Last week Gwen and I took the kids swimming. We had several below zero days, but that day was actually sunny and relatively warm (38 degrees). Last year Gwen had discovered a park district near us (well, not exactly NEAR but a reasonable drive) that has a wonderful toddler, zero depth entry pool that offers a "tot swim" a couple of mornings a week. Besides being very reasonable, it is the perfect size pool for us to manage the four kids. And there is plenty of stuff to keep the older kids happy also.
I confess that this couple of hours of swimming was just as much for me as for the kids. I LOVE TO SWIM! So being in the warm water was a treat for me also. I think that this swimming day (coupled with a week off of my nanny job) really kicked off this time of reflection for me. As a matter of fact, the day following this swimming outing, was a day of rest and quiet for me. I really didn't accomplish very much. Then I spent the next day, watching the kids while Gwen and Tim served at a youth retreat at their church. Anna and Zeke and I spent some time playing with Zeke's train tracks. It is really amazing that Anna (who won't be two for a couple more weeks) can operated the remote control trains better than me!
And all of the kids spent many, many hours playing with this tub of balls from a ball pit....
The tub was big enough that even Lia could fit inside the tub and then get covered with the balls. I don't know how many times the kids picked up the balls to cover each other, and then dumped them out. Even Anna got into the fun, but interestingly she insisted on bringing a chair with her inside of the tub! It fit surprisingly well. She was not very happy when the balls got up to her head, but she wanted her turn in all this fun! We finished off the night with this bit of joy...
And then it was bed time. What a treat it was to read to each one, say their prayers and tuck them into bed! As I was sitting in the quiet, waiting for Gwen and Tim to get home, I realized just how relaxed and calm I felt. The interesting thing was that I had been not sleeping very well and also having some very odd dreams in the weeks before this. As a matter of fact, I had spent the last week trying to figure out exactly what was causing my apparent anxiety, when I really didn't seem to have any obvious issues!
And then I came upon this in my daily Bible reading................. Psalm 16. Here are a few verses from that Psalm from The Passion Translation....verses 7-9. I know that I have recently blogged about this Psalm, but I have been camped in this portion of Scripture for weeks. I love that there is so much in one chapter. Sometimes it is good to not leave a chapter until you really see everything!
The way you counsel and correct me makes me praise you more; for your whispers in the night give me wisdom, showing me what to do next. Because you are close to me and always available, my confidence will never be shaken, for I experience your wrap-around presence every moment. My heart and soul explode with joy-full of glory! Even my body will rest confident and secure!
I finally made the connection. The rest I have been feeling and so secure in over this last week was my answer to all the questions I have been praying about the "anxiety" that was bothering me! The answer is that I AM NOT ANXIOUS AT ALL! Whatever was disturbing my sleep and my dreams was not a big deal. But I had managed to take my eyes off of Jesus and focus on the problem. All I needed to figure this out was a really busy week that left me feeling calm and peaceful and relaxed. AND some wonderful life-filled words of Scripture that helped me refocus.
At my small group meeting today we talked about knowing and praying the destiny that Jesus has for each of us (and our children and grandchildren and our entire family). I had simply lost the focus - keeping my eyes on Jesus - and also allowed silly little things to cloud my thinking. So I will begin again to speak the truth to myself! And I can be sure that Jesus will keep whispering to me in the night and giving me rest.
If you have been spending some time thinking about a problem, trying to figure out what to do or where to go, or just busy and distracted, pick up your Bible and let the living Word handle it all.
It really doesn't matter what the situation is, I can assure you that the perfect answer is there for you. And then you can close your eyes and sleep, knowing that Jesus - THE WORD - is taking care of it all!
Jesus, thank you for a wonderful restful week. Thank you for time with children who help us to see joy and wonder in the smallest of things. Holy Spirit, thank you for speaking to us and reminding us of the truth. Help us to keep our focus on you Jesus! Amen