I’m familiar with the sound now.
Bleeeeeep. Bleep bleep!
Yep. Another winter storm warning up here on the mountain.
My husband and I are used to being stuck inside our house for a couple days (except to go check on our flock of chickens, who do not appreciate the weather, like, at all). We build a fire, make soup and wait for the storm to pass.
But this time was different. Different because our summer had been so different.
The Caldor wildfire in California started about a mile from our house. For three weeks, we were evacuees waiting for the status of our house to be declared “safe,” “damaged” or “destroyed.” While over 700 homes in our town were in the “destroyed” category, we were grateful to personally lose only about 2 acres of forest to this devastating fire.
Our house had survived the summer fire, so we weren’t scared of a little (or even big) winter storm warning.
But what we didn’t factor in were the burn scars.
After a devastating fire, you are left with burn scars. These are the places on the landscape that are without trees or bushes or really anything for rain to soak into. With all those burn scars, we were in danger of flooding, which we’d never worried about before the fire.
So we went back, again, into prepping mode. Always being ever vigilant. Always being on guard.
After the past two years of alarming news cycles being played on repeat, I know I personally have some burn scars I am tending to as well.
My husband and I have lost loved ones. Some to COVID-19. Others to the fallout of a divided nation. We came within moments of losing our home. We both had medical emergencies. We had business failings.
Right now, life is much better. And we are grateful.
But those scars keep making themselves known.
When I brush against the memory of those who have died or whose friendships I’ve lost, the pain is real, and it’s stinging.
When I think about the fires and how we almost lost our house, I can hardly believe the feelings that arise. Why do I still get emotional about the fires when we are fine?
Shouldn’t I just be able to carry on with my life, moving forward in the ways that I want to and feel called to? But instead, I am tired.
I am bone-achingly exhausted.
Just like those scars on our land, we all have scars from the past couple years that are still in the process of healing. And healing, my friend? Is exhausting.
When Jesus was talking about healing, about those of us who are exhausted, weary and burdened, He didn’t demand that we “just get over it.” He didn’t question why we are still fixated on things that are now over.
He did say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Basically, it is Jesus looking you in the eye, putting His hands on your shoulders and gently saying, “I’m so glad you came here and trusted Me with what’s going on with you. It looks like a lot. I want you to lie down and take a good nap, and let’s just keep repeating that until you get stronger.”
Once, as I was resisting the full week of post-procedure rest my doctor had prescribed me, a nurse told me, “You’re free to do what you want. But if you’re not resting, you’re not healing.”
That nurse knows, and Jesus knows, the power and the healing of rest.
So let’s rest those tender places. Let’s take extra care in those spots in our hearts that have been damaged over the past couple years. Let’s allow space for rest and healing. Let’s be tender with ourselves and with others during this time of needed rest and healing.
Heavenly Father, I am so tired and hurt. Help me to remember that You restore us with rest. And as I take that rest, help calm my mind and my heart as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 23:1-3a, “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (NIV)
On a scale of zero to 10, how much guilt do you feel when you rest? How could knowing the truth about Jesus’ attitude toward rest lift that guilt and lead to healing?