We all know what parts of our lives others don’t see on Instagram. They’re the ones when we get impatient, or we cry or we raise our voice. It’s an absolute joy and gift to be a mom but it’s also sometimes our greatest challenge. Then you throw aging parents into the mix and you’ve got the potential for even more frustration. The joy of the Lord is there, but it can be difficult and that’s okay. That’s what I want to remind you of – that the Lord is with us in the everything.
Mike and I were up north with Ellie this past week to visit Harriet, his mom. I’ve mentioned she has stomach cancer and she’s done with treatment. (Her diagnosis is coming on the 22nd so keep praying!)
We went up to visit, take care of her, take her to appointments, grocery shop and cook for her. You know, all the things to show love. You don’t resent it when God gives you His heart to serve those you love. But it can wear you out and make you emotionally, mentally and physically weary.
That’s why Matthew 11:28 is such a huge verse,
“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
When we come to the Lord in need of rest it doesn’t always look the same.
Sometimes it’s a walk. Sometimes it’s a good cry. Sometimes it’s a drive. Sometimes it’s a walk outside and scream. Sometimes it’s a simple deep breathe.
But we all need Jesus to meet us in those places. I certainly did this week up north.
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you know I posted these beautiful pictures of the sunset the other night. Wow did the Lord bless us with that. I will cherish these sweet pictures of me and Ellie my husband took.
But here’s what you don’t see on Instagram.
You don’t see that in the grand scheme of time we were there from about Thursday to Tuesday, that was just a moment. Literally. Mike and I took about 20 minutes to walk down to the lake and watch the sun go down. We were able to take a breath and rest in the glory of our God. Watching that lake when we’re up there is an absolute gift from God.
We love it there. We love being with Harriet. We love that Ellie gets to be around her. But it’s also extremely difficult. It is taxing in every way – physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. Physically we are worn out. I don’t think I sit down more than twice when I’m there. It’s like a marathon of cooking, cleaning, feeding, chasing Ellie.
Ellie doesn’t sleep well when we’re there either so that means we don’t and we all know how we are when we’ve gone a number of days without great sleep.
So we’re totally depleted of energy and giving all we got. Mentally you know you go into a brain fog when you don’t sleep. Then you add in chasing a toddler around on top of caring for a loved one and your head is just all over the place. It’s mentally exhausting, emotionally exhausting. Caring for a loved one towards the end of their life is just heavy and it can be stressful, so that weariness just wears you down.
Mike and I were saying last night how much it takes out of us when we go out there. Again, we’re not complaining at all. We’re just recognizing the reality of our need to rest in Jesus. As older parents we need to give ourselves time to adapt back to being home because getting there and getting home are two entirely different beasts. I have one toddler. You that have multiple amaze me. It is not a simple thing to travel with your kids. I think as time moves on the Lord will reveal more to us about this season of caring for a toddler and an elderly parent at the same time and it will be good. But in the meantime, it’s difficult.
So thank the Lord, since I didn’t get really quality time with Him, He gave little moments of respite in the madness. Like that sunset. Like a walk on the beach the day before with Ellie as she crunched in the snow and picked up rocks.
There were a few other moments that I can recognize were a saving grace, like a walk up the steep driveway behind Harriet’s house. It was so invigorating to get up to this totally different view and get perspective. I was reminded as I listened to a few songs on the playlist I’ll share below, that God is good and life may be chaotic, but we are absolutely blessed.
No matter what we’re going through we have to always remember that. Then I got to come down the hill and walk along the beach and just notice the snow melting. It’s amazing how noticing nature can really just center us.
Then one other day I had to run out to get ricotta. 5 grocery stores to finally find it. I was making these lasagna rolls for Harriet and she wanted a double portion for when we aren’t there.
There it was. Another gift. Double portion.
You will have a double portion. I kept hearing it.
Then Isaiah 61:7 came to me,
“Instead of shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.”
Everlasting joy will be yours.
I love how God teaches us in the middle of things like cooking a recipe.
Then there was the moment towards the end of our visit where I just had to break down. I could feel it in my chest that I needed a good cry. I’d seen that this music artist Addison AGEN who was a runner up winner on The Voice had released a new song and I just love her voice.
Wouldn’t you know it, God knew the exact moment I would need this song because He knew I needed that cry.
So here it is in case you need one:
I don’t know what it is about this song. Maybe it’s because I love her lyrics and voice, or because Ellie is about the age of that little girl in the video, or because I miss my Dad. I don’t know. But it got me. I sat in the window with Ellie just crying and then took her to change her diaper and let the tears fall on her stomach. I could just feel the Lord holding us in that space.
Like I said, He meets us in the tears, in the walks, in the recipes, in the everything.
That’s just what I wanted to share with you, that the Lord is with us in the everything, in the space behind the feeds where only our families and Jesus know what’s going on. We all know that. But sometimes we just need the reminder that He’s there.
So with that, I wanted to share with you one last thing that the Lord uses in all of our lives, and that’s music. I can always tells when there’s a few songs in a row that speak right to where I’m at, that the Lord is trying to send me a message.
Some of them were on the walk. Some of them I’ve heard in the last few weeks and just needed to add. Others just always put me in a good mood and all of them are a reminder to open up the windows and let Spring IN!
That’s why I called it the “Spring Awakens 2021” playlist. My goal was to give you a little bump in your step or just a little music to remind you to tune into God’s voice.
The snow is melting. The sun is shining. As we come through a year of social isolation, I think this spring is really going to feel for all of us like coming out of a cocoon. So enjoy it when you can and remember, just because life looks really pretty sometimes to everyone else, it doesn’t mean it looks the same behind the scenes. We know the moments when we struggle. So does God. He’s got us.
Happy Springing. See you next week in a video. Here’s Ellie and I, freezing on the beach!