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A Break

Overwhelm. I've been feeling it.

All the things to do. All the people depending on me. All the people I love. All the burdens I carry in my mind for others. All the hard things.

All the noise. All the sibling rivalry. All the rough playing. All the school papers. All the activities. All the chaos of raising four young men.

Sometimes, I feel like I can't get a deep breath. In fact, my three year old has added to his dinnertime prayer, "Thank you for Mommy to breathe." (That's how he words his requests with a thank you, not a please, which I love. I know it's just his young mixed-up sentence formation, but presenting a request with thankfulness before it's answered is a beautiful way to pray!)

Lately, when my kiddos ask me questions, the words feel like they get stuck in my throat, like I can't form the answer. So many questions! And sometimes, I just want to be quiet. I just want to rest in my own mind.

I mentioned this to a dear friend, and she said, "It sounds like you just need a break." To which, we laughed because we are both busy mamas of four. How do we get a break? What does that look like?

The next day, I spent time with my mentor friend. This is a woman who invests in me, prays for me, loves me in all my messiness. Later, she sent me a message, prefacing it with "this is a shot in the dark," but asking if I could ever get away overnight during the week. I responded that it would be hard but not impossible. She invited me to stay in her guest room while her husband was away for business. My heart yearned to accept the generous invitation, while my mind was swarming with details about school nights of football practice, homework, and dinner.

I discussed it with my hubby, and he fully supported the idea. I decided I could get away just for the evening. but the night before, God impressed it on me to take up the offer to stay overnight.

My mentor friend planned a truly amazing girls' sleepover for me. We went for a walk, rested on chairs on her patio and talked, ate Chinese takeout and chocolate fondue, had all my favorite snacks, and watched a chick flick. She shared a brief devotion with me. We prayed together. I read a book while soaking in her huge tub (in silence!). She had placed a gift bag of goodies on the bed for me.

We laughed. I cried a little.

I rested. I reset. I refreshed.

It was a break. It was a retreat. It was a respite. Her home was an oasis, It was what my heart desperately longed for.

I felt so loved, so cared for, so seen, so understood.

While soaking in that big deep tub, with the scent of candles surrounding me (not urine like I smell surrounding me at home when I take a bath... remember, 4 boys!), I thought, I can never repay this kindness. And in my soul, I felt God impress on me, That's the point. You can't ever repay this kindness. And you can't repay me either. So you can stop trying.

Some of my overwhelm is simply due to being in this stage of life with my children, but some of it still stems from my desire to be worthy of God's love, to "pay him back" for sending His Son to die for me. And you know what? I can't, and I'm not supposed to. Just like my mentor friend doesn't want me to try to pay back her kindness, and I really couldn't even if I tried.

My debt is paid. I am set free. God's love impels me to walk closely with Him, and as I do that, my heart and my life are transformed, but there is nothing I need to do to keep His love. He loves me because He loves me. Yes, He loves me. I can rest in His love.

Truly my soul finds rest in God;

my salvation comes from Him.

Truly He is my rock and my salvation;

He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2

I have been led to study the topic of rest lately, and it has been so good. I know there are practical steps to help with the overwhelm of this stage in life, but there is also a lot being worked out in my heart right now, as I seek God to rest in Him even in the chaotic moments of life.

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:7-9

How does rest look for you? How do you get a break in whatever season of life you're in right now? Are you in a place in life that you could bless another woman with a night of rest?

Things I have done in the past to get a break that may work for you too:

Walking with friends

Breakfast with friends

Card/game nights with other couples (while our kids play)

Solo walk in the woods

Solo bike or motorcycle rides

Moms' Night Out of fun with friends

Monthly date nights

Annual getaway trip with the hubby

Ladies' retreats

God has also been showing me moments during the day to take a break and just breathe with Him. It doesn't always have to be a big break. Little breaks are worthwhile too!

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