fifth sunday (monday?) of lent

I’ve tried it every night so far. After the house picking up, the teeth brushing, and the baby checking.

While I nurse my sweet almost-six-month-old (!), I whisper the words as many times as it takes.

“Be still and know that I am God.” 

I feel my muscles relax as I move deeper into prayer.

Be still and know.

I go through my day with thank-you’s. Sometimes I make it to breakfast before I doze. Sometimes to lunch. Sometimes I pick up at lunch and make it to naptime.

One night I find that I have prayed throughout the night. With my baby’s hungry cries, I wake up to prayer and fall asleep to prayer and by morning find that I have completed what I hoped for. And even though my body is tired, my spirit feels refreshed.

I sit at the dining room table. It’s naptime. My one chance during the day to accomplish something. Phoebe won’t settle and I can feel the frustration shortening the distance between my shoulders and my ears. This always happens.

I heave an exasperated sigh, for my own sake, since no one else can hear it and stomp to my bedroom, loud enough to satisfy my frustration, but quiet enough to keep from disturbing my toddler.

And I see her, my baby. Waving her right arm and looking around.

And I hear an invitation to rest and joy and thanksgiving.

And I scoop that little baby up in my arms and sit on the edge of my bed.

Be still and know that I am God. 

Be still. 

Slowly, purposefully, I move through the previous four hours. My right arm cradles her soft head and my left hand pats her bottom.  As her breathing slows and her hands relax, I am naming the things and the people who have filled my morning and I am saying thank you. I move to the emotions of the day, looking closely at joy, sorrow, anger, frustration, and grief. I repent of an attitude that isn’t gracious or patient. I pray the truth of the gospel over my impatient attitude and my ungracious heart. I thank Him for grace. I ask him for patience. I ask to be a channel of grace.

My babiest daughter is sleeping now. I can feel the full weight of her in my arms.  I thank him for gifts again and ask that the moments of my afternoon be different than the broken moments of my morning. That he will teach me to walk in more light. That I will live in more grace.

And I walk out of that room while both my girls are sleeping. And it’s like that space between my ears and my shoulders spread right back out. And even though I’ve lost minutes I am filled. Even though I have not slept, I am rested.

Oh, I have been so far from perfect at it. Sometimes the space I make is much smaller than I intended. Sometimes sleep steals over me much earlier than I would like. Sometimes toddler cries interrupt my gratitude. Sometimes I hear sharp words come flying out right on the heels of my prayer. But even in this imperfect and broken faithfulness, Jesus keeps right on meeting me. Right on hearing me. Right on loving me. Coming right on into the space in my day, no matter how tiny, and changing me. In prayer I am learning to really live. And it is an abundant life.

His yoke is easy and his burden is light. 

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