The Burden of the Lord

I’m just going to come out and admit it: today has not been my day.

As the wife of an associate pastor at a fairly large, but understaffed, church, I often find my calendar overwhelmed by activities–and the upcoming month or two are no exception. In addition, as a woman who is in a relapse with a debilitating disease, I find that I can view these activities as just another thing which demands my husband’s attention yet leaves me home alone…again.

And today was one of those days.

Receiving my weekly update on the bulletin, I balked. Quickly I texted my husband and queried, “Did you realize we have church events three weekends in a row?”

Moments later my phone rang. My sweet husband. He did his best to explain that two weren’t really “events,” but, yes, the two-day worship conference clearly would be quite the affair. He gently recalled to my mind that our pastors truly pray over each and everything we host, while also turning so many opportunities away. And then…he apologetically reminded me that this Saturday our church was hosting a rather large Ladies’ Tea–at which he had to serve, but which I could not even attend.

My heart sank. My eyes teared up. My body plunged into “cope mode.” Essentially, I was undone.

After Josh left for his baseball game, I decided I needed a nice little nap–something I hoped would refresh me enough to address this steamroller sensation. Not so much.

I cranked some worship up on the ole iPhone stereo and stepped into my steam shower. My worship center. My refuge where I pause to pour out the cries of my heart, both praise and pleadings.

I sang along with “Hallelujah Jesus,” and simply felt His presence near. I then sat and started interceding. For my beloved daughter, who leaves today for her dream missions/service trip to Maui. She’s weary from the past couple of weeks, and desperately needs me to hold her in my prayers. For my dear son, who bears the weight that only a junior in high school can feel, while also struggling with a baseball season where he watches more than he plays. For my husband, who already seemed weary before he even left our home this morning. All burdened. And then me.

But as I prayed I remembered how Jesus blasted the attitudes of the Pharisees, who He also referred to as “children of the devil” for “they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger” (Matthew 23:4). Yet Jesus said of Himself, “for My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

My choice today boiled down to whose burden did I want to carry: the heavy load of the devil or the easy and light burden of my Lord?

My shoulders and mind relaxed. My heart melted. My choice was made.

This is not to say that the next couple of months will float by like silken petals adrift on a summer breeze. Nope. Though rewarding, ministry mixed with family responsibilities often presents hard, hard labor. But allowing God to speak His gentle words across my heart has permitted me to nestle into His goodness and kindness and love for me, even during a steep trek in life.

So let the SAT prep and baseball games continue. Let the church activities and events and retreats come. Let my daughter’s graduation approach. I don’t have to live all these things at once. I simply get to live each day with my Jesus.

“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken,” (Psalm 55:22).