By Krystal Woods
Pounding heartbeat after pounding heartbeat it builds. I can feel it rising from my toes each time my soles hit the floor today. My breath is getting shorter and tighter in my chest and I can feel myself getting closer and closer to losing it.
Have you ever been there?
Been to a place where you could feel the imaginary threads of your sanity unraveling second by second. It can be a variety of situations, scenarios, relationships and people that bring you to this brink of madness. The point is that we all have experienced this winding up and pressure cooker from within.
That’s where I was on this Monday evening. From the moment my tired feet landed on the floor, I knew I was running thin and the trajectory of my day was not going to allow for a lot of down time. I had spent time with the Lord early in the day, but now it felt like that was 1,000 years ago so I was in trouble!
So you may ask, “What had me so wound up?” My life on a typical day can make me lose my mind, but lately it was a whole new set of circumstances that have me running thin. We have had the enormous honor of taking in a sweet little foster friend (more posts about this blessing to come!) and so we have now have 5 children in the house! That’s 7 people total and that feels like a lot me. It is a lot. Kuddos to big families, multiple dishwasher loads a day, and running out of bread every 36 hours! It is awesome!
Really, in all seriousness, my husband and I have taken on the challenge like champs and have enjoyed 86% of the moments! What you might be missing still from the picture is social workers and home visits and bonding visits. Basically, when Monday came along, there had been 10 days of someone visiting our house every day. I was wore out! And let’s not even talk about how many times I vacuumed, that’s another post for another day!
Zion, our 4 year old, was still trying to figure out if we had opened our home to a toy stealing, drink cup swiping, crayon writing on the wall terrorist on purpose or if he had snuck in through the back door while we slept. In the end he decided our little friend must have snuck in and it was time to prepare for battle. So battle it had been for 10 days. There were moments where peace reigned, they lasted about 5 minutes, mainly when the glare coming out of my bloodshot eyes was scary enough to withhold the passion of crime fighting. Then my eyes would grow tired (don’t judge me) and the truce was off. Round and round it would go again! Of course while these battles are occurring, there is still laundry, cooking and cleaning to be done for 7 people, 7! Around here we have standards, we can have warriors on the lose but they cannot be naked, skinny, or dirty! We just won’t go that low!
So I’m thinking you’re getting the picture. It was nuts around here and I was about to fall into a pit of despair and raise a white flag. I could hear it though, pushing past all the battle cries and hunger pains, a still small voice. My first response to this whisper is, “I know. I can feel it too. I need to get away from here.” I place full dinner plates on the table and yet again the whisper comes. It rolls over my spirit like soothing waters saying, “Come away with me.” We get through dinner and our little foster friend is waving his hands up at me saying, “Clean hands.” He is asking me, in his way, to wash the dirty and sticky off his hands from dinner. Yes! My soul is bouncing around in my chest screaming, “Clean hands! I need clean hands” My hands, today, have wiped tears, written in my prayer journal, changed diapers, put socks on little feet, found socks for big feet, checked blood sugars, delved out nourishment and love and care and they are DIRTY. Dirty from good work and dirty from losing my cool. I feel it now, no longer a whisper- the need to be with my Father. I need to be alone with my Father. I want to hear the song He is singing over me; I want to feel the warmth of His delight in me (Zephaniah 3:17). I must get to my Father. I tell my husband I need to get groceries (we were out of bread again) and God bless him greatly, he tells me to go. He will handle the kids.
I don’t wait. With every exhale my lungs are craving some wind from the Spirit to breathe. With every pulse of blood through the chambers of my heart, I can feel the remembrance of the Man who let his pulse stop for me.
I grab my purse, bible, and my journal and my feet are bouncing off the concrete to my car with the rhythm of, “I need to be with my Father.”
I need to be with my Father.
I need to be with my Father.
I turn the worship music on louder than ambulance sirens… I know, not good, and yet so good. I sing at the top of my lungs, alternating hands lifted for the next 10 minutes. Our local grocery store is located right next to a Dunkin Donuts so I grab some coffee. Remember the “no judgment” thing I mentioned earlier?! I park and I sit. And it’s quiet and I can hear my Father. I had to get away from the noise to hear Him. And hear Him I do. He reminds me of who I am, His beloved daughter. He reminds me of the strength I possess through Christ, my most faithful friend. He speaks about how Jesus is interceding right now on my behalf (Romans 8:34). We speak of the Holy Spirit, the comforter, who is here with me now and teaching me things and bringing remembrance of things to my mind (John 14:26). We spend a full hour together in the parking lot of Giant and I am renewed.
I cannot tell you enough, friends, that He is so faithful to meet with us. Whether in our houses or somewhere else if we are able to escape for a bit. It is in the quieting of our souls that we can still hear that small voice. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16).” If Jesus is our example of how to live this must be part of it. Lonely places. Places where all of life’s distractions are seemingly far and the only view is our lovely Lord. He will meet you there and wipe away the dirt of the day. He will set you back on your feet and fill you with rest and hope. I pray, friends, that today you meet Him somewhere quiet and lonely so that it is you and Him and nothing else. I pray you hear the song that He is singing over you so loudly that it becomes the drumbeat of your life.