I've been tentatively looking forward to it all summer, studying Isaiah and being back in an inductive Bible study after a several-year-long hiatus from any type of in-depth Bible study. I've never been a part of BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) before, but thought that perhaps this was my year. Especially with my kiddos back in school. Especially with Isaiah. Especially with the location three blocks from my house.
Lord, my heart is not at peace! When I begin to look at the next few days and weeks, my heart is filled with unrest, suffocation. I don't feel quiet, peaceful. Somehow we're 3 1/2 weeks into school and my days are a blur. And the evenings are worse...That was my prayer this morning, scribbled into my journal. Reading Scripture didn't put me at ease, just increased my longing for a settled heart. Prayer didn't erase my angst. So I asked the Lord to clear out my heart, prayed again the familiar request of directing my hours, my days, my weeks. Asked Him to brush away shame at saying no, and helping me recognize my limitations.
The pattern of events unfolded before me, confirmations to stay home this morning, to stay still. A late night last night with a mom's group meeting. Then Branson making it to school without a VERY important homework assignment this morning, requiring another immediate errand (whether or not I should have taken his homework - that's another post entirely, but in this case it was my fault that his homework was left on the kitchen counter next to the breakfast bowls). And as I was putting his folder with my Bible study materials, the school nurse called to say Hudson was in her office, not feeling well.
So as I drove Esther to school, she asked what I was doing after I dropped her off.
"Mommy was planning on going to a Bible study, but I don't know now, Es. I'll have to wait and see how Hudson is."
"Noooo, Mommy, don't go to Bible study, go HOME after you take me to school."
From the mouth of babes. Whether or not it was the Lord speaking through my little one who can't even pronounce her r's, He got my attention. Essie put words to my thoughts as I drove, struggling with what to do.
This is not about BSF, certainly. It's about being able to let the world keep spinning without me doing all the thing I want to do. GREAT things, great studies and get-togethers and important volunteering going on - without me. It's about letting people down for the sake of not letting myself, my husband, and my children down. It's about not constantly being rushed, dressed, prepared, hurried, spinning. Just this fall, I've already said no to much more than I've said yes to, and I'm still spinning.
I once heard Kristin Armstrong, Lance's ex-wife, interviewed on Oprah in the aftermath of their divorce. In the process of rebuilding her life, her family, and then encouraging other new single moms through her devotional, Happily Ever After, she mentioned two of her favorite things, "red wine, and taking my time." Her words stirred my soul. I realized in that moment, that I agreed wholeheartedly with the blonde gal on my TV screen. I really like taking my time. Not being rushed. I love it, in fact.
Some things I've been contemplating the last few days especially...
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands.
(Imagine - the Lord's favor on the work of my hands! What could be more productive than that?!)
A quote by Lynne Hybels that my friend Nikki shared last week while speaking to a ladies' group about peace. Beautiful and timely:
I determined the best gift I can give my family is a loving, joyful, attentive presence. Nothing I can do for them, or give to them is worth a thing if I am crabby, rushed, stressed out or preoccupied.
And then part of a brief devotional from Jesus Calling, Sept 13th. Familiar passage on rest, but new thoughts to me on forming judgments:
Come to me and rest, give your mind a break from its habitual judging. You form judgments about this situation, that situation, this person, that person, yourself - as if judging were your main function in life. But I created you first and foremost to know Me and to live in rich communication with Me. When you become preoccupied with passing judgment, you usurp My role. Relate to Me as creature to Creator, sheep to Shepherd, subject to King, clay to Potter. Allow me to have my way in your life. Rather than evaluating My ways with you, accept them thankfully...
So perhaps I'm unique in struggling through this quest for a little more peace, a little more quiet, a little more rest... but if my conversations with other women are any indicator, it's a universal (at least American!) longing. This is not a new journey for me, not a new longing. Surely I have some say, some decisions, some options, in protecting moments of solitude and quiet. In the meantime, I'll be praying Psalm 90 for myself and for my friends who find themselves spinning - that the favor of the Lord rests upon us AND establishes the work of our hands.