“I have come so everyone would have life, and have it fully.” (John 10:10b)
Not too long ago I bought a book entitled Good Enough: 40ish Devotions for a Life of Imperfection by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie. In one of the devotions entitled When You Are Exhausted, they talk about Susanna Wesley, who is often lifted up as an 18th-century paragon of female virtue. Her sons, John and Charles Wesley, founded modern Methodism and wrote many of the hymns we still enjoy today. Susanna was the mother of nineteen children, yet still found time to pray. She would take her apron and pull it up over her head to signal to others that she needed time with God.
Think about that for a moment. Nineteen children. That’s a dozen and a half, plus one. That’s what was on the other side of Susanna’s apron! How much sanctuary did pulling her apron up over her head provide her? Apparently enough as Susanna was considered deeply pious. The moral of the story is regardless of our individual circumstances, nothing should cause us to skip nurturing our spiritual lives. Nothing.
Susanna Wesley set a standard that can be hard to live up to. Although we may not have nineteen children in our homes, our plates are more than full. Pausing to create “sanctuary time” ends up seeming like one more thing needing put on an already too-long “to-do” list.
Although it is true that we are in the midst of a chronic, chaotic, and often unfixable condition called life, we are also precious, and worth protecting and preserving. We are beloved by God who wants us to be intact.
Jesus said, “I have come so everyone would have life, and have it fully.” Think about it. Are you worn out? What do you need? Ask God to show you if there is something you can set down because the truth is not everything has to be done and not everything has to be done by you!
Speaking of setting things down… I find myself in need of recalibration so will be taking a few weeks off. I will see you again for worship on May 14th. In the meantime, may you find a place for rest that is life-giving and fits what is available to you! †