Friday Introductions: Terri Lynne Underwood

I've been struggling this week with God's plans for me this fall. I've been teaching ladies' Bible studies for nearly a decade. I love it. I love watching women experience God's word in a new way, some for the first time. I love seeing women's lives change because God is working in their lives. And I love the sweet fellowship that comes from a group of women getting together and studying God's word. Yet, when I got an email from our Bible study coordinator this week asking me what I was going to be teaching this fall, I couldn't muster any enthusiasm for the task. I've been praying all summer about teaching this fall. God never gave me any clear direction on teaching a study. And the more I thought about teaching, the less excited about the prospect I became.

This week, I sat down with our discipleship pastor and his assistant and asked them to help me figure out a direction for the fall. I was surprised when they both said, maybe I should take a rest and spend some time letting God fill me up rather than teaching others. I had toyed with the idea of taking the semester off but had pushed it aside, thinking that couldn't possibly be what God wanted. I mean, why wouldn't He want me to teach His word, right?

Yet, the more I thought and prayed about it, the more convinced I became that taking at least one semester off is what God is calling me to do. While I love teaching, and I will certainly go back to it, I know God is calling me to do some things with the Everyday Truth ministry that I simply don't have the time or the energy for if I'm also teaching a study every week. I also know that this fall is going to be crazy busy with my girls and their activities, and I have clearly heard God saying that this is a time when my girls need my attention.

As I pondered taking a rest, I came across a fantastic website that just happened to be in the middle of a series on Biblical rest. It was confirmation for me that I needed to slow down and take a break. If you're looking for a Biblical perspective on rest check out Teri Lynne Underwood's blog "Encouraging Lives Where the Sacred and Secular Collide." Her series on Biblical rest is encouraging and challenging.

On her site, you'll also find some great posts on parenting, marriage and living a balanced life. Terri is also the author of an e-book, Parenting from the Overflow.

If you're trying to decide if God is calling you to rest, check out her series "Slow: Understanding Biblical  Rest." God designed us to need rest, both daily rest and rest from certain activities at certain times. She points out that not only do we need rest, but we need to teach our kids to rest as well. The constant go, go, go of our lives keeps us from seeing and hearing God. We need rest to be close to God.

Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.: (Matthew 11:28) He is the source of rest, but we can't enjoy that rest if we are too busy to come to Jesus. It is in the restful moments that we hear God and can be filled with His grace and love. If we can't be still, we can't truly know God. So, as I enter a season of rest, I hope you'll check out Terri's take on the subject and consider whether God is calling you to a season of rest, so you can get to know Him better.