recovering my life

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I have so many words that have been burning up my soul this week, but a IMG_2588sick and clingy baby has made it virtually impossible to do anything. Any time I’ve had to write has had to be spent writing for other things. A schedule mix-up today has left me with a brief amount of time this morning while most of the children are still sleeping, thanks be to Jesus. I’ve been longing to write down some of the stuff from last weekend (as well as share the morning sunrise view from our hotel room – look how pretty!), and I’ve been so fearful that I will lose it if I don’t get it written soon. Thus, this post will not begin with any poetic transition of any kind. I hear the baby stirring, even as I do some last edits, so you’re just left with what it is….

Last weekend, I opened my conference weekend with what amounts to an hour of quiet. Other women were in the room, but it’s basically a room full of different stations for prayer, art, reading, and reflection. I don’t think it was an accident that when I sat down and looked out on the beautiful lake, the first verse that I read was this:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Every fear I had that my expectations for the weekend would not meet up with reality faded at that moment. It was like my whole being breathed a sigh and just let go. The weekend felt way more relaxed than last year. I’m sure partly because I was more comfortable with everything, but mostly because I knew what I needed and God was faithful to deliver.

The very first person who prayed with me asked me what I needed. I simply told her I had thyroid disease, and it had been a struggle lately. She immediately smiled, said her mother-in-law also had thyroid disease, and her name is Suzanne. A lot of people misunderstand thyroid disease as something that basically amounts to the fact that you have trouble losing weight, but her specificity in praying against thyroid disease and for my clarity in pursuing treatment came from someone who was familiar with everything that it means. Just a small confirmation that I was exactly where I needed to be at that moment, and the same was true for her.

I ended up crying a lot more than I expected through the weekend. (I’m sure some of it was because I just needed to, but let’s be real: PMS is no joke.) There were so many small moments that just built rest into my soul, and a couple of big ones that just brought me to my knees. To be honest, I was a little nervous about some of the weekend schedule, including the main speaker. I’m not quite sure why, but I tend to be cautious towards most things ‘evangelical orphan care’. I think we too quickly become rescuers/saviors and dismiss not just the children’s pain and loss but the dignity of the birth families as well. This speaker however: not like at all. She was exactly what I needed, and I knew it from the moment she stepped on the stage later that first evening because she opened with this:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Even when I came home, back into the chaos of a large family in a small space, back into the everyday with children who tend punish me a little for leaving, I can breathe deep with those words. There’s nothing heavy or ill-fitting about this if I keep my eyes on Jesus. He’s teaching me daily those unforced rhythms of grace. If I’m keeping company with Him, then I’m living freely and lightly. Rest.

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