Rest for the Heart Exhausted

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I’m done! I am sooo done!” How many times did I say this? Countless. Sometimes I would think, Go ahead, lock me in jail. At least there I can be left alone and maybe get some sleep.

Once I packed my suitcases (two huge ones) and was ready to leave the next day. Didn’t know where I was going, but I was done. I was calmer the next morning but by then my husband had found places for all the kids to stay overnight and had reserved a room at a nearby bed and breakfast for him and me.

Another time my husband arranged for me to house-sit for a week for friends going to Europe. All I had to do was feed the outside cats and water the plants. That’s it. I slept as late as I wanted, watched oodles of movies, and spent hours sitting at the kitchen table, staring out at the tall pine trees while I read and prayed and journaled.

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The truth is, we all have limits. At times we come to a point of physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual exhaustion. It’s normal. There’s no need to feel guilty about it. But there is the need to do something about it.

For a short period of time our church provided semi-monthly respite for us. Wednesday nights my husband took the kids to church while I enjoyed a few hours alone at home. My adoptive moms support group met once a month. And daily I retreated to my bedroom where I sat in my sanity corner (in a stuffed orange swivel rocker) and escaped into a world of fiction, while my husband monitored the kids for the evening.

Yes, I had a wonderful husband and a pretty good support base. We did have to do some educating to build some of this base. But whatever it takes, you must be sure you get regular rest. By “rest” I mean time when you’re something other than Mom. When you’re simply a wife, a sister, a friend, a woman, a person, a human. Just YOU.

YOU: a beautiful lady and cherished child of God.

You need to get the rest it takes for this truth to soak in deep.

And you know what? God commanded it. It’s one of the ten foundational commands (Exodus 20:8). Probably the only of the ten disobeyed regularly. The word for Sabbath means to take an intermission. Like the safety breaks you have to take every few hours at the swimming pool. Just sit down. Quit your activity and rest. The word holy means deliberately appoint. Don’t wait for a break to come along. You know that’ll never happen. You have to make a plan then heed the plan.

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We have every right and reason to demand it for ourselves. We have God’s rubber stamp on it. Let’s take it. Let’s make it happen starting right now.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Psalm 127:1-2, NIV

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