I found myself sliding into spring break completely out of gas. The red light from my dashboard screamed at me that I was running on empty—emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It has been a busy few months as I have taken on new projects that challenged me professionally. It has been a rough few months for me as I have found myself walking in uncharted territory personally. And I have been wading into new relationships and ministry opportunities I was not sure I was trained or suited for. There was simply not one area of my life I felt I was able to coast along, catch a breath, or handle elegantly. There was not one area of my life where I could say “I got this.”
My son and I leave town every year for our mom/son spring break adventure. It is usually a trip we both look forward to, starting the day after Christmas. My son loves it because he knows there will be some unplanned, wheels-off moments, when everything will go off the rails and the best laid plan will fall apart. These moments usually result in a story to be shared around the dinner table for years to come. He loves to tell how we got lost in Nowhere, Texas, and how we got caught in a hail storm in the Colorado mountains. In our adventures, I do not come off looking like the most responsible parent. But on the other hand, I love these trips because, for a few short days, I get to see into my son’s world, listen to him, and marvel at how he has changed since our last trip.
As we drove out of town, the only thing I could do was pray that God would carry me through, allow me to give just a little more of myself, and bless me with those intentional moments I so desperately wanted with my son. God honored that prayer, and a funny thing happened on our spring break getaway. With each mile I drove, I physically felt the weight of the last few months lifting from my shoulders. As we sang along to praise music (off-key and really loudly), discussed NASCAR news, and talked favorite sports personalities, YouTube videos, and Xbox games, I felt a softening. I found myself relaxing, and space opened between myself and that red warning sign on my dashboard.
I took my journal on this trip, thinking I might squeeze in a little time to write or read. I took up journaling after learning that my maternal grandmother had kept a daily journal where she chronicled not only her life, but also the lives of her children and their children. She kept notes of prayer requests and praises, her hard times, her good times, always with a reverence to how God worked in her life and in those she loved.
In the down moments of spring break, sitting in the lawn chairs while my son swam and ran all over the resort, I had the opportunity to read my journal and reflect on the last year. I read entries from various parts of the year when I struggled to overcome challenges—but I also read where God provided exactly what I needed. I read entries where I poured out my soul in pain for a friend—but I also read how God healed her. I read how I prayed for my family and how God was working in each situation. Mostly, I read times where my soul was completely depleted—but I also read how God restored me, carried my burden, and honored my request for strength and courage.
“He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3, NASB
As I reflect and meditate on all I read, I realized that “He restores my soul.” In the New International Version, the translation of this verse reads, “He refreshes my soul.” In the New Living Translation, I love that it says, “He renews my strength.” In the International Standard Version, it is translated “He revives my life.” He restores. He refreshes. He renews. He revives. Such strong words, all with the same promise: He restores me in ways I cannot do for myself. He carries the burdens I cannot carry myself. He ministers to me beyond what I can see or understand. He restores my soul, so I follow His path.
This spring break, my son and I had those wheels-off moments I won’t share. We had heart-to-heart talks late at night. We shared ice cream for breakfast. We laughed and had fun. And I personally saw how God used those quiet moments to restore, refresh, renew, and revive me, keeping His promise to me.
Christine Clark is the Ministry Coordinator for the Family and Children’s Ministry at Stonebriar Community Church. She has a passion for supporting parents and helping them gain confidence and tools to be spiritual leaders in their homes. She is blessed to be the mom of a middle school son and the wife of her college sweetheart for more than 20 years. She is also an avid sports fan who loves all things football, especially in the fall in Texas.
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