I was blessed to spend the weekend with two very special women that I like to call my 'Safe Haven Friends.' We don't get to spend time together very often, but lately we've been able to spend extended periods together a couple times each year. These are women I can tell ANYTHING to and I know without a doubt that they will respect my feelings and my privacy -- as I will theirs. They challenge me and inspire me to be a better person.
This time all three of us desperately needed to get away. Our situations are all different, but we were stressed and felt totally wrung out. Sort of like dry sponges -- not very useful for accomplishing the purpose for which we were made and a bit scratchy to anyone we rubbed up against. We are all writers of a sort, and none of us felt we had anything to say that others would care to read.
The more we discussed this, the more I began to wonder how many others feel the same? How many women have spent 20+ years working outside the home and raising a family? Have volunteered so many places that they don't feel they have anything left to give? Have been working outside their 'expected' or desired career path for so long they feel they've wasted all their training? Are depressed, ill, or just exhausted?
I bet there are a lot!
I was reminded that even Apostle Paul felt totally wrung out:
24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. (2 Cor 11:24 - 28 NIV)
But the story doesn't end there. After more discussion of his hardships, Paul tells us:
But (God) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:9-10 NIV)
While our troubles are miniscule compared to Paul's, God's grace is still sufficient -- more than sufficient. When we are exhausted, He will refresh us with springs of living water. Not always at the moment we want it most, but at the moment when we need it most. We just need to trust and keep on plodding forward.
God is good, and he provides opportunities like our crazy weekend to provide enough Godly companionship and laughter to get us through until then. That splash of life giving water is just enough to dampen that sponge and take off the rough edges until next time!