Monday, November 15, 2021

Heart Weary

Are you enjoying the magnificent color changes and brisk temperatures of fall? I hope so. 

For us here in central FL, our color changes happen more subtly and require multiple visits to Hobby Lobby. New sofa pillows, putting out the fall comforter again on our bed and adding pumpkin spice creamer to our refrigerator. You make it happen the best way you can, right? 

We have enjoyed a few cooler days and I even turned on the fireplace for a while. Then the air conditioning kicked back on and I knew the fireplace had to go for a while longer. 

Change has also come for us in a couple of other forms. Kristin and Cody (our oldest daughter/husband) were shocked by how quickly their starter home sold last month. With no other home in sight, they moved their little family of three in with Mom and Dad until one can be secured. 

It's rather funny because Cody is our only son-in-law who had not lived with us in order to save for a home. Now all three "brothers" will be able to make jokes at our expense about the trials of living with Mom and Dad. 

The second change was that Frank has gone back to school. This is a huge yippee, hurray and even a hallelujah!! He has wanted to get his master's degree ever since his first attempt in 1988. 

This summer we had lunch with friends who teach at one of our premier theological seminaries. They talked about the struggles of taking the seminary to an online format due to covid last year. 

I casually asked, "Is anyone able to attend now that it's all online?" "Absolutely!" said our friend. They have students from all over the world. While the seminary is based in the Philippines, many of the professors also had to return to their home countries during the pandemic.  Long story short - we saw a window of opportunity and wasted no time enrolling. 

However, that was just the beginning. We still lead an amazing team of people who work just as hard as we do and keep us on our toes. We still pastor a wonderful congregation of kind people. (They have always been incredibly thoughtful about making sure we have a life outside just pastoring and we love them all the more for that.)  But some things can only be done by the lead pastor. 

Then you add in the fact that there is a twelve hour time difference between FL and the Philippines. This means Frank is usually beginning class just about the time we would normally be going to bed. Some are even later, like chapel that begins at 11:30 PM. We were incredibly relieved to learn he could watch that weekly service on the following day and write a short report. Whew! 

Then, there came the inevitable term paper. Fortunately, every beginning master's student is required to take a research class that teaches the requirements for papers submitted to their professors. That meant Frank only had to generate one term paper which will be graded first by the research professor then by the New Testament professor. 

Although Frank has spent the last forty years preparing literally thousands of sermons and Bible studies, none of these had to be formatted in the standard Turabian style. Footnotes, citings and journal entries were not part of our everyday vernacular. . . until now. 

This initial research paper has been a BEAR!! And finally, just this very day, with only a few hours to spare . . . we Sent The PAPER! May the name of the Lord be Praised. I made his favorite dinner (chicken and dumplings) so we can celebrate. 

So what does all this celebrating have to do with the title of today's post? "Heart Weary." 

That's a phrase my mom used to say when she was growing extra tired in any season of life. I can almost see her brushing back the dark curls from around her face and lifting those big brown eyes that seemed a bit misty as she explained to me, "I don't know what's going on, Baby.  I'm just heart weary right now." 

All my life, Mom laughed more than she cried and to see her in a low moment emotionally was somewhat unsettling. But as I grew older, I came to realize Mom needed a bigger hug, some extra prayer and sometimes a listening ear. Things would eventually turn around and she would be smiling again. 

Today, I sat a long time in my prayer chair and looked out at the bright sunshine. My heart was weary. I sighed deeply and reached for my devotional Bible. Just like Mama, I knew it was time to come close to the Rock that is my Secure Foundation. 

The first scripture my eyes fell on had been underlined before. "So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees." Hebrews 12:12 NLT (Can't make it up, Friends!) 

My own brown eyes grew misty in the same way Mama's used to, only my tears spilled over. I read the verse out loud and a little more slowly drinking in the intimacy of His message to me. "Sheri, take a new grip with your tired hands. I'm right here to help." (Why, yes. I am crying again as I share this moment with you.) 

Maybe you find yourself in a "Heart Weary" spot right now, Dear Reader. Don't despair. Sit for a moment with the One who loves you most. He'll help you take a new grip on life even though your hands are tired. I've seen it work for decades now. He is Near to those who are Heart Weary. 

If you ever need prayer, please don't hesitate to send a message. If you've seen God be faithful when life was difficult.  We'd also love for you to share your own words of encouragement in the comment section below.