Permission to Stop

On the second morning of her African journey, Lettie noticed all her guides had stopped and refused to move, “Why aren’t we ready to forge ahead?” she asked the leader in an agitated manner.

His reply, “On the first day we traveled too fast. Now we are waiting for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”

I first read those words of Mrs. Charles Cowman a very, very long time ago in devotional books Mama gave me as a young girl – “Streams in the Desert” and “Springs in the Valley.”

Who knew her words would change my life? Eventually.

Have you been traveling too fast? Is it time to stop?

In January I stopped in order for my “soul to catch up with my body.”

I embraced quiet, calm, reading, naps, music, journaling, and holding precious grands: all whilst continuing my three part-time jobs and home chores.

I took a break from some commitments and unplugged from social media. This was a balm to my soul — the “noise” had muddled my mind and heart. I “wrestled” a bit, but like Jacob, God blessed me far more than I deserve.

Living in such Januarys is not sustainable, nor would I want to do so. I’m far too enthused to pursue all God has ahead of me — all the new chapters He will write in my story.

But I did stop. If only for awhile. And you have permission to stop as well. God urges, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46.1)

The spiritual practices of rest and renewal will look different for each of us. So, do what you need to do in order to respond to God’s whisper.

After you stop for awhile… then go forward with great joy. I certainly am.

Hello February!

Thank you Mrs. Charles Cowman — Lettie — for your legacy and leadership of a soul strong woman.

         May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit  bring you comfort and strength, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”

©2021 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at


  1. Crickett Keeth on February 2, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    So good! So timely. Thank you, Lucinda!

  2. Bill on February 2, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    Love your comments!

  3. Cindy Bolshaw on February 2, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    Wonderful message giving us pause to think about a stop. Stop. Stop is a beautiful word.
    Glad you enjoyed the treasures of work and grands and restorative time.

  4. Todd Willard on February 2, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    Great word Cindy! And an important daily reminder.

  5. Dyann Shepard on February 2, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    Love this reminder to let our souls catch up with our body.

  6. Grace Fox on February 2, 2022 at 6:32 pm

    Excellent reminder, my friend. I love that thought about letting our souls catch up to our bodies.

  7. Jayme H. Mansfield on February 2, 2022 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you, Lucinda. Streams in the Desert is my favorite devotional — my go-to each morning to help sustain me in restful and stressful seasons.

  8. Maggie Wallem Rowe on February 3, 2022 at 1:02 am

    Welcome back! I’m glad it was a good month of rest and quiet for you. I’ve quoted that sentiment about letting my soul catch up with my body for decades but never knew where it originated. Thanks for pointing us to the source!

  9. Barbara Latta on February 3, 2022 at 8:54 am

    Those periods of rest can refresh and renew our minds with the ability to move forward with new plans. That is why God tells us to be still and know that He is God. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Sheri on February 3, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Mrs. Cowman’s story has ministered to my heart through the years, as well. I knew you and I were “soul sisters,” at least in our reading. LOL Thanks for the timely reminder. You framed her story beautifully, as always.

  11. Lisa Larsen Hill on February 4, 2022 at 3:27 am

    Love this post especially “my soul to catch up with my body”.
    Took a get a way vacation and doing just this! Thank you Lucinda!

  12. Suha D’Beisi on February 5, 2022 at 4:22 am

    I love this ❤️ “waiting for our soul to catch up with our body “. Thank you for sharing 🙏

Leave a Comment