This Life

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

John 16:33 (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

Sometimes I just sit back and ask myself “what is this life?” The hours that we spend pouring over our work, fretting over our children, standing over the stove (that’s not too many hours for me, but in any case), picking up toys and clothes, watering flowers, hanging shelves, caressing faces, and kissing lips.

This life is the very thing we cling to, the very thing we fight for-to live it on our own terms–how we want, when we want, and in the fashion that we choose. This life is the very thing that we grieve when we see another young brother lose at the hands of the police, or multiple people lose at the hands of a stranger or disgruntled co-worker.

This life is both beautiful and terrible. Joyful and painful. Awesome and all-consuming. It is filled with uncertainty and predictability all at once. And the sheer weight of this reality is what draws me to Jesus each day.

It is comforting to know that Jesus acknowledges this daily tension that we experience. He told us that we would have troubles and challenges. He never shied away from that reality. But he promised to be there through it all, and give us the peace and confidence to walk through that tension, to both yield to it and mold it and bend it and make it all our own.

Jesus’ assurance to us that he has deprived the world of its power to harm isn’t a promise of a pain-free life. That would be in direct contradiction to what he said in the same breath–that we would face hard times. But belief in Him and his power and glory snatches away this world’s ability to take our hope. And if we remain hopeful, then our harm is never permanent.

I worry about my son and my husband as I watch them leave the house. I think about their potential interactions with police and am so suddenly aware of the striking fragility of their existence. But then I rememeber the promise of Jesus’ peace. I think about the work emails, phone calls, motions and briefs and wonder how it will ever all be done. But then I remember the Lord’s peace. I think about the huge responsibilty I have been given in raising these little humans, and being the best life partner I can be to their father (to be clear, I mean my husband. He doesn’t like to be called “baby daddy.”).

When I think about all the things that make this life so beautiful and hard all at the same time, I get anxious and worry. But then I remember Jesus’ peace– one that stills all fears, calms all anxieties, and quells all doubts. A peace that is promised to us, and one that I intend to grab hold of with all of my might, each day that I live this beautiful, amazing, terrifying, wonderful life.

Acting Like a Child

“Why aren’t these kids listening to me,” I wondered aloud, as I marched up the steps to figure out why, after being told ten minutes ago to put their pajamas on, my son was running around with his underwear on his head and my daughter was twirling around in nothing but her pink ballerina tutu. “My night would be so much smoother if they listened to me,” I thought.

And then the thought struck me: how many times had God thought the same thing about us? The answer is clear if we take a look in the book of Psalm:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.
                                                                           ~Psalm 32:8 – 9

Here is God’s promise to give us direction for our lives–if we are willing to be obedient. This scripture reminds me so much of my kids. Like, why I gotta ride you like a horse to get you to do what I’ve been asking you to do? And I get so frustrated with my kids sometimes, but in reality, I know God has felt the same way about me so many times over.

So why don’t my kids listen? (This is as much therapy for me as it is talking about God).

  1. They want to do things their own way. Even though their parents know what’s best for them, and, in fact, want what’s best for them, they think they know better and want to do it their own way.
  2. Their way is easier and takes less hassle. Why neatly place toys in the toy box when it’s much easier to chuck them halfway across the room and see how loud of a sound they make as they hit the wall? It makes more sense to do it their way. And if they can do less work, then it will take them less time to get back to the stuff that they really want to do. So they take short cuts, or half do the job instead of taking the time to do the job right and in the exact way their parents are asking, or in the way it should be done.
  3. Mom and dad don’t understand how taxing the thing they’re asking them to do really is. And surely if they understood how hard it actually is to pick up all of the toys and put them back in the toy basket, then surely, mom and dad wouldn’t ask them to do such a thing.
  4. They’re afraid. How many times have they pleaded not to have to go upstairs by themselves at night because it’s dark? They can’t see in the dark so they’re afraid of heading in the direction that their parents told them to go.

Need I go on? How many times in life do we act like our children, or younger nieces and nephews, or other young kids we know? What has God been prompting you to do that you have just been absolutely dragging your feet about? Do you think you know better than God? Is it easier to do it your way? Are you afraid?

