It’s easy enough to live in a box. Easy enough to look at how the world does things, or how the people around us do things, and then to lock ourselves into those images and limitations, believing that our pictures should look the same.
I woke up this morning, having rested a fair amount for this stage, and still felt so unbelievably tired. I cried to Jason, telling him “I’m not just tired, but all of the kinds of tired.” Weary, worn, emotionally spent, running out of steam in my own mental race against days and the physical things and the actual clock on the wall. This unrest is not from God, I know, but from the enemy we face who constantly tries to steal, kill and destroy. He is relentless, and yet our God is still bigger.
I even tried to rest in that truth this morning, but I couldn’t quite get there.
We decided that I’d go to church on my own, and that Jason and the kids would stay home. Our church is currently doing a series on sex, and while I’m grateful to belong somewhere that is unafraid to face real issues, it’s not the series we feel most comfortable bringing the kids to right now. In light of all of the germs that inevitably come home from Sunday school at this time of year, we’re pretty set on having the kids with us in church at least until baby is settled in, which leaves us with a few options. This morning, it felt like some worship time for me and some down time for the rest of the family was a good choice.
I got ready for church and was set to go, and then I sat down on our bed and tried to soak in a small slice of peace and quiet instead. The thought of wandering the halls at church and having people comment on this belly and my due date and then the inevitable, uninvited tummy rubs and pats was just too much for me today. Maybe that shows a sign of personal weakness, but I really don’t mind if it does. It’s just the truth.
I wasn’t really able to see past church, or missing church, or whatever the morning should look like, and then Jason suggested I needed to just get out and be elsewhere for a while. It’s true that when I’m at home, I just keep seeing more and more things I think I should do or that actually need to get done. Breaking out of that particular box is, evidently, quite hard for me right now.
I just needed to go through the motions to get past my sticking point, so I packed a bag with a few things and some noise canceling headphones, and I got in the car. At the coffee shop just a few blocks away, I pulled into an empty parking lot and walked into a quiet, unpopulated space. I ordered a bagel and a latte and sat down in my favorite booth, way at the back. I put headphones on, cranked up worship music, and blocked everything else out.
Space. In spite of being so grateful to share space with this baby most of the time, I’m just craving space in the worst way. Unconventional, perhaps, but church for me this morning has looked like this:
Not so much like a pew in the midst of a congregation, but me and God, alone in a booth in the back of a coffee shop.
“This is what I call fake-resting. I’m wearing pajamas…It looks like I’m resting, too, but I’m not. I’m ticking down an endless list, sometimes written, always mental, getting things back into their right spots, changing the laundry, wiping down the countertops…I fake-rested instead of real-rested, and then I found that I was real-tired…Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for resting your body and your soul.” -Shauna Niequist
Maybe I could have learned something valuable about sex from Song of Songs this morning, but I think God was trying to meet me somewhere else. It’s why I felt stopped up in the bedroom as I was ready to leave for church. It’s why Jason prompted me to get out and get quiet–there’s just not a whole lot of quiet happening in our house these days, and he knew I desperately needed it. It’s why Kari Jobe has poured into my ears for the past hour and a half, and why I’ll find my right place back at home for the rest of the day when I return.
Sunday morning church could not be put in a box for me this morning. It looked like a tea latte and a bagel and a book.
Before I left the house to come here, I stopped Henry for a minute and asked if we could talk. I apologized for being so tired, and explained just why I feel like I do these days. I asked him, “You know how, when you’re super tired sometimes, everything just feels a bit harder?” His reply: “Not really, Mom. I never really get very tired.”
How true that is, and it’s because our babies instinctively know how to rest. They rest when they need it, and they (mostly) sleep long hours through the night. The weight of things I let myself carry do not fall on the shoulders of our babies, and thank goodness.
The message in “church” for me this morning is coming in louder and clearer: Molly, let yourself be more of a child who trusts me, and less of an adult who relies on herself on all days and at all hours. Put down the box of what things should look like, and come to the table for me to show you what they actually look like.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” -1 Peter 5.7-9
I’m going to head home to make the most of the rest of this Sabbath day. God is faithful in all things…in knowing our hearts, in seeing our needs, in providing rest. When we invite him, he meets us where we are, church pew or corner booth.