Rest at the End Not the Middle
Aug. 28, 2023 – I recently had a group of women ask me how it was possible to make it through 1015 trail miles on a snowmobile as a fundraiser to send low-income kids to summer camp. I started the same way I always do when people ask me this and I usually laugh and agree it was certainly a very grueling ride and experience. The part of the ride that is still the most vivid are the hydro lines. It was a total whiteout and had been for close to twelve hours, with heavy snow accumulation. We could not reschedule the ride due to two of us not being available after this day, so we pulled out of the Ramada parking lot knowing we were in for a challenging twenty-four hours. I did not know exactly how long we had been riding for or exactly how many miles we had travelled, but I did know I was tired, and I wanted to quit. My arms and shoulders were incredibly sore, and my knees had started to ache at this point. Riding through so much snow and breaking so much trail we had to physically exert ourselves a lot more than anticipated. Hydro lines are typically fast trails, however in a white out and in darkness with heavy snow on the trails they were quite challenging. I tried to always keep Jeffrey’s taillight visible as my lifeline for the ride, knowing if I could see that light, I was ok. At no point was I worried about getting left behind on the trail, I knew this would never happen. Losing that taillight meant I was falling behind, and falling behind meant I was not going to get this ride done in time and that was my biggest fear. Knowing the people who doubted me would be right and the naysayers would be right and all the women who needed to see me finish would be let down, that was my biggest fear. I could not pull to the side of the trail and park, I could not call my husband or family to help me, I could only get myself out of this. I must rest at the end not in the middle because no one is coming to save me. I must keep this machine moving and I must tell myself that I can do just a little bit more, because just when I thought I had nothing left, there was always just a little bit more. Mile after mile I told myself this, just a little further, just a little bit more, you must keep going and you must finish these thousand miles, or you will regret it the rest of your life. In life you must find the strength to keep going because the pain of quitting will always last longer than the pain you are in now. Rest at the end, not in the middle.
Written by Lisa Whiteman
by Annie Warner Donnelly
Nathan Cook’s Christian journey demonstrates how faithfulness to God’s leading settles us into a purpose that blesses those around us as it centres us in God’s perfect peace. According to Biblelyfe.com, which he edits, Nathan co-founded Christ Community Church with a fervent mission to serve the poor while making disciples of all nations. In 2017, he started Bridgetown Ventures, a ministry that empowers the marginalized to be architects of change in their own communities.
Currently, Nathan serves as the Missions Pastor for Christ Church Memphis. During his twenty-year career in church planting and urban missionary work, he has established a network of house churches, started an HIV treatment program, and helped Christian physicians integrate their faith and practice. His training has resulted in the deployment of over fifty missionaries to unreached people groups.
Nathan’s book, Storm the Gates: Provoking the Church to Fulfill God’s Mission, embodies his deep commitment to fulfilling Christ’s mandate by nurturing disciple making movements. He invites readers to embody the core values essential to fulfilling the Great Commission, serving as a clarion call for compassion, faith, and global discipleship.
Quoting Nathan: “Jesus is the Light of the world. He was sent into the world to cast out darkness; to point people to God; to call people to repentance for their sins; and to empower His followers to do good works that bring glory to God. As followers of Jesus are faithful to live according to God’s standards, we too become the light of the world, pointing others to God’s greatness. I hope these 27 Bible verses (https://www.biblelyfe.com/blog/bible-verses-about-the-light-of-the-world) will encourage you to confront spiritual darkness through faith in Jesus.”
Nathan organized Light of the World verses into five categories. I have included a verse from each category.
Jesus is the Light of the World.
John 8:12 *When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
The Lord is Our Light.
Psalm 18:28 *You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
The Light Casts Out Darkness.
John 1:5 *The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
God Called You Out of Darkness and into the Light.
John 12:44-46 *Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in Me does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent Me. The one who looks at Me is seeing the One who sent Me. I have come into the world as a Light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.”
You are the Light of the World.
Acts 13:47-48 *For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
May God’s word encourage us and be our truth. Amen.
