I am currently parenting my youngest child through the middle school years, which I think we can agree are maybe not the most fun. There’s a lot of emotions and hormones running the brains of middle schoolers, as they start seeking more independence and making dubious friend choices. There’s a lot of teeth-gritting on my part as I remind myself that my other two kids survived these years, and that we will muddle through somehow.
There’s a Trisha Yearwood song from many years ago titled, The Song Remembers When. It’s a favorite of mine, as it talks about how connected music is to our life experiences. God created our amazing brains that attach memories to our senses.
I’ve read this before, and any kid who grew up going to Sunday school or Vacation Bible School has doubtless heard the story of how David slew the giant Goliath. But as a writer, I like to imagine that David’s speech was loud and mighty and that he resounded with his audience just like William Wallace or Aragorn. But whether he shouted or spoke quietly, David went out with confidence because he knew that the fight belonged to the Lord.
I hear about self-care often, from memes to thoughtful friends; but what does the Bible say about self-care? I feel like I need some “me” time, and lots of women’s blogs support me in this. I can definitely find feelings that match this, as there have been times when I felt emotionally depleted and lacking in compassion towards others’ suffering. But is “me” time the answer to that? Is focusing our energies on ourselves going to help us in the long run, or will it just give us a temporary escape from our troubles? I have always enjoyed getting away on a women’s retreat, and having quiet time to myself. Who doesn’t love that? But is doing that once a year going to sustain me? I need a solution that isn’t temporary.
Our friendships grow and change over our lifetime, with some staying, some going, and some being just for a season. We know this, but our relationships can still be a source of much confusion when we’re in the thick of a conflict or when a relationship ends entirely. There have been some relationships in my life where I have felt hurt that the other person let me down, or didn’t meet my expectations. I’m sure this is a universal experience! God gave me a wonderful gift when He helped me to realize that I needed to adjust my expectations of others. I could let it bother me that someone didn’t do what I thought they should do, or I could accept that my agenda is mine, and not theirs.
As I turn the pages of my bible I see notes of dates and events next to verses that brought me comfort or peace in hard times. Psalm 147:3, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Next to that verse is written the date my grandmother died. Psalm 91:14-16, “ ‘Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.’ ” The date written here corresponds to a time of painful and difficult parenting, when my autistic son was in middle school. I once spent most of a challenging year reminding myself to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46.6).