July 17th, 2012 by Kristi Stephens
I am weary.
The reasons why seem small and insignificant. A spider in my mailbox. A back ache. Toddler tantrums. Preschooler tantrums. Coffee stains on carpet and my clothes resulting from aforementioned preschooler tantrums.
That list is small and seems trite, but today it feels heavy. My heart is aching like my back, and the weariness sinks down into my bones. The stains of this broken world are embedded on my heart – I am a broken woman, too, forgiven but flawed. Like those coffee stains on the floor, the evidence of my sinfulness seems to seep stubbornly to the surface on the weary days. My anger flares. My tongue is quick.
Mommy tantrums are the ugliest of all.
Some days I feel too broken, too small, too ill-equipped to live the life God has given me. How can I be the wife, the mother, the teacher, the leader God has called me to be when I am simply… me? God formed our limited humanity from the very dust of the ground- and some days feel “dustier” than others.
I think Satan loves to whisper it to us on the dark days – have you heard him? “You are unable. You are a failure, a disgrace. You are broken. Unusable.”
I think of Elijah, worn and weary even after seeing God’s mighty hand on Mount Carmel. God had powerfully shown up and defeated the prophets of Baal. This should have been Elijah’s moment of triumph! But wicked Queen Jezebel’s threats shook him to his core and sent him running for his life.
In 1 Kings 19 we find him alone, sitting under a bush and crying out in brokenness, “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
I think Elijah was fearful and weary, and he had heard the enemy’s lies deep down in his heart, “You are unable. You are a failure, a disgrace. You are broken. Unusable.” I think Elijah felt at that moment the smallness of his life in comparison to the great work God had called him to. I think Satan wanted to vividly remind him of the secret failures of his life to cripple him from boldly celebrating the victorious work of God through him.
Elijah was a great man, but he was a limited man. Flawed, dusty, and small.
The tenderness of God toward his weary prophet touches my very soul. God does not lecture him, or tell him to stop sulking. He watches over Elijah as he sleeps, exhausted, beneath the bush. He sends an angel to wake Elijah and nourish him with fresh-baked bread and water from a jar. Elijah sleeps again, and a second time the angel returns and wakes him with the words, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
The next event in 1 Kings 19 is breath-taking. God once again meets his prophet and asks him tenderly, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
God was not in the powerful wind, or in the earthquake, or in the fire. God spoke to his weary and broken prophet in a gentle whisper.
Lord, I hear you whispering, “what are you doing here, Kristi?”
I am weary. The journey feels like it is too much for me, I feel alone, and I am tempted to give up.
The enemy loves to whisper, “You are unable. You are a failure, a disgrace. You are broken. Unusable.” Remind me that he is telling me only half of the truth.
- I am unable and limited and… dusty – but through you I can do all things.
- I am a failure – but through you I have become an overcomer.
- I am broken and I have failed many times – but you have washed me white as snow.
Thank you for knowing my frailty, for remembering with compassion that I am dust. Please nourish my heart with the Bread of Life, revive me with Living Water. I am coming to you weary and burdened, and I need true rest for my soul. Thank you for your grace in the dusty days. Your grace for today.