The past few months have stretched me thin. I battle round and round with sickness. The exhaustion of body also brings exhaustion of mind and spirit. Mornings are rough. It is a complicated dance to nurture my body into functioning some mornings. It is an even more complicated dance to change the negative thoughts in my mind and the discouragement in my heart. I will myself out of bed. I make a hot cup of water with lemon. I sit in silence and pray for the day to come. I usually beg for grace and patience and energy. I can only ask for one day at a time since I never know what each day will bring. I crack open my Bible and search for God’s promises to me. I am reading through the New Testament and I find so much comfort right now in following the life of Jesus. His words touch my heart. Then I crack open my journal. I write. Sometimes tears fall.
I continue to battle as the day continues. This book lies open on the kitchen counter and I make my eyes look for gifts. To notice the ways God is loving me. I keep music on in the background. A Pandora station runs almost constantly and sometimes I will stop, hear the words, revel in the music, worship for a moment. Many times the music will soothe my soul, stop the grumbling, help me hold back the harsh words. I send text messages to friends. Sometimes the messages beg for prayer. Sometimes the messages are encouragement for friends. It lifts my heart to pray for a friend.
As evening comes and the boys head for bed, I usually take a bath. I have started the habit of taking these few moments to relax my body and try to relax my mind. Sometimes I watch a mindless sitcom on Netflix. Sometimes I read a book. I am learning not to feel guilty about taking this time for myself. Taking this time to be alone gives me energy to connect with my husband at the end of the day, to be present with him. And I have learned to ask him to pray over me on the days that the battle has been especially hard. His prayers over me always bring renewed courage and hope.
A few years ago someone sang the song You Are Good by Nicole Nordeman. Some of the lyrics have been playing over and over again in my head the past few months:
When it’s dark and it’s cold and I can’t feel my soul
You are so good
When the world has gone gray and the rain’s here to stay
You are still good
So with every breath I take in
I’ll tell you I’m grateful again
And the storm may swell even then it is well
You are good
Sometimes I just can’t feel my soul. But I know the One who loves me. And like our friend the cardinal, who flits bright through the gray winterscape, I feel the moments of encouragement and joy that break through. And I battle on, knowing that those moments will get longer and spring and light and warmth will come again.