“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
I have always loved that verse; the promise of REST offered like a cold glass of water when you are parched and dry.
But taking it? Reaching out and leaning in for the REST that Jesus so openly and lovingly offers to us, at any time or place? No TIME for that.
No TIME to stop and drink from His Living Waters and find the REST that my weary body and soul so crave and, as much as I deny this, NEED.
This past month has been a whirlwind of celebrations, family birthdays, soccer games, dance rehearsals, and all of the wonderful things that come with mothering three active children all born in the same month my husband and I said our vows, ignorant at the time to the busyness of the end-of-the-year craziness that occurs during the parenting years. I have been like a circus juggler, desperately trying to keep all the balls going while continuously adding another and another. Life was becoming a blur and I certainly was not stopping to REST and give any of my weariness to the Lord.
And then, while sitting on the sidelines of my son’s soccer game, God literally stopped me, ironically with a ball to the nose. In a split second a soccer ball was pelted straight at me, breaking my nose. All I could think was, “NO!!! I have no TIME for this!”
A week later, after trying to let my nose heal on its own, the ENT told me I had to have surgery immediately, during yet another week that was jam-packed with more than I could keep up with. But I had no choice.
I told myself I could handle it; that it could not be any worse than when I originally broke my nose; that I would be able to still keep going.
I was wrong.
I had absolutely no choice but to REST; to be still and allow others to do for me. I resented it for the first two days; fought it with my angry thoughts and tears of frustration that this happened when I had NO TIME! On the third day of recovery I awoke to my own special day for celebration: my 40th birthday.
Typically my birthday falls in the middle of all of my children’s and the busyness this time of year brings and I barely pay attention to it. I am not even good about allowing others to celebrate me. Yet this year, I had a day in front of me of quiet and peace and stillness.
I had saved all of my birthday cards mailed to me and decided I would take the day to savor reading them. I sat with my Bible and spent time with my Creator, listening to Him as He reminded me that He created me and loves me and wants to be near me. I pulled out years of photo albums and reflected on my life and all of its bounty. I answered the phone to all who called to wish me a happy birthday and enjoyed all of my conversations rather than rushing through them with no time for such indulgence. He wanted to offer me that REST that I deny I ever need.
He strategically planned it as my birthday gift.
As I sank into this realization I cried out to Him and He listened. He stroked my hair and let my exhausted tears fall onto His lap and He loved me to a place of peace and contentment.
God Himself had known what I needed most and decided if I was not going to do it myself, He would just have to do it for me. He knew exactly what was best for me.
Taking Sabbath is commanded to us for our benefit. Our Creator knows how much we need it. We NEEDREST or this beautiful life He gifts us with becomes an exhausting blur and we burn out. Our loving Father wants so much more for us.
This summer I pray I can go directly to Him when I NEED that REST that my soul and body crave. I pray I am not so prideful as to think I can do it all on my own, without Him, and that this life I juggle would not go on without me. My own prideful nature becomes my biggest sin and causes me not to do what the Lord intends and longs for me to do: COME TO HIM AND FIND MY REST!
Lord, forgive me for not stopping to come to You and take rest in You. Please continue to reveal to me my NEED to find REST in You.
Jennifer Ragazzo is a member of First Presbyterian of Bethlehem and lives in Tatamy with her three children and husband of fifteen years. She holds a BA in Psychology and an ED.M in Elementary Education and is currently pursuing her passion for ministering through her writing. You can check out more of her writing on her personal blog at http://asoulfullifebyjen.blogspot.com/.