I have not been in an Easter sort of mood today. Nothing seems to sit right with me, I am tired, I am weary, waaa-waaa-waaa-waaa-waaa... So, I celebrated. I praised. I went to church. Did the things I was "supposed" to do. And, because I had this brilliant idea to put devotionals and new Bibles in Easter baskets instead of tons of candy or cheap toys that I will throw away next week, I had three little girls anxious for bed because I promised we would read together before bed. One on one. God has a hysterical sense of humor, just saying'...
Sara and I snuggled down, she looked up the verses in her devotional and read them at the appointed time, I read the devotional part, and we prayed together. With her, this is our routine anyway. She was having horrible nightmares, trouble sleeping, and worrisome thoughts keeping her awake. About a month ago, we decided we were going to find her one scripture to think about while she was falling asleep, would pray for God's hands to comfort her mind, and she would sleep on her Bible. Well, it worked so well we haven't stopped. And, she totally reminds me when I am in a rush. Not one single nightmare, either, thank God! Anyway, one down, two to go. I turned off the lights and just longed for my own bed, with my own thoughts and alone-ness
I get to Cassie, who lost hers already, which is out of character for her. She read it and just couldn't remember where she left it. She was upset, I was tired. We compromised, piled in the same bed and read out of Jessie's new Bible**. It is really impressive by the way. Detailed stories, vivid pictures and tonight, it spoke straight to this hurting Momma's heart. I let Jessie pick, started reading, thinking it was the same old story, and was so teary eyed by the end I wasn't sure I was gonna get to finish. And I knew I had to write. So, here goes...
I have mentioned more than once or twice (or five or ten or a thousand) times that I am weary. I am tired of waiting. I am tired of feeling battered around, drifting at sea. I am in the final months of school, the workload is insane. I am juggling two different jobs (thank God for the money, but...), and realized recently every night of the week has something going on. I refuse to give up my ministry or my church life. I can't quit work, and God knows, I can't quit school. And my kids don't even do sports that I could cut out. Busy is no longer an adjective that describes me. It is just the state of being that has taken over me. I rush from this to that to that to this, then to this other and back again. I feel like a chaotic, exhausted, sorry, crazy mess. I want this. I need that, and it just keeps repeating. Or worse, the kids need this, then that and multiplied times three adorable girls. Insanity. Absolute insanity.
My life right now feels like a massive storm. Winter feels unending, no sunshine, gray skies everywhere. Both mentally and literally. My heart is heavy and dark, with so little hope inside. I see no end to the mental season in sight. School won't end until October, which feels like a decade away. This single period of life remains unchanged. No fun dates, no flirtations, nothing. I hate admitting it, because I feel entirely weak and useless. I feel unattractive and old, then mad because I shouldn't allow myself to be discouraged by human men's view of me. And yet, all the feelings remain, just the same. I see these situations looming over me like dark thunderheads rolling in, just waiting for my destruction. I feel like I am one wave away from losing it all. Crazy thing is, life is really good. I have nothing to complain about. I have a relationship, a dependency upon God that I never could have imagined was possible. I have girls who love God and trust in Him for far more than I can. I have financial security. I have a very reliable car and more than enough food in my pantry. I have clothes on my back and the girls, and cute ones at that. I am blessed. But the storm within rages all the more.
Anyway, back to my total God moment. Jessie flips through her Bible, and decides she wants the story with all those stars. In my head, I thought "Yes! I know this, I can do this. God's promise to Abraham is easy, and the star illustrations were incredible!" And then I look at the page she is pointing to. It says Mark 4 and Matthew 8. Yup, wrong already. So, it is instead the story of the disciples crossing the sea when an unexpected storm comes up. "The storm blew the water into towering waves that hurled the little boat up, up, up -- then sent it hurling, CRASHING back down, down, down!" That was the moment I knew this story was not gonna be easy for me to finish. I was reading and talking to God all at the same time, trying to not think about how that boat really symbolized me. It went on to say. "Jesus' friends had been fishermen all their lives, but in all their years fishing on this lake they had never once seen a storm like this one. No matter how hard they struggled with their rope and sails, they couldn't control their boat. This storm was too big for them." And, I had to admit, in all my years, I have never felt as hopeless as I do tonight. And for no reason beyond the fact my human mind just doesn't understand.
You know, my storm is, simply put, too big for me. I am out here, spinning around, thankful to not be sinking, but not feeling like I am getting anywhere else either. This storm overhead is making me lose control of my boat, and there is only one big enough to get it back on course. We turn the page to see the storm still raging. And the words, oh how they speak to me. Even now, tears flow. "But the storm wasn't too big for Jesus. 'Help," they screamed...Jesus stood up and spoke to the storm. 'Hush!' he said, and that was all." And then sweet Jessie's stars came out. The storm quieted. The power held in one four letter word. And He spoke to my heart. "Be still. Just be still."
Here is the part that still kills me. "Then Jesus turned to his wind-torn friends. 'Why were you scared?' he asked. 'Did you forget who I Am? Did you believe your fears, instead of me?" Why is it when the storm is at its worse we forget who made that storm? Why is it that it is so simple to simply believe it is our job to just keep our little boat in control, instead of just asking God to remind the storm who the boss really is? This is the same God that sent His son to die for me, only to raise Him again. If He can be brought into the world without, well, what makes a baby, heal the sick, make wine from water, raise the dead, and then overcome it himself, really, what I am I so stinking worried about?
"Jesus' friends had been so afraid, they had only seen the big waves. They had forgotten that if Jesus was with them, they had nothing to be afraid of, no matter how small their boat or how big the storm." And there it is. The problem is, I see too much. I see the decisions, the weight of one wrong choice and the consequences that could be mine. I see three little girls who trust me completely to do what is best for us. I see me, making decisions that really take two minds. And I start thinking how small my faith is, and whether or not my promise was really God given. I see the circumstances, instead of telling my circumstances to meet my God.
Today in church, I struggled not to think too much. Not to let my mind or my heart or my anything get too far away from the words on the screen. And my heart just screamed, "Lord, do you hear me? Do you even know I am here? Where are You and why aren't you listening to me?" Let me just say, when Pastor said something almost exactly the same, I didn't think it was God speaking to me. I just thought, "At least I'm not the only one." I am so stinking hard-headed. He hasn't left me. He hasn't walked away. He isn't sitting up there, laughing, ridiculing or making fun of me. He just wants me to learn that regardless of how big or long this storm is, He is still bigger, and He wants to know that He is still my captain.
The question I have to ask you (while asking myself too) is this: Do you trust Him, believe Him enough to let him direct your boat, however small it may be, or do you see the huge waves crashing and know it's all up to you? He will speak to your waves, just like He's speaking to mine. Unfortunately for us, we gotta let go of the helm for Him to take us where we need to be, gotta listen to Him speak over our wind and waves and allow His peace to wash over us and our situations.
**Jessie's Bible is the Jesus Storybook Bible and can be bought here. Lol, and I am not being compensated in any way to write a review, tell this story, and this is also not an affiliate link. This is just a really awesome Bible!!