Seven years ago, in the Spring of 2012, God began a very profound work in my life. I was a busy mum to three children – Samuel and Lydia, our twins, were nine, and Grace our youngest was seven.
Life seemed to be a constant cycle of school runs and birthday parties, and endless piles of laundry, reaching to the moon. (Admittedly, my laundry baskets are still not that different, but hey ho!) At that time, our means of a second income was renting out one of our bedrooms to foreign students who attended a Local School of English. This was really fun at times, and we met lots of lovely young people from all over the globe. But it also meant that our three kids had to share a bedroom. It looked like a tornado had gone through it most days. They would mess around like anything at bedtime, and it would drive me nuts! Nathan and I felt like constant referees, sorting out endless squabbles and disputes. By nine oclock in the evening, I was pooped. If the kids weren’t yet asleep, (which was normally the case) I felt cheated out of my evening. I desperately CRAVED me-time. I was a loving mum, and I gave out literally all I could, yet I still regularly felt like I was missing the mark. And I was pregnant with our fourth child.
Here’s a completely unedited extract from my diary back then:
Lately I have been accutely aware of my need of God – for His Holy Spirit to clothe me with power from on High. I do not face a battle in the literal sense, as David and so many of the Old Testament heroes did. But sometimes I feel as a mother, trying to bring up three rather spirited children, as if the task is way beyond my natural ability. I can have those days when I would rather be curled up reading a book than facing the demands of parenting! At times I can be lazy and slow to discipline, grumpy, impatient and short-tempered. Sometimes I feel as if the kids are running rings around me. Sometimes you would wonder which of us was the adult! Sometimes I feel so flustered when they argue back, or blame their sibling. At times I don’t know whether I’m making the right call. Sometimes I yell at the kids, when really I’m just mad at myself for my own lack of conviction and authority. I’m reminded today that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to spend time with His Father. Ok, so Jesus wasn’t a mother like me. But He knew what it was like to have scores of people demanding of Him, and crowds pressing in on Him all the time. If He needed to do that, then how much more do I?
Can anyone relate?
I began to sense the Lord stirring me to study the Psalms in great detail – in fact, I felt He wanted me to study them line by line and precept by precept. It felt like a beautiful invitation to come and feast at a table laden with good things:
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30
But I knew there would be a cost. I knew that if I was EVER going to consistently read my bible, then it would mean getting up early, before anybody else, because frankly, once everyone else was awake, the craziness of life just took over. I had a choice to make. It was hard. I was weary. I liked to sleep. I really liked to sleep. Getting up in the morning was a struggle for me.
But I needed God’s word. I needed the supernatural rest that Jesus describes above. I was desperately thirsty for God’s word.
On 16th May, 2012 I made up my mind. I set my alarm clock for 6am. I placed the alarm clock across the other side of the room so that I would have to physically GET OUT OF BED to turn it off. I resisted the urge to hit snooze and dive back into bed.
I forced myself down the stairs, and moments later, sat down at my dining room table with a cup of tea and an open notebook. And in the peaceful stillness of the morning, I opened my bible to Psalm 1, and began to read.
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season. And its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does he prospers.Psalm 1:1-3
Something cried out within me when I read those words. Boy, did I want to be like that tree! I mean, who wouldn’t? Those words stirred up such a hunger in me. I knew when I read them that God had a far better way for me. That morning was a milestone. A watershed. It altered my life profoundly. Psalm 1 was like a gate-way for me. A gate-way into refreshment. A gate-way into peace. A gate-way down a path of righteousness that led to me to greener pastures and stiller waters.
I’d like to invite you through the same gate today. I’ll be writing a series of posts called Journey Through the Psalms. I’ll post as often as I can.
What scriptures have encouraged you during times of struggle? I’d love to hear from you.