I was driving last night after running errands at Target then braving the sketchy parking lot of Big Lots and the adjoining Kroger. (Note: driving a really cool jeep helps the confidence in these places).
In the time it took me to drive across town to get home, I found myself in a restful state of reflection. Often in times of reflection it is more restless than restful, so this was a nice change of pace.
In that time, I thought back over the day, the week, the year, the years; how God has used time and circumstances to mold me into the person I am and thinking about the person I want to be.
This past week I slept more than I have in about a month. The older I get, the gentler I become (with myself and others) and the more I feel the cost of peaks in stress- both good and bad. Last week was a high stress week. It was drop/add week and connection weekend at church. These times required my utmost energy, mental capacity, and excitement. These times are fun and enjoyable. They are also draining and wear me down to my core. It is in these times the deeper places I like to gloss over come to the surface.
Weeks like these include times when I need to run because I feel I am about to explode with frustration or elation. These are times I am a little shorter in grace and in my responses. I am blessed to have these times because they remind me of the road I have walked and that I have a ways to go still.
Last week, we had a plethora of goodies in our office available for students as they waited to be helped. We also like to help ourselves to these claiming the right because it soothes the aching frustrations. It was during one of these brief moments between helping some especially difficult students that I blurted out: I need something stronger than cookies!
As I sat back down at my desk, it was as if my heart was stilled and my head was silenced and all I heard was: that’s why you have Me.
That still, small voice felt loud at that moment- calling me to trust in something more than tangible goods, more than anything I could do.
After that week and the weekend, I felt the exhaustion consume me on Monday. I went home early and slept all afternoon and evening and into the next morning. Tuesday I managed to stay at work until quitting time before dragging myself home for more sleep. Thursday I finally felt as though I had caught up with the world. Friday was almost unbearable in the energy not being used.
So as I drove from one place to the next running errands, my mind was in an energetic place of rest, something unusual for me.
As I reviewed this time, thinking about how much I like having my time and planning what I will cook and really not being attached to anything or anyone making me free to wander, another small voice began to be heard; the voice of deep desire.
I turned my ear to this voice so vulnerable and sweet, not often contending with the other thoughts taking the stage in my head. I was reminded that, as much as I do love this time and value it and enjoy it, it is ok to give some time to dream about the future.
(I think there is danger is putting expectation in dreams like these, but I also think they are a natural part of being a woman and unhealthy to not pay them any attention.)
So, I let myself think about what it would be like to have someone to be accountable to, someone to come home to- and not just someone, but a
This man to share life with- goals, hopes, struggles, kids… what it would be like to share the trials and joys of raising kids… gotta admit, that one caught me a little off guard. And being a little caught off guard seemed to be a good time to teeter over into that place- what would this child look like? What would it be like to plan meals for a picky eater or would s/he like fun foods? What would it be like to take children to a restaurant or have my schedule rearranged around soccer practice or children’s plays?
I must admit, my heart was in a soft place last night as I drove over a steep bridge and meeting the moon before following the descending road across a field of marsh. In that place of soft safety, I began to pray for that man. The man I would share struggles with, that man who would cause me to become so frustrated I would want to grab a handful of cookies. That man who would need to be strong enough to sit with me as we sorted through our own deep places of fear and sin. That man who would have a strong hand in raising kids with me, who I would need to rely on for support, encouragement, rest, safety. I prayed for him more honestly and openly than ever before.
I also prayed for myself. That I would be a woman worth sitting with, worth pursuing, worth taking the risk to run after, worth trudging through the trenches of parenthood with. I prayed that I would be a woman of strength – able to be honest in my weaknesses and firm in my faith.
I also must share that I am not that spiritual. I do not spend time constantly in prayer for this man. Maybe I should be. I find that prayer moves me into a place of humbleness to put myself more in line with the Lord- this makes me more open to seeing Him move.
But I meet with the Lord with no expectation other than for Him to be who He says He is and today, and each day, that is more than I need no matter who I am sharing my life with.