Post by: Jami Amerine
My dad and his older brother have a favorite tale they expose about their youth. Their younger brother was a studious boy. He would finish his homework and then go to bed before the sun went down, in an effort to be well rested for school the next day. After he’d been sound asleep for about an hour, my dad and his brother would wake their younger brother for school. The poor boy would get up, dress, and scramble upstairs for breakfast. Their mother would be the first to alert the poor dupe of the prank.
Recently, alone in a hotel, I was so duped. I fell asleep at 8:45 in the evening. We have seven children, and I had been hectic away from home at speaking engagements. I was exhausted. When I woke I barely recognized my surroundings. I got up, made a pot of coffee, pulled on my cozy robe and opened the light blocking drapes. I was pleased to see the sun wasn’t up yet. As I opened my computer, I smiled to myself; I would have an entire day to work alone in the hotel and I was eager to get started.
That is when I saw the time.
It was only 12:15 am. I had been asleep less than four hours.
Granted four hours of uninterrupted sleep at home is nothing short of a miracle. Between the teens texting to ask me if I am awake, the toddlers requiring comfort after a nightmare, and the baby demanding a bottle – I rarely get unremitting sleep.
I turned off the coffee pot, closed the drapes, and climbed back into the crispy, hotel grade, Egyptian cotton sheets.
It was both a relief… and a burden.
I lie there giggling to myself. And then, I worried about my husband, home alone with our brood. He was probably exhausted too. I felt dejected I wasn’t there to help him.
Unable to fall back to sleep, I got up and worked until 5, fell asleep on my keyboard and was startled awake at 7:20 when the neighbor in the adjoining room started his shower.
I felt all the pangs of a protracted night and my keyboard was firmly imprinted on my left cheek.
I drug my weary body to the shower and stretched the kinks out of my neck and back. Steam chased me from the bathroom and I poured a cup of stale coffee into a sorry little Styrofoam cup and added powdered cream. I stared out of the window at the foreign town, straining to spy a Starbucks on the horizon.
As bitter java assaulted my tongue, I bemoaned the day before me.
The sun poured out the freshness of a new morning, yet I felt less than fresh. Scripture floated into my mind, “Come to me all you who are weary, I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Yet, in spite of the rest, He offers me, I sleep on my keyboard and then bathe in culpability when I put my feet up to take a break.
I associate rest with something shameful rather than a blessing.
Curious, the Maker of Heaven and Earth produced this body for survival in an unconscious state. Eyes closed, breath steady, mind in a playground of non-sense, unprovoked folly, escapism, and suppressed considerations. Occasionally, darkness creeps in and a chase ensues or great terrors play out, still, He fashioned me for slumber.
Society demands I work harder, invest more and rest less. He waits for me. The blessing of rest in His gentle hand, and instead of wrapping up in His majestic creation of slumber, mind, and body – I analyze, supervise, and contrive.
I am weary. And I am most weary of the weariness. Self-induced standards of being most effective, crowning production, and the bragging rites of minimal repose.
If He were here now, if I stood before my Lord and He presented me with a lovely package; a medium sized box wrapped in shiny paper, an enormous bow, glitter, and streamers, would I decline the offering?
Would I boastfully retort, “I don’t need that from you.”
Oh, my stars! The mere thought slays me. Yet, I refuse Him… often.
But not today. Today, I closed the heavy swathes of my room. With lotioned flesh and a soaking wet head, I slipped back into the pajamas I had tossed aside before my shower. I hung the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the outside doorknob. A mischievous smile crept across my face. I poured another cup of coffee and snickered when I uncovered two tiny cups of liquid creamer underneath the packets of dehydrated Coffee-mate powder. How had I missed those?
A gift of rest. I might write. I might watch the I Love Lucy marathon on channel 18. I might nap. A package of crackers and bottled water sit on my nightstand. Today, I accept the gift of rest. This is a rare occasion, still, I wonder, how many days I neglected the gift? A load of laundry dominates the opportunity to cuddle on the couch with my babies. Running to the grocery store in lieu of a lunch date with my husband, or staying up another hour to catch up on that which will never actually ever be fully settled.
Coffee with a friend; bubble baths or just a moment alone on the closet floor begging His help maneuvering homework and dinner – so that I might sleep just an hour before the baby wakes.
A good Father, Creator of the gift of rest. And more than this rare occasion where I celebrate loneliness, I know I will need the rest He offers in times of worry, heartache, and grief. What will I say then? Lord, I pray I remember you stand in wait with the majesty of rest. Rest only you can bring me.
Thank you for that, my Lord. Thank you.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.