Sabbath Rest

At times, my counseling sessions can be intense and hard, both emotionally and physically exhausting. As I remember more and more of the horrible events of my “blackout years,” I feel psychologically drained and bodily taxed. When this happens, I sometimes neglect my journal and my writing. Then, when I don’t write, I don’t get to release all those feelings about what I am going through.

As I write this devotional, it is Easter, but I do not feel up to the holiday season. I am struggling still with who I am as a person, and just coasting through my life. On a typical day, I rise early, have a short devotion, walk with a friend, spend a few moments with my husband, drive my sister-in-law to work, have breakfast with my daughter, clean up the kitchen, do some chores, and take a shower. By the time I get myself ready to face the day, it is time for lunch! So I have lunch with my husband and daughter, and clean up the kitchen—again. On paper, this routine does not look like much, but it wears me out. I am always ready for a nap after lunch, but I rarely get one.

This month in particular has been filled with so many medical appointments, crises, special events, and chores that I hardly have the time to think or breathe. In particular, I recently received the disturbing news that I have a mass in my breast and need a biopsy. I have peace about this situation, but it nevertheless weighs on my mind and heart. Yesterday, I spent the entire afternoon on the couch. I could barely move. Eventually, I picked up a book and decided to read a few pages before cooking supper.

Those few pages addressed the subject of Sabbath rest, a time for sitting still before God and resting in Him. Later that night, I glanced through a few pages of my Guideposts magazine, and the one story that drew my attention was about having a Sabbath rest. Wow. God did it again. So I thought, “Okay, God, what about this Sabbath rest thing? What do you want me to do?” But before I got my answer, life happened.

My biopsy was scheduled for a Thursday, and on the preceding Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday my days were filled from morning to bedtime. When Thursday arrived, my life came to a screeching halt. Having the biopsy forced me to stop and rest for a little while, to sit at home and not to move, to be still and to listen for what God had for me to hear. As I listened, I heard the comforting message that He is in control, whether the mass is benign or malignant. (It is benign, by the way, but I had to wait from Thursday to the next Monday to get the pathology report.) In the meantime I was to rest in Him and to give Him all of the what-ifs that were trying to creep into my brain.

On the second day after the procedure, when I removed one of the bandages and took my first shower, I realized how far I had come concerning my body and medical check-ups where it was necessary for me to undress. I was very anxious, but I was not wearing that “I have been molested” badge, so therefore “I freak out if anyone sees or touches me.” That epiphany was great news to me. I thanked God that He had removed that apprehension from my life; I no longer become a basket case when I have a mammogram. I never expected to cross that hurdle, but in reality I had jumped cleanly over it and won that race with flying colors.

The other lesson that God showed me was that my husband and daughter love me to the extreme. Lately, I had felt unloved and unappreciated, losing myself because I was doing so much for the two of them. My husband’s job had become demanding, and I felt as if I were in second place in his life. Plus, all of my daughter’s medical issues had worn me out. But my dear husband and daughter rose to the occasion, doing my chores and waiting on me while I recuperated. What a gift!

God showed me that I need to practice this Sabbath rest more often. He used an urgent medical issue to make me slow down and stop, and now I am thankful that He did. God taught me to rest. Like the women who went to Jesus’ tomb to prepare his body for burial, but were forced to wait before they could accomplish their goal, I too had to abide by the instructions that God gives us in Luke 23:56b: “And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (NASB). 

I still have biopsy results to hear, I still have a busy husband, I still have a daughter with her own medical challenges, but I can walk so much easier now, because I have rested. Do you need a Sabbath rest, too? Do you need to stop and let God take over? Don’t wait until your life goes crazy. Plan your Sabbath rest now. Oh, the marvelous things that God will reveal to you when you step aside and wait. I would not have recognized and rejoiced over the victories in my life if I had not taken a Sabbath rest. Isn’t God good?

Blessings – Lisa

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