Many circumstances, people, or events can make us “weary” today. It is not just a matter of being tired. In fact, our weariness oftentimes has absolutely nothing to do with physical fatigue.
As children of the Most High God, we must be conscious of when we are beginning to be weary in our souls. It can sneak up on us while we are “busy for the Lord.” We take on too many commitments, we spread ourselves too thin – and even in a good cause like God’s service, there have to be limits on how far we stretch ourselves and our resources.
Perhaps you are providing emotional support – or meals or transportation – for a friend or relative who is battling cancer – and losing the battle. Maybe your children have gone off to college and you are struggling with being satisfied in an empty nest. (Hopefully, there is still a spouse in your nest with you, so it really isn’t EMPTY). Or did you say, “yes” too many times at church and find yourself on too many committees?
Just watching the news on television can make us weary in this 21st century. There is so much “bad news” and so little good. I can’t help but think that the media hype is geared toward making us think there is no good news, rather than it being a true representation of the life that goes on around us every day.
Sheltered as we are in our small town, in our conservative county in a liberal state, we find it hard to believe that things could be so very different across the country in cities where violence seems common and ordinary and people don’t seem to have a clue what life is really all about.
Our daily prayers for our nation and her people seem to fall away with no hope for a return of the America that we knew, or the rebuilding of the moral fabric that made this country the greatest in the world.
Be it weariness from spiritual challenges, weariness from schedules bursting at the seams, or weariness from your day-to-day responsibilities and interactions, please know that you can rest in the One who holds the universe in His hands. Don’t lose sight of God at the head of your household, at the head of your church, and at the head of your workplace.
He has asked us to rest in Him. Who are we to say, “No?”
Before I ever arrived in my current home town, God had set up a meeting with an individual who would make a profound difference in my life over the next 17 years. Via a request to the local internet service provider in what was to be our new community, my sons were “introduced” online to some kids their age; and I became acquainted with one of the mothers over the next several months.
Settling in to our new home, the mom I had “met” online invited me to a coffee gathering at the home of one of her friends. She believed it would be a good way for me to quickly get acquainted with a number of local women – and it was! In just a few weeks of Tuesday morning coffee sessions at Delma’s house, I had a solid group of new friends to make my transition to a new state and community smooth and pleasant.
In her early 70s and bound to a wheelchair, Delma was the least handicapped individual I have ever met. She provided in-home care for bed patients – a private nursing home – with the assistance of one or more friends, and had been doing so for many years. Because she could not get into everyone’s homes, this core group of friends all had our gatherings at Delma’s house, including parties for Tupperware, Pampered Chef, and etc. She also hosted the monthly prayer and planning meeting for the local Christian women’s club.
Over time, I learned much of Delma’s history. She had married in her mid 20s, but her husband was killed in a tragic car accident only three months into the honeymoon. She did not know it at the time, but she was pregnant. No one knows for sure whether the grieving had anything to do with it, but Delma gave birth, on what would have been her first wedding anniversary, to a son with Cerebral Palsy. John Hugh never walked or “talked,” although he had his own special way of communicating with his mother and immediate family members. Delma cared tirelessly for John Hugh, and he lived to be 18 years old – much beyond the medical community’s expectations.
The ultimate southern hostess, caregiving was always a part of Delma’s life. Her grandmother and mother were both quite frail in their later years, and she spent many years caring for them. She took in patients, especially when she could not go out and work at a regular job while she was caring for John Hugh and other relatives at home. In her later years, she also cared for her brother, who went Home to be with Jesus in the early 90s. At that time, her brother’s son invited her to move out West – and we are so glad she said “yes!” Having spent her whole life in the Southern U.S., moving to a ski resort town less than an hour from the Canadian border was quite the life change! Referring to herself as a “polar bear,” she loved snow and was well known for her prayers for more of it throughout each winter. Family and friends celebrated her 90th birthday with her last September – at her house, of course!
