Why We All Need Margin…

I remember from elementary school, the teachers saying,

“Do not write in the margin. Leave space.”

This ends my week of rest from social networking and blogging. It’s the beginning of a new week. I am ready for it. The last eight days, from Sunday to Sunday, I decided to let go of something I could; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and my blog. I chose to give my life space, on purpose, pre-planned,  for an allotted time. It took a bit of faith and discipline, and I missed my online community, but I’ve ended the week heart-full.

Although, my week was still filled with dirty dishes and loads of laundry, waterworks and water spilled, homeschool lessons and life lessons. The difference was I gave myself margin.

Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating… Margin grants freedom and permits rest. It nourishes both relationship and service. Spiritually, it allows availability for the purpose of God.

–Richard A. Swenson MD, Author of Margin

Those reasons above, are good enough for me to say, we all need margin.

This week of rest, I breathed in deep and exhaled long.

I read words slow, and let them nourish my weary soul.

I cried out to God and worshipped and praised.

I did not hurry.

My soul poured out through pointed lead on tear stained pages.

Getting caught in a surprise downpour,

I hid in the barn with Pre-teen Beauty dripping wet

and could-not-catch-my-breath laughed long.

I sat with toddler and did and undid princess puzzles.

I organized, scheduled and crossed much off of my to-do list.

But, I went slow — so very slow.

And come Sunday morning, when I was not quite sure I heard from God what He wanted me to hear, quietly He spoke to my heart,

“With voices quiet you are able to hear your own.

The one that I gave you. Use it, because it’s like no one else’s.”

Do you know what it feels like to be established? I am learning. Do you know what it is like to be comfortable with who God created you to be — like no one else? Do you know how restful it is to be at peace with only His approval? I am beginning to more and more, and finding quiet confidence. He reminds me,

“This life I gave you is no one else’s to live.

Only you get to live it. Neither do you get to live anyone else’s.”

There is so much noise and so many voices. Some full of incredible wisdom and life-giving truth. Some, not so much. How do we discern, in the constant flow of the streams, updates and feeds, which ones are for us? I have to ask, does the voice bring me closer to the purpose of God for my life or further away?

You see, for the mama or the dad or the husband or the wife or the child or the teacher or the blogger or the pastor — I believe the greatest freedom of living is living as who we were created to be in God — as who He says we are. <— Tweetable, eh?

We learn from the Master Designer how He designed His masterpiece. He has it all written down in the Book. It is a great disservice to God, ourself, our family and even this world, to try to be anything else.

For we are God’s own handiwork, His workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus, born anew that we may do those good works which God predestined, planned beforehand for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 AMP

Yes, this is what I am entering these few weeks ahead with — until my the next week of rest.

I pray that you are able to know and become established in your God-given purpose — greater and deeper — for His glory alone.

Counting Gifts above and below... #692-735 

These words that lead my into my week of rest from Pam at Writing Apples of Gold. I printed them out just before my week began.

Passport arriving early in the mail.

Destinies and Kingdom purpose being revealed.

A new homeschool already full of new joys and loving-life experiences.

Pink and pretty, ready for a morning walk.

Homemade laundry soap. (going to be sharing our tried-and-true recipe soon)

Rolling thunder and rain showers down pouring.

Mrs. Potato head looking a touch of crazy. I don’t feel so bad.

Breathing in deep and exhaling long.

New life-stories being written.

New car for Eldest Beauty.



Friends who remain.

Husband, who while away hunting texts, “I miss you like crazy.”

and who still takes out the trash.

For a God who is faithful to lead,

and patient to wait when we stumble in our own way.

Amen? Amen.


  • Pingback: An update of sorts {a long one} » A Life Surrendered()

  • http://www.flowersinhisgarden.blogspot.com Camille

    I hopped over the meet you from Heather’s blog ~ Cultivated Lives. Your words are lovely. Your thoughts encouraging. Thank you for sharing your heart. Blessings to you!


    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Thank you for your words that bless and encourage me 🙂 It’s so nice to have you visit…

      May God rain grace on your days 🙂

  • Maria

    I am quieted as I read the results of your time in the green pastures. Isn’t It humorous how the psalmist says “he makes me lie down in green pastures?” I can truly relate. I often feel the tug of the shepherd inviting me To sit beside quiet waters. But the noise of life drowns out the invitation and makes it a burden. Thank you for igniting a desire to do the same and RSVP right away.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      I love that verse 🙂 It is so very important to take these times of rest. It’s hard to say no sometimes, though. Accountability helps 🙂

      I love you, my friend.

