Margin has been lacking, no cushion to fall back upon.

I’ve been scheduled with too much, admittedly at my own hand, and therefore found myself in hurried conversations that likely came off as uninterested. I resided in a series of events where I consistently arrived 15 minutes late and there was little time to fold laundry or put away the various items that circle around my house on any given day.

Not only did I not have much margin but my house looked as if there hadn’t been a mother present in years.

Despite this frenetic pace, I was still behind.  The items on the “to do” list were crossed off only to birth another.

I felt like I was on a treadmill – running but going nowhere.  And I strongly dislike treadmills in general.

I had fallen into a well and couldn’t get a grip that would enable me to climb the walls that would set me free.

We’ve been enmeshed in three separate conflicts that escalated in magnitude – I’m praying over turning this tumultuous time into a series here and will likely do so when I feel I am ready and called.

I lost sight of the cross.  I wasn’t actively seeking His face and in the meantime, one negative emotion became 20.

So I just stopped for a week.  I didn’t do anything that was an “obligation”.  Including writing on this blog because for the first time ever, it was feeling like an obligation.

My friend Christy at Critty Joy recently wrote about having a lack of inspiration, feeling like the writing ideas were blocked.

And as I sat down to write last week, the words that normally flowed freely and without struggle were simply stuck.

Their gatekeeper?  Exhaustion.  Weariness.  Heaviness.

Experiencing “too much junk” in too little time.  Dealing with conflict.  Leading a ministry.  Writing.  Mothering three children under six.  “Wife-ing”. (Yes, I just made this term up.)  I wasn’t serving from the overflow because my own cup was completely empty.

I began this blog as a platform to release my captive words – words that stirred in my soul and were vying to get out.  I didn’t know much about Twitter.  Or a Facebook Fan Page.  Or Conferences. Or comments on other blogs.

I just wanted to write.

We are told to go to him, all those of us who are weary, and He will give us rest.

So I went.

And He did.

Cupcakes were made.  Long-lost items were found.  Spring-like weather was enjoyed. I met a bloggy-friend in the flesh (more on this later but I adore Bobbi from Blogging Along!). A vow was made to add more margin so I’m not always late and can afford to have a genuine conversation and not be melting because I am already five minutes late don’t you know?

The other day as I was clearing off the cobwebs of a jogging stroller held hostage in the garage by winter drove up with a gift.

“Read page 37 and pass it on if you want,” she said.

I looked down to see a small book in my hands – Safe in the Shepherd’s Arms by Max Lucado.  A small book about the 23rd Psalm.

I don’t think she knew that I’m studying the life of David.  He’s funny like that sometimes.

Page 37?  A chapter entitled “He Restores My Soul”.

Max explains that life is a jungle “comprised of thicker thickets of failing health, broken hearts, and empty wallets.  Our forests are framed with hospital walls and divorce courts…Our predators are our creditors and the brush that surrounds us is the rush that exhausts us.” (page 40)

Our Shepherd restores hope to a weary soul.  Despair gives way to small glimmers of hope.  Fear begins to lose center-stage when courage from only God walks in.  Anger becomes grace, the ultimate reason why so many of us believe in the first place.

Max notes that “the jungle is still a jungle.  It hasn’t changed. But you have.” (p. 41)

He has come to restore our souls.  To lead us to still waters and paths of righteousness. To restore our souls.

Surely goodness and mercy.  Yes, indeed.

On this Multitude Monday, I thank you, God, for:

311.  Your rod and your staff

312.  Your comfort

313.  The still waters

314.  The paths of righteousness

315.   Your restoring of my soul

316.  Your comfort

317.  The beautiful spring weather that cured us a bit of our cabin-fever

318.  The giggles of giddy children

319. Two boys that wrestle non-stop

320.  A girl who is considered kind and compassionate by her teacher – which is far more important to me than her academics.

May you be led to still waters and paths of righteousness this week as you navigate the jungle of life.

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