Purposeful Faith

Find Beauty in the Restlessness

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

The feeling swept in with the morning rain clouds, as I sat by the window drinking coffee. Restlessness.

There were no defining edges to it. I couldn’t quite grasp where the emotion came from. It was just there. And it consumed me.

I daydreamed about moving to another town. We’d lived here four years so it was time, right? There were plenty of good reasons to migrate further south.

Like my mom’s stroke last year. Being over five hundred miles away was not ideal, and my parents weren’t getting any younger.

And I won’t even dwell on the winters here. This southern girl learned how to use a snow shovel a few years ago and purchased a new set of all-season tires, but I’d prefer not to have to use either.

Yes, I change of location was exactly what we needed. Wasn’t it? I was sure my restless ache would stop when the scenery became white sand and Palmetto trees.

But as the sun set later that evening and I watched my boys soaking up the last daylight hours, I sensed God speak.

Look for the beauty. Right here. Right now.

I saw the way the rim of the mountains slowly transformed in pink and deep blue right before nightfall. I felt the crisp evening breeze I often longed for on the sultry, humid evenings down south.

I watched the boys play and laugh with friends they’d made at church and smiled when the teacher bragged about my oldest son at a school fundraiser.

Later that week at dinner, I listened to women I’d grown to love share their kids’ latest antics and make plans for summer camping trips, trips to the pool, and marshmallow roasts.

Yes, there was beauty here. In all my restlessness and longing, I was missing it.

Sometimes instead of changing my situation, God changes me.

He wants me to see with his eyes and notice the blessings right in front of me. He is molding me and transforming me, and the some of the biggest, most life-changing transformations start with gratitude.

A full life isn’t made of moments counting down to the next major event. It is made of the moments we count our blessings.

 There may come a time when God moves us closer to my family. He knows how much I miss them during their absence and how I long to savor the time I have left with them.

But he also has an assignment and a ministry for me right here, within the walls of my home and in the community around me. When we are faithful right where we are, God is honored.

 He is glorified when instead of counting the days until my next trip south, I am present in the now.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14 NIV

Today, if you’re feeling restless and cannot seem to pinpoint why, I encourage you to count. But don’t count the minutes until vacation or naptime or bedtime.

Count blessings.

Instead of counting the minutes, let’s savor the day.

Guest Contributor

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

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27 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Abby, I often land myself in this place of restlessness. It’s that wandering mind that always wants to look ahead – it gets me in trouble. Thank you for these words that lead us to the living peace. I am delighted to have a bit of a solution to my restless heart. I will count the blessings and I will sit in the present moment. This is the way – how right you are! I am so blessed by you and really adore you. Thank you for being you and I praise God for all he is doing through your gentle but pointed words. Keep going dear Abby. You are loving hearts.

    • Thank you Kelly. <3 I always want to be moving forward in my relationship with him but I don't want to let my mind be constantly in the future. He has blessed me so much. He is teaching me each day.

  • That restlessness is a feeling I am familiar with, especially this time of year. There’s something about the end of the school year that gets me thinking about plans for the future:) You are right, staying focused on our present is so important! May you have a blessed day, Abby. You too, Kelly!

    • Oh yes, Kristine. I can imagine how that must be for a teacher. Even as a parent I get restless when summer is approaching. I was reading an article about how parents’ attitudes change so much from the beginning of the school year to the end. It was actually pretty funny. Thanks so much for being here today.

  • “It’s made in the moments we count our blessings.” Love this. My sister gave me a canvas that says, “Live in the moment and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.” She knows how I struggle with that. I think God directed my steps here.

  • I lived restless for way too long. One day I sensed God saying, “live where you live.” Instead of living in the future, or thinking about where I wanted to be, I was to live fully right where I was. I love this post! Thanks for being such an integral part of #livefreeThursday.

    • Amen, Suzie. That is what God has been speaking to me too. I need to be present, and my kids can certainly sense when I’m not. So blessed by you and your heart. Thank you for stopping by.

  • i know that feeling. It happens to me every year during the winter season. I also understand your need to be near your family which is why I stay right where I was born and raised. I often think of moving south but God needs me here in Pennsylvania which rely is a nice and beautiful place to be. Thanks for sharing today.

    • Oh my, the winters are the worst. 😉 I was so thankful for the first warm days of spring. Pennsylvania is a beautiful state and Bedford, PA is actually not far from where I live. Thanks for visiting today, Jenny.

  • Abby, this is a beautiful reflection. Your words resonate with me, especially these: “Yes, there was beauty here. In all my restlessness and longing, I was missing it.” I know this feeling. Thanks for the reminder that gratitude is the key to honoring God in each moment and in each circumstance… even in our restlessness.

    • Karen, I always love hearing from you. This is something God is teaching day by day, and He knows I’m still a work in progress. 😉 Thanks so much for your encouragement today.

  • Abby, love it when you show up to cheer on your #raralinkup sisters! And inspiring us to
    savor the day instead of counting the minutes – #livefree. Thanks for a wonderful word as always, sweet friend!

  • “When we are faithful right where we are, God is honored.”…. YES! What a perfect post, Abby; thank you! As I prayed for a “word” for 2015, I felt God telling me to LIVE. I know of other reasons that this ended up being my word from Him, but this post was one of them. Growing up constantly moving around doesn’t help, but I’ve so been (and am) where you are! Thank you, again! #livefree

  • Abby,
    I can always tell when I’m feeling restless…I get a case of the “gripes”. Instead of having an “attitude of gratitude” for God’s blessings, I find myself complaining about what I don’t have and how things aren’t going my way. I love how you weave the words to remind us that God will change us…if only we let Him. Thank you for an uplifting read this morning!
    Blessings to you,
    Bev xx

  • We could be soul sisters in this, Abby. Having lived in both the north and the south, I get you. And, I’m beginning to “get you” even more when using the God goggles. Just this week, after 16 months of living here, I finally learned to find praise and thanks for living here, in Oklahoma. A few times already this week I’ve said, “Thank you, Lord, for moving us here. Thank you for this beautiful place.” Your post has been icing on the cake of encouragement. Right on, sister. Right on.
    Kelly, thank you for sharing your space with Abby. Love it!

    • I am honored to be your soul sister, Kristi. I know you understand the moving and the ache all to well. Thanks for sharing this journey with me, friend.

  • I’ve been that restless girl! And you are so wise! Counting those blessings brings me to a heart that only yearns for more of Him, a place of peace, a place of full, a place that I want to linger! Thanks you for the beautiful words!

    • Me too, Jodie. Me too. I want to linger in that place. He gives me the peace I long for. Abiding is the key. Thanks so much for visiting today. Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Beautiful post, lovely woman. Thankful for you Abby. You shine as you offer who you are to others. Follow His lead, keep in step with His Spirit. Keep being you- wonderful!

    • I’m thankful for you too, sweet Katie! I am sensing his Spirit more and more now. I think spring does that to me in a way. So grateful. Have a beautiful Mother’s Day.

  • What a beautiful post, Abby. I’ve been feeling restless myself the last days. Not sure how to pinpoint why. Not sure where the next stage is taking me. But this is such a beautiful reminder of gratitude. And letting God change me.

    • I’m not sure either, Betsy, but I do sense God wanting me to revisit my book proposal. Hoping to have more time to do that in the coming weeks. Thanks so much for being here and have a beautiful Mother’s Day, friend.

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