(My Prayer Partner, Hannah, with an AWANA mustache!)
Oh boy. It’s THAT time of year, isn’t it? Or is it just me? My whole life long. Student. Teacher. Ministry leader. Mom. Fall has been the season of back to it.
And it’s always abrupt. One day you’re sitting in a lawn chair with a book by the lake, and the next day you’re pulling out flannels, doing life at full sprint.
Yes, I know. Some of you love it. Since the middle of August you’ve been anticipating sweatshirt weather and pumpkin lattes and the rhythm of fall. And who, besides me, truly enjoyed that weekend of 90’s in mid-September? I kind of get it. There was a day when my children were younger and back-to-school had a special appeal.
It’s the mental ping-pong that really gets me. I described it to Kyle as we met in passing earlier this week. The kickoff of everything and pages of lists and it’s guaranteed I’ve forgotten something, somewhere. One of our pastors explained it this way in our Tuesday meeting. How it’s scientifically proven, there’s a chemical in our brains overproducing when we’re multitasking and it causes foggy thinking. No kidding.
My brain is buzzing. I can actually feel it. I feel it especially when I fall exhausted into bed at night. My whole body craving sleep but my mind fully wired and I can’t seem to shut it off. So I remember a podcast I heard about bravely defying the enemy of sleep by praying instead, and it’s what I’ve been doing. One night especially, this strange combination of whirring head and peace within.
Peace in the midst of the whirlwind, and I remember a favorite author saying it this way. You’re bound to have seasons when life gets busy, but you don’t have to have a busy heart. And God gives rest just when I need it. Not sleep, quite yet. But a sabbath of sorts. Friday’s plans change and the weather, too. Clouds giving way to autumn sun, my porch swing in the perfect spot for soaking in warmth and silence, and I find myself. Refreshed.
Life might be busy, but there’s plenty that’s sweet. This morning, Sunday, it’s Dedication and Prayer Partner Café and in the midst of my coming and going there’s a little girl. Graci. She’s in the fourth grade and in my small group for AWANA. (A new ministry, added this year, wondering last week if this might be the tipping point of crazy.) And then this morning I see her at church, ask if she remembers me. She’s got this smirky little smile, and of course she remembers. And then, I don’t even know why she says it, but she tells me about her brother, Jack, and how he used to play drums for the middle school band, but now there’s a new worship leader… And I say it was my son, Luke, the guy who used to be there, and Graci’s smirk gets bigger. The guy with the Zach Williams voice? I laugh out loud, and say I’ll be sure to tell him. And I love her for that. Can’t wait ‘til next Tuesday.
And all week long it’s these kinds of stories. Two young gals with new babies, new to church, met through dedication and then again at MOMs, and they’re friends already. A middle school mom, and she’s new too, at the Parenting study I lead on Wednesdays, our hearts connecting. Another gal stays after class to tell me how years ago God gave her a vision to pray for my son. And then there’s Elaina from Special Needs, and her brother, Andrew. They ask about The Covenant Story, if I’ve published my book. I tell them, no, the truth is, I’ve put it on hold. No time, or no courage. I’m not sure which, but God’s been prompting since Elaina’s question, and I can’t ignore it.
Do you see the pattern? I give and I’m given. Serve and served back. Blessed to be a blessing – and it strikes me just now, this is how it is with Jesus. Like loaves and fishes. Wine at a wedding. You can’t out-give Him. Busy life. Maybe. Full heart. You bet.