And I’m not even talking about some big life-changing event like leaving your job. Let’s be clear: I am not telling you to leave your job. The Lord didn’t say that–at least not through me. Don’t put that on me. What I am saying is that each day presents opportunities to follow God’s prompting in the small things: helping someone carry something heavy, stopping to talk to the one co-worker you know nobody really likes, calling that relative or friend with whom you’ve been trying to improve your relationship. Whatever it is, don’t ignore God’s prompting and direction. Let’s let others see a little of God in us each day. We do that by obeying God and obeying his promptings. Please, for the true love of God, don’t be like my kids.

The Start Doesn’t Start ‘Til You Start

White and Brown Wooden Box

All hard work brings profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

~Proverbs 14:23 (New International Version)

I credit my husband for the title of this post. He said this phrase to me the other day while were talking about goal-setting and planning. He explained that goal setting can kind of be a trap sometimes because we can spend all this time and energy setting goals, and feel accomplished. But then when it comes to executing the plan and achieving the goals, we’re fatigued or bored with the idea from mulling it over during the goal-setting phase. I agree with him; I have totally done that very thing. To be clear, goal setting is a good thing. We have to know where we’re going. But sometimes we get stuck at the start.

And then I happened upon the above verse. When I read this verse, the first thing that popped into my mind was the chorus of Rhianna’s song “work, work, work, work, work.” Now, whether one can really relate Rhianna’s music to Jesus, I’m not here to debate. I’m just telling you what came into my head at the time.

But this verse and my husband’s phrasing did make me think about my progress on my goals for 2019 as we move toward the end of January (already!). At the end of 2018, I sat down and made some goals for myself and figured out what I wanted my year to look like. And even as we inch toward the end of the month, I feel my goals slowly slipping away from me, snatched away by too-full days and the demands of everyone and everything around me. This may be a little dramatic, perhaps, but the the point is I’m not making the goal progress I want to make.

And I’m betting that I’m not the only one who feels this way! This verse serves as a timely reminder to get to work! We’ll always have stuff to do, right? Our goals should be priority because stuff will always get in the way. Work brings profit, so let’s work, people!

I’m pumping myself up as much as I’m trying to pump you up. I have to confess, I’m good at talking about something and not following through. A Friday night conversation with my husband might sound like this: “yeah, tomorrow I’m going to get up, fold the laundry, wash the dishes, probably take the kids to the park and then come home and cook dinner.”

Cut to Saturday mid-morning, and you may or may not find me in my bed, scrolling through my Twitter and IG feeds, hoping my kids don’t call my name. Why does my body seem so averse to productivity? Yes, I’m a wife and working mother with lots of responsibilities, but I’ll admit, I also have a lazy streak. If there’s an opportunity to avoid doing the hard or challenging work of meeting a big goal, I will take it. If I have a choice between sitting at my laptop and writing or watching another episode of The Office, Michael Scott wins out nearly every time. (If you haven’t seen The Office, you’re not living, by the way). And surely, I can’t be the only one who does this!

But alas, Jesus ain’t havin’ it. We have to work to see the results we want. It’s a simple principle, but it’s so hard to execute at times. Sometimes we need a little jolt to get us moving. Write this verse on an index card and stick it in your car, or write it in dry erase marker on your bathroom mirror. Whatever we have to do to keep moving toward our goals, let’s do it! Let’s work, y’all. We have goals to meet and better people to become! Let’s get to work, work, work, work, work!

Why Worry?

Person Holding Red Box

“Because there is so much to worry about,” I responded to myself after I typed the above title. I have a trial coming up soon that requires a lot of work on top of my daily work tasks that need to get done. I’m trying to stay one step ahead of my children’s ever-grumbling stomachs and trying to keep the fridge stocked while making sure they’re eating half-decent, healthful food. Oh, and there’s an awards ceremony this week that I somehow left off of my calendar when I was planning for the month–because I was trying to be so careful at planning out my month, you see. Also, my house de-cluttering project that I resolved to actually finish in 2019 is already starting to sputter to a slow stall, because of all these other things, naturally.

