I am sitting on the couch tonight, reflecting on our Florida vacation that took place a few weeks back. After piling everyone into our 15 passenger van, we hit the road. I loved making the drive this year; everyone had plenty of leg room and we made a quick escape before another snow storm hit. My mind emptied as cars blew past us. Before we left on our trip my head spun. I was completely unaware of my numbing mental and physical exhaustion. For weeks I felt a mounting anxiety as everyone voiced their unsolicited opinions,ideas, and expectations regarding weekly plans that they wanted to make, or an event they wanted to attend. I was desperate for a break and to reclaim something that I felt was lost.
Welcoming the rest, I left many expectations and responsibilities behind; educating, computer work, appointments, cleaning, and laundry! Only the most important priorities were left on my plate as I sunk into the seat in our van. I closed my eyes and breathed a sigh of relief as our trip unfolded. I could finally think clearly and gladly welcome easy dilemmas like- “Where should we eat?” or “Should we to go the beach this week?” I was experiencing a refreshing that hadn’t taken place in so long.
On our trip, on one particular sun filled morning, my husband and I sit on the patio and enjoy a few quiet moments together. A warm breeze wraps around us like a soft blanket while we sit outside in our jammies and sip our coffee. Slowly, I gradually feel an unexpected tension return while we begin eating our breakfast. It’s creeping up my neck and is leaving me feel a little restless. An invasion is transpiring. For the third time this morning, our youngest daughter joins us and persistently questions- “What are we going to do today?” Her questions add to a long line of siblings’ inquiries before her. Sighing, we take turns responding, “We’ll let you know after Mommy and Daddy talk about it… We can’t talk about it until you stop interrupting us and asking us questions… Please, please, just give us a few more minutes.” Our answers spill from our lips in mindless repetition by the time our fifth child arrives to ask the very same question. I bite my lip, purposing and praying for God to quiet and still my mind after the patio door closes behind our daughter. In a desire to maintain my state of mental rest, I sit silent and offer very few suggestions as my husband reveals his hopes and plans for our vacation. Our days pass too quickly while on our trip. I am experiencing restoration though, witnessing the re-bonding of our family, a reinstatement of our unified leadership as parents, and a renewing peace within our children as they look to us and wait for direction.
Now I am back home- reflecting. I wish I was as faithful as I’ve been wanting my kids to be- consciously and persistently asking my Father; “So what are we going to do today?” and yet waiting for an answer patiently. I think He might respond by saying things like, “Today is a work day so work as if you are working for me…Today, I want to stretch you with a new challenge…Today is going to be a rest day, just be still and know that I am God…Just take the time to notice and appreciate all that I’ve made for you to enjoy.” We may be pleasantly surprised that He doesn’t want us involved with so much “doing”. Ultimately, as I look back on those patio moments, I now realize that our kids were simply waiting upon us to lead them.
Even though every day might have a different plan and purpose, I am reminded that each day holds another opportunity for us to draw near to God just as we are. We all have His permission to persistently ask, “So, what do you want me to do today?” We are not interrupting Him & He is never too busy to answer our questions. Our spirits will re-bond to our Father as we seek Him. While we rest in His will, His strength will refresh, restore us, and give us peace. I now know what is so easy to lose when I allow life’s good distractions and demands to take the place over God’s best for me. I hope to not revisit that state again. Just in case though, my goal is to proactively infuse my schedule with more “be still” moments and plan our next vacation on the calendar…
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28&29NIV
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds;and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:7-11 NIV
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10a NIV