A Season of Rest

Our 3-year-old had pneumonia last fall and spent the week of Thanksgiving in the hospital. We ate our turkey and dressing and turnip greens on a hospital tray…but honestly, it was delicious, even more so because we were about to go home! (I’ve spent several holidays in hospitals…and all I can say is, God bless the nurses and doctors and staff who give up precious family time to serve those who are sick.)

That Thanksgiving Day I was more keenly aware of God’s blessings and more thankful than ever before. My little one was alive and on the mend! We’d had a few very tense days…including isolation due to suspected MRSA as well as the possibility of being transferred to another hospital for surgery if the pleural effusion (fluid that had collected outside the lung) formed an abscess. Thank goodness both of those scenarios turned out to be only a scare.

She took it all in stride–the IV, the blood draws, the X-rays, the ultrasounds, the CT scan. (I think Doc McStuffins prepared her to face all of that without fear!) As long as Mama and Oscar the otter were by her side, she could be brave.

A few days after we went home, my blood pressure shot up and my lupus symptoms flared. That’s what stress will do for you. But a situation like that will also stop you in your tracks and put life back into perspective.

I mentioned in my last post that we’ve been through some intense trials during the past three years. They followed each other so closely that there was never much of a chance to stop and catch our breath or really rest. I had no choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other…you know the feeling. That’s exactly what I needed to do during that season to help myself and my family get through those things. But when we came home from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day, our little one had barely enough energy to sit up on the sofa. It was time for something other than just-keep-moving-and-doing-the-next-right-thing. It was time to rest. We all needed it.

Because I have lupus, I try not to overcrowd my schedule, I have to take occasional naps, and I’m used to saying no to extra activities. But for this season, I needed to cut back even further to allow extra downtime for us to recover.

It was the best thing I could have done. Christmas was the simplest it’s ever been…and it was even better without all the stress! I thought life would return to normal after the holidays when she was strong enough to go back to preschool. But she got sick again within a few weeks, so her doctor recommended that we keep her home for several more months to allow her immune system time to rebuild.

I think we all needed this time of rest to be restored. We’ve had our share of ups and downs during this season, just like any other, but we’ve been better able to cope with life’s demands. (And my blood pressure returned to normal, too.) I feel more alive and at peace than I have in a long time.

If you’ve been in a difficult place and feeling overwhelmed, just trying to survive…I commend you for keeping your head above water and just getting through it. I also highly recommend giving yourself the restorative therapy of slowing down. It can be difficult to cut back, but the benefits far outweigh the sacrifice. Even a small change can make a big difference.

A season of rest is good for more than just the body…it’s also healing for the soul.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3a (ESV)

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