From her wheel chair, Delma cooked soups and baked casseroles and bread for friends and neighbors who had little time for cooking in their busy schedules; she always made a zucchini/cheese casserole for us on Wednesdays so I would have less cooking to do on Bible study night. When the city guys plowed her driveway, they got a loaf of bread; same with the staff in the doctor’s office and the vet clinic. Her “company brownies” are famous city-wide! We will take a plate of them to Bible study tonight to commemorate her “homegoing.”
Delma was many things, including an artist specializing in miniature paintings. We have several of her works, and will always treasure them. And I will never forget her plaster of paris 3D version of Mt. Rushmore! Painting under the name Ann Comer, she had a gift for miniaturizing scenes and characters. I think her smallest painting was only about an inch wide.
Delma was a faithful prayer warrior; and even when she could no longer get into a vehicle to come to church, she was at the head of the prayer chain and did calling for special events and gatherings.
When I received the call late last night that Delma’s brief stay in the nursing home was over – she is reunited with her husband and son and mother and grandmother – my mind roamed through 17 years of memories: loading her and her wheel chair up in our friend Judy’s minivan for marathon yard sale adventures, driving her to Christian women’s club luncheons and to church on Sunday, Chataqua parades and her booth in the park, a six-month “camping” spot in her front yard when we had sold our home and the new one was not in place yet, watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, yard sales in Delma’s yard where we all got together and spent whole weekends visiting and passing our “good stuff” on to someone else to enjoy, with a pot of “everything but” soup on the stove (everything but the kitchen sink).
Last winter, I slipped in to Delma’s every Tuesday and Friday to change from my snowboarding clothes and have a quick bite of lunch before I went to work at 12:30. This winter, I still stopped by Delma’s to change, but there was no welcoming or lunch – Delma was in the long-term care unit – and it was SO different to be in her home without her there. The snow left early this winter, but Delma left in God’s perfect time. We look forward to the day when we will see her again!
We have no doubt that the first words she heard were, “Welcome home, thou good and faithful servant.”
Many years ago, I wrote a poem titled “Unframed Collage.” It was my first winter in Alaska, and I was alone two weeks out of each month. Homesickness set in; and to combat feelings of isolation and distance, I taped photos of a wide variety of people and happy remembrances on the wall in our spare bedroom. It ended up being about 6′ x 6′, and it got me through that long, hard winter with temperatures to -40ºF and what seemed like endless darkness.
These days, we have a different sort of collage – we call it “our people.” The front of the refrigerator is decorated with prayer cards and photos of the missionaries we support, as well as our Compassion child, Yadira in Ecuador.
Having these faces before us throughout the day helps us to remember to pray for them. Some of them are in very dark places and they tell us they can feel the prayers coming through!
Not everyone wants to “junk up” their refrigerator door, but you might consider creating a collage of those for whom you pray and hanging it on the wall somewhere in your house where it would be seen frequently. Most variety stores carry many styles of already prepared collage frames, or you can create your own.
Whatever you do, please PRAY for “your people.” My husband’s Uncle Jim had a long, long prayer list and he never failed to pray through it daily – while he was doing his morning devotional time, during his daily walk, as he was driving here and there – and I have no doubt that many lives were impacted by his faithful prayer for “his people.”
There may be dark times ahead, but remember the words of Paul to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. 8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,11 you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.” NASB
it measures six feet wide and six feet tall –
pictorial testimony to the past –
dear loved ones all.
New friends, old friends,
kith and kin alike displayed – on view
to pass the time and take the edge off
lonesome winter blues.
seasons of the year portrayed bring cheer –
one wall in my South bedroom
filled with images so clear.
A world of comfort rendered
by these simple photographs
displayed – affixed with cellophane –
prescription smiles and laughs –
Just what the doctor ordered
to combat the dark and cold;
an inexpensive antidote,
yet worth its weight in gold –
it measures six feet wide and six feet tall –
pictorial testimony to the past –
dear loved ones all.
Unframed Collage is copyrighted and excerpted from Song of the Heart, which is available for purchase on amazon.com. Click on the book picture to go to the purchase page at Amazon.