“He leads me beside streams of toilet waters.”

toilet parts

Once upon a time I had this crazy day.

A certain child broke his glasses while playing basketball in the driveway. His new glasses.

This child plus one of his siblings were asked by their father via Facetime to clean their rooms and help tidy the bathroom because a home appraiser would be coming any day to have a look at our house. No big deal, just determining THE WORTH OF OUR HOME, our greatest financial asset.

Instead of calmly tidying things up, these dear, sweet, always-compliant boys played “Turn Down For What” {because it “pumps them up to clean better”} and got to roughhousing in said bathroom. And while they were not capable of calmly cleaning the bathroom, they were able to tell me, ever so calmly, that the toilet was leaking.

And by leaking, they meant gushing.

One sobbing mother, two bewildered boys, a frantic teenage girl, and 500 towels later, the dad comes home from work. {After being Facetimed by the incoherent mother about the gushing toilet.}  He quietly unplugs the playstation and carries it to the attic. He solemnly sentences the boys to their beds for the duration of the day, allowing them water and use of the bathroom, the one usable bathroom in our home.

He inspects beneath the house. The once very-dry house that will soon be visited by a home inspector. Apparently toilets are capable of producing many, many gallons of water in a short span of time.

Two broken plumbing pieces, five wrong-sized hardware thingies from Lowe’s, a couple of worn-out parents, one dehumidifier, and two repentant boys later, we called it a day. Even though the toilet is still broken.

I woke up this morning with the same anxiety I carried to bed.

I’m learning that Crazy doesn’t enjoy traveling alone and is prone to bringing all of his firework-toting cousins along when he comes to visit. They have been partying at Casa de Vischer for days now.

handcuff

In the last two and a half weeks, we’ve endured ten showings and toured seven houses.

Out of nowhere, ants took up residence in the hall bathroom and will not leave. Even though it’s January. We have never had ants in January.

We took a vehicle in for a repair and came out with a vehicle too far gone to be repaired.

As you might imagine, sleep, showering, and sanity are in short supply.

An hour after Toiletgate 2015, I found myself laughing hysterically in the kitchen and could. not. stop. And then I felt terrible. Because even though the situation was emergency-like and showed up at the worst possible time, laughter would have greatly diffused the fearful tension in the bathroom when three kids, the dog, and the mom were huddled around the toilet going bananas and yelling / barking at everyone.

I didn’t need to cry or scream at my children. The boys could have still absorbed their consequences. The toilet was going to be broken, regardless of how I responded.

But we all know that when the craziness of life presses down, our true selves emerge, like peanut butter oozing through the tiny holes of two saltine crackers.

Marian’s many flavors of crazy are smeared all over the place right now. My left eye started twitching last Thursday and without the assistance of my new best friend Zzzquil, sleep eludes me. It’s like my body is saying, How can you sleep when there is so much to control and manage and worry about?

And just when I think all of my insanity has been unleashed, a day like Tuesday comes calling and I discover that my socks are soaked with toilet water and that it is, in fact, possible to get just a tad more unstable.

During times like these, the fleshly part of me descends into insomnia, anxiety, and twitchiness.

And during times like these, I am ever so grateful that the fleshly part of me doesn’t get the last word.

I’m grateful that there is a spirit part of me too, a spirit that cries out for help and consolation.

And I’m grateful that there is a God who answers with the truth of his word and the assurance of his spirit that is tethered to my spirit.

art and brick

Since December, I’ve been knee-deep in the study of Leviticus, of all things. Honestly, I’d rather be in the Psalms, alongside the kindred crying-outers. But God has seen fit to park me in Leviticus, blood and priestly garments and all.

At first glance, God’s instructions for long-ago Israel seem a far cry from the life of an angsty, modern-American housewife. But those people way back then were not so different than we moderns are now. They were prone to fret and worry and doubt God’s promises. They forged ahead to work and produce when it would have been more fruitful to rest and trust.

This week I’ve been looking at The Sabbatical Year and the Year of Jubilee, times set by God to give his people rest and release. Times for them to stop working and worrying and simply let Him provide.

God’s character and heart for his people hasn’t changed.

