Finding Rest in the City

A Journey to Find Rest: My Ideas vs. God’s Plans

Four years have passed since I started this blog under a different name and we began a massive renovation on our 1890’s home. Our project entailed digging out a full-sized basement from our cellar and crawlspace, adding an addition, and completely gutting and refinishing our first floor, including our kitchen. That, and we were planning to live in our house with our three kids, ages 5, 3, and 6 months, as well as our two golden retrievers while doing it. We should have been certifiably insane. But the kicker? At this very same time, God was laying on my heart to learn how to become a more restful person. 

I wish I were kidding.

I quickly envisioned myself with my feet up in a recliner, delightfully pointing contractors in the right direction, all while sipping my coffee and reading a book. I’m shaking my head at how naive I was. I mean, I grew up watching the Money Pit and, as I already mentioned, we had three small kids that would still be living with us in our house — that, and we homeschool — and we didn’t even own a recliner!

My Plans vs. God's Ideas

I didn’t actually think the renovation would be easy, so I wasn’t completely naive. But, I did fall in love with the idea of God transforming my Type A, OCD ways into some form of a Type B, laid-back individual. I even thought that I would happily write my way through this magical journey on my blog and share my amazingly wonderful thoughts with everyone. We would enjoy some good laughs at the construction mishaps, admire the progress with beautiful pictures, and then I’d go back to my happy little recliner, sip more coffee, knock out a few blog posts, and return to my book.

This is not what happened. 

I’m guessing you’re not shocked though. I’m not entirely either. But, I wasn’t expecting the depth of the work God was ready to pour out on my soul (and my entire life, for that matter). That dirt I talked about unearthing? There was so much more than I realized. 

Our crawlspace being converted to a basement in our 1890s home.

The whole process felt a little slow at the beginning. I wasn’t even sure how it would start exactly. I mean, I knew how our renovation would start, just not how learning to rest would.

And then it became clear.

The catalyst was the last bit of pregnancy weight that I could not seem to lose. Those five little pounds kicked off a journey filled with:

  • Tackling my obsession with the scale and becoming at peace with my body
  • Overcoming black and white thinking and learning to live in shades of gray
  • Addressing the childhood wounds at the root of my anxiety and depression
  • Finding my worth in Christ alone
  • Working on my emotional intelligence and establishing healthy boundaries in my life and relationships
  • Loving neighbors during construction that were very difficult to like
  • Finding peace with my estrangement from some of my family
  • Learning to live with Sensory Processing Disorder as an adult and support our three sensory kids
  • Figuring out how to find rest in my soul at a time when the world is far from restful
  • Loving neighbors during construction that were very difficult to like, let alone love
  • Breaking generational cycles to have a better marriage and family life
  • Being at peace with the possibility of our fourth baby having Down Syndrome
  • Learning flexibility and accepting change while overcoming multiple injuries and infections
  • Growing deeper in our faith after walking away from the local church

It was a season filled with dust, dirt, sweat and tears, nail guns, and interruptions. The noise, loneliness, grief, and pain were often overwhelming. The cost of growth came high, but gratitude, resilience, and redemption slowly began to shine. 

During this same season, my husband had knee surgery. Our oldest dog died (we nearly lost the other a year later). We had our third very early miscarriage. We lost some of our dearest friendships as well as our church and homeschool communities. In the first weeks of March 2020, we combined our two office spaces into one. Days after moving in, we had our fourth baby. Seven days later, the country shut down. Within a month, we lost most of our property management business and had to move back into our original office space. If our home renovations hadn’t been enough, we added on another one at our office to make it a more functional space.

While we survived the pandemic physically and financially, I had to work overtime to manage my PPD (postpartum depression) and PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder) — thankfully, not at the same time. Then, when I finally committed to my writing, a spiritual attack, family issues, and an infection (that, to this day, has not gone away) nearly derailed my efforts. Nearly.

In all of this, we almost finished our home renovation, too. That’s another list of crazy. Somehow, I’m still standing (although some days, just barely) and ready to share my journey of finding rest. It may not be the comedy I imagined, but it’s still a great story. One that I’m hoping will make it to the hands of those that might be looking for a bit of rest themselves.

If life has left you feeling anxious, worn out, and weary, God has an awesome invitation for you, too. Just know, you might be in for a wild ride (the home renovation is optional). While I likely won’t “arrive” at perfect peace this side of heaven, each day He leads me closer to a restful life. If you’re ready for an adventure, I’d love for you to join me in the journey of finding rest, right here in the heart of the city.

Oh, and the recliner? It’s my new favorite chair

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Nice to meet you!

I’m a homeschooling mom of four and recovering perfectionist on a journey to live a more restful life.

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