I sat down a couple days ago to write my annual Advent letter, I had all these ideas of what I wanted to say on Faith, Hope and Love which I explore extensively in my memoir.  But it wasn’t coming together. 

 I’ve been SO tired lately.  Fatigue stopped me in my tracks last week and lingers on.  I keep surveying my body for any signs of either Covid or cancer returning, but my mental check comes back clear (thank God); I’m just utterly exhausted. I guess I have been going full-tilt; there’s so much to do, so much I want to do!  As I take the time to listen to my body, she tells me I need to slow down, I need to rest.  Rest. That four letter word I despise.  It’s kinda boring and seemingly unproductive.  Stubborningly- like a tantruming young child I’ve been screaming “NOOOOOOO! I DON’T WANT TO REST!” with my actions: pressing in hard to writing my memoir, preparing for Christmas, and all the demands of motherhood.  I’ve never been good at slowing down. Rest is for the weak isn’t it?  I think there’s also this part of me that wants to prove that I am well.  If I need rest I feel vulnerable in a perhaps something is wrong with me sort of way.  Or maybe I’m wrangling for control of my life, “I want to do it MY way!”  I hear the childlike whine in my response.  I have a strong-willed 5 year old, I know the sound well! To diffuse my 5 year old I always give her a choice.  Here I see mine: embrace rest and embrace health OR disregard need for rest and disregard desire for health, optimal quality of life and longevity.  “FINE!” I concede metaphorically stomping out of the room, I will rest!  

Brene Brown says “Write what you…need to read”  (1) Here it goes.

This Advent I invite you to join me in a season of intentional soul-nourishing, non-productively productive rest.  Rest that is self-kindness.  Rest that gives space for connection with the Divine.  Rest that renews the body, mind and spirit.  

My first step to embracing a journey into rest is writing myself a permission slip to rest. (2)  I’ve always felt that rest is allowed when the work is done.  But the thing with having 3 young kids is that the work is never done.  


I invite you to cut this out and put it wherever you need it


Signed, your lovely self.


It always seems interesting that the wisdom of scripture is one step ahead of me.  I suppose it makes sense,  and yet the teenager in me, rolls my eyes and says, “yeah yeah, I heard you the first time”  “Then why didn’t I listen?!!!” would be my response.  Thank God, He’s so graciously kind.

Referencing Psalm 23 there’s a song that says, “when you make me rest, my soul is restored, my strength is renewed.”(3)  Also scripture incites us to “be still and know that I am God”. (4) It is in stillness and connection with God that I can truly rest. 

I’ve written all these words you’ve just read and pause my writing to pull up my Advent reflection for today.(5)  The author highlights that Advent is a paradox. I’ve been thinking much about the paradoxes in life while writing my memoir, so I perked up at this idea.  Advent is a paradox between the darkness of the days – spiritually in anticipation of the Christ and physically (with solstice approaching)- and anticipating the birth of the Light of the world and days lengthening.  The author’s question to the reader is this: “How can we view the darkening days of Advent as a gift from God intentionally designed as an opportunity for rest?”

Huh! Apparently, my notions of need for rest during Advent are not novel.  My childlike annoyance of being “told” to rest begins to wane.


So, how will I personally press into rest this Advent? Firstly, I will bring my permission slip with me wherever I go. Perhaps Advent itself is a permission slip for what our bodies, minds and souls need?  A sort of faith-filled resting into the darkness because I trust that light is coming.  Ah, that sounds nice.  And when I’m honest with myself, that sounds exactly like what I need.

Secondly, I will intentionally make space for stillness.  I will increase my meditation/quiet time duration throughout the day.

Thirdly, I will press into the magic of Christmas through the eyes of my 5 year olds; a kind of magic that delights in simple joys.  Magic that finds wonder in the ordinary beauty surrounding me.  I know I will find rest this Advent season if I embrace faith like a child.  Where the impossible becomes possible.  Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?!  In pondering the concept of faith lately, I like Merriam-Webster’s definition: “Faith is certitude even when there is no evidence or proof.”  Is Santa real mom? To which I always reply, “What do you think?”  “Yes!” he declares affirmatively. 

If I can find delight in the simple joys of this season, like my children, I know that I will find rest this Advent season.  And Covid is the perfect backdrop for doing less and being more present.  So this advent I commit to being a student of my children, learning from the little masters in my home, the wonders of the anticipation of Christmas.  Just like the Grinch busts the heart-o-meter after discovering the true meaning of Christmas, so too, my grateful heart swells right out of the heart-o-meter when I think of all of this.


To close I’ll share a Haiku poem I wrote today (inspired to do so from my Advent reading yesterday) as I was practicing resting.

One more Christmas morn
The children’s delight rings clear
Will it still next year?

This poem is not meant to be sad or morbid and it’s meant to be pertinent to all (as the podcaster Kate Bowler- and fellow stage IV cancer survivor- reminds all her listeners: life is a terminal condition). This poem is meant to be a reminder to live present in the present moment this Advent.   To rest into the moments, rather than press through in a furried pace.  In the anticipation of Christmas, that will look different this year, let us anticipate together beautiful moments of believing in the impossible and delighting in the ordinary and beautiful moments of finding true rest.

Will you join me in resting into Advent this year?  I can tell you, I’m a slow learner and could use the support!

Happy Advent,




  1. Brene Brown, Dare to Lead
  2. The idea of permission slips comes from Glennon Doyle’s Untamed
  3. Brian Doerksen: When you shepherd me, accessed from YouTube
  4. Psalm 46:10
  5.   Biola University Advent Project 2020. Day 4.  http://ccca.biola.edu/advent/2020/#day-dec-4
  6. Artwork by Garrett Rostek, age 5