  • http://compassionadvocacy.blogspot.com/ Lolita Valle


    In the business community or in the engineering world, there is a need for margin. The bigger the difference between Price and cost, the better.

    I also is a product of the writing rules given by our grade school teachers and it is carried even to the business writing class…. leave margin.

    And in our spiritual life, we need that space to breathe, inhale and exhale God. Glad you were able to be intentional in this area. It is good to have control on what we can and give self and family quality time as well as for God.

    In everything, there should be space, including relationships.

    Thank you for the good read and lesson to live by, Michelle-Lyn.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      You speak words of wisdom here. Thank you 🙂 You are also a great encourager! I am purposing to live in the moment and be present with those that love me most and whom God has entrusted to my care. This is one way I can…

      Blessings to you,


  • http://www.amylsullivan1.com/ Amy L. Sullivan

    Glad you took a break and glad you are back!

    I wanted to tell you…I know this was weeks ago (decades in blog time) how much I loved the video you and your daughter made together. In that short 30 seconds, I connected with you in a new way and liked you even more. Thanks.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      This was such a sweet comment. I remember reading it and looked for it on the video post. Well, here it is on the Margin post 🙂 Thank you, again. You have left an impression on my heart… for the least of these.

      We are putting our compassion into action now 🙂

  • http://lauriesnotions.blogspot.com Laurie

    This line:

    “With voices quiet you are able to hear your own. The one that I gave you. Use it, because it’s like no one else’s.”

    …touched my heart and moved me so. The line that followed captivated me as my eyes welled with tears.

    Reading between the lines, I can “hear” that your rest did you well! 🙂 Beautiful, beautiful words, Michele! Keep using that lovely voice that He has given you to bring Him glory.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Thank you for this encouragement! What a blessing you are to me 🙂

  • http://www.wynnegraceappears.com [email protected]

    Michelle, I linked up late to Ann’s just today since my yesterday was so busy.

    I have not read your post but I started at the first link up YOURS to read some of the community. Your title took my breathe away.

    Look at your subject and my subject.

    I was awake last night trying to discern God’s will for my writing on this subject. Is this a sacred echo. My heart is racing and I am now going up to read your post. So amazing. Maybe I need to write about this at Jennifer’s. A God Bump/God Incidence.

    Lets chat latter. We both must have margins on the heart, the brain.

    Love in Christ,


    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      I read your post. It was just beautiful — dripping grace. Thank you for letting me know about it. I bookmarked it 🙂 God is speaking this to His people now, I believe.

      Blessings to you. You are a gift 🙂

      With love,


  • http://www.toshowthemjesus.com Christina

    I love the quote about margin. Just what I need! I can only imagine how peaceful and restorative your week was. And that photo of your little one is adorable! Love it!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Yes, this is a wonderful quote, and the week was refreshing. I know that it is something that is completely necessary for me to do regularly, which I am committed to. The fruit of it will be so much greater than the short time away, I know by faith.

      And pink and pretty 🙂 Yes, she’s a hoot!

      Blessings friend,


  • http://www.moretobe.com Lisa

    Welcome back! It sounds like the Lord is whispering the same truths to you as He has been to me — margin, white space, getting away from the noise. I’m with you, girlfriend. May we seek the Lord together and focus our lives on His priorities!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Thank you for warm welcome 🙂 I have heard from so many others that God is speaking the same thing to their hearts. He is so faithful to lead. We are one body — His body needs rest. Perhaps preparation for something ahead.

      Blessings to you, friend.


  • http://www.findingheaventoday.com Jen Ferguson

    I love this way of explaining rest – margins. I have been thinking a lot about this practice of breathing and being able to do it deeply, without hurry. Your post is a lot of confirmation for me.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts here. There have been so many words of confirmation about this same thing. God is speaking to His people. Did you read this post, here, from Elizabeth at Wynnegraceappears? It was so beautiful…

      Blessings to you, friend.

