“Mom. When are you coming home?”
Something was up.
“Are you close? And where is Dad? I need him to examine me. My stomach hurts, and it’s only gotten worse.”
Less than 10 minutes after my husband Chris’s quick exam, my daughter Emmy headed to the ER. Not much later, she rolled into surgery for an appendectomy.
Seven days later, another child headed to surgery, too.
Yes. That’s two surgeries in one week.
Thankfully, both grown kids are doing well, but this season in our family’s life has meant that too many days feel like the storm of the century. Nothing has been simple or easy. It’s a season where fear, doubt, and sheer exhaustion have been as present as humidity in July.
It’s a time when we can’t stay out of the doctor’s office. You may have heard this on the radio, but a few weeks ago, our cat Rue attacked Chris. She chased him out of the house. Really.
Three ER visits later, plus blood splatter from the vicious incident that I continue to find, we’re left asking, “Is this even real?”
And then our jobs, new and old. Good work, but fatiguing.
Add to them the move of our recent graduate to another state. Watching her start over as a young adult, fresh out of college, is rewarding but draining. Two kids are now out of the house. There’s joy because another arrow has left the quiver. But there’s also grief because our family dynamics have changed and we’re still adjusting.
We’re left wondering when we stepped into this season, because there are days that feel like a tornado that won’t lift. Right now, the words of 2 Corinthians 4 ring true: “We’re hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
The fast track we’ve been on – the one that keeps you isolated and, at times, afraid – has worn us out. We’ve felt clobbered.
Life may find you in a similar spot. A spot where work is work, and lately, you feel wiped out daily. Or maybe you’re exhausted because of what’s happening in our homes, communities and country. Hope stands far off and only fear looms.
From horrific evidence about human trafficking – witnessed firsthand in the new movie, “The Sound of Freedom,” or seen in the documentary, "Operation Toussaint" – to a man who won Miss Netherlands. (Yes. He had the surgery. But let’s get real. His DNA still says, “dude.”) Or the ongoing reports of corruption in Montgomery and beyond. It is all enough to fry your spirit – even the most cheerful of spirits. Burnout becomes understandable, even expected.
Science tells us that rest is critical to our bodies and minds, but in our quest to figure out this exhaustion, we should also consider Elijah.
Have you heard of him? The prophet who called down fire from heaven? The guy who healed a boy who died? The man who escaped the Bible’s OG Crazy lady, a queen named Jezebel?
1 Kings 19 tells us, “Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one them by this time tomorrow.’ Then he was afraid, and arose and ran for his life….”
The Bible says Elijah was a man with a spirit like ours. A man who watched God work. Repeatedly. And yet, he fought fear and desperately needed rest.
1 Kings 19 tells us that Elijah, after a dash into the desert, slept. And then an angel fed him and gave him water. A little later, after first whispering to Elijah, the Lord conversed with the prophet.
But did you catch that? Before God spoke – about getting back out in the thick of things – and before God took him to heaven in a chariot, God allowed Elijah space to rest and eat.
Shouldn’t we do the same? Shouldn’t we take a break and employ a Sabbath rest – especially when we’ve grown weary of life and when falling into a crumpled mess is the next right step?
And from time to time, prolonged rest, too?
Whether it’s a Saturday spent in silence pondering the things of God, a lingering meal replete with deep conversation, or even a staycation (if breaking away is off the table), shouldn’t we, too, enjoy God’s provision of rest?
So, whether you’re post-op or pummeled by something else – work, life – all the things will be here when you return. Please. Take a break while you still have a chance.
If Elijah did it, we can too.
“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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
Amie Beth Shaver is a speaker, writer and media commentator. Her column appears every Wednesday in 1819 News. Shaver served on the Alabama GOP State Executive Committee, was a candidate for State House District 43 and spokeswoman for Allied Women.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.
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