Refreshed in God’s Presence

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by JJ Nelson

Sarah and I are excited to know that God has been preparing us and is present with us in this most important responsibility of discipling our children. Our son Rawlin is two years old and we can’t wait to meet our beautiful daughter Hannah due in September! Life is full as we navigate new areas of parenting with Rawlin, learning together as he is learning and developing so much. 

We have been on a difficult journey the past 7 months with a high risk pregnancy that has humbled us in many ways. This season has required countless trips to hospital, new medications, extra monitoring, etc. Our hearts are full of gratitude for our community surrounding us with all kinds of support and love in the way of prayers, encouraging texts, babysitting, meals, among other things. Although this is not how we had envisioned, we are so grateful that Sarah is healthy and baby Hannah is also healthy. We can’t wait to see her and hold her for the first time. 

During a recent vacation and time of reflection, Sarah and I realized that in many ways we were exhausted overall and running on empty spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The Lord revealed to us that we had been functioning this way for a while and operating in what felt like survival mode, desperately needing a recharge. Although the temporary refreshment of a vacation was great in itself, we asked the Lord to help us build this into our normal way of life. The Bible calls this Sabbath and it’s part of God’s design to sustain us and restore our joy in worship. Our ultimate and greatest rest is in Him. Although we haven’t been perfect, this marked a significant turning point understanding that it’s not just okay but necessary to prioritize our well-being and to find what refreshes us in the Lord. This involved taking a step back from some commitments. We try to reserve our sabbath for Sunday and take some moments throughout the week as well. We have found that when we take steps toward this that God grows us to be more dependent on Him and we are better spouses and parents and are more present with each other and our son Rawlin as a result. 

As God teaches us new lessons and reminds us of old ones, we pray for continued renewal in our faith, renewal in our marriage, and His wisdom and patience in parenting. 

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