Rest is not a word that comes easily to me. I think of rest as the time that I sleep, but I generally tend to fight rest even in my sleep. I struggle the most with Jesus’ command to come to him and find rest for my soul. I wouldn’t call myself a terribly productive person, mostly because I have a lot on my plate, and I tend to view my accomplishments each day in terms of things still left on my to-do list. I have a hard time sitting down and completely relaxing because I know what I need to finish at work and just how many dishes are stacked in the sink. I generally can’t give myself permission to ignore those things even when I am so exhausted I could sleep standing up. I could never before allow myself to admit that my job can be stressful or that there were things in my relationships that added to that stress.
This weekend was a great time of rest- for my body, for my mind, for my soul. I was forced to slow down Friday, so all weekend I just relaxed. I was calm and able to trust God in a much deeper way than I have in a while. I only felt the tiniest twinge of guilt that my husband cleaned the bathroom that was on my to-do list all last week. I know it’s ridiculous to feel guilty that my husband was cleaning, but I put enormous pressure on myself to be as close to the Proverbs 31 woman as I can. And when I cannot account for my time with actual items marked off the to-do list, I feel like a failure. I am learning not to beat myself up over every little thing, but it’s probably the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn.
While I cannot explain the whole situation, I will say that the next few weeks will also force me to rest a lot more than I usually do. Over the next few weeks, I will need to rest in order to honor the grief of our losses and to honor the new lives coming into our lives. In God’s great timing, we have multiple miscarriage anniversaries in the months that bring a new nephew (who I can’t wait to see in person on Friday!) and a new niece. Although it hurts to see new life in the face of the lives I lost, God doesn’t let us linger in the valley of death; we have to move forward if we trust him, and he has given me the grace to not just survive but also enjoy the baby showers I was dreading. He has given me grace to hope for my own baby shower soon, and the ability to express that desire may be the biggest surprise yet- I wouldn’t have hoped out loud for a child of my own a month ago. I am not “there” yet, but this weekend was the first time in almost a decade that I could actually follow Jesus and simply and sweetly rest.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”