On Friday morning, before the weekend unfolded itself into fun, good things, I stood in the laundry room over a basket of laundry and sobbed until I could not breathe. Mounds of laundry were strewn all around me and the simple task of laundry was daunting.
The Man came home from work and found me in a heap along with the laundry and I told him all the big, nasty things I was feeling. He listened and said little. When I’m breaking up on the outside, fewer words demonstrate greater love and after 18 years of knowing me, he’s learned the art of fewer words.
He left me to the laundry and emptied the house of our little people and the quiet swallowed me for hours.
I cleaned and dusted and folded the laundry and I breathed in and breathed out and then breathed in some more. And I cried rivers of tears and it was good to cry.
On Saturday, after I woke to a MOPS meeting with a roomful of beautiful women, I crawled under a heavy quilt and let the tears roll some more.
For 12 hours, I let myself be fully human and I let God be fully God.
And on Monday, as the sun came up behind the houses on Avent street, my gaze was lifted up, once again.
I spent the summer before my sophmore year of college working at a church camp. I was on the kitchen crew which meant I served and cleaned up after 3 meals a day for 6 days a week, for 10 weeks. It was exhausting work that left me smelling like bacon and eggs and french fries most all day, every day.
When I wasn’t in the kitchen cleaning or serving, I was on the beach, sunning and drinking Diet Coke. I lost 12 pounds that summer which left me tipping the scales at about 98 lbs.
By the time I went back to college, I was a waif of a girl with brown skin and a tired body.
But I was also a girl with a deepening walk with Jesus because I was living in a body that had me utterly dependent on Him.
I’ve had at least a half a dozen moments in my life with Jesus where my body just laid itself down and refused to get up.
Four of these moments have occurred in the last 24 months. Not surprising given the pressure cooker life I live here.
I used to beat myself up when my body quit moving. I’d spend days checking my heart and laying on my face wondering why I was such a worm of a human being. I’d wonder why I was so weak and tired and angry. I’d stare at the floor imagining that Satan was trampling all over me and having a hay day with my sinful, prideful heart.
In my depressed, tired state, I would convince myself that the fatigue and rivers of tears were the result of an impure heart and that Jesus had taken me out of the race.
But in the last year, particularly in the last 6 months, I’ve learned that sometimes, the tired, achy, crawl in the bed and cry seasons are just the response of my broken, human body living in this broken, physical world.
When my body falls to the floor in a heap of sobs, it is not always a result of hidden sin or deep seeded pride. Sometimes, it’s because my shoulders simply cannot carry one more burden or my arms, one more baby.
When my brain can’t make sentences, it’s not always because I’m self-absorbed and uncaring. Sometimes, it’s because my brain is muddled with the mystery of God and the depravity of man and I can’t make sense of anything.
When my feet can’t tread across the street one more time, it’s not always because I don’t love well. Sometimes it’s because I do love well and I am simply giving the Holy Spirit space to do His work.
When my heart is broken, it’s not always because a dream has curled up and died. Sometimes, it’s because the dream I see before me is the dream I never knew I wanted. But the invitation stands and I know Jesus is calling me deeper and my heart is simply broken up because I know I am loved.
In the thick of this life, I am learning, all over again, that I belong to Jesus, both flesh and spirit, fully His.
He does not value one over the other, not does He kill one part to bring life to another. All parts of me are His and all parts are valued and loved and cared for by Him and He leads me into greener pastures to rest.
And then back onto the narrow, rocky road to keep running, my gaze always being lifted higher.
These thoughts come from months of laying on my face seeking Jesus, weeks of journaling and the last few days in Jean Fleming’s book Pursue the Intentional Life. You are invited to join me as we delve into this book as a part of (in)courage’s Bloom summer book club. It’s not too late. And it’s life changing.
I’m also linking with the ever gracious Kelli Woodford for her Unforced Rhythms. This is my first time linking with her!