For some reason, it's quarter after two in the morning and I'm no closer to sleep than I was when I snuggled into bed an hour ago.
(I'll pretend this has nothing to do with the fact that I fell asleep on the couch around eight o'clock for about four hours)
Yesterday (Sunday) was a long, busy day. But a wonderful day. God had some careful reminders for me throughout the hours and kept my heart weighted, but not heavy.
Here's what I mean...
It's not that I walked around feeling pressed for something, like there was some burden on me. It was more the weight of realization about things that I can only liken to that feeling of holding something heavy, yes, but knowing it's nothing you can't handle.
Like when you pick up a box and think, "Shoot, what is IN this? Can I get a hand?" but after readjusting your grip a little you then think, "Actually, no, you know what? I got this. It was just a little cumbersome until I found a better way to hold it."
I've been remembering something my favorite religion professor told me once when I was living in London.
Dr. Rushford told a story of a man who was at his wit's end and with no where else to go, he decided to go into a church. As he walked in he saw, written above the door, a simple phrase:
Lay down your burden.
At that he felt himself lighten, knowing Someone was there to take that load from him - to free him from the trouble that was burying him.
In the church he asked God to help him and be with him and carry him through this. He felt relief for the first time in a long time.
When he finished praying, feeling healed in so many ways, he turned and went to leave that church with a rejuvenated spirit.
And on the way out, he noticed a simple phrase above the other side of that door:
Now take up your cross.
I always loved that story.
God is always there for us. He is always there with a hand outstretched, waiting for us to lean on Him because He knows what we often don't: we need Him.
He knew the minute I was born that sure, I'd have the ability to take care of myself, get through the days, probably do a reasonable job at this whole life thing...
But He knew, more importantly, that my life could be a whole lot more if I let Him guide me to a bigger picture; a bigger picture that I can't see for the life of me, but that He's been working the whole time.
Today He reminded me that when my heart gets heavy I can lay it down before Him. He reminded me that's what He's there for - to listen to my prayers when I need help carrying something.
But that with that, I must be willing to take up the task He's set before me. He reminded me that I had to play a part in this relationship too, and that this was a team effort not to be taken for granted.
I met a woman at work today who said something profound to me.
"As human beings, we are designed for nothing more than eternal hope."
And so as I took a moment to savor these last days of Indian Summer here in Oregon, I thanked Him for all He has given, all He has taken away, and all He has in store.
Because I've got a sneaking suspicion that the bigger picture He sees is pretty stunning.