When you’re having word finding difficulties and people need to ask you the same question 3 times before you comprehend what they are asking, and your 7 month old never sleeps longer than 3.5 hours, and your alarm to wake up and have a prayer time wakes him up first, and your belly flab looks like another pregnancy, which it it isn’t, but it might as well be because you’ve been so pregnant for so many of the last how many months, that it’s become a habit to be lazy – “no sense in getting off the couch; I don’t want to go into labor”, is a constant sub-conscious excuse – and you’ve barely spoken with your husband in 3 weeks because you’re both always trying to feed, clothe, or put one of the kids to bed, then your only cohesive thoughts may go something like this:
“If I could just get a nap during nap time, then I’d be ok.” That nap assumes:
“We’ll survive today if only both kids, oh pretty please, sleep at the same time, gall darn it.” But because the naps didn’t happen:
“Spa night during women’s group will be just the relaxing thing I need.” Because the evening was wonderful but loud:
“We REALLY NEED to just bite the bullet and start date night weekly. That would fix everything.” Because that’s possibly impossible:
“We would all be happy again if I could just get back to having my normal prayer time.” This has always been interrupted; so:
“When Mom comes to babysit, I must leave the house immediately while I can escape, no matter how far my bangs are sticking out, and get some rejuvenation. Every. Week. No matter what.”
“Leave me alone! I’ll be so much better if I could just have some down time.”
Et cetera, et cetera.
Recently, much of the above was rumbling around in this foggy brain, taking up what’s left of my emotions and mental energy. When none of the above hopes becomes reality, week after week, I can become really disappointed, even to the point of feeling desperate for a nap, a prayer time, etc. And I realized that I couldn’t reliably rely on anything I’d been hoping for. Even if what I want to happen actually happens, such as spa night, it rarely produces exactly the results I desire. It’s a recipe for disappointment, with a side of resentment, and weariness to wash it all down.
Then I remembered the Lord’s words to me several years ago: “Hope in me.” When I heard this sentence in the hallway of my apartment, I was in a real pickle. I’d been doing everything I could for a few years to find a man to marry. I was praying for this, and finally it seemed that someone who I liked was returning interest. There was hope for me! Then, I learned he was soon to be engaged. “What?! How could this be, Lord? I thought my hope was real this time. It seemed well founded. I thought you were in this. I thought you wanted me to be married. We agreed that marriage is what I need. I had hope. I don’t want to hope any longer. Seems pointless.” And that’s when he said: “Hope in me.” I realized, with great clarity, that I’d hoped in an institution (marriage), and not in the only real constant in my life (God).
I think, sometimes, at the end of the day, Jesus closes down his computer, says good night to his co-workers, and walks home thinking, “Maybe tomorrow what I’ll try is hitting my sweet Mary Clare over the head with my words. Maybe then she’ll finally feel my presence and love.” I’m pretty sure something like that happened in the Trinity the night before, because that’s how clearly the message of “hope in me” came across. It woke me up and brought me into a closer relationship with the Lord. I wrote it on a post-it note and stuck it at eye level where I’d see it roughly 8x per day. “Hope in me. (hope in the Lord)” [PS: I added this parenthetical phrase so that the record would be straight on who “me” is if this note was discovered 80 years hence while someone is doing research to write my biography. Yes, I am a history dork with delusions of fame.]
But I digress. My point is that I heard the Lord again in a way that makes a nuts and bolts type of real difference in our daily life. For instance, when naps end way before I feel ready to plunge again into active kid care, I tell the Lord that I know he’s near, and I place all my hope in that. Then we go about doing whatever is needed in the house, in our relationships, in dinner prep, etc. I’ve realized that God is my hope. I rest in him. That’s pretty handy, since nothing else I’ve hoped in is quite as portable as Jesus.
As I write this I’m uncertain how to sum up. This is late breaking news, so perhaps there is no summary, at least not this week. I simple want to report that we’re much more peaceful navigating the bends in our daily road since I began hoping in the Lord.
May the road rise to meet you,