"The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."I needed time. The immense needs of my family were overwhelming. I was ashamed of the voice I heard coming from my mouth. The visible reminders that having three bodies that require constant supervision lest they destroy things or harm themselves or each other, and the thought that things are going to get worse before they get better when the 4th becomes mobile and also requires constant supervision, came crashing down on me so hard I could barely hold my head up. I found myself clutching my coffee and sitting on the couch staring into space, hanging onto sanity by a thread. I felt I was fighting sitting in a corner, beating my head against the wall.
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowed, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
But he answered, "You give them something to eat."
They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
"How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see."
When they found out, they said, "Five - and two fish."
Then Jesus directed them to have all the people it down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand."
I realized the stupor I was slipping into, recognizing a place I'd been before. I don't want to go there again. So I thought I'd take some time to read Scripture. I'd recently had a blog post arrive in my email about controlling anger as a mom, and one of the things mentioned was that even Jesus said to be by yourself in a quiet place, quoting Mark 6. Of course, I was frustrated by the fact that I wasn't even able to use the bathroom yesterday without someone putting butter in their hair, so I wasn't sure how I was supposed to accomplish alone time without disaster spreading. But I sat down in the floor of the bedroom, turned to Mark 6, and started reading.
I smiled when Mark records they didn't even have a chance to eat. Don't young mothers know what that's like! One day this week it was 2pm before I had anything besides coffee, and I'd been up since before 7. I was a bit jealous when I read they went away to a solitary place; must be nice to be a man and not have to take the kids with you. But then I realized what the next story was.
Not only do they not get to enjoy solitude because Jesus teaches the people that followed them, but He turns to them and tells them to feed them. They're exhausted. Probably hungry. Worn out. Stressed. And were hoping for some time to rest and recharge. And now they're being asked to serve? From the very guy that told them to get some rest? In frustration, I imagine, they point out how expensive that is, and I'm sure they were also thinking they didn't want to go shopping and cook and spend more time on their feet.
But what does Jesus do? He performs a miracle. He spreads their resources beyond anything imaginable and enables them to serve in the way He asked.
And at that moment, in walks a crying Karen, face covered in snot and missing her pants, hair still messy from the butter escapade yesterday. And she puts her head on my shoulder. I pull her into my lap and realize she has a dirty diaper.
Yes, Jesus said they needed to rest. And God says He will lead us beside quiet waters. But that doesn't mean we're actually going to get to rest in the here and now. He is capable of spreading my resources beyond anything I could imagine. My patience. My kindness. My mental strength and creativity to deal with the challenges of multiple toddlers. He has expanded our material resources and proven Himself capable of providing. He is just as capable of providing for the mental and spiritual and emotional needs as He is the monetary and practical needs. What an incredible realization. What an awesome God.