Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God. God alone is sufficient.
- St. Teresa of Avila
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. (Psalm 19:7)
It’s a scorcher. The temperature is in the nineties. The air is heavy and damp, so thick it feels like you could lift your hands, part it like a curtain, and walk straight through. Gabe and Zay are in the yard going wild with the garden hose. I stand in the closed side-porch and watch.
One boy grabs the hose and charges his brother. There are screams and squeals, and then it’s a tug of war on the slippery green grass. Then the other boy has the hose, and they both run.
I smile as their summer-brown legs carry them over the lawn. I can feel that the sun’s strong rays are hitting the roof. Even inside, it’s heavy. Hot.
My boys are wise to seek refreshment.
As mama and chief care-giver in our home, I need to have the wisdom to seek refreshment, too.
It’s an honor and a blessing to meet my family’s needs, whether it’s listening to a heart, bandaging a scraped knee, placing a meal on the table for their physical nourishment, or just slipping an arm around small shoulders at the end of a day.
But if I’m not taking time to seek refreshment for myself, for filling my heart and strengthening my spirit, I’m dipping from an empty well.
I think for a moment, about the times, over the years of parenting, that I’ve turned to the Lord for refreshment. Times when I was worn or tired from traversing the hard, cracked ground of worry. Or the desolate, dry landscape of fear.
I’ve traveled over the thirsty places of loneliness, a desert of defeat, and the long-stretching, dusty places of fatigue. And every time, every single time, I’ve gone to Him, tired and hot and worn and dry, His Word has brought nourishment to my soul.
Maybe it’s a verse that hydrates my heart. Or a promise of hope that bubbles like a brook. The intimacy, the life-giving sustaining grace, is always greater than I can imagine.
Oh Lord, let me run to Your Word each day. Speak to me. Fill me with Your Spirit. Bring fresh water to dry places. Quench the needs of my soul.
Bring sweet refreshment, Lord.
The boys see me in the window and now four small hands wrap around the hose. They’re heading for the windows. They’re moving fast, but I can see the little-boy mischief shining in their eyes. I’ve been a mama for too long to not understand what’s going down next.
The spray of water hits the window and water runs down the pane in a wide, wet gush. Rivulets of water course down the glass, and the laughter from the other side rings free. I see their faces, tanned and freckled and emanating joy. Soon I’m standing inside, laughing out loud, too.
It’s good for the body.
And it’s precious to the soul.
Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.
Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications. She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward. But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.