(NOTE: This was written last month, posted now.)
Well, I did it again. My husband and I were supposed to watch a movie last night after we got the kids in bed, but I fell asleep before we even picked one out. That may be a new record, even for me.
It’s a running joke in my family that I fall asleep every time we watch a movie. And it’s getting harder to defend myself when I keep proving everyone right. All I can hear in my head is the nasally voice of a young Brittney Spears singing “Oops, I did it again…” The really really young Brittney. The semi-innocent one. Before the cameo in Austin Powers, before the kids, the shaved head, and the very scary comeback attempt. I’m envisioning my college roommates now, bobbing their heads in agreement. If you were in school around the turn of the century, you know exactly what I mean.
Last night, I apparently fell asleep around 7:30, just moments after promising my husband I was “only going to close my eyes for thirty minutes.” I sincerely meant it. But he knows better; no matter how good my intentions, Brad knows that’s code for “Good luck waking me up to move me to the bed. Get a bulldozer or leave me where I land.” I remember waking up about two hours later, snuggly curled in my favorite oversized chair in the living room, wrapped in a thin fleece blanket. I never stood a chance; with that combo, I set myself up for failure. My first thought was “Oh, shoot. I was supposed to call my mom an hour ago.” My second was, “I wonder if I can make it to the back before I’m out again.”
Everything after that is a little fuzzy, but it seems I made it to bed without too much incident. When I woke up this morning, it was 7:30 am. 12 hours?!? I haven’t slept like that since before I had kids.
My oldest is almost seven.
The funny thing is, I didn’t even realize I was all that sleepy until I finally let myself lie down and rest. Those are usually the times I sleep the hardest though. I’d been burning the candle at both ends, with teaching and (GAG!) standardized testing going on, taking care of my own three boys, five– COUNT THEM FIVE– t-ball games this week for the six-year-old, and just Life in general. And I was tired. But I’m the Mom. That’s just what Moms do. You keep going because most of life falls under that category in our contract that reads “And other duties as assigned.” Apparently I was really tired. And I’m so thankful for my insightful husband who let me rest! Because although I woke up at 7:30, I can’t pretend the 7 month old didn’t set his usual alarm for a 5:30am snack.
Physically, I just needed some rest. And thank God I got it! (Literally. The first words I thought after such awesome sleep were “Thank. You. God!”) When I am worn out, I can count on the fact that eventually there will come a time when I can find relief. It’s not usually as quick to come as I’d like, but I’ve learned God knows just how much I can take. Then He seems to always provide a way out.
It reminds me of the old school Pac-Man game. (It hurts a bit that I have to refer to that classic game as old school. But it must be said that I teach 13 and 14 year olds, and bless their hearts! Some of them need a visual to realize who Pac-Man is exactly.) Back in the day, I was a master of that game! I remember my mom taught an English course on Tuesday nights at the two-year college where she’s long been employed. My dad would take my sister and I to Pizza Inn on Tuesdays for dinner. I can still hear him responding to my mother when she would ask what he had fed us the night before. Never having developed a very plausible poker-face, he’d chuckle, “Well, I cooked… and Pizza Inn helped.”
The restaurant I remember so fondly had the table-set Pac-Man. Where two players would sit on each side of the table, facing each other armed with their own joystick control. The video game screen was positioned flat under the glass table-top. My sister and I were forever bumping heads in the middle as we would both crane our necks closer and closer to the screen, no matter whose turn it was to play. I was the younger sister– and this caused a ton of friction– but I DOMINATED that game! Because I quickly figured out the key to beating the levels. Pac-Man was always allowed one escape route. When he was surrounded by ghosts or being chased around those corners where you tried to eat the big bullets and buy some time while the ghosts blinked on and off, there was always a split second he could escape if you were quick enough to find it and move out of the way. Sometimes I feel like God works the same way. He’ll always provide a way out.
The same holds true emotionally and spiritually as well. He’s still my out. When my heart is plain worn out, the Lord provides rest. When my soul fears it lacks the strength to hold on, the Lord provides rest. I heard evangelist Angela Thomas say once that unlike us moms, God doesn’t need a nap to be a better God. And thank goodness! We can find rest in Him because He never tires. Even more amazing, I’ve learned, is that there have been so many times that He was meeting my needs long before I ever asked Him to, sometimes before I even realized I needed Him to.
With that, I’ve learned that hindsight is 20/20. There are many instances I can look back on and think “Oh! That’s what God was doing then.” In the midst of the situation, I often couldn’t see the forest for the trees. But God was indeed at work in me. And for me.
When I start to feel tired– physically, emotionally, or spiritually– I can remember that the Lord won’t give me more than I can handle. Rest will come. I can also remember that even though I may not be able to see the big picture now, God is likely already at work meeting my needs and fulfilling His purpose.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”