This past year I was forced to slow down many times. A little over a year ago I had knee surgery. As I was recovering I was fairly immobile, especially in the first 6 weeks.
we were able to play cards in my bed,
do school in my bed,
make silly faces in my bed,
and cuddle in my bed.
Luckily the timing of my surgery and recovery fell around Thanksgiving and Christmas so I was able to benefit from having Andy and family more available for help, but there were many days the kids and I were on our own. I was unable to climb the stairs to our school room and one day I realized that what I could do was to sit on the couch, surrounded by my kids and read to them.
Beginning the day reading together has become one of the highlights of not only my day, but my life! My goal is to enjoy this treasured time together at least a few times a week.
Life became much slower paced during this time and I loved it!
Fast forward several months to my diagnosis of epilepsy and having the permission to drive stripped away. I was overwhelmed as I thought of what the next 6 months were going to look like. 4 kids…at home…with me….ALL DAY! No trips to Target to break up a long day. Forget spur of the moment Chic-fil-e runs. Meeting up with friends last minute….yeah right!
In the midst of my uncertainty and discouragement, God once again opened my eyes to the gift of slowing down. There was no pull to run errands during the day. I sifted through our activities to determine which ones were important enough to ask friends and family to help with, and which ones we could easily let go of. We weren’t able to hop in the car to go places, just to go.
Many wonderful friends provided rides throughout this time, so I don’t want to give the impression that we were homebound . But, if we didn’t have plans, there were consecutive days that the kids and I did not leave our home.
The first few months following my diagnosis I turned down MANY offers for help.
“No, I don’t need anything from the store that Andy can’t get this weekend.”
“Don’t go out of your way to come and get us. We will figure something out.”
I realized after two months of not driving that my independent and stubborn nature was going to do more harm that good. Not only was I turning down opportunities for myself to get out of the house, but I was turning these opportunities down for my children as well. It was at this time I felt the Lord gently whispering, “Anytime someone offers to help, say yes.” So, my no’s turned to yes’s and my yes’s turned into reaching out to others to ask for help. Asking for help was a fairly new territory for me, and one I had previously steered away from. But, it became a great blessing as I came to understand the meaning of community in the most real sense of the word.
As the Lord provided these gifts of help, we still lived at a much slower pace that before. Being unhurried created a peaceful and calm atmosphere. No more yelling to hurry out the door because “we’re going to be late”, because there weren’t that many places to be late to!
You know what I also discovered? I realized that I rush our schedule even when it’s not necessary!
“Everyone hustle up! Get in the car!”
What important place are we headed to as I’m pushing everyone out the door? It could be Target or the grocery store or the park. Why are we rushing? Is Target going to run out of spring colored m&m’s to fill my candy jar? Will all of the “free cookies for those under the age of 12” have disappeared from the Publix bakery? Is the park going to reach maximum capacity? Probably not. I rush because I’ve become accustomed to a life of scrambling and trying to get where we need to go as quickly as possible.
Being forced to slow down has been a tremendous blessing.
My permission to drive has been reinstated, but I still find myself paring down our activities and choosing what errands are important enough to disrupt our day.
Slowing down. It’s one of my favorite things. 🙂
As I have been enjoying my Chronological Bible, there are days that I just don’t want to stop and so I’ll continue on, past the scheduled reading. Recently however, I was struck with the desire to slow down. I had written so many notes in the margins and I wanted to return to them so that I could linger over these Bible stories of Abraham and Isaac, Job and his friends, Moses and Aaron, and others.
As I flipped the pages back towards the beginning, I once again arrived at Abraham and Sarah being visited by the Lord as He told them they would have a child. After Sarah laughed in response to this promise, the Lord says…
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14)
A few short chapters later we see God’s magnificent character as we read…
“The Lord did for Sarah what He had promised.” (Genesis 21:1)
Lord, thank you for slowing me down so that I can appreciate and find joy in the unhurried moments. Thank you for opening my eyes to see that I should slow down and savor Your Word. Thank you for the circumstances that allowed me to understand the gift of being still.
Thank you for taking me back to these scriptures that remind me that nothing is too hard for you, and that you will do what you have promised.
For these gifts and many others, I praise You.