Living Bible
But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day.—Habakkuk 2:3 The Living Bible
But the people who trust [hope in; wait on] the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky [with wings like eagles];they will run and not ·need rest [grow weary]; they will walk and not ·become tired [faint]—Isaiah 40:31 Expanded Bible—the Hebrew word for "trust [hope in; wait on]" is “qavah” meaning to bind together by twisting.

What an encouraging word...Hope…described so passionately in this beautiful song by Sara Groves, “It Might Be Hope” 

Encouraging words cause me to hope, to reframe, to refocus, to see through a wider lens. I wrote about this here: "Imagination is a powerful entity. It can cause the hair on the back of our neck to stand up, our spirit to soar, or our face to blush. Imagination is the power that holds our beliefs together; we believe with our imagination. Imagination is the wellspring of faith and hope. Our biggest and best dreams for ourselves and others rise from the imagination. All of this activity is the work of the imagination. It is likewise the work of the imagination to reinterpret and reform repeated assumptions and expectations. Forgiveness demands that we take another look so that our imagination can reframe our narrow interpretations. Forgiveness includes the decision to refocus or enlarge the context…walk a mile in another’s shoes. When we enlarge the context, we refocus, or we see it through a wider lens. Imagination is the work of seeing through a wider lens. If we stick to a negative interpretation of an old offense, we will experience resentment whenever we think about it, or about the offender. We will never be able to grieve and let go; we will seesaw between rage and resignation; we will never allow anger to surface and put us back on the journey of forgiveness. If we insist on telling and retelling our bad news stories of the past, we simply recycle the bad news and pass it on to the next generation. We pollute the emotional environment; we remain stuck in lifeless memories instead of looking for a more positive side of things long past. When you enlarge your perceptions, using your creative imagination, you at least allow for the possibility of healing. You give yourself the opportunity to turn from the negative aspects of your past, to get rid of the excess baggage, and to face the journey into the future with hope."

Finally, I have been encouraged by coming to know my Heavenly Father as my El Shaddai. I have learned that the thought expressed in the name “Shaddai” describes power, but it is the power, not of violence, but of all-bountifulness. “Shaddai” primarily means “breasted,” being formed directly from the Hebrew word, “Shad,” that is “the breast.” Shaddai means “the pourer” or “the shedder-forth,” that is of blessings, temporal and spiritual. Having been a nursing mother of my two children, I readily identified with this title…my baby is crying—restless. Nothing can quiet it. Yes; the breast can. My baby is pining, starving. Its life is going out. It cannot take nourishment: it will die. No; the breast can give it fresh life, and nourish it. By her breast, a mother has almost infinite power over the child. Once I heard a retired missionary from Uganda share the meaning of the African word, "basi," it is used by mothers nursing their babies. As the African mothers would hold their crying babies to their breast they would say, “basi, basi,” to calm their babies, meaning, “it’s gonna be alright.”… basi means "peace, healing, that's alright, that's alright” … like we would say, "now, now, now, it will be alright” to our babies while nursing them. The missionary from Uganda closed his talk that day with this challenge: He said, “Just give Jesus a chance, He will give you "basi." Those words have become such a comfort to me…I have come to know my Heavenly Father as my El Shaddai. I picture Him scooping me up in His mighty arms just like an African mother and holding me while saying, “Basi, basi, it’s gonna be alright…I’m holding you, I love you, and I’m not gonna let you go. I will never leave you or forsake you.” I can drift off to sleep feeling His loving arms wrapped around me, resting in the peace that passes all my understanding…basi, basi…

In what ways are you encouraged by these words? I would love to read your comments!


  1. Here from Coffee for Your Heart...and SO glad I found your words today. I love all the verses you shared and your words on imagination are super-thought-provoking! Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know you were encouraged this post. So happy to be linking up at Coffee for Your Heart <3

  2. I love it when I just stumble across a new world to Learn a new way.

    1. I love that you love it..."basi, basi" is so special to me, I almost hesitated to put it out there on my blog...but knowing that it has blessed someone else is so encouraging to me...thank you!

  3. Beth- I loved/enjoyed your teaching about El Shaddai and shad= the breast and the African word basi.
    I have been in need of much comfort of late- and the tenderness of God you have evoked for me in this teaching has brought me comfort.
    I thank God for you Beth!

    1. Thank you so much, Mary! I think God divinely orchestrated our meeting over at Empty Nests--Full Lives so that He could encourage each of us through the other...I thank God for you, too <3


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