Wind Chimes

Today is December 27th, the 2nd day after Christmas and a few days before the New Year. This can mean 2 things; you may be caught in the hustle and bustle of post Christmas shopping and pre-new year prepping and planning… or you may be trying your best to squeeze in as much rest and family time as possible before walking into all that is about to come forth! Whichever category you may find yourself in, I just want to take a moment to remind you that you are loved, and share something that my heart was reminded of on this peaceful Thursday afternoon.

As I sit here in my aunt’s kitchen, having a cup of coffee with reminiscent thoughts of the many laughs and even tears of this week, I am reminded of God’s consistent nearness. Earlier this morning, I honestly woke up in a bit of a slump. Thoughts of comparison began to parade my mind of all the things that did not happen as planned in 2018. It also did not help to scroll on Facebook/Instagram and see posts that could easily feed into the lies of comparison. I immediately sat my phone down, went into the kitchen, heated up a plate of sausage balls, made a cup of coffee, and sat at the table. No phone, no iPad… just me and Abba.

Too often we get distracted by all of the “noise” that surrounds us. The noise of social media, outside opinions, and even our own thoughts can easily distract us from what the Voice of God is saying to us through His Holy Spirit. I have found this to be true quite often as someone who has struggled with identity, insecurity, and low self-esteem. The voice you listen to is the voice that will rule. So in this moment with me and Abba, I decided to just listen. To turn off the other noises and choose to take some time and tune in the God’s loving voice; and boy was I in for a treat!

My aunt has these wind chimes that hang outside on their balcony. They are simple, black chimes that have been there for years, since I was a little girl. I’ve noticed them before, but today they meant so much more. As I sat in my silence, I ask Abba, “what are you saying Lord? There are so many things that are seeking to pull my attention away from you… but what are You saying?” As I sat there for a few minutes, I began to hear the soft, sweet sound of chimes playing in the wind. A sound that was so soft, it could easily be missed amongst all of the other sounds of daily movement and duty. But in the stillness of that moment, the chimes began to play softly, then louder with the picking up of the wind. I could feel the rest of the Holy Spirit wash over me as He ministered to my heart.

Zephaniah 3:17 says:

“The Lord your God is in your midst; The Mighty On, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

I truly believe that in my moment of searching for Him, He revealed His nearness through His song over me in the wind, through the wind chimes. We are His children, and He rejoices over us with gladness! He sings over us! What gladness it brings to think that the Savior of the world, our Heavenly Father celebrates us with joy and endless love and affection. We are special in His sight!

So even in those moments where the noise seems so loud, and those intruder thoughts come knocking, remember the song of Abba; a song of joy, love, and peace. Steal away for a moment, breathe, and just listen to His heart. He loves you, and values you more than you could ever imagine.

May the love and peace of Christ wash over you, God bless!

Richarra Hardaway

“One tall glass of REST, Please!”

As I sat in my comfy chair yesterday, resting after a beautiful Sunday of worship, I was bombarded with many thoughts of things that need to be done. “The first load of laundry needs to be removed from the dryer so that the next load can be added… my closet needs to be cleaned and organized… what is on this week’s agenda?… remember that amazing idea you had last week??… you need to contact him/her, oh and don’t forget to send that email to confirm x,y, and z!” Tasks, decisions, upcoming events, “to-do” and “to-now” lists… ummmm relaxationnnn… where did you go??

There are so many things clamoring for our immediate attention; whether tasks, obligations, planning, decisions, there’s always something “needing to be done”. However, what happened to that moment of rest that you originally intended on having? I know personally, if I sit too long (normally not long enough), feelings of guilt try to creep in. “Girl, you need to be working!” “You know x,y,z needs to get done… rest another time!!” But, is that really healthy? Now of course productivity is important, as time is precious, but how productive can one truly be on an empty tank? Eventually, the car will stop, and have to be pushed or towed to a gas station. I don’t know about you, but I would definitely rather take the time and fill up my tank to have what I need, instead of running out and having to be forced to get what I should have stopped to get in the beginning…

Rest is essential, especially resting in the Lord. If we are not careful, we will work, bleed, and tire ourselves out because of the world’s definition of success. We’ll work 5 jobs, while participating in 6 organizations in order to gain money and prestige; but in reality, our families, and essentially God, are left with the crumbs of our time. There comes a point where we simply need to sit down and rest.

I am reminded of a time in my life when I was on the go at all times! During my first three years of college, I was the definition of “busy”. I held three executive board positions in 3 organizations, was in 3 music ensembles, doing hair on the side, and had an extremely demanding major. Not to mention I had the nerve to want a job on top of it all! My friends tell me now that looking back, they wouldn’t even bother to text or call me much because they knew I was too busy to hang, or would have to end it early in order to be on time for my next org meeting. While at the time, I looked important and thought I was achieving success, I was actually stressed and burned out from living an extremely hectic life. But this did not really dawn on me until a friend of mine bluntly asked me, “Are you really achieving anything?… or are you just always busy?”…That was my wake-up call.

I share this to say  that we have to make sure that our ambitions and schedules are actually in alignment with what is of true importance, our purpose. Having an extremely full plate may sound or look good, but if we aren’t careful, it could all be a huge distraction; deterring our focus from where God originally intended it to be. It is only in the moments of solitude and intimacy with God that we truly find out what our assignment is. God may be speaking to us, but have we stopped or slowed down enough to hear Him? Are we in-tune with the Holy Spirit to know what doors to walk through, which ones to avoid, and when to sit down somewhere and listen. This was and (still is sometimes) a VERY hard lesson for me to learn because of pressure to be great, and to make those I love proud. But in the end, God had to show me that if He wasn’t proud… none of it even mattered.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” 

So beloved, take the time you need to sit the tasks to the side, silence the phone for a little while, and rest in quite time with your Heavenly Father. We have to spend time with Him in order properly operate in the day that He has given us. In order for us to properly pour out, we must be filled. Take that extra time to sit at His feet, pray, read His Word, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your heart and thoughts. We must take time to fill up spiritually in order to pour out supernaturally! Jesus loves you, and awaits to refresh and fill you with all you need, for the purpose He has for you to accomplish.