‘Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
In 1941, noted Christian teacher, Thomas Kelly wrote that, “if you don’t have the relationship you want with God, it’s your own fault. For God has not moved.” Direct. To the point. A little condemning (??) But true. It is hard for us to read something as bold as this statement, because it does call into question our motivation and devotion to our Lord. It begs the question, “Am I really doing all that I should be in this relationship?”
As I think of this question, I can come up with all the things that I should be doing more of, but am not. I should be praying more. I should be reading my Bible more. I should be…, I should be… But, at the end of the day, when I fall exhausted into the bed, I am just glad I survived. I, many times, feel a little guilty because I haven’t been doing all these things to come closer to God. But it doesn’t last long because I quickly pass out from fatigue. I tell myself that I will get up early and read my Bible. But that almost never happens either.
That is why I am so thankful that Mr. Kelley didn’t stop with that guilt ridden statement. He went on to say that there was only one exception to his statement – mothers of young children. Mr. Kelley said that it was “near to impossible” for mothers of young children to maintain the spiritual disciplines (praying, Bible study, etc…) he was speaking of because the needs of their families were too great.
He, in effect, told moms to give ourselves a break. We are doing the best we can. Mr. Kelley wrote this in 1941, a time when moms did most of the childrearing activities. But I believe dads count now too. Between little league coaching, homework, and the like, dads can get worn out just the same.
So maybe now isn’t the time to dive into a long-term study, or to “do great things” in the name of religion. And that’s ok. But it is always the time to lean on our heavenly Father, and to allow Him to carry us. I encourage all those parents out there who are struggling to get by each day to adopt a breath prayer. It is easy, one line, and of your own making. But it will keep you connected in those times that you need Him the most. It could be your favorite scripture, or a short prayer of thanksgiving. All being said in one breath. If you will learn to repeat it throughout the day, you will be amazed at the effect it will have on your relationship with God. Some common ones are:
“Lord, I praise you”
“Good Shepherd, please carry me”
“He leads me beside peaceful waters”
“Heavenly Father, show me the way”
“Thank You, Lord, for all my blessings”
and my personal favorite (when my kids were 4 and 2) “Lord, God, please help me!!”
So I am off. I should probably be reading my Bible. But instead I am going to help my oldest learn her spelling words, over and over and over again. Thanks Mr. Kelley…
Thank You for providing encouragement and support to me during every season of my life. You are a gracious and loving God. Your yoke is easy and your burden is light. I am so thankful for my Lord Jesus. Because of His sacrifice I am no longer bound by legalism. But my relationship with You is built on grace. Heavenly Father, I do very much want a deep relationship with You. And I thank You for being willing to do the heavy lifting for now. Help me to see You and to seek You every day, and in every circumstance. Teach me to worship You in the midst of my daily life, that I might be filled with Your sustaining Holy Spirit.
In my Savior’s name I pray,