He knows we are weary. He knows our human propensity toward worry and greed, accumulation and exploitation. He knows our fierce tendency to look toward our own capabilities for provision instead of toward Him. He sees how we grip our stuff as tight-fisted owners instead of open-handed stewards.

When the waters of Toiletgate {literally} subsided yesterday, the Word that was stored up in me kneaded itself into my knotted-up spirit and whispered its truth:

Marian, all that you have I’ve given to you. I can be trusted. Your life is a testimony to grace upon grace. Will you simply depend on me? Will you trust me to provide? Will you remember how faithful I have been to you and to your family? Climb onto the life raft of remembrance. I am your God and you are my people. I have SO got this, soggy floors and all.

Why are we called to physical rest for a whole day out of every week and to soul-rest all the time? Why did God long to give a year of rest to the land, the animals, and the people every seven years? Why did He want to rain down rest, cancel indebtedness, liberate the needy from hopeless poverty, and provide second chances during the lifetime of each and every person?

Because He is a God who knows we need resting and rescuing. He holds it out to us as a gift, not as a liability. His character is the same today as it’s always been.

Our part is simple. We simply receive. We believe that his gift is true and real and that He’s dependable, even when it looks like no one has got your back and that He’s leading you beside streams of toilet water instead of streams of living water.

We trust even when everything breaks at the same time and rest seems foolish, not to mention impossible. We trust even when we wake each morning with a long list of time-sensitive problems screaming out for solutions.

I will never stop marveling at the fruitfulness of necessary rest and the simplicity of quiet trust.

sunset

But that doesn’t mean it will ever become my default.

In times of uncertainty and uprootedness, in times of counting every dollar and considering every angle and listing every new task — gushing toilets and busted eyeglasses and broken cars bring me to the end of myself.

Will I ever realize that the end of myself is the real starting point? A point of repentance and renewal and returning to Truth.

When my body is too tired and my heart beats too quickly, I find myself curled up like a child and in the arms of Jesus, murmuring back to Him what He has already promised me in Matthew 11:28-30.

I crawl to Him with weariness, baggage, and burdens. He takes all of that upon Himself and exchanges it for rest. A rest that comes from Him and not from tidy, cleaned-up circumstances.

This means that we can go about our days and make peace with our to-do lists. We can do today’s work and only today’s work — overwhelming though it may feel — with humility and quiet trust, knowing that He is the most loving of providers.

Wherever you are, whatever your brand of weariness, whatever the state of your toilet, God’s heart for you is rest.

Will you receive it as the gift you really need?

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resources on the theme of rest

~ Choosing Rest: Cultivating a Sunday Heart in a Monday World by Sally Breedlove {reading this right now, ever so slowly and mindfully}

~ Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess by Stacey Thacker & Brooke McGlothlin {Which showed up in my mailbox yesterday, right after Toiletgate. My friend Stacey Thacker co-authored this book and it just released this week! Also? I haven’t met a mom ever who doesn’t have some brand of weariness going on.}

~ Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserve to Overloaded Lives by Dr. Richard Swanson ~

~ Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung ~

Blog posts that deal with the theme of “Rest” can be found there in the right sidebar. Click the drop-down “topics” menu and you’ll find it. It’s one of my favorite things to write about, probably because it’s one of the hardest disciplines to actually practice.

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Comments

  1. says

    HE knows we are but flesh and freely offers HIS grace, mercy and rest anyway. For that I am so thankful. And I know you are too. Lyrics from a song by Jesus Culture have been rolling over and over in my head this week and perhaps it will be the ounce of encouragement you need today – All things work together for mygood. ALL things. Even broken toilets. Sending hugs to you :)

  2. says

    I love you more each time you write. I wish I was there to help you mop up toilet water. Then we could laugh and have a glass of wine and I’d have to sleep on your couch and your husband would wonder who that stranger was on his couch and you’d laugh even more.

    I miss you terribly.
    julie

  3. says

    “Your life is a testimony to grace upon grace…” thankful for these words here, and the soul rest they are stirring.

    I’m sorry about this hard season you are in. We’ve been in a toiletgate season for a while now and today I’m weary and crying about the dishes (oh look, here they are again, i just cleaned them, why do we have to keep eating?)….that’s my clue-it never is actually about the dishes.

    I appreciate the deep breath these words on rest bring. Thanks!

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