I had a much more upbeat post than this one planned for you guys…
But can I be honest with you?
I’m writing this on Wednesday evening after teaching two back-to-back classes of rather grueling exercise, and my body feels beaten.
It’s not that I’m not used to it, but tonight is different.
Do you ever feel that way?
That something you can normally handle—no problem—is just too much some days?
It’s not just the physical exhaustion either.
There’s other…stuff…too, weighing heavy on my heart—the kind of stuff that shakes my faith in “people” a bit.
I don’t usually like vague references to “troubles,” as they so often seem like blatant cries for attention or sympathy.
Please believe that I’m looking for neither.
But, while I hardly think that using my blog as a medium for airing complaints is either appropriate or healthy, sometimes, I’m afraid that I present such a happy-go-lucky version of myself here that it may do more harm than good.
(I know when I see someone else who seems like she never has a care in the world or makes things like taking 3 kids shopping look too easy, I start wondering what’s wrong with me).
I think I went a long way toward dispelling that false impression when I confessed my struggle with trich.
But just in case there’s even one of you left who thinks I’ve got “it all” (or even 1/2 of it) figured out, let me share 5 things that I would really love right now:
1. To sleep in until 9.
2. To luxuriate in a bubble bath with a really good book for over an hour (preferably in a world where water miraculously stays the perfect temperature, massage jets abound, and poopy diaper interruptions are outlawed).
3. To have the suitcases that I still haven’t unpacked from our trip to Oklahoma two weeks ago magically deposit their contents neatly on hangers and in drawers.
4. To go to a movie all by myself.
5. To have a really good cry.
I know so many of you young moms can relate (though maybe not to the movie part : )).
And, no, before you go getting worried, there’s nothing wrong.
Nothing at all in the grand scheme of things.
It’s just life.
I think you know what I mean.
But now I’m going to ruin this perfectly relatable moment by bringing up something very uncomfortable.
And I’m not trying to be holier-than-thou when I say that…
That list I just wrote is poppycock.
Oh, sure. A little pampering can go a long way toward lifting a girl’s spirits and righting a crooked perspective, but…
Such a dangerous word.
After all, I have a family who loves me, access to anything in the world that I could possibly need (and want, within reason), my health (and my family’s)…and so much more.
I have all that while there are women around the world whose husbands—the sole breadwinners for their families—have been tossed into prison, or even killed, for nothing more offensive than hosting a house-church or lending someone a Bible.
And these women are now faced with the prospect of putting even one meal on the table for their little ones, much less the three square ones my family enjoys every single day (and never mind the snacks of fresh fruit and treats that I take for granted but which they can never afford).
Or even worse, they must figure out how to get medicine for their sick children, all the while desperately attempting to scratch out an existence in societies in which widows and orphans are the mud to be scraped from your shoes.
Their list of things they would love to do might look something like:
1. To find enough food to keep us from starving.
2. To find a coat for my little girl to wear so she won’t get pneumonia like last year.
3. To find someone to watch my children (who won’t abuse them) while I work for mere pennies a day.
4. To worship without fear of imprisonment or death.
5. To see my husband again.
I’m not trying to be a downer.
But I can’t deny the conviction that wells up in me when I write a list like I did, knowing that so many of you will be so kind and commiserate with ”feel-betters” and similar lists.
The thing is, I didn’t even have a bad day.
It was just a day.
And an easy, easy day at that, filled with normal, easy-day things like home-schooling, laundry, dishes, sweeping, children-disciplining, a trip to McDonald’s, exercising, baby-snuggling, leftovers-eating, hanging with the husband.
Sure, some of those are not so fun, but in comparison with the spine-cracking worry over your husband’s safety or your children’s health (to say nothing of sheer loneliness), what could be easier?
So…what’s my point?
Maybe I just needed this reminder, as I sat here on my comfortable couch, that a pity-party over nothing special isn’t just whiny.
Have you ever heard of Voice of the Martyrs?
It’s one of the most incredible ministries that I’ve ever encountered.
It’s an organization dedicated to bringing attention to the plight of the “persecuted church” around the world.
Its goal is to provide practical relief and legal assistance to those who are being unjustly imprisoned, mistreated, and, yes, killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
We’ve supported them and gotten their newsletter for years, and we have a prayer calendar with highlights of how to pray for various countries who are especially hostile toward Christians (I wish I could say that we have been faithfully praying, but I’ve been terrible about keeping up with it in recent months).
But you know what the best part is?
Amidst the stories of girls who are disfigured from acid being thrown in their faces or fathers wrenched from the arms of their families…
Those same mothers who have to deal with the spine-cracking worries I mentioned say that they are “happy and fine”—the words that Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman, used to describe herself even after almost three years in prison away from her husband and two daughters on charges that she blasphemed Islam’s prophet Muhammad.
She also says: ““I am praying every day…I am strong in my faith…I am not worried about myself, but I am worried about the VOM workers who are helping me, which is very dangerous. I pray for them every day.”
She’s on the Pakistani equivalent of death-row, people, and she’s worried about the people trying to get her sentence repealed!
Now, I did not start out this post intending to go on a crusade for social or religious justice.
I started out this post tired, remember?
Because when all is said and done, we all have those days when we’re just tired—too tired to fully appreciate what we have but not too tired to dream of fantastic, decadent possibilities like bubble baths, good books, and sleeping in.
And that’s okay.
None of the things on my list are wrong.
But unless I can swallow my tired pill with a sloshing full glass of Perspective, I’m a littler person than I hope to be.
No thank you.
I want to be an Asia.
P.S. I in no way mean to imply that all injustice in the world is of a religious nature or that the plight of persecuted Christians is more important than that of sex-slaves or poverty-stricken children right here in the U.S., but reading the stories of these women who somehow manage to pray for their persecutors and worry about someone other than themselves in the midst of their suffering inspires me. And I wanted you to be inspired too.