It’s good to remind yourself daily to be kind to yourself. You have never been here before. You have never been married this long, done this kind of work, raised these kids or had these experiences. Give yourself grace to be the student and let God be the teacher. –Havilah Cunnington
Pause in His Presence. It’s the meaning of the word Selah. At least that is how it’s translated in a new book a precious friend gave me this week. The His indicates God, but I think regardless of if you believe in God or not it’s a good suggestion. My heart has been filled with emotion the last few weeks, my schedule filled with work, my mind filled with questions that don’t have answers right now and my home filled with Christmas and laundry and dishes and a million dinosaurs all over the floor. But that phrase keeps hoovering over my heart. Pause in His presence.
The holidays, and summer down here in New Zealand, are here and stereotypically those can be hustle & bustle, chaos & vacations, frantic & fun. That’s not what’s keeping me busy this year, though I’m loving the great stuff my favourite authors are putting out (Momastery, Brené Brown, Shauna Niequist).
This year, in this season I am busy with work. But here’s a secret about me: I thrive at life when I’m busy. I seem to get dinner cooked, washing done (or my hubby does it, but as I type this I realise a load that must be folded is still in the drier and I’m cozy in bed already done for the night. Dang it! Real life happened), school bag packed, groceries shopped, runs ran, Christmas decorated and still have time to catch up my favourite shows. It’s not perfect, per the parenthesis above, but I really do enjoy being busy. I like the rhythm of life when we have full days. But it doesn’t mean things go perfect or I do it all. I have said no to heaps of things lately encouraged by the women I mentioned above to keep the priorities the priority. Tonight I was lying on my sons floor holding his hand as he tried to drift to sleep (yes I swore I would never do this yet there I laid). A Jesus Culture CD was softly playing and I stopped. Pausing in His presence. The thing is, it was 24 hours before that I first read that line and I hadn’t thought of or done it since. That’s okay though, we must be kind to ourselves. I’ve never been married to a third year med student before. I have never raised a 4 year old boy so far removed from the culture I grew up in. I have never worked in a hospital system I did not understand before living here five years ago. But tonight I paused. Just for a moment. Then I went on to text my favourite nurse friends back (which actually took restraint as I paused in His presence), I sent some emails, I did not fold the laundry, I watched 20 YouTube videos with my husband and then looked at way too much Instagram comparing myself and coming up short. But I paused. Tomorrow I’ll pause more. Or maybe I won’t. But I love that in His presence His goodness never stops and His love for me isn’t dependent on my pauses. Pausing, whether in His presence or just to pause if you don’t believe in God is good. Hopefully in those pauses you hear kind things about yourself.
I’ll leave you with a Christmas pause story. Yesterday my son and I were taking his Christmas tree angel gift for a kid that won’t get a present to our local mall. As we headed up the escalator we heard one of our favourite Christmas songs. We sang along and chatted about why we were giving this gift. As we turned the corner my heart stopped. It was not a mall Christmas CD. It was Salvation Army Carollers, who were older than God I think, holding their song books belting out The First Noël. My son ran to drop his present for a kid that might not get one at the tree in the front of the store at the foot of a beautiful Christmas tree already full of gifts for kids who actually really need to know they are remembered this Christmas season all the while the carollers sang Noël. I paused. Sappy with Christmas cheer feeling like an ABC family Christmas movie. That was all I needed this Christmas. I’m so thankful for that pause and that human moment that I was allowed to experience.
Pause. Pause and see how far you have come in your career. Pause and see that you didn’t kill your kids today so that’s a parenting win. Pause and notice the stories passing you by in each heart. Pause in His presence. You won’t be disappointed.