Friday, September 30, 2016

My empty bag (or I. Am. Tired.)

...  “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
1 Kings 17:7-16 (NIV)

I remember the first time I saw that clip from the movie Facing the Giants. I could barely breathe. The tears had clogged my throat and tightened my chest and I knew God was talking to me. "Can you negotiate with your body for more strength?" Yes! No! Faith and fear at war. No, not really. Faith and reality. There was no strength to negotiate for. I. Am. Tired. 
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This is where I find myself, when God, in the form of a child, family member, church commitment or friend in need asks me for help.  ‘Mommy, I’m sick!, Mrs Clarke, your son has been doing … again.  How do you make him stop this at home? Faith, our group, team, entity needs to learn … could you facilitate the training/workshop?'  The voices are endless. The needs relentless. Satisfaction is impossible, and I. Am.Tired.

Then the exceptional happens, and we need to move, which is really a blessing for us. But moving and autism and an already full life is unbelievably chaotic. Autism wants routine and there is no routine in moving! The randomness of racing back and forth with boxes, the ridiculousness of living in 2 places for a few days, the test of rigidity when I can’t find anything and autistic routines need recreating, all result in extreme exhaustion.  I. Am. Tired.

The temptation to respond through the lens of exhaustion to the unrelenting litany of demands is extremely powerful. Yet, somehow, this woman in 1 Kings has the grace to stay in present moment with Elijah. She could have railed about the struggle and sent him on his way, but she didn’t. A voice whispered in her ear ‘Can you negotiate with your body for more strength? ' (or a version of that thought) and she did. And the gift from her empty bag of supplies became the gift that kept giving.

Exhaustion is usually a step away from depression and despair for me. But, I've been learning to carve another path. The feeling of deprivation that comes from being tired is like the feeling of deprivation when I'm fasting. This is an opportunity to access supernatural resources. The empty bag can produce as much corn and oil as is needed. It's connected to the Source. Today, I'm pulling grace and patience and kindness and wisdom from the bag.  It's in there, Thank the Lord.  I hope you dig in, in faith, and access what you need for today.

Dear Lord, Thank you for always supplying our daily bread.  In spite of the situations around us and the energy we exerted to handle them, you are our source, providing fresh manna each day, if we ask, in faith. Please give us wisdom to balance work and rest, and the perspective to see the sacred in these moments of deep exhaustion. 
- Faith

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