In two hours, I'm taking Tera and her friend, Mandy, to the river at Granite Falls. We'll be joined there by a dozen other women from church and their children. En masse, we'll tote folding chairs and towels and zippered, soft boxes bulging with p.b. & j. sandwiches, cheddar-flavored potato chips, granola bars and foil-pouched drinks. It'll be a snackin', splashin', laughin' good time ... and I can't wait.
But right this minute, staring at me from the back porch, is a tall Sweet Annie plant ... and two bright green fennel plants ... and French tarragon, basil, lemon balm, chives and horseradish. I bought them all, deeply discounted, at a nearby nursery yesterday. Do I ignore those waiting plants so I can think of a new post? Or do I give you something I've already written and spend these next two hours in the garden?
You guessed. Here's something I wrote several years ago.
“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word. My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your Word.”
~ Psalm 119:25, 28 (NKJV)
My daughter flits about my feet, unleashing pent-up energy. She slaps at the floor, whirls around twice and hops onto one toe. She’s never had ballet lessons, but that doesn’t stop her.
I watch with envy. While she shimmies and skitters across the kitchen tiles like some bug on a pond in the heat of July, hovering and defying gravity, my every step threatens to sink me through the floor. When did I last feel weightless? I can’t recall. I only know that I'm tired.
My mind drifts. I hear again the hurtful words a friend spoke the day before. She’d tossed them toward me the way I throw chicken scratch to my hens: not caring where they landed, but simply wanting the task done and the bits scattered. I had somehow offended her, and she returned the favor.
For the thousandth time, I wonder if God made a mistake. Did He really mean for me to be a pastor’s wife? I’m not equipped. I don't fit the mold--not in the least bit. What can I give to these women? I'm not the sweet, piano-playing, too-good-for-this-earth type of pastor's wife. I should have the patience of Job and the gentleness of Mary, but instead, I am Paul; forever urging repentance with my voice raised and my finger waggling. I am Peter on a bad day, with a fire in my belly and a sword in my hand.
Tera follows me to my bedroom, still flitting, but now also reciting her scripture verse for Sunday school.
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
She begins again immediately, faster this time. I’m pleased she learned it so precisely. I smile my approval and she launches into a third recitation.
I pull my hair back and check my face in the mirror. When did those dark smudges appear under my eyes? I check the time. We’re leaving for church in twenty minutes. I wonder if my friend will come. What will I say? I can’t worship like that. I can’t pretend it all didn’t happen. I'll have to deal with this mess somehow, so I'm free to focus my thoughts on God and not my hurt feelings.
“They will soar on wings like eagles …”
I’m so tired. I just want to rest. I just want a day of peace, one day with no conflicts, no heaviness …
“They will run and not grow weary …”
What I want is to go back to bed. I want to sleep and sleep and sleep.
“They will walk and not be faint.”
For the briefest second, I think, “All right, Tera, you know it well enough. You can stop now.” But then I hear the words God is speaking through my daughter.
It’s for me.
Thank You, Lord, for reminding me of the promise. When will I learn? The rest, the strength I need is in Your Word. Keep drawing me, Father. Keep me drinking from that well.
Strengthen me, Lord