"I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! I think I'll move to Australia." Such was my reply when asked how I was doing as I arrived at a ladies' Bible study Saturday morning.
It had been a l-o-n-g week. Late nights at Wal-Mart, along with a few rather distressing incidents while on-the-clock. Not enough sleep, partly because there just aren't enough hours between midnight and 6:00 am to get well-rested, partly because I haven't been able to breathe through my nose for almost three weeks and a person just can't sleep soundly if she's breathing through her mouth. (Amazing how Sahara dry your tongue, cheeks, palate, and throat become - Cough! Choke! Gack!) By the time I flopped into bed Friday night, I was bone-weary, half-way sick, and frustrated at my inability to juggle all the things I needed to handle.
Saturday was going to be my one and only day to sleep late, to hopefully catch up on some badly needed rest. Maybe after a good night's sleep, the world would be a brighter place.
I awoke to banging in the kitchen, a sliver of light falling through the cracked bedroom door. The clock glowed 5:21. Who is up at this ungodly hour? I groaned. Maybe one of the kids was sick... I should probably go check. I stumbled into the kitchen to find two boys decked head-to-toe in camouflage. They were rustling up some breakfast. "What's up guys?"
"We're going dove hunting...wanted to get out in time for the sunrise."
"Oh." Normally, if I know an early morning hunting trip is in the plans, I'll hear the pre-dawn shuffle in the kitchen and then just roll back over and go to sleep. But I hadn't gotten the message about Saturday's dove hunt. So here I stood, a little more than halfway awake, wondering if it would be worth the effort to try to rediscover the delicious refuge of deep sleep. You know how it is - once you're awake, you just kinda flop around in the bed, dozing a little, on and off, but not really resting.
I stumbled back to bed.
I was in one of those gray fuzzy places that is Almost Sleep when Steve rustled. "Time for me to get up if I'm going to get Martha to Martin on time." Martha was participating in Agape House's Walk of Life Saturday morning. Steve rolled out of bed and hit the shower. Where he started singing. It's a good thing that the man sings in the shower - but I wasn't very happy about it Saturday morning. I was glad he was happy and felt like singing...but I was angry that I still wasn't getting to catch up on sleep, on my one day to sleep in late. I pulled the blankets over my head.
Thirty minutes later, I gave up the battle for sleep. Anyway, I needed to make muffins and review my lesson for the ladies' brunch. As I pulled a pan of muffins from the oven, my dove hunters returned, chatting excitedly about their morning's success. In the bubble of conversation, Nate commented that Jake would be getting to the house around 10:00.
"What?!" I asked. "Jake's coming? Today?"
"Yeah. Remember, I told you a couple weeks ago that Jake was going to come up one day so we could site in some rifles together."
"Well, I remember you mentioning it, but I didn't know you had a definite date lined up."
"Yeah. He and Mrs. Donna are coming up today. They should be here in about half an hour."
"But I won't be here!" I wailed. Donna is my sister, and few things feed my soul like time spent in her presence. Here, all of a sudden, I learn that Donna is making the hour drive to my house and that I won't be here to see her. I was mad at my son for not giving me the details of his plans sooner. I was frustrated with myself - what kind of "hostess" has house guests, but isn't home to receive them? I was mad because I felt robbed - it was like knowing the sun would be shining on this particular hill for a few hours, while I was on another hill somewhere in my gray, weary world. I did not leave the house in a very good mood.
Then, I spilled coffee all over myself on the way out of the driveway. And the fuel light came on in the car. And I still couldn't breathe.
As we settled into our study at Laura's house, Ginny asked me to read the first part of our Scripture passage. (Maybe she sensed that I needed to say these words out loud to myself!) "And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming...See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are...Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is..." (from 1 John 2 and 3)
We were reminded Saturday morning of our own desperate brokenness and need; of Christ's sufficiency and loveliness; of God's great, unfaltering love for His children; of His sustaining, life-transforming presence and power as we labor to walk as His children.
I was still tired when I pulled away from Laura's house. I still had an afternoon full of too much to do and a night at Wal-Mart ahead of me. But I wasn't as tired when I pulled away as when I had arrived.
There is rest...and then there is Rest.
4 weeks ago