It’s been a minute. More like two years since I blogged. The reasons being everything I learned or felt blogworthy wasn’t really for the public eye. But I’m finally out of what I’d call a chaotic stressful season where my main goal was to survive but I’m finding peace and joy again.

Last night we(my roommates and I have been hosting) had people over for prayer. The Lord brought us to the garden of Eden. It’s a theme I haven’t thought on much since my dog, Eden passed, and I said when I got a new dog I’d name it Canaan because that’s the promised land. And I knew God had promised me a place of my own in Florida. I had a dream of it four years ago and last summer the Lord showed me again a house of prayer. But my new dog came with a name. Charley. So I looked it up and it means “free”.

I think the Lord is saying something in that. He’s brought me freedom. Freedom from sickness-finally. Freedom from stress. Freedom from pain. And with all the freedom I have peace which had been so violently stolen from my life with the seizure, but is something I strive for. It’s in my name. Joanna Leigh. God’s gracious gift. From the meadow. What’s in a meadow? Peace.

What was in Eden? Peace. Freedom. Rest.

The Lord is bringing us into summer which for teachers is a season of rest. In the north it’s also garden season where everything flourishes and blossoms.

God wants to bring our lives back to how it was in the garden where He could just walk and talk with them. I just finished a book I was reviewing (Huge thanks to Bethany House for sending me a hard copy ARC!) Paint and Nectar by Ashley Clark and it’s so beautifully written entwining painting, artistry, creation, and the garden of Eden in her writing about Charleston in the 1920s-present day.

The Lord gave us all the plants and animals in the garden to eat. It was perfection, which makes me think nothing was poisonous. There was a mist that came up from the ground. No bad weather. There was work, but no hard labor.

So when a job is fun-which for me has been teaching dance, or other times I know I’m 100% in God’s will and focused on him it doesn’t feel like work.

When I’m blessing my food and eating whole foods like what was in the garden I don’t get so sick as I do with processed stuff. A whole other topic, but throwing it out there.

When a scary animal attacks or bad weather comes I’ve told them to stop or go away in Jesus name and they do. God gave us authority over them in the garden and that authority did not go away. Jesus reminds us of our authority when He came to earth. Because Jesus came to restore everything that was lost in that garden.

We are made in God’s image. Adam and Eve thought if they’d eat the fruit they’d be like God. But they were already created in His image from the beginning!

How many times do we believe lies from the serpent telling us we aren’t like God enough or not a certain way? How much do we compare?

When really God created us exactly how He wanted us with our unique DNA.

On the seventh day God saw everything He created was good. Then He rested. He blessed the seventh day and made it Holy.

My friend, it is ok to rest. Rest in the garden with Him. Go back to the beginning. In the resting there is joy and peace. That’s where strength is gained. Where freedom is found. Walk with Him in the cool of the evening. Listen to His voice. He’s calling out for you.

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