The Nadel family- Enjoy reading our everyday adventures!

Friday, April 10, 2015

7 Challenge for Lent: Stress

 The last and final week of 7, (which is based on the book, &: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker) was about getting rid of stress. This week came at the perfect time for me, as Easter was approaching, and a busy time for my hubby and I at our church. We host a Good Friday "Experience the Passion" every year, and my hubby sets it up and I help him get it ready. We have a seder meal, and I always make the charoset, which is an apple/ raisin/walnut/ cinnamon mixture. We make enough for attendees to eat.

Besides "Experience the Passion," my hubby and oldest daughter had decided to be in the local group's presentation of "The Messiah", choral and orchestral performance of the entire work by Handel. That meant the two of them had extra practices Friday night, Saturday morning and the performance on Easter afternoon. It was WONDERFUL! I loved hearing it, and I loved seeing two of my loves in the performance this year. I'm not sure whether they will do it again, but it was just beautiful!

All of that to say that the days of leading up to Easter were quite busy for our family. As if that wasn't enough, on Thursday while doing laundry, our dryer quit! My hubby thankfully replaced the heating element on Friday. There were other challenges too, so I felt that this week of 7 was very timely for me.

Mrs. Hatmaker talks in this chapter about rest, and how God rested on the seventh day. That was part of the reason she chose to rest, and lessen stress in the last/ seventh month (my last week). "There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live it is a Sabbath to the LORD." (Lev. 23:3) The same Sabbath rest is also mentioned in Hebrews 4:9-11... "make every effort to enter that rest..." God designed time for rest, relax, pause, pray... every week! God knows our tendencies to overwork and underrest. God ordained the Sabbath for us, not as just another requirement from us. (p. 382)

Mrs. Hatmaker then discusses following the ancients, the Benedictines and honoring the prayer pauses every day, which are : midnight, dawn, mid-morning, noon, mid afternoon, twilight and night. Mrs. Hatmaker's guide for this month was the book, Seven Sacred Pauses by Marcia Wiederkehr. She describes the pauses as "breathing spells for the soul", an oasis to remember the sacredness of life, who we are, how to offer God the incredible gift of our lives, and learning to be in the midst of so much doing. (p 383)

The seven pauses are:

The Night Watch (midnight)
The Awakening Hour (dawn)
The Blessing Hour (midmorning)
The Hour of Illumination (noon)
The Wisdom Hour (mid afternoon)
The Twilight Hour (early evening)
The Great Silence (bedtime)

Every one of these prayers has a rhythm, a focus, and written prayers, with psalms and readings. Mrs. Hatmaker describes each of the prayers in depth, and has the psalms/ readings in her book. I made my own notecards of each one of the prayers/ psalms/ reading and printed them. I laminated them too. They are nice and durable, not able to get damp by water or juice or anything else. I have them around my home, where I usually am at that time. I set reminder on my phone (actually did this in the fall when I read the book) and I really appreciate the reminders to pray 7 times a day.

As another reminder, I made this...

It has seven crosses on it, to help me remember to pray. It also has handmade clay diffuser beads so I can use my oils on it and smell a pleasant aroma!  I am loving it, it is made with thick memory wire, so it stays on pretty well.  I will leave you with one last prayer that I really loved from this chapter... "This day is yours, Jesus. Awaken Your love in my heart so that I am a vessel of light today." (p 390)

Some verses from this chapter...

Psalm 42:8
By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90:17
May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

*I loved this book, and I recommend to my readers to read this book and maybe DO this experiment yourself. During Lent worked well, and I feel that my heart was changed through doing this. It is very impactful, insightful and touching to focus more on God, and less on our 'stuff' of life each day. I might even do this again next year!

**Let me know if you are interested in the prayer cards, I can email to you what I have typed up!

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