“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
It seems straightforward enough, doesn’t it? When exhausted from our work, we are to go to the Master. We are to attach ourselves, side by side, to Him and learn of Him. This is how we find the rest that our souls so deeply desire.
In March, I needed a break. I’d had a tough fall and winter, trying to manage to be “Mom and Dad” in the fall semester evenings had been truly stressful and I’d gotten sick, time and again. My husband’s work schedule for the fall put him teaching every afternoon and evening, meaning that I was the one to deal with homework issues, supper, and getting the kids ready for bed and tucked in each night. Many moms manage this, right?
I am not like most moms. I have a chronic illness that causes me to fatigue easily. In addition, stress triggers the symptoms (from difficulty with mobility to difficulty thinking … and several other, more nasty symptoms). Plug in a child with Anxiety/OCD and a sibling experiencing his first year of middle school (and the uglier side of puberty), and you have my worst fall semester … ever.
I needed a break. I ached to see a glimpse of spring, after the long bleak winter. In March, I was given the gift of a week to “get away” to my parents’ home in the south, where spring was “springing up” already. It WAS wonderful to see blossoms everywhere and green leaves, again. Therapeutic is a word I’d use. I attempted to read my Bible more often and seek the Lord, but not quite enough. I spent more time drinking in the beauty of His creation than the refreshing of His Word.
Flory didn’t like me being away. She fought it, tooth and nail, before I left. I assured her that I would talk to her on the phone at night, or in the mornings. Each phone call, however, included a demand at the end: “Come home, Mommy. Right now; today.” But “Mommy” needed a break.
After a sweet period of rest and fun with my parents and my sister-in-law, we loaded up the car and headed back north. Even the road trips, to and from, were a slice of enjoyment for me. Long talks, laughter, no dishes or laundry, and lots of scenery were a great source of refreshment to me.
Not long after I came home, though, I experienced an exacerbation of my symptoms … right before our family was to go out of town to visit my husband’s relatives. A hospital stay is not exactly my idea of the perfect getaway. However, my body was telling me that I needed another “break.” Again, Flory missed me, greatly. My illness is almost like a “trigger” for her anxieties. She and her brother came a few times while I was there; sitting on my bed and watching television, reading books, and/or updating me on all that was going on in their lives. God used that time, oddly enough, for me to forge a few friendships (a kind and funny nurse and a roommate who took the time to get to know me and enjoy some laughter, despite our circumstances).
Now, I find I need a break again. Life’s ups and downs , the complications of having a chronic illness, my kids’ experiences as they both are entering the roller coaster of puberty … all are working together to make me feel, well, broken. Perhaps this time, before our family vacation that promises fun and refreshing, I will heed the words of the gospel of Matthew. In order to TRULY be the wife and mother I need to be for my family, I don’t need a “break.” I am already broken. I need to come unto the Master … for true rest.
Learning of Him,