God Welcomes You Into His Rest

When you feel overwhelmed by life’s demands, trials, and emotions, you are not alone. You need to hear the gospel truth that a loving God welcomes you into his rest and peace when life is an unruly combination of responsibilities, relationships, interruptions, dreams, and drama. In You Are Welcomed: Devotions for When Life Is a Lot, women’s ministry leader Trish Donohue helps women who are weary turn to the Lord, put down their burdens, rest in his welcome, and then welcome others to walk with Jesus too. 

In this ten-week devotional, Donohue shares stories of biblical men and women who brought their burdens to the Lord. Each story from the Bible highlights a different sort of pressure, including busyness, disillusionment, crisis, isolation, envy, doubt, fear, and failure. No one is truly alone in what they are facing, and God wants to meet each of us in the same ways he has shown himself to his people from the beginning.

In this interview, we talk to Trish about You Are Welcomed.

Q: What does it mean to be welcomed by God?

It means that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we not only have access to God but are welcomed with open arms. Instead of giving us the judgment we deserve, our Father invites us to come boldly into his presence in every situation. The welcome of God is the most important aspect of our lives.

Q: How is You Are Welcomed different from other books and devotionals that speak to busyness and feeling overwhelmed?

There are many good devotionals out there, but we worked hard to make You Are Welcomed beautiful and accessible while also deeply theological. Tips and techniques for how to manage life can be helpful, but what we ultimately need is rock-solid truth to guide us, and God provides that in Scripture. So, the focus of this book isn’t on how we can improve our lives, but on how God can transform our lives. 

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed is never pleasant, but instead of erasing these symptoms, this book reveals them to be tools that push us into the arms of our Lord. We learn not to simply read about God’s perspective on these issues, but to engage with him personally. 

Q: Walk us through the format of You Are Welcomed. What can readers expect for each day and each week?

Each week focuses on a different theme and Bible passage. So instead of encountering random daily readings, you can steep in a section of Scripture each week. There are five devotionals to work through each week. In each, you’ll encounter a question that gets you thinking about the topic, a brief Bible reading assignment, the devotional reading itself, thought-provoking application questions, and a verse to meditate on for the day.

Q: Who are some of the biblical men and women you chose to include as examples? Why did you choose the individuals that you did?

The Bible shows us a variety of people in different situations, and in them, we see ourselves and our need for a Savior. In this devotional, we meet a king in crisis who shows us how to pray and a starving widow who shows us how to obey. We see a prophet in prison who struggles with doubt and a leader of women who gets snagged by envy. God meets each one of these very different men and women and takes their burdens upon himself. This is the same God who welcomes us. 

Q: Each chapter title for the week is an action word—an invitation from God. Please tell us more about those invitations.

Yes, each chapter is titled with a simple verb, an action that God calls us to take: Come, Pray, Fight, Yield, Obey, Behold, Settle, Trust, Ponder, and Gather. Sometimes God calls us to settle into the assignment he’s given. Sometimes we are to fight temptations, trust promises, ponder truth, or gather with his people. These actions are important, but far more important is the title of the book, You Are Welcomed. This is a passive phrase, something that’s done for us. We can only respond to God in these relational ways because he has made a way for us to come to him through the good news of Jesus. God initiates, and we respond.  

Q: As women, we can feel like we always need to be productive. How can productivity sometimes become an idol?

Productivity is big business! Books, apps, and podcasts teach us how to make the most of each moment. The Bible isn’t anti-productivity; it calls Christians to produce fruit and do the good works God has prepared for us. A full life can be beautiful. But when we begin to define ourselves by how much we do or look to productivity for peace and happiness, then we have a problem. We’ve replaced Jesus with a task list, and it will never provide the peace it promises. That’s why every chapter in this book points women to the real answer, the real Savior, not a temporary fix. 

Q: It’s hard to imagine we’d have much in common with an ancient king, but what can we learn from Hezekiah’s example?

