Lookin’ like a Sloth

Lookin’ like a Sloth

sloth

I looked in the baby monitor and saw my 2 year old stirring from her mid-afternoon nap. And then, crying. My heart dropped because it was the “something hurts” cry.

I raced to her room, picked her up and immediately felt heat radiating off her body.

“I so hot, momma.” I didn’t need to grab the thermometer to know she had a fever.

I took her to the living room and kept a close eye on her. We cuddled and watched her favorite show. Within hours her little sister had a fever too.

I took a deep breath, bracing my heart and body for what I knew would be a restless night.

The length of the night felt multiplied times over. If one girl was asleep, the other one was up. My husband and I spent the dark hours tag-teaming bedrooms, swapping kids back and forth. It was an exhausting rotation.

After a couple days of feeling yucky, the girls seemed to be over it all. A deep sigh of relief.

I went a full 24 hours thinking our house was well. Then I woke up the very next morning feeling like I had been body slammed into a brick wall all night long.

My first thought was, “I can’t be sick. I can’t do this.”

I slothed around the house all morning – in action and appearance. No, slothed isn’t actual a word. But I bet you got the visual, didn’t you? A hairy, greasy, animal slowing making it’s way around the jungle floor. Beady little eyes, scrunched up face, lookin’ like it was hit by a car, drug down the road for a couple miles, but somehow managed to survive.

Yeah, that was me.

I gave myself a quick pep talk. If I can just take it easy for a couple days, it’ll be ok. I can do this…I can do this. And then round #2 hit our girls. All 3 of us were sick. Not “cough-cough” sick…we were sprawled out, snotty, crying messes. I called the doctor and was told that this bug was going around and hitting hard. Yeah, no kidding. There was nothing to do except wait it out.

This thing lasted 10 days for the girls. TEN…DAYS. Which of course included 10 restless, uncomfortable, yucky nights.

But even after the 10 days, I was still slothing it. On the 14th day, I went to the doctor and found out I had a sinus infections and a UTI.

The doctor was a cute little thing. She seemed too young to be a doctor and the whole thing felt a little too Doogie Howser (please tell me some of you remember that show). Anyways, she told me to get plenty of sleep…and to kick the kids out of the bathroom 3 times a day to be alone and run a hot shower for my sinuses. Sleep? Is that the thing some people do at night when they close their eyes for more than 2 hours at a time? I’ve heard about that. Private time in the bathroom? Like, alone? Like, with no kids? No, I always have an audience. If I manage to shut the door before my entourage follows me in, I immediately hear pitiful pterodactyl screeching and see little fingers wiggling underneath the door. In theory, the doctor’s game plan was what I needed. But the execution was impossible. I just smiled and nodded…knowing one day, when she has babies and hasn’t peed alone for years, she may remember the unrealistic orders that she gave to that weary, sick momma who looked like a pitiful sloth.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been brought to a place of such mental exhaustion. It easily outdid the sleepless newborn stages.

After the 2 weeks came to a close, my mind, heart, and body were depleted. Totally depleted.

I broke down and prayed, “Oh, Father. I can’t do it. I’m so exhausted. So sleep deprived. So worn out. So…empty. I just can’t do it. Please, Holy Spirit refresh me. Refresh my mind, body and soul.”

I was desperate. Desperate for supernatural refreshment. Desperate for living water to rush through my veins and pump into my heart. Desperate for holy air to fill my lungs and for clarity to purge my mind.

It was through that new perspective brought on by my desperation, that I realized something. Normally when I start to feel empty or dry, I “do” something myself to fix it. Rarely do I stop and ask for the Lord to renew me first. 

And in my depletion and desperation, there was a beautiful submission that took place within me. It was a breaking of my own mental and emotional strength. I had nothing in me to “do.” I could just lay there, close my eyes and ask for the Lord’s strength to renew me.

And you guys, He did.

I woke up the next morning feeling revived – like angels had sung to my soul all night long. My spirit had fresh air. My body didn’t ache. My thoughts were clear.

It truly was a supernatural renewal. I was so humbled and grateful that I cried in thanksgiving for days. Thank you, Father.

Far too many times I rely on my own ability to try and improve the way I feel. Sometimes I will “do” and other times I use distraction to divert my emotions and thoughts until I feel better. But when my emptiness extended beyond my own reach and ability to fix it, I was reminded of my constant desperation for God.

And when I think back on things that have happened in my life, it’s always in those times of brokenness, emptiness and depletion when I see the most transformation and power in my mind, body and life. It gives me a little deeper understanding about what Paul is talking about when he says,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

There are many good things I can do to keep my heart, mind and body healthy. But nothing compares to what Jesus offers. Nothing changes a life like His grace and power. When I acknowledge my need for Him and ask Him to refresh me, then make the conscious decision to release my own grip on control, He can work inside me freely and fully.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

Maybe you’re in a place of emptiness and getting through just one more day feels impossible. Maybe you’re desperate for physical energy or emotional renewal. Wherever you are, no matter what you’re going through, no matter how empty you feel, God wants to work inside you, freely and fully. Let Him renew you. Let Him refresh you. Let Him revive you.

