Here's the thing, I've been reading the bible a long, long time.
I was raised from the time I was an infant in a Catholic home so I had the essentials down by age, oh I dunno 8 or so. I heard the commandments and prayed the Our Father even earlier than that, really since I was a wee-tid bit of a thing.
(say that with the best Irish accent you can muster up)
And then somewhere around 13 or 14 I picked up this beloved book in a whole different way.
The Lover of my Soul became Alive to me and the words in that book were no longer just words, they were life, and breath, and nourishment to a very hungry soul.
Ask my fellow class mates in Jr. High where Noël could be found at lunch time, but keep in mind before I disclose this embarrassing secret that this was before I discovered the Christian club...
On a regular basis, at lunch time, you could find me off in the bathroom reading the Bible. I still kinda chuckle at that. Poor girls in Jr. High coming in to relieve themselves and there I was with my bible on the bathroom floor no less.
I don't recommend the bathroom floor as the best place to read, but I mention that true part of my history to reveal that I didn't care where I was reading it, I just had to be, wanted to be, needed to be reading that book.
And still... STILL 38 almost 39 years later I am captivated, surprised, shocked, and in awe of how truly amazing the bible is.
There is a reason it is the number one best seller book of all time, and I would bet my life it will stay that way because here's the other thing...
It is ALIVE, because God's Spirit uses it to be poignant and relative to our individual lives.
It would be like if you were reading a novel and all of a sudden the main character meets someone else that is exactly like you. The new character has your name, your personality, your habits. And then you read that the new character does something that you JUST did the other day.
It would be so crazy, kinda creepy, but mostly SO, SO COOL!!
That's the bible.
This is something that I sometimes forget and then I'm reminded when I sit down and pick up that book only to find the very words that are LIFE to my very dry, empty soul.
I'm humbled and blessed by this book on the regular.
Now that I have gotten off on a rampage on something most of you already know, let me tell you what words in that book are changing me right now.
It's a portion of scripture that I have probably read a thousand times. For real. NO joke I've read this scripture A LOT especially because it is one that I have framed and it sits right in front of my kitchen sink.
How many of you know I spend A LOT of time in front of the kitchen sink?
Momma of 4 = A LOT of Dishes.
I have this scripture in that appropriate place because of what it says.
Do you want to know what it says?
Ok, I'll tell you, and thanks for asking.
The portion of scripture that once again is blowing me away, comes from Matthew 11:28-30.
I'm going to kinda stop and go with this portion of scripture to talk about the new life it's taken on in my heart recently, so if you want to skip ahead and just go read it yourself, I won't hold it against you.
"Come to Me, all who labor and heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls."
Let's just stop - Selah - right here.
The first thing I know about what Jesus is saying here is that I need to come to Him.
If you wanna know how I come to Him on a daily basis read the story above. Only now I no longer sit on a bathroom floor ;)
The second thing that comforts me beyond belief is that HE knows that my life can become over-burdened, heavy, and full of work.
Are sensing WHY I have this scripture in front of my kitchen sink?
Because often times when I'm standing there doing the dishes for the ump-teenth time I feel heavy-ladened. Ya know what I'm saying? Do you ever get that heavy-ladened feeling?
Would if we went around asking each other "Are you feeling heavy-ladened today sister?"
That makes me giggle, ok moving on.
Let me tell you what heavy ladened translates to me;
I feel like the work of this world will never end sometimes and without a purpose I will be found until my dying day in front of that damn kitchen sink doing all the worlds dishes!!
Ya know what I'm saying?
But, wait... then I read this...
Come to me
Take From me.
What other person in your life do you know that says,
"Come on over here to my house and take whatever you want, whatever you need. Take it all!!"
I know, NO ONE like that.
I am in a relationship with a man who I have loved and he has loved me for 19+ years and never, never in all our years together has he said, just keep taking from me, I ask nothing in return.
Relationships on earth require a Give and Take.
Now, you might find that in some Godly relationships there is a self-less attribute that we try to attain, but that is only achieved by God's grace and love that's been given to each person.
But Jesus says,
"Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls."
- Selah -
What does he want us to take from him?
Like an egg yoke?
No, but for real what is this yoke business you're talking about Jesus??
Well, that's a yoke up there.
A cow and a donkey yoked together to plow a field, go on a leisurely walk, umm... I dunno?
All I know is that they are yoked together to do what ever it is the humans who yoked them, want them TO DO.
Maybe just to take this picture?
Now, in a yoked type situation like this I picture myself of course as the Jack Ass because... well compared to Jesus that's exactly what I am.
I jack things up ALL the time and because He's yoked to me, he gets my mess.
But ya know what ?
He doesn't mind.
In fact He tells me to take these things instead of the Shi%$# I hand him.
I don't know about you all but I need, desperately need rest, relief, ease, refreshment, recreation, and blessed quiet.
Listen to those words.
Aren't those words that you wish you could have an endless supply of?
Also if I trip and fall He is the strong one that carries on.
When I fall down, HE stands up.
The weight of the yoke falls on him.
Those yokes are heavy man.
That picture of Him being strong and me being weak, that's what I love about this relationship. I'm so thankful I'm yoked to someone so much stronger, because I feel weak and tired on a daily basis, but being yoked to him is like being yoked to a HUGE muscle man.
I wish I had the computer graphic skills to make a picture like that for you, but just imagine my tiny little head yoked to this guy.
(Don't those muscles look painful? )
Ok moving on....
"For my yoke is wholesome (useful, good-not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and MY burden is light and easy to be borne."
I think that there are so many other things in this life that I yoke myself to without realizing how heavy, and hard they become until my back is broken and I'm crying out to God. Asking Him for help is where I stop, pause, and Come to him. And then I take on that useful, good, comfortable, gracious, pleasant yoke of His and all is well again.
If you are feeling tired, burdened, and heavy ladened today I pray you will find rest and comfort by these words and from the Lover of YOUR soul.