It has been a quite a day, quite a week. Quite a month. I wonder how I made it this far, and yet what gives me the right to think that life is any more than this, or any less. For the past two months, I put myself in work-a-holic mode. I have put in long days preparing for the school year, put in even longer evenings at the school and at home, preparing for the school day ahead. I am a teacher, yet the mother in me is always first. I rise before the sun, before my children see the light of day, to bathe, make beds and ready myself for the day ahead. My daughter asks me, “Mommy, why don’t you ever shower?” I tell her that I do, she just never sees my hair wet because she is still asleep.
As night falls on another Thursday late in September, I move through the house following a trail of Easter Bunnies. It is autumn, and Easter is a distant promise. No matter. My daughter was tucked in tonight wearing pink bunny ears, clutching two bunnies which she could not part with. I try to hide frustration as I coax this little one to sleep. I paint another daughter’s chest with a thick layer of Vapor rub; she is struggling to fall asleep with her newly acquired head cold. I kiss my son on the forehead, and turn out the lights. It is tempting to tune out the mind right now. Check out to duty and plug in to mindless entertainment. It is a drug that never satisfies.
My mother asks me if I have been writing lately, and I say no. I have no excuses, it has just not been a priority. Neither has prayer. Or my Bible. I have to be honest. I feel like God is an acquaintance these days, and I holler a quick hello as I pass Him in the hall.
The other night, I complained to a friend that I was struggling with a cold. I’m taking lots of vitamins, I say self-righteously, as I list them off to her. Of course, the most important thing is prayer, she says with a knowing smile, as if to say, you wouldn’t think to start or finish your day any other way, now would you? Would I pray? Would I dare not to?
I have tried to pray in the morning, but my mind wanders. I pray with the children at meal time, but it sounds trite. I model prayer at bed time, but even tonight I found myself thinking, is it really worth the bother?
Did I really think that?
I tell my students on a daily basis how important food is to their body. I encourage healthy eating. I reiterate at meal time to these little ones that food is fuel. Yet, prayer and God’s words via the Bible are my fuel, and I am running on empty, my tank is dry. I need you, Lord. I need to talk to you in ways that are not contrived.
God, I am so weak and tired. You promise to be my strength. I am unable to be all things to all people. You are able to do immeasureably more than all I ask or imagine, according to Your power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20, Zondervan NIV Study Bible) I am empty, fill my cup, Lord.
I know that my thoughts are not hidden from You, and for that, I feel relief. How refreshing to know that I do not need to pretend with You, God.
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (Psalm 139: 1-6, Zondervan NIV Study Bible) These words are familiar, yet they sound new and original as I read them tonight. I peel away the layers that hide me from view, for it is all a mirage. Nothing is hidden from God. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139: 7-10, Zondervan NIV Study Bible) I claim these verses as I read them, for to do otherwise would be a sacrilege. God is speaking, and I am standing on holy ground.
I know that I will still feel tired when I finish writing tonight. There is laundry waiting to be folded in the drier. I never touched my school work tonight. My neck has a kink in it; I turn to release the tension. And yet, I know that with calm assurance that life is worth the living, and I can face tomorrow. It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.(Galatians 2: 20, Zondervan NIV Study Bible) I must believe this! It is the Word of God. In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28, Zondervan NIV Study Bible) We seek His face, and He does not hide from us. (Acts 17:27, Zondervan NIV Study Bible) I can live and breathe and be the one I was designed to be, in spite of my surroundings and the circumstances in which I live.
I need You God, and I ask humbly for forgiveness for thinking I could do any less than totally rely on You.
It is quiet in this house. My children sleep deeply. Although they may not voice it, they have the understanding and knowledge that they are loved and protected. They know when they rise at dawn there will be food on the table and there will be enough to go around. My children sleep deeply.
And so must I…..
And so must I.