Monday, January 3, 2011


The first hint of light through the roof window wakes me.  I roll over and check the clock.  6:56-nearly an hour later than I intended to wake up.  I'm already behind.  The battle inside begins.  My mind's insistence that it's time to get something accomplished takes on my body's weariness and propensity to give in and go back to sleep.  After all, I've already pretty much slept through my early morning window of time to do something productive (read, pray, run, etc.); what's 10 more minutes?

My mind wins out.  I go downstairs and try to put myself together in the bathroom.  I creep, I slip, I stay in the dark.  The bathroom is next to my children's bedroom, and I don't want them to hear me or see me.  My son walks into the unlit bathroom.  He announces that he's ready to start his day, and walks toward the stairway.  Little sister cries because her partner and protector has left the room.  I give in and carry her downstairs.  The onslaught of questions and requests begins.  It's 7:10, and I already feel as though I've lost today's battles.  I feel beaten-down, defeated.

Well-acquainted with these feelings of defeat, I'm upset that this morning isn't going as planned.  But I think it's more than just this morning's losses that weigh heavily on my body and my mind.  And it's more than just this morning that hasn't gone as planned.  Maybe that's why my son's request for a second breakfast evokes an angry response.  I'm not happy, and I'm honestly not sure how to fix myself this time.  I feel confused and tired and ashamed.  I have everything a girl could want: a handsome and loving husband, two healthy and beautiful children, a warm home, plentiful food and clothing.  Why do I feel this way?  Where did I go wrong, and how do I get back on the right path?

I want a formula.  An engineer by training, I'm comfortable with questions that have definitive answers, with problems that can be remedied.  I've tried what I know to do, but my efforts to fix myself (i.e. if I can just find the right fill-in-the-blank, then I will be happy) aren't working this time.  I know I should be grateful for this opportunity to depend on God.  But honestly, most days I'd rather depend on myself.

I am reminded of some promises in Isaiah 35: that those with fearful hearts have reason to have courage, that the voiceless will break into song, that streams will flow in the desert, that it's impossible to get lost on God's road.  The battle may not be pretty, but I'm hoping these promises will help me to rise throw off my burdens and enemies, to be victorious in today's fights.

 1-2 Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower—
Like the crocus in spring, bursting into blossom,
   a symphony of song and color.
Mountain glories of Lebanon—a gift.
   Awesome Carmel, stunning Sharon—gifts.
God's resplendent glory, fully on display.
   God awesome, God majestic.
 3-4Energize the limp hands,
   strengthen the rubbery knees.
Tell fearful souls,
   "Courage! Take heart!
God is here, right here,
   on his way to put things right
And redress all wrongs.
   He's on his way! He'll save you!"
 5-7Blind eyes will be opened,
   deaf ears unstopped,
Lame men and women will leap like deer,
   the voiceless break into song.
Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness,
   streams flow in the desert.
Hot sands will become a cool oasis,
   thirsty ground a splashing fountain.
Even lowly jackals will have water to drink,
   and barren grasslands flourish richly.
 8-10There will be a highway
   called the Holy Road.
No one rude or rebellious
   is permitted on this road.
It's for God's people exclusively—
   impossible to get lost on this road.
   Not even fools can get lost on it.
No lions on this road,
   no dangerous wild animals—
Nothing and no one dangerous or threatening.
   Only the redeemed will walk on it.
The people God has ransomed
   will come back on this road.
They'll sing as they make their way home to Zion,
   unfading halos of joy encircling their heads,
Welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness
   as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night. (Isaiah 35:1-10, The Message)

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