I stepped out into the night air and relished the quiet. As the gravel driveway crunched beneath my shoes, I couldn’t help but remember a similar moment months before.
Thomas had been inconsolable for some reason and after hours of using everything in my arsenal to get him to calm down, he kept crying. Matt was futilely trying to calm the baby and something in me snapped. I just couldn’t take one more minute of crying. The sound was piercing my soul, so I grabbed my keys and marched to the car. I didn’t even stop to put on shoes. I didn’t know where I was going, but for a fleeting moment I thought, “I can just drive and never come back.” The gas pedal’s cool rubber on my bare foot brought me back to reality, though, as I turned the engine over. Where am I going to go without shoes?
When car roared to life, it was a game-changing moment for me. The radio came to life along with the car and the very first strains of a song began to play. A song that I’d been wanting to hear for days, to no avail. Here it was, playing from the very beginning, when I needed to hear it most. I melted into tears as I pulled out of my driveway. I was just relieved that God showed up when I needed him in such a special way. I listened, cried, and drove around the block (which is quite a ways when you live in the mountains). When I pulled back into my driveway, I was ready for whatever I might find on the other side of the door.
I thought of that night just a couple weeks ago. Thomas was sick and inconsolable again. His congestion kept him from deep sleep, so he grew crankier with every passing hour. Now it was bedtime and he was too tired and uncomfortable to sleep. I also grew crankier with every passing hour and recognized that it was time for me to get out of the house, so I grabbed my shoes this time and headed for the drug store to find any placebo that might make me feel like I’m helping my son feel better.
I stepped into the night air and relished the quiet.
I remembered that night so many months ago and how God showed up at just the right time. I wondered whether he’d do it again. I started the car and waited with bated breath to hear the radio. When the radio began to play, it was not a faith-building moment. It was a terrible, yawn-inducing song. I let out a sigh and snapped off the radio in disgust. Looks like I’m on my own tonight, I thought.
After driving only a few hundred yards, I noticed how dark and desolate the road looked. Of course, living in the mountains is going to be dark and desolate at night, but normally I’d see lights from neighbors and passing cars. I checked the clock: 8:37. It was too early for the road to be this lonely. Since daylight savings time had just begun, I thought my car must be set to the wrong time, so I snapped back on the radio in hopes of hearing the correct time.
The very first thing that came on were the opening notes of that song I heard several months ago on a night where I was exhausted and over it, just like tonight. I laughed out loud and thought of God trolling me with the crazy circumstances that caused me to flip back on the radio at just the right moment, perhaps 30 seconds after I turned it off, alone, tired, and feeling forgotten. Seriously, God?
Then the tears came. Relief swept over me as I realized this was too much to be a coincidence. The God of the universe really did care about a mom who was tired and over her limit yet again. I was trying to hold on to him, trying to pray, but I was exhausted. That moment in my car, like the first night, reminded me that there are moments when I just can’t seem to hold on to him, but he’s still holding on to me. I get weak and tired; he doesn’t.
I listened, cried, and arrived at the drug store feeling lighter. My face and shirt were tear-stained, but I felt validated like a parking ticket. I wasn’t alone. When I arrived back home, once again I felt ready for whatever lay on the other side of the door.
It’s taken me so long to write this out because I just don’t think I can do the moment justice. I wish I had the words to tell this story, but I don’t. I hope that somehow, in spite of what I can’t articulate, you’ll hear the voice of Jesus: “No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again…”” (John 14:18, 27, 28).
My hope is that those of you who are tired and over it would be encouraged. Maybe like me, you’re trying your best and faith just doesn’t seem to come. Maybe you’re been praying and it feels like God isn’t listening. Maybe you’re ready to give up. I pray you wouldn’t.
May you be comforted by His Spirit, bolstered by His presence, and confidently hopeful in His return. He’s holding on to you today.