Raising five big personalities isn’t easy. Throw in a handful of special needs, a full-time job, and twin teenagers and you find the very epitome of full hands. Even though one is now away in college, she’s still very present in my parenting reality. Every single moment presses into the next with to-lists, projects, meals, deadlines, and homework in a never-ceasing, never-ending flow of demands.
This week has been hard-top to bottom, start to finish-hard. Life has been relentless and has left me spent. It’s reminded me so much of being in labor with the twins, where time practically stood still and all I could think about was how in the world I was going to catch my next breath. As those moments pressed together, I remember thinking that the process might actually kill me.
Labor is hard.
Parenting is hard.
Adulting is hard.
This morning I was scheduled to attend a church mission conference representing my organization about 30 minutes north of where we live. This meant an early morning exit from home and the opportunity to hand over the parenting responsibilities to Daddy. I headed out as the sun was rising in the east, enjoying my private worship time during the drive. My job provides me with the chance to share my passion for helping kids with congregations passionate about helping kids. It fuels my soul even though it’s work.
When I climbed in the car to return home, it dawned on me that I was only 4 miles from my favorite beach. My favorite beach, by the way, that offers fabulous pancakes and sausage overlooking the water. Oh, the temptation was strong! But, I simply could not. Home, kids, and lists awaited. Plus, I was dressed in a long skirt with sensible shoes for hours of standing. I just needed to turn left out of the parking lot and head home.
But, it was only 4 miles.
Adulting is hard.
I turned right instead.
I started to giggle as I drove west. I rolled my windows down on this 55-degree Florida morning, cranked the music, and headed straight to the beach. I needed to seize the day, rest in the moment, and find a little eucharisto to heal me from the week behind and prepare me for the week ahead. And that’s exactly when Kari Jobe’s, In You I Rest, came on the radio:
“Be still, my soul, The Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently, The cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God, to order and provide.
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul, Thy best they heavenly Friend.
Through thorny ways, Leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul, thy God doth undertake.
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake.
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul, the waves and wind still know.
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”
I kid you not, I took off my shoes and walked barefoot to the outdoor café in my to-the-floor skirt. I drank hot coffee and ate a stack of pancakes alone sitting under the patio heater. I walked the beach and soaked up the rays of the sun while listening to the sounds of the thunderous winter waves. I climbed back into my car with sand on my feet, choosing to take the scenic drive home through the keys instead of the highway. I parked my car twice and strolled down empty beaches I’ve been meaning to visit. On one of those stops, I watched 3 dolphins playing together not 20 feet away from me. I sang with the windows down, the heater on, and hair whipping in every direction. I didn’t put my shoes back on until I got back home.
In the middle of the chaos, in the middle of the need, I needed to stop and breathe. I needed to find my smallness again in the midst of God’s greatness. I needed to be still and remember to find those precious, timeless, perspective-changing moments that sometimes only come when you step out of your shoes and take the long way home.
“In You I rest, In You I found my hope.
In You I trust, You never let me go.
I place my life within Your hands alone.
Be still, my soul.
Be still, my soul.
Be still, my soul.”