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The Massage Table of Prayer

That principle of inertia, that objects in motion stay in motion, is dreadfully true. Even as I have attempted to stop the busy working around my home since that last post, I’ve just simply turned to other motion: I’ll get our summer calendar organized, I’ll create brilliant “lesson plans” for my children this summer, I’ll surf the web to gather all the interesting and relevant bits of inspiration to make me a more creative and productive mother, I’ll do a little more research on Uganda adoptions, I’ll plan a summer Bible study…I can’t settle my own self. It must be a bit like trading in alcohol for smoking. One looks a little more under control than the other, but both are slowly killing the life in their grip.

Even as I sat down to pray this morning, I resented it! I felt like I was “doing” one more thing, and not just adding something but introducing yet another marathon to my “to do” list. Oh, but God gently and mercifully interrupted my bitterness to remind me that I had it all wrong.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28

He will GIVE me rest. He did not say come and get it, reach a little higher for it, run faster for it, grab aggressively for it or even fight for it. Come and I will give.

The very first year of a baby’s life, particularly if you have another child who is very young, can be very taxing. Chad’s first year was indeed this for me, though he and Ellie were fairly easy babies. I am realizing that this kind of year translates to many other types of seasons in life, regardless of life stage. The demands placed on you from others can’t be ignored without great harm befalling someone, the demands are not limited to business hours but can stretch through the night, so that days become nearly indistinguishable from one another. Besides the active demands required, there is the deficit of sleep which diminishes productivity and clear thinking. Each small thing can begin to feel like the straw that broke the camel’s back, even if a trained animal could perform it easily.

It was toward the end of this year that Terrell and I got to go away for the weekend with his future firm, back in the days when the summer associates were wined and dined. The inn where we stayed had a spa, and Terrell treated me to a massage there for our anniversary which was a few days before. Besides the fact that I never go to spas, as much as I’d genuinely love to, I just felt a little spoiled and self-conscious sauntering down to the spa in the morning, like that was something I was entitled to do! And then Jesus met me there.

Somehow the guy doing the massage and I connected the fact we were both Christians almost immediately. As I resisted the luxury of just zoning out, wanting to be in conversation as if we were at a social gathering, this man from God spent the entire time not just telling me to rest, but explaining the necessity for Jesus Himself to rest. He went through verse after verse about rest, softly (in that low spa tone that doesn’t overpower the sound of water falls and instrumental music) telling me about the humility and holiness of rest. I began to let go and allow rest to be massaged into my muscles as it was being worked graciously into my heart. When that was finished, I was led back to the women’s area of the spa, floors and walls covered in stone, and there a large hot tub/pool sat empty and waiting. I felt my body truly relinquishing the adrenaline (and anger and exhaustion and self-reliance) of the year. As I sat in that glorious pool of hot mountain water, I actually began to sob…God had given me the permission my heart needed to finally be off duty.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17

I can’t grab for rest. God doesn’t ask me to “do” prayer. I receive my salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, receive an inheritance with all the saints, receive mercy, receive Sonship and receive from beginning to end the person and work of Jesus on my behalf. It is not selfish or spoiled to go and receive from God what I cannot obtain by my own efforts. It is a place of humility and holiness that I cannot fully experience while I’m yammering on. May I bring my busy body (yes, in all meanings of the expression), busy thoughts and busy heart to the massage table of prayer, that I may receive His Lordship over all that concerns me, His delight over me His baby girl and His permission to rest in His sovereignty rather than continued efforts to grab at my own.

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