It’s been one of ‘those seasons’ around my house and I hope we’ve become good enough friends now that I can share this and be raw and real, and not have you think I’m a frazzled mother all of the time.
I’ve got this amazing, yet challenging boy and his almost-too-much-exuberance for life alongside Asperger’s and new teen hormones and homework issues and it has about done me in.
I have felt like the biggest failure lately as a mom, regretting various moments and responses. I know in my head that I’m not the only one who’s ever felt like that. It occurred to me this afternoon that I need to force myself to get rest and restoration and find peace in that moment regardless of my to do list or I am not going to be any good to anyone. Yikes. Hard truth.
I am realizing that I need to carve out a daily dose of quiet to get me through the challenges. I’m talking about five to ten minutes with nothing to do, read, see, say, or finish. Just time where I sit in a chair and let myself feel a little bit bored. And be still. I need to abide in God and have Him help me catch my breath again.
This realization hit me after a clandestine meeting with an older mom that I bumped into at the grocery store. She asked me about my kids’ ages and schools and what teachers they had. We chatted and she asked me something completely neutral about my son (and I have no idea at this point what it was.) My response was to pretty much vomit out my life story, his life story, my husband’s work frustrations, family worries and much, much more. I cried. In the grocery store with a near stranger. And you know what she did? She was kind. She even teared up with me at one point, she listened, she patted my arm and she offered me advice. Her advice? Go home and abide. What on earth did that mean? Well I came home and found out. I sat on the couch, crossed off the things I didn’t really need to get done, turned my phone ringer off, and prayed. Then I read a little in my bible and God showed me the 23rd Psalm in a whole new light, via the Message.
1-3 God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
4 Even when the way goes through
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
So I spent some time praying that verse specifically over myself, my husband and my family. I visualized lush, green meadows with new spring grass in my head, and parked there on that image for a while. I thought about quiet mountain pools, fed by glaciers with the crisp reflection of an ice-capped mountain in them. I let myself breathe and rolled the words ‘catch my breath’ around in my brain for a few minutes until I had done just that. I thought about walking through a darkly wooded path and knowing the warmth and safety of having God’s presence beside me. I visualized a shepherd touching a sheep with his crook- something I once heard that shepherds do simply so the sheep know they are there. The crook becomes almost like an extension of the shepherd’s hand. Oh the comfort of that thought. I imagined a six course dinner with all of my favorite items, no matter the circumstance, and thanked God for His provisions in my life. I cried as I read that He revives my drooping head and then fills my cup with blessing. I abided, and it felt good. It felt peaceful. I was calmly putting the oxygen mask on myself for a while so that I could simply be and continue be-ing as the day progressed.
Here is what I know and I know it so deeply, it’s like I can almost taste it.
God is good. All the time.
Even in heartache and disappointment and confusion and loss and sadness, and really bad news, and sudden grief, and financial chaos that takes your breath away, and natural disasters, and tornadoes that rip your life out from under you, and cancer that takes a turn for the worst, and children that say things that rock you to your very core. And any other moment that hits you upside your unsuspecting head in life. And we all have them.
‘The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.’ (Psalm 23:1-3a NIV) ‘So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.’(Hebrews 10:35-36)
Persevere and He will give you rest. There is nothing like pressing IN when the world is pressing your drooping head down. I am so thankful for that truth. It’s the only way. It takes a hopeless moment and breathes joyful hope right back into it.