By Dawn Graczyk, Sunshine Mom
Vacation is hard for me. It’s the quiet and the stillness.
Honestly, my usual constant busyness keeps me from facing thoughts that are too heavy. I usually have six children and a house to care for. I remember my mom telling me when I was young, “You have to understand. I can’t sit still. If I sit still, I think.” I understand now.
The world I normally inhabit, even my praying is done while cleaning, cooking, parenting. I catch snippets of scripture when I have a moment. I hang verses throughout the house so I see them when I walk by, but rarely do I have a moment to be still.
I used to feel such intense guilt over this. Traditional teaching seemed to dictate that I needed at least an hour each day in scripture. I set my alarm for 6 am, determined to make this happen. The boys got up at 6:15, barely enough time for my eyes to be fully open. I set the alarm for 5am with the same results. They have amazing Mommy Radar.
Blessed is the One who Perseveres under Trial
On this day, there were no dishes or laundry and my exhausted daughters slept. My phone dinged, my Abide app telling me it was time to meditate. I sat down in the quiet room, facing the ocean, taking a moment to be amazed, as always at its vastness. I opened the app.
Today’s meditation was on James 1:12:
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
This verse followed me on this day that followed a day of tears and feeling of abandonment. This verse said to me, “You are under trial. You have greater trials ahead. I never promised this would be easy; I never told you heartache wouldn’t come. I told you, tell you, that if you love me, you will not be alone. If you love me, there are greater things in store. Trust me.”
God has been ever present on this trip and in my life’s journey. Extraordinary circumstance have led me here. God placed people in my life against seemingly possible odds. He provided with the kindness of strangers; hair stylists in rural Georgia; a compassionate and attentive hospital staff. Today, an Instacart lady whose husband recently had a craniotomy and who was feeling terribly alone said to me, “I don’t feel so alone anymore. Thank you for encouraging me.”
Be Still and Know I am God
Today, God showed me that when I have time to sit and be still, there is no guilt. I need not strive, pace, and look for work. He’s provided me with plenty of work. My family is my mission and I’m using our life to further the gospel. When He offers the opportunity to sit in peaceful meditation and prayer, He is giving me a precious gift. This is my time for respite and renewal.
Today God’s word also spoke to me clearly. THIS IS A TRIAL. My life is insane when viewed from the outside, or even when someone like Diane from Spreading Sunshine takes a moment to step inside. I have not a single child without special needs. Every moment is wrapped up in caring for my six children. This doesn’t make me unfaithful. When my 4-year-old says to me while we garden, “Mom, heaven is going to be awesome. When I get there, I am going to run as fast as I can into a wall,” I resist laughter and instead say, “Tell me more.” We discuss the glory of heaven, where no one will ever hurt or be sick. This is also worship.
When I thin out my plants, I reflect on how it must pain my father to thin sin out of my own life. I pluck out seedlings that I planted and nurtured, but must be removed so that I will have plants that grow strong and are not compromised by competition. It’s so terribly hard to do. Persevering through the trials God has allowed is painful for me, and the God who catches my tears in His bottle as He walks beside me, pruning me, building me up, is certainly also saddened.
The trial is a gift, though it hurts and I would give it back gratefully to see my children healthy. The craziness and the demands of my life are a gift, an opportunity to strip me completely of myself and serve others, leaving me humbled and more Christlike if I allow it. This is no less worshipful than the moments of stillness.
Look for the Gifts God Gives
The quiet moments are a gift. They are a reminder that God loves me and wants time to calm my anxious heart and reassure me. They are a time for renewing myself spiritually, building me up to continue through battles and trials. They are just as necessary as changing diapers and keeping the house clean.
Parents on this road, please be assured there is no judgement in this busy and unpredictable life. God has designed it. He is using it to grow you and teach you, even when you and I don’t understand. Walk in constant prayer with him, without guilt that you haven’t an hour to spend at the table, immersed in His word. This is not that season.
When the kids seem to magically be occupied and not smearing peanut butter on the walls (or even if they are and are doing so happily), grab that moment for some time in quiet prayer and meditation. Look for the gifts God gives every moment. They are there. They are yours.
Click to learn more about Riding on Sunshine.