Over the past months, there has been a lot. I don’t know how else to say it other than a lot.
We have been dealing with a pandemic and all of the ramifications of that pandemic. People have gone to the streets, crying for justice and the end of racist systems that oppress and marginalize. We are entering into an incredibly heated election that has people on both sides up in arms. Fires have ravaged Australia, and now are raging in California. Unemployment is skyrocketing. And somewhere in the middle of all of this mess we saw headlines about murder hornets, Saharan dust plumes traveling to the United States, tornadoes and derechos (both of which we experienced this year in Nashville), swarms of locusts descending on places around the globe, and just today I saw a headline that two powerful hurricanes are heading toward the Gulf Coast.
What. In. The. World.
We are living in a unique time in history that will be forever recorded in the books and talked about for generations. And sometimes that can be a little overwhelming. Excuse me. I mistyped. A lot overwhelming.
Sometimes our hearts long for what was. We want a break from the headlines. We don’t want to see the rising death count. Our hearts ache for those who are hurting. For those who have lost loved ones. For those who have lost their jobs. We have been overwhelmed by decisions and feel the weight of decision fatigue pressing down. We are over the war of the masks and wish we could do something without needing to think so much about what we are doing and how we are doing it safely. We wonder why everything seems to be turning into an intense political battle.
These times are hard. There is no question.
But there is something else. Something greater. Something I have felt welling up deep in the heart of my soul over the past couple of weeks.
In order for me to tell you about that Something, I need to share a little background.
Once upon a time, not long ago, there was a mom who was tired. So very tired. She would wake up in the morning, her feet would hit the ground and she was off to the races. The entire day was planned out and scheduled. Drop offs and pick ups, work, sporting events, meetings, caring for the home, emails, appointments. These things consumed her. She longed for something greater. She was falling further away from God, and while she longed to be in His presence – she didn’t make a lot of time for Him in her day. She was irritable at times and would often talk to friends and family about how she was happy, but also tired of all the running. She wanted change, and tried to create margin, but the schedule would always end up full again.
And then, something happened. A pandemic struck. And the world shut down. Everyone was forced to stay home. Her husband was home. Her children were home. She was home. As the calendar was wiped bare.
She was happy to be with her family, but also felt an anxiety about what was happening in the world. Plus, she couldn’t find toilet paper anywhere and somewhere in the back of her mind wondered if it would ever be readily accessible again. The grocery store aisles were empty and social gatherings were relegated to Zoom calls. Life felt strange.
But as the days and weeks went on, she began to notice things. The rushing had vanished and in its place she discovered something that had been missing for so long. Rest. With no place to rush off to, she began to learn more about her family during lengthy family meals. Her bike that had sat for years untouched was fixed and she remembered how much she loved the feel of the wind kissing her face as she flew down a hill. And found that bike rides are so much sweeter in the company of her husband and children.
Then the most beautiful thing happened of all. She began to pick up her Bible more. And her relationship with God was strengthened and renewed as she cried out to Him in the morning. Her eyes began to open to all of the blessings beautifully woven into this time of uncertainty and pain.
Did she cry tears of frustration? She did. Were there moments when she felt like she needed this to be over? There were.
But above all, in the midst of the struggle – she found joy.
And as decisions continued to pour in about work and school and sporting events and all of the things, she and her husband took their concerns to God. They prayed. And they walked. And they talked. And they wondered how in the world they could make these decisions and then finally, they made the decisions they felt were right for their own unique family unit. And with each decision, became a little more confident in their ability to make these hard decisions together.
And then in the midst of it all, the Something happened.
There was a moment recently when a wave of peace like a tsunami washed over her, as she looked at her family and saw clearly all that God has done in this season. In this season of rest. This much needed season of rest. A season she cried out for and longed for and hoped for and prayed for, but never believed she would truly have.
And while she felt this peace consume her soul, she also recognized this isn’t the case for everyone. She recognized she was viewing this from her own unique lens and she acknowledged and grieved the deep reservoirs of pain people have suffered during this time.
And she realized that while for some it was time to move on and begin participating in activities once again, she felt confidently that for her and her family – this was still a season of rest. She felt content to remain at home with her husband and children. Suddenly, imagining her children learning from home and passing children on the softball fields didn’t feel as sad as it once did. An acceptance had flooded her soul and a contentment rested in her spirit.
This is my story. We each have our own stories during this time. And while it still isn’t over and this season is still upon us, I wanted to share these words with you.
To those who are choosing to learn from home, and are still not ready to send their children to sporting events or extracurricular activities, I want to offer you this word of encouragement. Rest.
I truly believe at some point our busy lives and schedules will resume, but for now – we don’t have to. It’s okay to continue to stay at home. It’s okay to continue to say no, I’m not ready. It’s not our time yet. For some, it is their time. And that’s okay, too. But for those of you, like us, who have chosen to remain seated – I pray you find the goodness in this season of rest. I pray you are able to connect with God and your family in new and deep and profound and exciting ways. I pray for contentment to flood your soul.
Life is crazy right now, there is no question about that. Reading the headlines and watching the news can be very overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to overwhelm our hearts. Look up to the One who is in control. Trust that He has a plan. Trust that He is working all things for His good, and that there is a purpose much greater than we can ever comprehend, for all of this.
And for all of us.
Give it to God. Let go.
And let your spirit rest.
Truly Yours, Jen
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