You get the point. There is so much to worry about. And yet, Jesus gives us a direct invitation to worry- free living. In Matthew 6:25-27, Jesus tells the listeners and on-lookers:

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

And that last verse is where Jesus snatches my attention. It’s 2019, I live in metro Atlanta, and I have a husband and two kids. I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually stopped to look ponderously at a bird. I don’t connect with the bird analogy too well. But can I add more time to my day by worrying? I can’t. And neither can you. I mean, Jesus does have a point there. And so if we can’t add any benefit to our lives by worrying, why do we do it?

We worry for all sorts of reasons, sure. I think we worry, in part, because in worrying, we feel like we’re at least putting some type of emotional energy toward a problem or issue and if we’re doing that, then we’re tending to the problem, in a way. It seems right on a very basic level, but who are we kidding, really? Worrying isn’t really productive, but the problem is that not worrying seems crazy hard to do.

When it comes down to it, choosing not to worry is really a matter of trust. If we really trust God and believe that He wants the best for our lives and that He loves us and cares about the things that concern us (which He clearly tells us He does in 1 Peter 5:7), then we can relax, or at least not be so anxious.

Generally speaking, when we take a flight, get in an Uber, ride public transportation, or even just ride as a passenger in a car, we don’t worry about getting to the destination. There are some exceptions to this, of course, but you know what I mean. We do these things repeatedly because we have a fundamental trust that the pilot, operator or driver knows what he or she is doing and will get us to our destination safely. So you see, we can do it, it just takes a little practice and a whole lot of prayer.

We have to trust that God will get us to where He wants us to go. And it’s a daily trust, a daily surrender of our anxious thoughts and feelings to the one who created our brains that think those anxious thoughts! Before we start our days, we should take a moment to acknowledge the Lord, tell Him about our stresses and worries and then remind ourselves that He’s in control and that we trust Him with our lives because He’s our Father who loves us. Why worry? Because when you give it to God, you don’t have to.

A Little Help with Self-Discipline

 

Red and White Alarm Clock Displaying 9:11

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

~Philippians 2:13  (New Living Translation)

If the above is true, why, then, do I race out of the front door every morning, my little Prius roaring down the street, just barely getting my kids to school and my own tail to work on time?! If it were just an occasional tardiness then, that would be one thing, but every morning? Really, Whitney?

The alarm goes off. I hit snooze repeatedly until it’s too late. I may or may not curse as I finally tear off the covers realizing the time and that (surprise!) I’m behind schedule. I grab hangers from the closet, throwing clothes on the bed, hurriedly trying to find something to wear. All the while, I’m cursing myself for not picking picking out my clothes the night before.

I’m barking orders at the kids, simultaneously snipping at their heels and sending them to time out because they’re distracting each other from getting dressed and just not moving fast enough.

I finally make it to the kitchen where I quickly abandon any hope I had of packing my lunch, again annoyed at myself for spending money on lunch that I could have saved had I taken the time to pack my lunch the night before. I ultimately end up shoving a bag of apple slices in my kids’ hands as we tumble out the door on the way to school and work.

Surely, God in his omnipotence can help me change this all-too-common scene at my house. And I know I can’t be the only one, right? Don’t you have the one thing, or maybe multiple things, that you do over and over that you don’t want to? You tell yourself that this time you’re absolutely NOT going to do that thing and then BAM!, you do the thing.

I am comforted by the fact that this doesn’t just seem to be a me problem because even Paul, the great apostle, wrote “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” (Romans 7:14). So what do we do with us? How do we change our behavior? What do we do with our great propensity to be, well, human? Paul says God is the answer. God gives us both the desire AND the power to do God-pleasing things–like be on time.

Like pretty much everything else in my life, I find that I can’t quite get it right without Jesus. I find that when I focus my prayers and specifically ask for power in an area like this, the Lord sends help–and in different ways too. Shortly after I started praying about this issue, I noticed I would often start waking up a little before my alarm went off. And because of my work commute, my husband and I now take a kid a piece in the morning, so I only have one school drop off in the morning instead of two.

Of course, it’s still up to me to get moving in the mornings. As with any change that we want to make in our lives, we are ultimately responsible for taking action. But I’m glad that God can add his super to my natural and both strengthen my desire and ability to finally get it right. He gives us both the desire AND the power to do what pleases him. I’m so glad.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Because Who Doesn’t Like Oranges?

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

~Galatians 5:22 -23

“Ms. Gibbs, you’re not really trying to help me. You keep saying the same thing over and over. You don’t hear me. You’re not really for me; you’re not trying to help me at all.”

