Sunday, August 2, 2015

Grace for the Dark Days of Overwhelm

What do you do when the road ahead seems dark, blurry, unclear? You are traveling along nicely when suddenly unexpected twists and turns appear. The road becomes unfamiliar. 

I wish I could say that my first reaction is always to go straight to God in prayer asking for wisdom, direction and peace. I eventually end up there, but often the first thing I do is react either in anger or frustration.

I have been feeling especially tired and overwhelmed the past few weeks as we have been very busy with traveling, visiting, health concerns, late nights, hard conversations, lack of wisdom, not enough sleep, family issues, an appliance breakdown, and internet problems. Also, my youngest child has recently returned from a month long trip to Japan and is ready to step out and make his way in the world.

I've watched my other children do this. I know it is a necessary part of life, and they need to have their own experiences. I know this, but my mama heart wishes I could shield them from mistakes, hurts and harms. I have to remind myself that God loves them more than I do and is quite capable of caring for them no matter where their road leads.

When I woke up this morning my body still felt tired and tight, like a rubber band almost stretched to its limit. I decided to take a shower before going downstairs for breakfast. That helped some, but my mind still dwelt on all the emotions and feelings of being overwhelmed with circumstances, people, clutter, an overgrown garden and property, my weight, relationships that could be better...

I thought I might want to go outside and scream. But that wouldn't really help, would it?

Instead, I stayed home from church, went upstairs to my rocking chair and poured out my heart to God as I wrote in my prayer journal, a portion of which I'll post here.

(before prayer, questioning
and contemplative )
(after prayer, content and

do need to release tension. I hold so much. I often realize that my teeth are clenched, my jaw is tight, and the rest of my body seems tense. I have to consciously relax. Please help me to give my burdens to You – to roll them off my shoulders and drop them at Your feet; to rest in Your loving embrace by reading Your word and praying. Give me the kind of peace and joy that only comes from You. There is a nice breeze blowing outside. I hear the chimes. It reminds me that Your love is all around. I hear 
the Whisper of your Love as I look to You. Thank you for blessing me. 

After praying, my troubles didn't magically disappear, but I felt better knowing that God heard my prayers and would answer in the way that is best for all. Before he left for church, my youngest son encouraged me to go take a walk, knowing that it would help me feel better. I love to take walks outdoors and this morning was no exception. I took some pictures that inspired me. I hope they inspire you, too!

Every day I am showered by God's grace. 

I may not realize it when I am focusing on all the problems, but when I take time to pause and pray, to give thanks, my perspective changes. The way ahead will not always be clear, and I will feel overwhelmed at times, but I know I have a God who can be trusted. Wherever I go He will always be with me, guiding me through the darkness into the light all the way to my final destination.

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