Give it a Rest

Happy First Sunday of Advent!!

As this Christmas season begins, I have one objective:  To “Give it a Rest!”

Ya’ll know what I mean.  I’ve lost 20 pounds but I want to go just one more size down.  I’m doing great in my career, but well… I’m bored sometimes.  I’ve got projects and lists and school things to accomplish with the kids.  There’s controversy and politics.  There are points to be made and cases to be argued. I need to get a bigger savings account, a different haircut, a pedicure for heaven’s sake.  I need a more perfect marriage, need to push harder, need to think more creatively.  I need to write another freakin’ book already!!!

Ugh!  Give it a rest!!!  What I have is enough.  Who I love is enough.  He Who Loved Me First is enough.

It’s time.  Emmanuel is calling me to peace.  It’s time to enjoy, time to love, time to revel, time to cherish, time to laugh.

It’s Christmas, ya’ll!  The Child is born for us.  For me.

Let’s give the running and pushing and stressing a rest.  Let’s simply unwrap the Gift, shall we?

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Mama’s Peace

Her fingers clicked across the keyboard as she typed a few words.  Then, just as many times, she tapped the delete key.  How to pull some kind of coherent thought from the fragmented bits that swirled incessantly in her head?

Lists.  She could make lengthy, detailed lists of all the things she needed to do.  She could bullet the bills, errands, library books, phone calls, emails, notes to teachers, and plans to arrange.  Grocery lists, menu lists, and birthday gift lists.  She could jot forever the undone tasks that haunt her mind at night, keep her from focusing at work, and steal her miniscule lunch break time.

Laments.  She could wax poetic about her stress and shortcomings.  She could write long complaints about the way things are, and paint wistful pictures of how she wishes they were.  She could give in to the longing sob that lurks in the back of her throat at every thought of her mother, father, sister or brother.  She could explain why everyone should cooperate with her plans, and expound on the misery that results when they don’t.  She could compose a heartbreaking account of betrayal and brokenness, nearly drowning in the sorrow of it all.

Laugh.  She could throw up her hands and laugh at her ineptness.  She could give in to the cheshire cat smile that would make anyone wonder what she’s up to.  She could let out the giggle that erupts instantly at the sight of her two year old boy.  She could snort with her ten year old son at words like “fart” and let herself thoroughly enjoy that his presidential candidate choice is based on that candidate’s opinion of McDonald’s.  She could roll her eyes with her soon-to-be fifteen year old daughter and enjoy the inside jokes just the two of them share.  She could send her husband a steamy, silly text message and wait with baited breath for his reaction.

Love.  She could let herself feel the painful tidal wave of love that threatens to burst her heart each time she kisses her children goodnight or good morning or goodbye.  She could plan an unforgettable birthday celebration for the husband whose love overtook her life.  She could try… just try to love that someone she just can’t stand.  She could bake something, write something, give something to try to show her adoration for those friends that see her through the best and worst.  She could mail something to her mom and dad, Fedex something to her sister, fix up the guest room for when her brother comes to stay.  She could forget the remark, overlook the mistake, let go of the offense.  She could remember a name, remember to hug, remember to look an old person in the eye.  She could let the tears fall because she knows no way to contain her affection for a God who loved her first.

Her chest heaved a sigh and she did the thing she hadn’t yet dared to consider…

She let go.   She let go of it all and let it fade with the daylight.  She loosened her grip and let the load she’s carrying settle into a pile that will still be waiting for her in the morning.  She dropped the notion of perfection and propped her feet up on the ottoman of “good enough.”  She popped the top of something cold and slipped into a tub of something warm.  She kicked back and let Jesus take the storm of wife, and mother, and professional, and writer, and sister, and daughter, and friend, and citizen, and believer, and somehow bring about….


Night moon


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So I hurt my back last week.   How I wish I had a heroic story to tell of a brave and wonderful way I got this injury.  But no.

I was brushing my teeth.  Yes, brushing my teeth, and when I bent to spit out the bubbles created by our particular brand of toothpaste, something in my back twisted and jerked, rendering me helpless in the “bent over to spit” pose.

After 24 hours, I still couldn’t straighten.  I was sort of functioning in an “S” shape.  S for SUPERWOMAN, right?  I NEEDED to be superwoman to stand that kind of pain.  I’m talking pain of childbirthing proportions, only childbirth had an END in sight!!  So I ended up at the chiropractor’s office in a desperate attempt to reduce the pain.

My chiropractor has this wonderful thing… it’s a bed/table type thing that you lie down on and it uses jets of hot water to massage your back.  It’s lovely.  But it gets better!  This amazing miracle table is located in a small room with minty aqua walls.  So the doctor gets me all set up on the table and then leaves the room, closing the door behind him.  I was lying there ALL ALONE.  Stuck for the duration of the treatment, there was no way to hurry or try to cut a corner to get it done faster.  There was no one standing outside the door yelling “MAMA!!”  There was nothing to do but lie there and think.  So I thought.

I thought how nice it was to be alone in the quiet for a few moments.  I thought how insane to be enjoying a back injury because it gave me a few quiet moments alone. I thought if not for that pain, I’d be running around in my usual craziness, spinning plates like I always do.   I thought of the guilt I felt for spending money on this doctor visit, but I had no choice since I couldn’t even pick up the baby or do most any of my usual daily tasks.  I thought how thick-headed I must be to have not learned by now that those who are counting on me would be much better off with a calmer, healthier me.  I thought how all my hustling and bustling really isn’t blessing me or my family.

So this weekend, we played in the rain.  We went to bed early.  We had friends over for a simple but yummy dinner WITH dessert.  I let the kids stay up late.  I took a nap when the baby napped.  I wrote my husband a love letter and took him on a date.  With Sunday services canceled due to tropical storm weather, and Labor Day falling on this weekend also, I had a day off from both my jobs. I went for coffee with a friend and talked over some ideas I’ve been having.  We spent time with family and the house was filled with laughing crazy cousins playing together.

I slowed it down and guess what?  TWO stressful situations at work resolved themselves, housework still got done, kids still got bathed, fed and dressed, and life still went on, only I truly LIVED it.  Imagine that!

Sometimes when life gets me stressed and harried, when I’m moving too fast to really even live, that’s when the IMpractical becomes the most practical thing of all.  I had NO TIME to be lying on a chiropractor’s table, but there I was anyway, and it was right where I needed to be.

So I brushed my teeth, bent over to spit, and stood back up (several days later) a little smarter.  I’ll still see ya on the highway, but more often, I hope, in the slow lane.





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