Monday, August 25, 2008

A Season of Exhaustion

Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
But when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
But I say unto you, That in this place is [one] greater than the temple.
But if ye had known what [this] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
And, behold, there was a man which had [his] hand withered.
And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift [it] out?
How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

~Matthew 11:28-12:12

I went to bed Saturday night utterly exhausted. After a week of cleaning, cooking, playing, training, and waking up with children throughout the night, my body felt it could not go on. That night I awoke once to a five year old who had "peed out of his pull-up" and needed a new pull-up as well as a new sheet and blanket. My three month old also woke me several times to chat over warm milk. I woke up Sunday morning. . . utterly exhausted.

The text for the message at church was Matthew 11:28-12:12; the topic -- how time can keep us from spiritual growth. It was just what I needed. The pastor pointed out that the importance of the Sabbath lies not so much in worship as it does in rest, and added that God's command to us to rest and take sabbaths is much like a parents command to a child to take a needed nap or go to bed at an earlier hour -- for the child's own good. He referred to Exodus 31:14 "Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it [is] holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth [any] work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people." as an example of how important a Sabbath is to God. It dawned on me that the failure to rest can physically tax your body and endanger your health; it can also ruin your relationships with, not just God, but family and friends as well.

The pastor closed on the idea that we need to examine our own lives and see if our lack of sabbaths is the result of a season of life or a lifestyle choice. We also need to ask oursleves "why"? "Why am I so busy?" "Why must my house be in perfect order?" "Why do I feel the need to constantly be busy?" I often feel the need to meet up to some outside, invisible expectation that others *might* have of me. However, in my life, I am in a "Season of Exhaustion", and this gave me little consolation when I got home and still had two meals to prepare and clean up, children to care for, and a husband to bond with.

I went to bed last night. . . utterly exhausted. I am in no hurry to end this season of my life. In fact, I struggle with the idea that, though it is so exhausting to be raising little ones, I still would like one or two more. However, sometimes the exhaustion gets to me and I end a tiring day in tears. It was one of those nights last night when I opened up my Bible for my bedtime meditation. I'm reading slowly through 1 Corinthians. Here is the first and only verse I read last night: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. " (1 Corinthians 15:58) It was just what I needed. I meditated on it all night as I woke up for midnight chats over warm milk with my nursing baby.

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