Rose’s Devotions by Rosy Hagedorn
Once Upon A Time
It is a beautiful evening. The sky is painted with brush strokes of deep purple and orange, with splashes of pink throughout the expanse. The waves create a melodious chant, as they gently kiss the shoreline. The wind is warm as it blows softly across our faces. My husband and I are holding hands and walking barefoot on the beach enjoying each other’s company and conversation. Once in a while, a seagull glides through the air, letting us know that it is around, to beg for food.
And then something awakens me. My cat, Ginger, jumps onto my bed, wanting her food and some loving and I realize that the wonderful scene earlier, was only a dream; a yearning to experience a romantic interaction between me and my husband again. But circumstances changed, and what once was taken for granted is gone and will never return.
My husband’s vascular dementia prevents him from showing this type of affection and having a conversation with him is gone. He can say a word here and there, but carrying on a conversation with him is no longer possible. It’s a bittersweet feeling of loss, a type of grieving, but that’s the way it is, and I need to make the best of the situation that is at hand. I am thankful that he is in a long term care home where he is being cared for as his care became too much for me to handle and my patience was running out.
Romans 5:3-4 – We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. (TLB)
I know that God was and is still with me and my husband. God has helped me through some tough times, and is still teaching me patience. God loves me even though I lose it at times. He provided personal support workers, nurses, caregivers, geriatric doctors who deal with the elderly and help patients with memory problems, as well as all sorts of support groups. And when the time came for my loved one to enter into full-time nursing, God provided the proper facilities.
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NASB)
What is God using in your life to teach you patience?
Prayer: Lord God, heavenly Father, thank You for providing Your children with various helps and services. Grant the caregivers strength, patience, and wisdom. Thank You for Your gift of the Holy Spirit Who helps us when things get tough. Amen.
Ask A Therapist: On Gathering
Q: I feel like I am living disconnected from the people around me. Ever since Covid, I have noticed that I just don’t get together with others the way I used to but I’m not sure if it is worth the effort to come together anymore. Why should I bother?
A: So many people reported feelings of isolation and loneliness as a result of Covid lockdowns and protocols that led to a whole host of mental health concerns including – but not limited to – increased anxiety, depression, disordered eating, substance abuse, relational conflict, and suicidality. Disconnection is a serious problem when it comes to the pursuit of a healthy life and seeking to reconnect with others in regular and meaningful ways is always worth the effort.
Inertia continues to play a role in people re-engaging with their lives since the pandemic. So many of us got used to a life lived primarily online and separated from the presence of others that we lost touch with how important it is to physically be together. Once our usual gatherings – parties, holidays, work events, church services, clubs, sports, weddings, funerals, and other social events – were brought to a halt we had to adapt to a life lived in isolation with screen time as the primary form of “connection”. In some ways, we acclimatized to that existence and forgot how much the physical presence of others in our lives is directly proportional to our overall well-being.
Just like other habits, if you lose momentum with them, it can be difficult to get back on track so your struggle with motivation is understandable. However, let this be the encouragement you need to get back out there! You will not regret making time with people a regular part of your life again. We cannot be truly healthy when we are isolated. We are meant to live in community – surrounded by friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues. The research is clear that social support is a necessary and integral part of a life lived well.
So, start where you are to prioritize being with others again. Make that lunch date with a friend. Join a choir or cooking class. Order pizza to share with friends. Sign up for a sport this fall. Go back to church. Join a book club. Join a support or therapy group. Host a backyard potluck. Work a few days back in the office instead of at home. Go visit friends for the weekend. Go for a walk with a neighbour. Take one step at a time towards more connection in your day to day life.
We need each other. We heal when we come together with life-giving others and in meaningful groups. Gathering is essential to our thriving. So, let’s get together soon!
Covey Wellness Centre is hosting a webinar entitled WHY WE GATHER: How coming together in groups is a powerful tool to support your wellness on Wednesday September 13th at 8pm. GET YOUR TICKETS on the EVENTBRITE app TODAY! Our wellness bookshop – which smells and feels like a spa – is open to the public every day except Sunday.