      With love,


  • http://onlyhere-onlynow.com HopeUnbroken

    love this–every bit of it. the rest. the sharing.
    sweet drawing of the grace of God and of all His wonderful blessings.
    thanks for painting the picture so well.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      So sweet 🙂 Your words made me smile big. You are always such an encouragement to me! How can I thank you?

      Blessings friend,


  • http://lauraboggess.com Laura

    Oh, I hear this. Coming off my own week of quiet here too, M. Lovely, lovely thoughts. And I love that pretty in pink :). Adorable.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      For some reason your comment ended up in spam. I rescued it 🙂 Thank you for your sweet words. Did you enjoy your quiet week? I feel like this new week has been wonderfully quiet, too, although I have been around, perhaps not as much. I feel just a bit more settled, and really enjoying time with my family.

      Blessings to you,


  • http://beneaththesurface-dawn.blogspot.com/ Dawn St Amand Paoletta

    Oh my ! Michelle that is one of my favorite books! ANd I have such God bumps…what you wrote is so close to a something that I thought last week and popped into my journal but did not go further with it. Just a thought…I might photo it and share it with you somehow! God is so good! Beautiful prose and I am sharing on my FB page…Welcome back…

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Oh yes! You’ve read that book? I know few who have. Thank you for taking time to share your story with me here. Yes, send the photo 🙂 I’d love to know what God has been speaking. My email is Michele {at} alifesurrendered {dot} com.

      Thank you for sharing and for your warm welcome! Blessings,


  • http://www.messymarriage.com Beth

    I think every blogger should take something of a margin break or Sabbath’s rest. We need God to fill us up so that we can pour out for others each week. I’m so glad you feel filled up, Michele-Lyn. You’ve been missed, but I know we will be and are blessed by the overflow of your experience.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      I am not sure if every blogger “can” take a rest, but I know for sure “this” blogger needs one. I already have my next week of rest on the calendar. Not because I like to be away from you sweet friends, but because it makes so much better for me to pour when my heart is full. Only God can do the filling. Thank you for your encouragement, always! None of the words you leave here fall to the ground wasted. They bless me!

      Blessings to you,


  • http://www.jsttheotherday.blogspot.com Becky

    Beautiful and encouraging. “Is this a voice you need to listen to?” — that’s something the Lord has been asking me to pay attention to as well. I’m so glad to have found you, Michele-Lyn. You definitely have a good voice:)

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Thank you! Thank you 🙂 I am humbled and truly grateful. I am so glad that these words I scratched out might have come as a bit of confirmation to what God is already speaking. Thank you for blessing me…

      With love,


  • http://redemptionsbeauty.com Shelly Miller

    So glad you had a refreshing time of slow, the gift of hearing His voice, the comfort of knowing His presence. It’s the best place to be.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      You are so gracious to take time to write me here during this time. I have been praying for you. You are so dear to my heart. Thank you, my dear friend.

      With love,


  • http://wordglow.wordpress.com Pam

    Beautiful, Michele. I’m so happy to know how God spoke those words into you as He did into me. 🙂 God’s blessings on the week ahead!
    Love your pretty in pink gal!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Oh yes. Your words — His words are still pinned to my fridge. I read them throughout the week. They stayed in my heart as my reminder. Thank you for allowing me to share them! You are a blessing.

      With thanks,


  • Wendy

    Welcome back friend! Blessings!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      Thank you for your warm welcome 🙂 Blessings and grace to you — may God’s had of favor be on everything you put your hand to do, for His glory.

      With love,


  • http://newlifesteward.com Mary Beth

    Glad to have you back!! 🙂

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Mary Beth,

      Thank you, sweet friend 🙂

  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com Kim

    Sweet, sweet margin! What a gift to give yourself this past week. I haven’t given myself an extended period of time away from being online. After reading your post, it is something that I am going to add to my prayers as I ask for guidance.

    This is definitely an important topic, as we tend to get overwhelmed as moms. I was delighted to read your post, as I wrote on margin as well today. It is always interesting to read about the same topic from a different perspective.

    Thanks for giving me more to consider today.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn


      I went over and read your post. It is amazing how when God speaks to His people, and His people share those words, they serve as confirmation to us. We are His body. We are one. His body needs rest.

      I am not sure if every blogger needs rest, but I am certain that “this” blogger does. I need the time away to refill, so I have something to pour out — from what only God can pour in.

      Blessings to you,