This little word has been floating back and forth through my mind like that little cartoon bubble that floats over Charlie Brown’s head wherever he goes. I have heard this little word softly spoken to me for the last few months. Respite, an interval of rest or relief, this is how Webster defines my new little bubble that continues to remind me of this much needed time that I have entered.
A new season of my life. New beginnings, new roads to travel, adventures to discover and a time of quiet reflection while I find rest, rejuvenation and hope to make the most, the best of my life.
For more than ten years some member of my immediate family has faced serious health issues that have absorbed much of my waking moments. It has been the bubbles of fear, of “what if”, of sadness that have hovered over my every step, like dark threatening thunder clouds.
Every life has their difficult times, every life has seasons of fear, of sorrow, of questioning the unknown. These seasons cannot be avoided. One must put them on, wear them, own them, as there is no hedging life and the emotions that come when loving deeply.
So I have traveled some rocky, steep roads. I have known what it is to have a broken heart, and grieve beyond what I ever imagined. I have also known what it is to have my greatest fears vanish and turn into amazing miracles. I am realizing that after these years of emotional disquietude, I have come to a season, an interval of rest and relief. I am thankful beyond measure for the time of respite, and I am trying to be content in simply resting in this place that I know is a gift from God.
Last October, Brooke came to me about attending a Women’s Retreat. As we made plans to attend we thought how great the retreat could be if we included some of Brooke’s high school friends and their moms, who were also my good friends. So our retreat week-end began this past Friday evening. Five of us moms and seven of our daughters joined about 150 other women for a really incredible two days of being spiritually fed and renewed. My respite took on new meaning and I am grateful for this opportunity to share my faith, my prayers, my heart’s greatest desires with not only my sweet dear friends, but even more, to share this time with my precious daughter. What a gift.
I have been guilty this past year, feeling that I should be doing something of worth, something beyond myself, something that will broaden me, that will take me out of my comfort zone and hopefully, allow me to help someone else. I have wrestled with writing a book, which seems insurmountable to me. I have questioned this feeling of being, directionless, unsettled, feeling not quite sure where my compass is pointing.
“Respite” floats through my mind, but have I been content in resting, waiting, being patient in enjoying the present?
My family’s lake home continues to hold such sweet memories for me. I, somehow became the designated boat driver and waterskiing instructor of the family. I taught each of my nieces and nephews and my own small children to ski.
The children began this sport at a very young age. Acting as their teacher, I would stand above them from deck of the boat. I would watch them flapping and splashing about in the water. They would exert all their energy wrestling with keeping their skis straight, struggling to keep the ski tips out of the water. Once it seemed they had gotten their bearings, I would slowly circle the boat around them, the ski rope would trail behind. It never failed that each child would reach way beyond their grasp to try and grab the rope’s handle. Inevitably, the skis would flip over, taking their body with them as they gulped mouths full of lake water. All I could see from my boat perspective was a fountain of splashing water, arms flailing, dramatic choking sounds and skis flying all over the surface of the water. All of this lost energy was due to the fact they had lost their center. They had to right themselves again and resume the skier posture and take a deep breath and refocus.
My encouragement would be the same with every child. Be still and allow the rope to come to you. I would tell them that I could steer the rope right into their hands. There was no need to struggle, there was no need to expend all this energy grasping for something so unnecessarily difficult. I would tell them to wait, to watch for the rope coming their way and, when the time was right, they could simply reach out, easily take hold of the rope that was waiting at the end of their fingertips, grab hold and enjoy the thrill of learning how to skim over the water. Eventually they would be able to cut through the wakes of the boat, to fly back and forth across the smooth surface of the lake, knowing that I would steer them safely through the waters and enable them to simply enjoy.
This week-end, I became that first-time skier all over again. I heard the instructions coming from the orchestrator of my life. Janet, stop flailing about. Regain your bearings, and stop expending so much needless energy. Quit trying to reach for something too quickly. Be still, I am God, I am enough. My perspective is higher than yours. I will steer you through this obstacle course of life. I will bring you your rope. I will take you to the places beyond your reach. I will allow you to skim through the waters of your life. Keep your eyes on me, listen to me, I will encourage you and I will take you to places you never dreamed possible.
I believe I am right where God intends for me to be. To realize that this little bubble word “Respite” is floating around in my head not by accident, but purposefully to remind me this is my season to sit, to restore my energy, to be intentional about resting until God brings that rope right into the palms of my hands.
For what’s it’s worth,
Isaiah 48:17 “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.