For When You’re Exhausted

I haven’t sat outside for a while, but this morning looks so inviting.

I can’t bring myself to put on the pink sweatshirt my mom gave me to wear on my outings.

So I go as I am–a sight to behold to behold the sights.

The white robe’s in the dryer, so I slip on a sweatshirt over the nightie and top it with my jacket, pull a pair of jeans up under the nightie, and sink socked feet into tall rubber boots.

I head out through the gate and into the frosty side yard and even through that to the neighbor’s where all is silent since they took their sheep and chickens and moved.

As I see and shoot (or shoot and see), I think about the Lenten theme at church–Relax, Refresh and Renew.


We talked about Elijah yesterday in 1 Kings 17-19.

How God used ravens to feed and strengthen him and then sent him to a starving widow who would also care for him, and he for her.

How he’d poured himself out to raise a dead boy, call down heaven’s fire on a drenched altar, and kill all 450 Baal prophets.

How he’d run for his life from Jezebel’s revenge.

Physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted and spent with success, he collapsed under a broom bush.

My eyes put a period after broom, and I thought, “Yep. All that work completed, and there’s still more junk to sweep up.”

I can understand why he might want to just cave in and give up.

Just kill me now and save Jezebel the trouble.

He falls asleep.

But God wakes him up to eat and drink.

And once he’s rested and refreshed, God doesn’t put him straight back to work.

He sends him on a journey alone, where he didn’t run but walked for 40 days and nights all the way to the mountain of God.

(I wonder if he would have snapped pictures on the way if he’d had a camera.)

Once he arrived, he crawled into a cave to sleep.

And it was there, when he woke–and after the wind and after the rattling and after the fire–that he heard God’s gentle and quiet whisper.


Even after God cared for Elijah and then sent him to the widow, it was another three years before Elijah had to face up to Ahab and the Baal prophets.

And he was not sent back to work immediately after that mission.

God sent him off to the desert for another 40 days and 40 nights–and then provided him with a companion and successor in Elisha.

I’m finally starting to feel more rested and refreshed after my mom’s death–after almost three months.

And tomorrow I start teaching again–from the book of Luke.

But still I wonder–am I going back too soon?

Now that I’m rested, might I really need some desert time to hear His whisper?


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  1. says

    It’s been 1 1/2 years since my mom died. Yesterday we passed the assisted living facility where she breathed her last, and I still cried over it. Sigh. It does take awhile to grieve. Be gentle with yourself.

    And after reading this, I’m deciding I should be more proactive about getting rest this week. I’m going through a particularly trying time at church, and it’s making me exhausted and weary.
    Lisa notes recently posted..What do you want?

  2. says

    Man, were we in the same field? I have some of those thistl-y things on my camera card right now, all frosty just like yours! Stay tuned, maybe I’ll get them up somewhere this week.

    Too soon? I dunno. I don’t think there’s much of a formula for that. But here’s good news: He can whisper while you study, and while you teach, too. Might just not look exactly like you think. (That goes for the whisper and the teaching.)

    Praying as you dive into Luke. You’ll meet Jesus there. What could be better?
    Lyla Lindquist recently posted..Where Were You?

  3. Jody Collins says

    Sandra–you are a truly ‘a deep see diver…’ looking at that frozen clarity and hearing God’s still, small voice.
    I can’t speak to the ‘is it too soon’ question, because I’m with Lyla, there is no formula. But I know while you’re asking, God will tell you.
    Beautiful pics–‘specially the bathrobe and feet :-)

  4. says

    I’m going to go with Lyla’s advice Sandy. I often find myself at a loss to know exactly what to do – even for myself. I know that He will give you grace to do what He calls you to do, and He will meet you when you take time to rest.
    Linda recently posted..Waiting and Soaring

  5. says

    one little foot in front of the other… letting go of any self imposed pressure to do great things. It’s just about staying on track… not how fast we go. love and a hug…
    Patricia recently posted..wait

  6. says

    Beautiful words. Beautiful photos.
    I just read an Oswald Chambers devo about being spent (exhausted) for God. Thinking about Paul’s “pressed, but not crushed, struck down, but not destroyed…” There are times of refreshing and times of pressing. The juice that flows during the pressing is nourishing to others. :)
    God bless your life laid down. <3

  7. says

    I don’t know if I was grieving or not that first year of retirement. Maybe a bit – for the loss of identity, collegial community – and still my brother and son-in-law – and my mom’s increasingly obvious decline during that year – but I do know now that I went back too soon. You can do it, sure you can. But please be gentle with yourself, indulge the fatigue with naps, or long sit-downs and occasional good walks (if the weather allows). You need cocooning, Sandy the deep-see-diver. You can step out once a week to teach a bit – but make up for that somewhere else in your life. As always, this is terrific. “Just kill me now …” Yeah, been there, done that. :>)
    diana recently posted..Time Away: A Photo Essay on Theological Reflection

  8. says

    You’ve received lots of good advice here (but that’s a given when Lyla and Diana chime in) so I won’t add to that.

    Just this, an observation: It’s been 5.5 years since Rich’s son died, 3.5 years since my mother died (apparently late September is dangerous around our house).

    I think grieving is how we love them after they’re gone. I don’t think it stops. But like that live-love, it matures.
    Sheila Seiler Lagrand recently posted..Beauty from Ashes

  9. says

    You have the soul you have.
    I have learned at long last that I am made the way I am for a reason… grieving at my own pace, etc.

    gorgeous photos and reflection , and thank you for your kind comments on my blog.

  10. says

    I did go to the desert, literally, for awhile after my husband passed. I needed quiet time away from the daily struggles and decisions of life. From there, it was a slow process back into my hectic life. Through my time of grieving I discovered the art of taking time to step away for short periods, as you did with your camera. It is in those still moments we hear His voice. Beautiful, heartfelt post, Sandra.
    Cecilia Marie Pulliam recently posted..The Power of Silence

  11. says

    My husband spoke about Elijah and Elisha on Sunday too. We heard teaching on differnt parts of his story and I love our thoughts on rest. It seems like grief takes us to a more intimate place with God and our surroundings. I see that in your photos. They are beautiful. There is something about carrying that camera around that helps me see things differently to rejuvenate my spirit. Maybe you too? And maybe the teaching, it will rejuvenate you too.
    Shelly Miller recently posted..Remembering the Dust