I took a deep breath, and admittedly, and equally deep eye roll as I sat in my office, looking despondently at the phone, trying to figure out how to respond to my client’s comments coming through my speaker phone.

It’s not that I haven’t heard these comments before. These types of comments are, unfortunately, everyday speak in the world of the public defender.  Often, clients think that because we don’t require client payment for our services, public defenders just collect a check and don’t do any work. Which, let me tell you, is just not the case.

After a comment like this from a client, I usually stop to break it all down. I may explain that yes, I am a real lawyer, and no, I’m not in cahoots with the prosecutor, and that if my only aim was to screw up my client’s life, I wouldn’t be taking the time to talk at length with him or her about the case. There would be more to that conversation, but I’ll spare you the often frustrating and highly repetitive nature of these types of talks. You’re welcome.

I’m usually quite patient with clients, realizing that in a lot of ways, taking the time out to have this seemingly inevitable conversation, in the end, helps build client trust. On this particular day, though, I was feeling tired, overworked and was just really not trying to hear all that. Like, at all.

This is where the fruit of the Spirit should have kicked in–you know, love, joy, peace and patience, especially. I wish I could say that I ended that phone call with the client reassured and with a clear plan for moving forward in the case. The call didn’t quite end that way; that’s reality sometimes. The attorney-client relationship with that particular client is still a work in progress. But that whole scene did make me think about the fruit of the Spirit that the Apostle Paul talks about in Galatians.

Funny thing about fruit, it takes time to cultivate, to grow.  Clearly, I’m no farmer, but thinking generally about how fruit grows–it requires work.  We have to make sure we have good soil, plant seeds, water them, and wait as they grow.  Not only that, but we have to tend to fruit as it grows, pruning the tree or vine, just to make sure that the fruit can fully ripen. The whole process takes a long time. But at the end, it’s so satisfying to bite into a juicy red-yellow Gala apple, or pop a few green grapes into your mouth. And don’t forget the Halos, those  little Mandarin oranges. Those are a running favorite in my house.

Isn’t it funny though, that in this chapter (Galatians 5), the fruit of the Spirit is contrasted with “acts of the sinful nature?” That term “sinful nature” sounds like religious-speak to me, making it more challenging to understand. But if you look at the actions or activities that the writer Paul calls the “sinful nature,” the commonality between those things is acting in a way that feels good to you, at the expense of someone else. A fit of rage may feel good to a person because they’re getting all of their anger out, but it wreaks havoc on the receivers of that rage. And “acts” take not time at all to complete compared to growing fruit.

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit appear to have more of an outward focus.  Running down the list of the fruit,  a lot of those things require quelling an initial, self-centered impulse, and choosing a response that benefits someone else. If we think about kindness, goodness and faithfulness, for example, they usually involve how we treat other people.

Paul warns that living this way, practicing the fruit of the Spirit, is not easy. He tells us that our selfish nature clashes with our Spirit-centered nature, so that a lot of times we don’t do what we know we should do (Galatians 5:17). But we keep trying anyway, because that leads to a better outcome for others, and ultimately a better outcome for ourselves.   Who says “I don’t want to be lovely, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-disciplined?” No one.

I know the next client rant can’t be too far around the corner. Next time I’ll be ready. I might even eat an apple during the call, just to remind myself. No, that would be bad manners–chewing in a client’s ear.  When your next opportunity to show the fruit of the Spirit presents itself, will you be ready? The next time that rude, inconsiderate person gets on your nerves or says something offensive, smile to yourself and think watermelon, apples, grapes, Halos (see what I did there?) and give a response that would make your heavenly Father proud.

 

 

 

Patience

We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope[b] for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)   ~Romans 8: 24-25

“Ugh, it’s hard to wait!” my three-year-old whined from the back seat. “I know, buddy. We still have a little while to go. Wanna listen to some music?” I asked.

This refrain has often been my son’s dramatic response to so many things in his little life. On this particular day, I was driving him and his sister to my parents’ house, about an hour away. He let out this little cry of frustration about 15 minutes into the ride. “Oh, this is gonna be fun,” I thought to myself.

