“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28)
I needed rest… But yoked? That sounded like being shackled. I don’t know about being yoked to anything, let alone Jesus. It sounded like a massive responsibility to me so I looked into the word.
“Yoke: 1, a contrivance for fastening together the necks of two draft animals, as oxen.” Further on it reads, “something that binds or holds parts together.” (The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary)
Hmm? Maybe I won’t fall apart if I got a handle this yoke thing…
And taking in what I know about Jesus –His yoke is indeed light—And it is He who wants to team up with me to relieve my burdens? Time has taught me that Jesus has massively strong shoulders with which to bear burdens. His shoulders bore the weight of the Cross and carried the sins of all mankind.
“You seem stressed. Do you not want us to come out?” Her text message read.
Here was my “out.” For a moment I was tempted.
I was soul weary. I was in and out of town, up early (totally not my thing), and learning an additional job with eleven hour work days. I was psyched up for the originally planned trip of the five friends that had been scheduled for two months earlier–much more conducive to me having a clean house and being ready to receive five women in dire need of a “girl trip.”
An emergency appendectomy on the organizer of the trip delayed that one.
Thank God she is fine, but this left the women desperately disappointed and compounded their need of a break. The “guest list” had changed a bit but only this weekend would work. Seriously, try getting five women available for a weekend–from two states, each with anywhere from two to four kids, dogs, cats and all with working husbands, relationships, jobs, diapers and… life—it is nothing short of a miracle. Canceling was not an option.
Hours before the planes landed, the wind kicked up and blew desert dirt all over my patios I had just cleaned. I took a jaw-clenched, deep breath and heard God whispering in the wind—“Let go and just go with it.”
Even though I knew I needed this break and was desperate for girl time, I wasn’t sure how I could fit in transporting, cooking, dining and entertaining, along with paying taxes, planning a launch party, coordinating repainting a rental and installing an A/C unit along with all the other things I needed to get done.
Aside from that, my condo is mostly accustomed to fans quietly whirring long days away to and two kitties lounging in splotches of sunlight.
“How pathetic am I?” I thought. I don’t even have half of what these women have going on.
I am counting it another miracle that the bathrooms got cleaned, groceries were purchased, the fridge was packed with ten beers, floors were vacuumed and each lady had a clean bed and pillow for her head by flight arrival times.
Four days later, the ladies are gone and I will never be the same. My condo community (“the colony”) will never be the same either! We chatted on the patio until the wee hours. We laughed the entire weekend over the “great pizza heist,” caught up on life’s events, reminisced over old times and blew through those ten beers within hours.
We shopped and soaked up sun at the pool, poked fun at each other, partied and even prayed together. We lightened burdens as we yoked up with one another in sharing, listening, releasing, relieving and recovering.
I had no idea how much I’d been missing them. Years can move people in and out of your life and across the miles, but time can never break the bonds of true friendships; the type of friendships that see a pain before it pours out your eyes, the type of friends that will follow you down into the dark depths just to sit with you there. It is a yoke that holds you forever and helps you keep it together.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I hope each woman knows what a wonderful and powerful force she is to her family. I pray that, as they return to their children, jobs, husbands, relationships and lives, they will find rest for their weak and weary souls. I pray that they know they always have a place they can find a yoke that will help them through the storms of this life—not my condo in the desert, but at the foot of the cross.
Rest secured in the power of the yoke of Christ. Lay your burdens at His feet and know that He will take them on and enable you to handle anything. And, when the wind blows dust over all your plans, He will bring you dear friends who will wash it clean with tears and restore it as a place of laughter.
I will continue to pray for these women. I will trust in God’s timing of all things. And I will never make the tragic mistake of only ten beers again! 😉