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Rest and Trust

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At the beginning of June, I was aware of my own need to take some time to rest but also believed that I simply could not. I am running a youth mentorship program at another location this summer. While I have much to build on, still a good portion of the work is from scratch. It is a new neighbourhood, with its own uniqueness, and different needs and hopes in the community. Sometimes I feel like I could easily split my job into multiple positions to cover the many facets that go with starting up a new program with primarily unchurched groups of people. In other words, there is no end to the work and not enough hours in the day.

I developed a serious infection called cellulitis in my non-dominant arm. It is a deep tissue infection that had spread to the tendons and I was put on a high dose of antibiotics in attempt to stop the infection from spreading. In addition, my arm was in a hard splint for a few days and then a soft splint for a week. I was under strict orders to rest. Stubborn is my middle name and so I tried to work still… and the pain got to be too much. I tried to do things on my own but it’s really hard without your non-dominant hand! The family I live with and the friends in my neighbourhood helped me with getting the various things done that needed to be.

And I rested.

I think one of the difficulties of resting is trusting God – trusting that He doesn’t rest, that He can operate without me. That might seem so basic to some people but it is something that I struggle with. Partly because I don’t have answers to why he didn’t stop the many things that I’ve endured – including times when I abandoned myself to sleep as a young teen. Can God really handle this if I take a leave of absence?

The infection sort of forced me to take a break. The consequences of not resting could be really problematic and result in time off. I’m happy to say that it is all under control and other than still tiring easily, I am back to normal. But a break was actually not a choice – whether I felt like I could afford to take time off from a work perspective, I knew I couldn’t afford it from a health perspective.

I’m not sure that I’ve grown in my trust through this experience. Especially the past 24 hours as I have felt panicky about the summer program and whether it is even possible. I’m not sure taking breaks will be an easier.

But I do know – I’m better off with the time to do nothing but rest. I was able to connect with people in ways I hadn’t. I had time to reflect and pray about life. I was forced to ask for help and in doing so gained a bit of perspective on life and work. And I do know, that if this is going to be sustainable, I need to take breaks.

Interesting, during some of that time off – connections were made with the public and in the church and people signed up for camp – and I really didn’t have much to do with it. God is faithful. Even when I can’t trust, can’t rest, or can’t do anything but rest.

  1. John Sullivan
    June 24, 2014 at 5:04 am

    Elizabeth, your cellulitis is a serious condition and chronic condition if it is not controlled. I know a SA officer in Britain who has it. Take care of yourself. It is obvious you are a very creative person with a huge potential for children’s work, evangelism, and outreach to any community, a rare combination indeed. Any church in any denomination would give its “eye teeth” to have such a person on their staff. Remember to love yourself and you love others.

  2. John Sullivan
    June 24, 2014 at 5:05 am

    The last sentence should read: “Remember to love yourself as you love others”. 🙂

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