It was a dark and stormy night.
I've always wanted to type those words. Really. Haven't you? But I am going to be honest. I typed those words at 2:08 a.m. this morning. I did not want to be sitting in a chair in my family room typing those words at 2:08 a.m. with a storm raging outside my window. There were continuous flashes of lightning and before the room could grow dark again the thunder would boom so loudly that the wooden blinds would vibrate and buzz against the window panes. But even more than the storm raging outside the window, there was a storm raging in my soul. I could not quiet my mind. I had awakened when the first round of storms crossed over our home around 1:00 a.m. Here it was 2:08 and I was still awake. WIDE awake. I had tried my favorite middle of the night activity - the ABC prayer . . .have you ever done that one? You start with "A" and you pray for everyone in your life whose name begins with an "A" . . .then you move to "B" and so on . . .I hope I don't know anyone with a "Z" name because I rarely make it to "Z" . . .last night was an exception. Then I tried my next trick. I start saying over and over, "I will not think. I will not think. I will not think." Usually if I do that long enough, I fall asleep. Nothing worked last night. NOTHING. There were too many things running around in my head and heart.
My brother-in-law, Bill (husband's younger brother) had an accident at the local pool yesterday and had to be resuscitated and was spending the night in ICU (he is going to be fine and is probably at home by now) and I was thinking about that. I was thanking Jesus for good and very fast life guards. Bill has Parkinson's and I am so glad he is ok. Last night, our daughter, Laura, said, "we have to start telling Bill that we love him." Yes, yes, yes we do!!!!! I have a little tiny health problem - not a big deal but I was thinking about that. Mark and I had a heart to heart talk about some stuff last night and I was thinking about that conversation. I was thinking about the She Speaks 2013 conference. I was thinking about our upcoming weekend trip to a wedding and what I need to pack and what I need to do to get ready for Tuesday night group when I get back on Sunday. I was thinking about 30 years of marriage. I was thinking about my job and the construction going on at the church and the fact that I may move from my office to another office. My brain couldn't stop. It WOULD NOT STOP.
I started thinking of this scripture from Matthew 11:28-30 that someone read from The Message last week at the conference --
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
My first thought - remember it was after 2:00 a.m. was, "Lord, I am worn out. I am tired. I can't be all things to all people." The house was totally quiet EXCEPT for the rolling thunder. In between those loud bursts of thunder, I heard the tiniest whisper in my heart. Do you know what HE whispered? "Oh my child. You don't have to be all things to all people. That is my job!!!"
Do you know what I asked him? I am not kidding!! By this time, it was about three a.m. and I typed this and I am including my typo so you realize that I was indeed typing at three a.m. This is what I asked God. "If it is your job to be all things to all people, then why am I sitting here typing this at throw am?" (three a.m.) Do you know that after I typed that . . .I was able to go get back in bed . . .and I was able to go back to sleep. I had been up for hours at that point. I had worried and fretted and tried to solve everyone's problems including my own. But God said, "Oh my child. You don't have to be all things to all people. That is my job." Thanks be to God!!! The scripture above tells us that if we keep company with Christ that we will learn to live freely and lightly. We can learn the unforced rhythms of grace. We can watch and learn from Christ.
So today I sat down to copy and paste my notes from my phone into a blog post and then I attached my phone to my music player in my office . . .and touched the shuffle button . . . .and the very first song that started playing was "I will praise you in the storm."