My soul was shrinking. It wasn’t that life was personally terrible. It was the continual gnawing in my spirit, the chunks taken out of me emotionally as each need called. The picture lurks in my mind of my aging parents and their needs. At every turn, another act of hatred screams from the soul of our broken country. The carping of political calamity rages from every screen we look at. I rushed to the ER to witness my husband’s bleeding leg be stitched. There’s more…but that’s enough.
All of those little “things” that happen on a daily basis take a little something from me. Responsibilities at work and at home clamor for attention. Even a good dose of nourishment from time with God everyday didn’t keep my soul from losing ground. I needed something more.
It took some blood to slow me down. My husband’s leg needed stitches. He wasn’t able to walk for a few days so I was working from home and caring for him. Just being at home for three days in a row, only leaving to run to the drug store for scripts and bandages and a quick stop at the grocery for milk, began the process of resetting the rhythm of my soul.
By Sunday, I had been home long enough to feel like staying there. Sunday is usually full with church responsibilities and hospitality. But this day, my soul cried for quiet. I sensed that in the moments when the house was still, early in the morning, I would hear from God. So I pushed against my mind telling me that missing church wasn’t very Christian, and deliberately stayed in my pajamas. If I was in my pajamas my mind couldn’t win at the last minute and get me to go to church. Yes, sometimes I play mind games with myself.
I began with a cup of coffee—that led to cleaning up the kitchen. Soon I was in a calm and steady mode of putting things in order. By 1:00, the laundry room, the kitchen and my bedroom had all received the touch of love. Clothes were washed and put away. As I touched every area of my house, I was mindful of the presence of God moving in my spirit. Places that were cluttered with heartache, angst, fear and sadness were lovingly being subdued. Places where too many burdens of others were piled up were gently lifted. As I moved from room to room in my house, the rooms breathed contentment and serenity. As God moved inside of me my soul was breathing in fresh wind from the Spirit of God, soothing and encouraging me to soak in His goodness.
A Sabbath. There seems to be little time for Sabbath—the quieting of oneself before God so that he can speak and move the heart toward him. I, for one, get caught up in the whir of the day’s activity, the demands of life, the pain of the world and forget to come away, to be with the One who loves me most and gives me my very life.
Let it not take blood and crippling to bring me back to the place where I recognize my shrinking soul. Let it be that I long for His presence to fill me beyond my own need. Let it be His abundance from which I move to embrace the world, near or far with grace and peace. Let it be said of me, “She has been with Jesus.”
“Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.”
Shelley Lopez, Executive Director
Shelley has been a member of the Springfield community for 29 years. As she lives and works and worships in the city, she uses the metaphor of an old Victorian house restoration to keep her focused on the work she is called to do. Inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah, she pours herself into "restoring old ruins, rebuilding and renovating, making the community livable again" (Is. 58:12 MSG)