Give Me a Break

Zip through a couple of days that I’d label unsuccessful and the idea of making any more decisions almost seems overwhelming.  What book should we study next? Where do you want to meet tomorrow? What time? Do you want one cookie or two? What kind of hot tea do you want? Seriously. I can’t go there right now.

Aaron sighed, “I’m tired of making decisions.” No joke. Give me a drawing pad and take away my license; I’ve decided to be a kid again. As one of my friends says, “This adulting thing stinks.”

After dealing with mouthy kids and frustrating technology and leaky faucets and worn-down appliances and wondering, what am I going to need to fix next, we drive up to Ozark to purchase a used van. We’d already test-driven it and–we thought–fully assessed the pros/cons. Unfortunately, the van barely made it out of the drive-way before not one, but two squeaks started assailing our ears. Really? Where was this cacophonous concert when we drove it last week?

We pull into Aldi to buy our weekly groceries and think, “Oh, well…hopefully the mechanic can figure this junk out without it costing too much.” Still, I’m feeling a little bit like someone handed me a shiny red balloon and then popped it.

After loading the groceries into the back of the Honda, Aaron gets the kids buckled and then turns the key. Nothing. Nada. Dead.

We give each other a look and wonder, can we laugh about this? Because if we don’t, I think I might cry. It’s not the van; it’s not even the money. It’s just the one. more. thing. One more detail. One more call. One more task on my list. One more thing to process and act on. Where’s the cruise control on life when you need it?

I follow Aaron and the kids home in our seemingly more reliable ’99 Dodge Caravan. Okay, why did we feel the need to buy another vehicle? My natural tendency is to fume, but I know what I’ve got to do: pray. Just leave it with me, Kristin. Talk to me about how you feel. Ask me for perspective. 

So I do, but I feel tired and distracted and empty–soul fatigue. His patience astounds me. Somehow I hear His whisper: worship me. Thank me. 

I’d love to say I jumped into gratitude with enthusiasm, but truthfully, my words came more as a sacrifice than anything else. At least, at first.

I love learning new worship songs, but the choruses that return to my mind are ones I heard growing up. When I need to sing to an audience of one, I pull from that repertoire.

I started singing a song that I haven’t heard for probably two decades: let me take you back to Hosanna’s praise. It’s Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart. Henry Smith wrote the song in the 70’s, in the midst of dealing with joblessness and a disease that eventually left him blind. The song itself contains simple lyrics and a repetitious chorus:

Give thanks with a grateful heart,

Give thanks to the Holy One.

Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.

Though I kept singing, the last line snagged and stuck. I don’t worship Him just when He gives me obedient kids, reliable vehicles, a healthy body, or stable relationships. I praise Him because He’s given me a Savior. And if that’s it, it’s more than enough.

I was talking to my mom tonight, asking her if she’d help me get the van into the auto shop, and she reminded me of something that has quickly become one of her catch phrases: “It’s just stuff.”

It all breaks down, crumbles by mold, moth, and decay. But, what He’s already given us in Christ is secured for all of eternity. With that gift, how can I say anything but thank you? Maybe your stressers carry a heavier weight: cancer, divorce, rebellion. Maybe it’s not just a car or house that’s broken down, but a marriage…a spirit of hope. I know what it feels like to give up too, but He doesn’t reciprocate. Remember, that He makes all things new. What He touches doesn’t stay the same. He has put His imprint on us and sealed us for all eternity.

“He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Cor. 1:21-22

And I am “justified by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.” Romans 3:24

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3–5

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