Rest for the Ladened

Just when I began to think he’s coped so well with visitors yesterday—and with knowing Christmas is tomorrow—then the meltdown begins: rage, punches thrown. And once again I’m at home with him. Missing church. Separate from the rest of the family. I sense the sadness he feels at missing out on church—and yet the relief that he has the morning to regroup and quieten down: an oasis in a busy and sensory stimulating world.

In some ways it’s an oasis for me too as I begin to reflect.

Today I’m reflecting on a verse in Matthew…

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest (11:28).

Another translation defines it ‘heavy ladened’. That is me to a tee. I am weary, burdened, heavy ladened. I am bone weary, yet there is no time to crash. If I do, my family falls apart and that can not happen. And so I push through. This verse tells me that Jesus promises rest. What does that look like, how do I get it? Is He going to get up to my vomiting baby every night or clean my 8 year old’s bottom when he’s had an accident for the 100th time? I don’t think that’s how it works, so what is this rest? Because, man, I want some!

That is me to a tee. I am weary, burdened, heavy ladened. I am bone weary, yet there is no time to crash.

I guess the first words of verse 28 should be my first clue: “Come to me.” Come to me … turn your eyes away from the world … who it says you should be … what it says you should do. Just sit and look at Jesus. Sit at His feet like Mary did. Drink in His beauty. Look into the face of the One who gave His life so that you might have life everlasting.

As I do that, I find there is a sense of joy, of knowing how deeply I am loved and then suddenly a huge sense of unworthiness. I bring so much mess, sadness, and selfishness to this meeting—yet Jesus looks upon me with mercy and grace. The tears flow as I come to Him because I not only feel unworthy to sit before Him, but more astoundingly, I also feel His love.

Yet it doesn’t end there.

Take my yoke upon you and learn of 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.

That’s what I need, not just physical rest but rest for my soul! My exhaustion is so great that even my soul feels heavy. Jesus says to take His yoke upon us: take off the heavy one the world puts on you and wear mine. Jesus says His yoke is “easy and light.” That sounds good to me. Perhaps part of that light yoke is resting in the knowledge that our God is sovereign. All things are in His hands and we can trust Him for our future, our present, and even our past. I don’t have to work it all out; I don’t have to plan for my little guy’s future and worry about when the aggression will get too much for our family or what we will do when he’s 18 and wants to go out into the world as an “adult”. Jesus wants to carry all of that so that my burden is light, so I’m not so bone weary.

Jesus says His yoke is “easy and light.” That sounds good to me. Jesus wants to carry all of that so that my burden is light, so I’m not so bone weary.

But He’s still not done with me; “learn of me”. Perhaps my weariness is so deep and heavy because I’m not spending enough time learning of him? How can I rest in Him if I don’t spend time with him? I spend too much time shooting up arrow prayers and not enough time resting in the knowledge that He is God. Arrow prayers aren’t enough—not enough to sustain. It’s like having bites out of a protein bar here and there: good for you; but not enough to sustain long term. A good hearty meal is essential for long term health. Likewise, good chunks of time with Jesus are needed to bring the rest we all need. Not only do we physically rest during that time, but more significantly, we recharge our soul.

The years ahead in my parenting and fostering journey are going to be hard, there is no doubt about that. It is the reality of the broken and sinful world we live in. But I have to find a way to get rest, in all its aspects or the other reality is, I’ll never make it.


Photo: pexels.com

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