Growing up, Bible stories of overabundance used to blow my mind.
Like, how could it be that the boy's fish just kept multiplying and multiplying? If I had a basket with a few fish in it and I passed a few fish out and suddenly there were more fish, I'd probably freak out and throw the basket in the air, fish flying everywhere, which would freak me out even more, because, where did the extra flying fish come from?
Or those virgins with the lamps? And I don't know much about oil lamps or anything, but did it not strike them as strange that they just kept burning? Why was that not part of the story? Why was it just an accepted fact? "Oh yes, the lamps lasted all night."
And it wasn't that I didn't believe the stories were true or anything. I understand that Jesus performed miracles. But I just couldn't imagine being there and seeing it and just rejoicing in the glory of it all rather than freaking out, like I said.
Rough transition, but I swear I'm going somewhere:
My girls were sick from the beginning of the year until just a week or so ago. I'm telling you this hoping you don't judge me as "that mom with the kids who are always sick," because other than passing it back and forth to each other and it perpetually getting worse, I have no idea how they were sick for so long. We had everything under the sun. I did everything I could, and we were literally in the house for three weeks. I mean. We didn't leave.
We woke up every day, having barely slept between crying babies and coughing toddlers and fevers and sniffles; and then we sneezed our way through the morning, watching more television than I'll admit, not really eating meals, just whatever I could force down into sicky little tummies. We'd barely make it to nap time, and I'd be praying that it would be a day we'd all collapse for hours rather than battle against sleep.
The worst thing about sick kids is seeing it in their eyes, knowing that they don't feel well, watching their bubbly personalities retreat somewhere inside, and not really being able to communicate to them what "sick" is. It's so sad and so draining. And we all know I have an incredible helpmate in Trevor, but the other thing about sick kids is, they only want their mommy.
In the midst of it all, as you can imagine was inevitable, I caught whatever they had as well. And my arms ached from lifting kids up and down and my spirit was weary. I remember going to be bed one night in tears I was so tired. And then Edi was up and then Iris was up and then Edi was up and then Iris was up.
That second time I heard Iris call out for me that night, I had a moment of panic. I thought, "I am not physically capable of this." And then from somewhere I mustered what I needed to swing my legs out of bed yet again and make my way toward the nursery. The second I opened the door and scooped Iris up into my arms, wiping snot from her nose and drying tears from her eyes, it was like I didn't notice the exhaustion. What I needed was there. I didn't think it would be, but it was.
And later it made me feel so incredibly a part of a greater plan, knowing that I was a vessel of miracles just like a basket of fish or a lamp with a never-ending energy source. I was carrying some sort of divine mom power in me, and whatever was needed to do my job and to do it well would surely pour out of me, even when it seemed impossible. It didn't trickle out like squeezing the last bit of water from a sponge; it gushed and bubbled over so that I wasn't just there, I was everything my daughter needed in that moment.
The best thing about it all was that I didn't notice it happening in the moment. It was a provision and I took it and I moved forward with my work as though it didn't strike me as odd that I suddenly wasn't tired. Perhaps that was how it worked for the disciples and the fish boy. Jesus said there would be enough and there was enough and so they kept going. Isn't that just like faith? You feel like you're taken to the very edge and right before you run out and break, you make it one more step. You don't even realize it until you've done it and you've put a mile more behind you. Until you've fed five more people. Until you've waited three more hours. Until you've gone one more day without sleep and survived without breaking.
There are days where I feel hollow and empty and useless. But I am a never-emptied vessel, a miracle to be added to the other examples of the mind-blowing power of faith and trust and provision. And so are you; just keep going.