Humans have a lot in common, no matter their life situation. King Hezekiah had followed the Lord, but all that he’d built and loved was in danger of crumbling. He had reason to believe that his worst fears would come true, and that’s a feeling many of us have encountered. When we see Hezekiah spread out his dire situation before the Lord and pray a beautiful prayer of faith and honesty, we learn that we too can give God the mixed-up pieces of our lives and hearts, spreading them out before the one who can help. The same God who was faithful to Hezekiah will be faithful to us. 

Q: What are some of the temptations we struggle with when life is stressful or overwhelming? What does the temptation of Jesus in the desert teach us about fighting our temptations?

Temptations abound when life is stressful, and they peddle lies. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves believing wrong things about God, ourselves, and the lives God has given us. Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness is an intimate look into his personal life. Hungry, tired, and depleted, Jesus doesn’t give in. Instead, we see him battling Satan using the very same Scriptures that we have access to in our Bibles. Jesus identifies the lies that Satan is telling and counteracts them with Scripture truths. We’re invited to do the same thing in our own battle with sin. But Jesus isn’t just an example to us; he’s a Savior to us. He has not only rescued us from the penalty of sin but has broken the power of sin so that we can resist temptation and live lives of obedience that glorify God.  

Q: What does it look like to live a life fully yielded to God?

I don’t think any of us have reached that point on this side of heaven, but by grace, we’re on the journey. A vital part of it is regularly responding to the welcome of God and coming to him in repentance, in faith, in weakness, in surrender. In his presence, we experience “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). 

Q: In the chapter about the psalmists, you talk about how they shared all their thoughts and feelings to God. What are some ways we can get in a better habit of doing the same thing, especially when life is hard and pressing in?

We’re often surprised when we see the array of emotions expressed in the Psalms. The psalmists don’t hold back! But instead of watching them complain to themselves or others or turn inward in self-pity, we see them pouring out their hearts to their Creator. Living in the good of the gospel requires us to do the same, but this is a requirement that brings blessing as we interact with our Father who comforts and guides and moves on our behalf. 

When life is pressing in, we can simply read a Psalm aloud and let it guide our own prayers. No time-management tool or self-care routine will meet us in our deepest need, but when we take even a moment to turn our faces to the Lord and express all that’s in our hearts, raw as it may be, we experience true help.

Q: What can we learn from Miriam about changing our hearts rather than our situations?

Like us, Miriam is a flawed character. Although she witnessed countless miracles, she let her focus wander from God’s glory to her own. Instead of settling into the role God had given her, Miriam craved what God hadn’t given. She thought she needed something more, but God exposed her idolatrous craving through disciplinary mercy. 

Miriam didn’t need a changed situation like she thought she did. She didn’t need extra acknowledgment or accolades or affirmation. She needed to settle into the place God had called her, finding joy in living for him. God loved and used Miriam, and he loves and uses us for his purposes. His grace abounds to sinners saved by grace, but Miriam reminds us to take our sins seriously and keep God in the center.

Q: When the demands of life turn us inward, why is it important for us to be intentional about reaching outward?

Though we live in an individualistic culture, God made us to be a corporate people. We need each other. He’s designed us not to be independent Christians, but to gather together, serving and loving each other. The world instructs us to take care of our own needs and care for ourselves first, but it misses the grace that comes through the Body of Christ. When we obey God’s instructions to encourage one another, gather together, and consider others’ interests above our own, we experience surprising grace. 

Q: If you could say just one thing to encourage women struggling with being overwhelmed, what would it be?

The God who made you and loves you holds your life in his hands. Stop running everywhere else and run to your loving Father. In Christ, you are welcome to boldly approach the throne of grace to find help in times of need. 

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You Are Welcomed book cover

You Are Welcomed

When you feel overwhelmed by life’s demands, trials, and emotions, you are not alone. God welcomes you into his rest and peace. In this ten-week devotional, author and women’s ministry leader Trish Donohue helps women who are weary turn to the Lord, put down their burdens, rest in his welcome, and then welcome others to walk with Jesus too.

About the author

Trish Donohue

Trish Donohue serves as Director of Women’s Ministry at Covenant Fellowship Church and is the author of Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters and You Are Welcomed: Devotions for When Life Is a Lot. She is a pastor’s wife and mom of four who lives with her family in West Chester, PA.

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