Writing and Photography by Melissa Helser
With summer on the horizon we want to share about our communities value of slowing down and rest. We believe in the importance of sabbath — talking time to reset your heart with the Lord and with the people around you. This featured blog is an excerpt from Cultivate : Fly High Build Home written by Melissa Helser, as you read her words may you be inspired to invite the Lord into your pace and receive the gift of slowing down.
Slowing down has completely changed the way I do life. The greatest place I have learned to stop and recognize beautiful moments is in my role as a mother. Our pace of life can dictate so much. We sometimes stop being present in moments that really matter and rush through moments that are intended to build foundations for our children that only we can build.
I remember the moment we stepped onto the white rock beach in the South of England. We looked left and right and were astounded by the towering white cliffs of beauty. The air was crisp and clear. The waves slowly approached the shore. As they hugged the white stones, water became cloudy and took back a part of the shore with it. An invitation came to me as I walked down that beach: “Will you slow down…will you build home in this moment?” Slowing down takes a very intentional effort. It requires an honesty of acknowledging that you are in a hurry. Most of the time I think we don’t even know what we are hurrying for. I am growing in my love for the invitation. The Holy Spirit is always sending us invitations. He is always desiring to teach us how to live and breathe and engage this glorious life. He isn’t pushy. He is incredibly patient. The more I mature in my understanding of who the Father is and what He is like, the more I love the moments when He comes and invites me deeper. The fruit of my slowing down is an awareness of the presence of a loving God in every second of my life, no matter how grand or how simple.
Each of us went into our own way of processing the beauty of the beach around us. Jonathan sat and stared. Cadence began to build and chisel and see if he could break the rocks open. Haven got dirty discovering that the stones were balls of chalk and would rub off on everything. I took pictures, lots of pictures. We were all astonished, and as I looked around, I knew we were in a slow-motion moment. Each of us was pulling life out of the silence. It goes down in our family history as one of the most breathtaking experiences we have ever had. Every time I make a choice to listen to the still small voice, I lay another stone on the foundation of our family. Every time I don’t rush moments that are meant to linger, I imprint on my kids’ hearts, “Life is worth loving. Life is worth enjoying.”
One of my clearest memories of slowing down and listening to the Lord was when my son turned thirteen. He cried and said to us, “I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want life to change.” I immediately tried to think of something great to say to soothe his emotions. I wonder why we rush through tears. Grieving is one of the greatest gifts that the Father gives us to properly transition seasons of life. If we speed through these moments we miss the opportunity of a face-to-face encounter with the Comforter. He is the God of comfort, the God who meets us in the middle of our tears. Thankfully, I felt the still small voice and refrained from explaining away my son’s heartache. I heard the Lord say, “Let him grieve his childhood; he loved it so much he doesn’t want to leave this place of beauty.” I took a deep breath and wept with him; I didn’t want it to change either. I never thought I would love it so much.
Without the rhythms of slowing down and building strong foundations, I would have rushed through some of the greatest moments my life will ever know. I want to look back on my life and remember the beauty, the light, the sounds, the taste. I want to remember the tears and laughter. I want to remember the silence.
I challenge you to stop, take a deep breath and pray this: Holy Spirit, slow down the rhythm of the way I think and engage life. I invite you to make me aware of moments that I’d usually hurry through. Jesus, give me eyes to see what I before could not see. Make me aware when I am rushing, and teach me to practice the fruit of the Spirit that is self-control. Empower me with the courage to pause and make powerful choices for my life, believing wholeheartedly that you never grow weary of helping me. I declare that YOU ARE A GOOD FATHER. Help me live a full life with a keen understanding of your presence always. You are the Giver of all good things. I receive in this moment the pace of Heaven.