And while I have yet come up with a kid-friendly way to say “Son, remember how in Romans Chapter 8 God instructs us to wait patiently? Do that and shut it!” I can, thankfully, remind myself of this very principle when I get antsy, and whine to God about how hard it is to wait.

Ah, waiting. It’s the virtuous thing to do, right? Delayed gratification is a sign of maturity, they say. Good things come to those who wait, they say. “Yeah, right,” I say. Waiting is hard work. Waiting is especially hard when you feel like you’ve prepared, you’ve done your part and you’re waiting on God to make or reveal a pathway to the thing that you want.

You could be waiting to find just the right house to move into, or the right person to date, or the right job offer, or the right time to have kids (girl, don’t rush it!) The truth is, it’s a challenging task to continuously pray and wait for God’s perfect timing.

But that’s exactly what the Lord instructs us to do. In the passage above, Paul is talking about waiting for the second coming of Jesus, but surely, this principle applies to waiting for anything we are anxious and ready to receive.

If we don’t have the thing we’ve been praying for, we wait patiently–and confidently–for God to respond. And good thing we don’t have to do this on our own. If God instructs us to wait patiently on him, surely he will help us to follow his instructions. So our prayer becomes “God, this is the thing I truly desire. I pray for it AND I also pray for the patience to wait on your timing.”  (We also need to be sure that the thing we’re praying for is what God truly wants for us, but that’s another post!)

Ultimately, we have to remember that God loves us (1 John 4:10), He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) and He has an ultimate plan for us (Ephesians 2:10). He’s not some spiteful Dad toying with our emotions, just refusing to give us the things for which we ask. He’s a good Father who can see farther than we can and knows more than we do. We trust Him in the waiting, knowing that all of his plans for us are good (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

On Current Events

It is difficult to be Black in America. I don’t presume to speak for all Black people, but I know how I feel. To face lethal hatred and racism on an individualized level (Travon Martin, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile…) and to also face that same lethal hatred and racism en masse in enraged white faces in the dark of night, lit by torches evoking the lynch mobs that extinguished so many of my people before me—it is just too much.  To be able to draw parallels regarding the treatment of Black people from  1917 to 2017 is just simply unreal and more than any one person, anyone people, should have to bear.

To wake up each day and determine that you will be the best version of yourself in a city, state, a country that seems to want to mute your very existence—this is a heavy thing. To turn on the evening news and have to explain the terms “mob” “hate” and “race” to your four year old is painful. To have to tell her that people hate her because of who she is and how she looks—that’s utter agony.

But I can’t stay in this place. I push forward. I keep fighting.  The only reason I exist today is because my ancestors did the same. And I owe it to them, I owe to my children, to my people to continue to be my best self and stand up and give a voice to the voiceless and bring hope and restoration to broken places.

And no, hope and restoration may not come in the form of a grand speech in front of millions of people, or even martyrdom. But I know that I can push forward, show love, and bring  hope in my daily life: in the legal representation that I give to people, in the way I teach my children to love themselves no matter what anyone else says about them, in my utter refusal to hate people who hate me. I will continue to move forward, to press forward. I will continue to show love. That is my Father’s will—for us to love one another as He loves us. And as I pray daily, let my Father’s will be done.

Ponytails and Gratitude

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

~Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

 

“Mommy I don’t want buns, I want ponytails!” From the driver’s seat of my parked car, I turned and looked back at my four-year-old incredulously. “What did  you say?” I asked. “I want ponytails, I don’t want buns in my hair!”

“I know this girl is NOT sitting up here complaining about her beautiful hair when I just spent the money and time taking her to the salon so her hair could look so nicely and neatly braided,” I thought to myself.

I took a deep breath and launched into a mini lesson (read, lecture) on why it was important to be grateful for what we do have, and not always focused on what we don’t have, instead. The “lesson” included phrases  like “you should appreciate your hair” and “mommy didn’t have to take you to the salon” and “I’m sure there are a lot of little girls who would love…” You get the picture.

“Do you understand?” I finally asked her, swinging my body back around in my seat and pressing the start button, all in one indignant motion. I began to drive and immediately started my internal monologue about my four-year-old and what I could do to make her really appreciate the things that she’s been given. Then I thought about God. And human beings. And how we’re just like my ungrateful, precious little girl.

