Much of the United States is under what the professionals are calling a “heat dome.” What that really means is it’s really hot. Really, really hot. Everywhere. Here in Tennessee, stepping outside of my air-conditioned house is much like stepping into a sauna. Hot and humid and gross.
When the weather gets hot, the best thing you can do is to hydrate. Water, water, and more water, to make up for the buckets of sweat that we each expel just walking to the car.
But sometimes, when you don’t have to go outside, and you spend all your days in the comfort of air conditioning, it can be easy to forget to drink. Everything feels cool and comfy, I don’t need to keep up that water level, it’s not like I’m going hiking out in the heat any time soon.
But then we do go out. An unplanned excursion into the “heat dome.” But we are so out of the habit of drinking water, that we don’t remember to bring any with us. Soon we feel parched, weak, grumpy, thirsty… If only we had remembered water! If only we had kept up on drinking it when we thought we didn’t really need to! If only…! But we didn’t remember. Dehydration sets in.
You might have noticed Krystal posted last Friday instead of me. I texted her out of desperation and asked her to bail me out. I was empty. I had nothing to give. I was dehydrated.
Things here at home were seemingly spinning out of control. I was getting into daily yelling matches with my 4-year-old. I was waking up grumpy and just couldn’t shake it. I counted down to bedtime just so I could be alone. When my kids made a mess, I just couldn’t deal with it. It made me so angry! Last Friday morning, my kids dumped out every single toy in their room, then refused to pick them up, despite both Jordan and me asking them repeatedly. So in a fit of anger, we packed up every toy in their room and moved it downstairs. Emma didn’t understand why we did that, all her 4-year-old mind knew was that she didn’t have to pick up the toys! That made me even more angry!
I texted my Mom for support. I felt horrible, all I could do was cry and be angry. At my kids!! Who didn’t even understand why!! Then Mom called me.
She talked to me about several things, tough love she called it. A few things stand out in my memory:
Emma was reflecting the behavior she saw in me. Short fuse, hot temper.
Emma is only 4. She doesn’t understand what I’m feeling. She’s 4.
When was the last time I had read my Bible?
I sat on my kitchen floor and cried. She was right. About everything. I was stuck in a pity party for myself, everyone was against me, my kids were monsters, nothing was going right…. But I was wrong.
It had been over a month since I had done any Bible reading or study. And it was showing. I was spiritually dehydrated.
I took a deep breath. It made sense. I had fallen out of the habit of prayer journaling and reading my Bible. I hadn’t invited Jesus into my home, sincerely, in a long time. I felt like I was dried up and drowning all at the same time.
I told my Mom I didn’t even know where to start and asked her for direction. She mentioned the study that she’s been doing, reading the four Gospels chronologically, along with the coinciding chapters from Jerry D. Thomas’s “Messiah,” a modern Desire of Ages. She was gushing about how much she understands now and how wonderful it all was! So I decided to start there.
I had a chronological Bible, and “Messiah,” so I had all I needed. That same afternoon, I gathered my journaling Bible, the chronological reading plan, and my copy of “Messiah” and I sat down on the couch. Nothing else mattered in those moments. I was desperate, grasping at anything that could lift the weight of depression and hopelessness.
A miracle happened. As soon as I opened my Bible, my formerly bickering and arguing kids started to play quietly together. They laughed together, shared toys, and didn’t bother me at all. A peace settled on my home.
I read as much as I could over the weekend. By Sunday evening, I texted my Mom and told her I felt like I could breathe again. I let many of my household responsibilities slide this past week, choosing to read and study as much as possible instead. I just wanted to soak in as much as I possibly could. I felt like a dried up sponge that was finally put in water.
I was dehydrated.
Of everything I have read this week in the Bible and in “Messiah” one passage has stuck with me and keeps ringing in my ears. It’s from “Messiah,” talking about when Mary and Joseph lost Jesus as a boy and found him in the temple three days later.
“One day of neglect cost Joseph and Mary three days of anxious searching. The same thing can happen to us. One day of gossiping, criticizing, and neglecting prayer will separate us from Jesus. And it may take many days to feel His presence again.
We should be careful in our busy lives not to forget Jesus. When we become so caught up in everyday things that we don’t even think of Jesus, we separate ourselves from Him and His angels. Angels cannot stay where Jesus isn’t wanted or where a person doesn’t even notice He is missing. This is why many who claim to be followers of Jesus are discouraged so much of the time.” ‘Messiah’, Jerry D. Thomas, chapter 8, page 53.
Jesus is the source of the Living Water. Without Him, we get dehydrated quickly.
I’m not perfect. Far from it. And I still have a temper. I still have good days and bad days. My 4-year-old is still 4. But there is a peace that fills this house now that I cannot explain. After not feeling it for so long, it’s hard to miss it now. I know angels are filling this home and keeping Satan and his angels at bay.
But I have to be diligent. I can’t let a day go by without asking for the Holy Spirit to be here. I can’t let a day go by without reading His Word. I’ve discovered that this particular study, chronologically through the Gospels, is a lot like Pringles. Once you pop, you can’t stop. The more I read, the more I want to read.
If you are feeling like I was, depressed and discouraged, with no other explanation, try the Bible. You don’t have to study what I’m studying (although I HIGHLY recommend it!). Pick a book: Esther, Judges, Proverbs, Matthew, Galatians, Jude…. Start anywhere. Jesus is on every page. Find a version of the Bible that you enjoy. I use the English Standard Version, but there are many. Maybe even pick two or three versions. Find an audiobook of the Bible, and just listen as you go about your day.
And pray. Pray that Jesus will draw you to Him, that He will increase your desire for Him, and that He will bring you peace and hope. The rest will come.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” John 4:13,14 ESV