Depression and fear are natural results of being in and surrounded by difficulties--three times in John we read that Jesus was troubled. But when we move into the presence of the Lord, we begin to see life from His eyes, so we are able to refocus and gain strength and instruction about how we can move ahead with grace.
I was feeling exhausted and depleted one day several years ago, when those feelings of depression and fear threatened once again. As a mom, it seems I have spent myself on others forever--serving them, loving them, providing for them, and caring for their endless needs.
But there was another part of the puzzle of our own particular family. We had all agreed that God had called our whole family to work as a team in ministry, which meant lots of travel, serving, odd hours, and preparing our hearts so we could give out.
I have spent myself as much as possible, for as many years as I can remember! This night, when I had to pack up--again--and knew that we would only get two to three hours of sleep before our alarm awakened us at 3:20 a. m. so we could get to our taxi to the airport, and then board our 6 o'clock plane, I felt pretty much like giving up--or giving in, whatever that meant! But this was not a foreign feeling to me, so I knew not to water it and give it more attention, but to file it in the file drawers of heaven.
Then I reminded myself of an important truth: decisions should never be made at night. Happy hormones are down and we truly need a night of sleep to build them up again--never pay attention to the dark thoughts of a late night! They kill and deplete and destroy.
So I poured my heart out to the Lord for a bit. "I think I need a long, long rest, Lord. I think I may be getting irrelevant, dried up, unusable--I don't think I can go one more year in ministry. I feel like I am failing in keeping the ideals I talk about in my own home. I am tired and drained and discouraged! This is only the first trip of our busiest season yet, and I'm already tired. Can I please have a year off--just to rest, refresh and gain perspective?"
And so the dark cloud swirled around, hovering around my depleted heart, threatening and accusing and intimidating. As for me, I did what needed to be done--I finished packing!
Nate came in and we had a long talk. This was my last time with him before he went back to New York the next day, so I found strength to give to him, knowing how important and rare talking time had become for us.
Just as I finished with him, Joy came in changed into her "flying" clothes and crawled in bed with me. Seems she was overwrought from tiredness and depleted adrenalin from many competitions in speech and debate, and at fourteen, it all left her feeling a little weepy. "Mom, I can't get to sleep. Will you please snuggle with me? I just need to be close to someone."
So I snuggled my sweet girl until 1:00 am thinking, One more time; I can give out one more time, because this little bundle is so very precious to me! Finally, I fell asleep, looking at the clock for the last time at 1:23 am! The impossible had been done again; there had been enough strength after all, in spite of my tempestuous emotions and thoughts. I call this the amazing endurance of faith, putting one faithful foot in front of the other.
The next day was a blur--we slept as if we were drugged on the plane. But Clay picked me up at the Denver airport with some of my own homemade cinnamon bread, toasted, plus cheese and toasted pecans and a "welcome" heart for the hour long trip home. When Joy and I arrived at the house, Sarah and Joel had lit every candle in our house; they had cleaned and put on a beautiful instrumental cd, along with a fresh pot of tea with muffins for a lovely tea time. We enjoyed it all together, only having two more days with them before they both took off to Boston.
For so many years, this is how I had greeted them--after trips, in the mornings, or when they returned home from adventures. How very encouraged I was to be in the life of home again-- this time, a lovely treat that my own, young adult children had created for me.
And again I was reminded: difficulties and weariness are constants in life. The paradox is this: pouring out of ourselves is the answer. First, the pouring out of our hearts, our emotions and worries and discouragement, to God in prayer. And then, by faith and obedience, embracing His help and strength as we turn and pour into the precious lives around us.
But now I have lived long enough to see that my serving of them has made them servants of me and those who would come into their worlds. What we water will grow, what we practice, they will become.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. ~Proverbs 11:25
And for a fun treat, here are the winners of the LoveGodGreatly You Are Forgiven books! Teresa, Sheila Miller, Shanna, K, Shelley Roy, Ashe Franklin, Katherine Lief, Bekah S, Carissa, and Liz Walker--please email Misty at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing addresses as soon as possible and we'll get those sent your way!!!