Last night I met Donna. She was at the homeless shelter our church has the privilege of serving one Sunday a month. The moment I saw her I had a sharp pain in my chest. She reminded me of my Mom. Not that my Mom was ever homeless, but there was something about her that stabbed me. I couldn't wrap my mind around it until we were almost home. I have thought about Donna all day. My Mom too, of course.
I sat with Donna while she ate and talked to her. I learned a lot about her. She had been homeless for 3 years. Disabled for 9. She was beat up 5 days ago. She is on her fourth shopping cart in 3 months. They cost $35.99. It costs almost $60.00 a month to ride MARTA and they keep cutting bus routes. She misses the bus frequently because she cannot walk without her cart and her bags are too heavy to carry. Her glasses are missing a nosepiece and Walmart won't fix it for her because she didn't buy them there. She didn't buy her glasses at all, the Lions club provided them for her.....9 years ago. She has children but doesn't want anything to do with her family. Her dream would be to get back on her feet and buy a $50,000 house. She wants to get out of town, even though she has lived here for 30 years.
Donna was unkempt, disheveled, unhappy, and not at rest. She was not at rest. That's why she reminded me of my Mom.
Our last Bible Study was literally a Godsend. Ashlie talked about rest. Not the "I want to take a nap" kind of rest, but the "cease and desist" kind of rest. We learned that in Genesis 2:2, when God rested it was the verb "Shabath," which is where we get our Sabbath. God didn't rest because He was tired. God never tires. He rested because He was done, completed, and it was good. He got to marvel in His creation. We also learned about "nuwach" which is the kind of rest talked about in Exodus 33:14 that means to settle down or remain. Then there is the "anapauo" which means to pause in the midst of something. In Matthew 11:28 when Jesus says "come to me all who are burdened, and I will give you rest," He literally means "come to me in the midst and I will permit you to recover, pause, and collect you strength." Finally, there is the "katapausis" which means to rest and calm of the eternal kind. The kind of rest when we get to Heaven.
My Mom was never at rest. Even though she slept a lot, she never seemed rested. The last 8 months of her life she had a lot of turmoil. Even before that, I do not remember my Mom ever really being rested. We had a lot of conversations about finding peace. About letting her turmoil go. She had faith. She had a relationship with Christ. She just never sought rest from Him. She let herself get in the way of what God wanted to give her. It was easier for her to hold onto her turmoil and unhappiness than it was for her to "pause" in the midst and be restored. It is always easier for us to let ourselves get in the way. That way we still have what we think is control. Fortunately for my Mom, she now has the "katapausis." She doesn't have to even ask for it. :)
I'm tired. We all are. We need strength for our souls. We need to cease and desist. We need to be done. We need to be complete.
I didn't say goodbye to Donna. I couldn't. I didn't know what to say to her in her turmoil at that moment. I was just so sad. Now I know what I should have said. I should have told her to ask God for her rest. She can only get it from Him. I should have told her not to let the turmoil of her life get in the way of worshiping God the way He intended her to. I should have given her Matthew 11:28, the precious words of Jesus.
It is my prayer that we would pause and go to Jesus as He asks us to. He is our rest. He is our completion.