He’s faithful to do it.

Knowing Peace

cloudHello friend.

How are you? How is your heart? Are you finding peace among all the darkness this week? Or maybe you’re really struggling & need His peace more than ever.

There are few things in life that take such a toll on our bodies, minds & hearts as spiritual unrest does. When my spirit is stirred, when it senses a battle or is a part of one, my whole world feels… heavy.

I think it can be a very good thing. It causes me to pray harder, stretch my faith further & re-prioritize things that really matter in life; focus on the eternal, not the dirty dishes in the sink. But it can definitely become overwhelming if my eyes wander off of Jesus & focus on the world.

There is so much happening right now, on our own soil & around the world. No matter where I am, I hear stories of riots, violence, persecution, fear. I see pictures of hurting faces, angry mobs, innocent children being targeted by evil. There are moments where I feel like my heart & mind just can’t “go there”. I can’t think about it for too long, because it’s just so…scary. I want to feel safe, both physically & mentally.

But I know it is important that I do allow my heart & mind to “go there” sometimes. We do not need to focus on evil or meditate on fearful thoughts. But we do need to stay focused on praying for our persecuted brothers & sisters, asking God to protect the innocent, to bring light to a very, very dark world. It truly is a matter of life & death.

The truth of Ephesians 6:12 becomes more raw when I hear their stories, see pictures of their faces & am faced with the realization that this is actually happening to regular families like mine.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

The last few weeks have been a challenge for me. I want to know what is going on. I want to know what is happening. But with that information comes a lot of other elements. I do not want to get wrapped up in fear. And if you’re like me, I have plenty of other things happening in life that cause me to battle anxiety & fear. I have to constantly guard my heart & mind so anxious & fearful thoughts can’t take root.

But I’m learning that there’s a difference between staying informed & meditating on fear. It can be a tricky balance indeed.

So as we are praying for our brothers & sisters around the world & asking God to change hearts & protect the innocent, may we also guard our hearts & minds against fear. Let us praise Him for His sovereignty. Let us thank Him for His steadfast love.

May we focus on His peace.

May we remember He is greater than any evil.

May we cling to His truth.

Our God is in control.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Movement in the Silence

One song can change a moment, one idea can change a world, one step can start a journey, but a prayer can change the impossible. -Unknown

I was recently reminded that the God that holds the universe together, is also working in the smallest of details in our lives.

After meeting a girl years ago, she & I were recently reconnected. I step back & look at all the details & elements that caused our paths to cross again & the fingerprints of God are obvious. She & I had no idea that we would ultimately become so close after only spending a couple hours together many years ago. I know God is doing this in every situation of our lives whether we’re aware of it or not; whether we can see it or not.

There are prayers that I have prayed for months- even years, but have not yet seen anything change. After a while I begin to feel discouraged when I don’t see all the loose ends tied up. I know that the Lord hears me, but if I’m completely honest, I get frustrated sometimes when I can’t physically see Him working. I want everything to come together perfectly, in my timing. Put it in a box, tie a pretty little bow around it & call it answered.

But I’ve realized something. If I have faith that God hears me & is working, then the silence I feel just means He is patiently orchestrating details behind the scenes where I cannot see. I could try to force random pieces of a puzzle together, but it would not look anything like it was meant to. It takes time, patience & knowing what that puzzle was created to look like. Only God himself knows that about our lives.

May we never confuse silence for idleness. We can be confident in the fact that God is moving, even in the silence.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for & assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

Casually crossing someone’s path today could bring about a strong friendship years from now. A decision we made months ago could lead to an extraordinary opportunity today. A loving word spoken to someone could eternally impact that person’s heart. These things happen because He is in our every situation, every detail & every breath.

He is arranging every moment of our day to complete a beautiful masterpiece of our lives. It would seem to me that a perfect God would not want to dirty His hands in the messy details of our imperfect lives. But He does. And the reason He does is almost too great to comprehend.

He LOVES us.

He loves YOU.

He is in the midst of your situation & He is working.

He isn’t blindly grabbing at unpredictable details to put them together & attempt to make some sort of sense of them. No, His fingerprint & sovereign grasp is on every element & He is lovingly holding & using them to bring you good. He is bringing you closer to His heart & directing your feet to step into the greatness of your destiny.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Precious friend, even though you cannot see or understand everything that is going on, be confident in knowing that your God does. He has strategically placed you where you are. He has set you among the people you know for a reason. He is walking with you through this situation & He is working it for your good.

He sees you. He is right there with you. He delights in you. And He is tying it all together to wrap His goodness & love oh-so-tightly around you.

I declare my God as faithful.