How many times do we think “oh, if only I had her job” or “I’d be feeling great too, if I had her body” or “I mean, can I live in a house like that?” Those thoughts ricochet around my brain daily, while I constantly overlook all of the great things I do have. I have to frequently remind myself that God didn’t have to give me anything–not gainful employment, not healthy children, not a loving husband, not healthy parents, nor great friends.

Don’t get me wrong: ambition certainly has its rightful place in our lives. I don’t think God called us to be complacent–never trying to better ourselves or achieve more for his glory. However, I do think God calls us to be content while we climb, to be grateful as we grasp for greater. He wants us to stop covetously looking at everyone else’s lives, and realize, as Hebrews 13 reminds us, that we have the best gift of all: his presence.

So maybe instead of lecturing my little munchkin, I’ll set the example for her. Thank you, Lord, for all that you have given me. You didn’t have to bless my life in the ways that you have, and I am so grateful for what you’ve done for me. And most of all, I am grateful for you. Amen.

 

A Sweet Exchange

 

matthew-11-28

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.”  

~Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

Last weekend, my friends and I had a “Mommy’s Day Out.” So. Much. Fun. We hung out together for the better part of Saturday afternoon and on into Sunday.  Hanging out included going to a Mexican restaurant for an early dinner. When we arrived, the restaurant was crowded and the wait time was long, so we decided to eat at the bar.

As we sat chatting and waiting for our food and drinks, I noticed a couple sitting next to us. They were quietly talking, kissing and seemingly enjoying themselves as well. And then they got up to leave. The girlfriend got up with ease, but the boyfriend got up and almost immediately fell over onto my friend. He grasped for the high seat back, and then rocked too far forward as he tried to overcorrect. This guy was drawing attention to himself as he tried desperately to steady himself. As he was trying to catch his balance, he told his girlfriend, standing next to him, “I’m not OK.” And I’m thinking, “dude, you are more than just ‘not ok.'”

As the couple walked away, I judgmentally rolled my eyes. It was about 5:00 pm at this point.  Like seriously, the evening had barely started and this guy was lit. Toasted.  Sloshed. The craziest aspect of the whole scene was that the guy was so quiet and indistinct before he tried to leave. I acted disgusted for a few more minutes as I pondered this guy’s situation and then carried on with the rest of dinner.

I didn’t think about that guy again until the following night, as I was deep in a, shall we say, heated exchange with my husband about a specific issue. I was completely exasperated and frustrated. All of this emotion had built up inside of me and I felt like I was just about to explode with anger.  And then I thought to myself “I’m not OK.”

Our conversation ended and I went upstairs to my bedroom. I closed the door and opened the Bible. Soon I found Jesus staring back at me from the book of Mark, beckoning me to come and tell him about what was on my mind.

My husband wasn’t the real issue. After praying and thinking, I realized that I had had such a good time with my girlfriends, that it really kind of magnified for me just how stressed I had been and how much I needed a break, even just a short one. The issue with my husband was just the symptom. He’d been doing a really great job of sharing the collective load of juggling jobs, kids and household maintenance. But sometimes life can still be stressful and pressure-filled, even with your partner right beside you.

I was not OK and I didn’t need to tell my husband about it, I needed to decompress and tell Jesus about it. So there I was, the same person who had so quickly doled out judgment on someone else, kneeling at my bedside, uttering those same words to the Lord. In all my busyness and stress and watching other people, I hadn’t taken the time to locate my own feelings and read up on what Jesus had to say about them. In the past few weeks, I hadn’t really taken concentrated time to pray and tell God what was going on in my day to day. I took the time that night though, and it was great. It was what I needed. I gave Jesus my burdens that night.

And the funny thing is, nothing about my daily life changed– the demands of being a wife, mom, attorney, daughter, they were all still there. But man, did I have peace after that time with Jesus. His burden really is light–if I take the time to exchange it for mine. And even in the week after that episode, I still struggled to find the time to devote solely to Jesus, but that devotional time that I did have was a reminder of why and just how much I need him. He can bear the burdens of this fast-paced, filled-to-the-brim life. He will give me rest for my soul as I walk out this life day by day. And I’m more than OK with that.

 

 

Graphic Credit: dailylifeverse.com