Finding Rest

– Virginia’s article from the December 2017 Newsletter

Most of our church family–especially kids and parents–know me best through my position as Director of Kids Ministry. But in this article, I’d like to share my heart simply as a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mother, and a sister in the Lord.

Another year is coming to a close, and I have been through so much in the past year. It all started with my broken foot at the end of last November forcing me to wear a boot and walking shoe through Christmas and well into the New Year. Then, I had to deal with dental procedures at the beginning of the year that were finally taken care of last week! Yes, it took 7 months for a crown to be placed correctly. In the middle of that, I also had an unexpected root canal which caused hours upon hours of tear-wrenching, excruciating pain!

It seemed like every week I had a new pain in my body while the other pains remained relentless. I was putting on a brave face for everyone while screaming on the inside “This isn’t fair! Why, God?” Finally some of the dental and foot pain subsided–just in time for my knee to act up. (It’s been 5 years since my major surgery.) Two trips to UVA and an MRI later, the doctor still can’t tell me what caused the flare up, but he did find a stress fracture on the back of my knee, apparently from the fall and broken foot, 6 months previous.

Finally, as if all the stress and trauma to my body wasn’t enough for the year, I got into an accident and totaled my car. The emotions of those few weeks after the car accident were unbearable. I was a wreck. I was in great despair. I was at a total loss. I didn’t want to talk to God anymore. I knew he was still there. I knew there was a point and a purpose to all of this, but I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to go though anymore pain, physically or emotionally. I was exhausted…but there was more–more little things that kept piling up, more of the life that I was supposed to live, but no longer wanted to deal with. Depression, heartache, anxiety (especially while driving) were all entering the scene, bringing me down, down to the deepest despair I had felt in years.

And then a glorious 3 days happened. REST, rest from my life, rest from my kids and their schooling, rest from my husband, rest from my responsibilities at church. REST!! Glorious REST. My own little, very short, 3-day Sabbatical. An extended Sabbath if you will. It definitely was not a happy magic cure that made everything storybook perfect, but it did give me a break. I finally got to reconnect with God. I was able to focus on just Him and only Him.

I had all intentions of complaining to God, asking him all those hard questions of why he had let all of this happen to me. I was angry and wanted answers. But, once I felt his presence, once it was just Him and me, all those questions faded, and not once did I even think of them during those 3 days. I was able to spend some quality time with just Him. I was able to pray and worship, read, and take walks with my Maker. I was able to breathe. I was able to relax in his presence. I didn’t come back a new person with everything figured out, but I did come back refreshed and restored by spending time with my Heavenly Father. I still don’t have answers to why all of those horrible things happened to me all in one year, and maybe I never will. What I do have is God’s love and compassion and an understanding that I am his child. Those three days will always be remembered as a turning point for me to trust God more and to look for his faithfulness even through the trials. I am looking forward to a new year, a new start, and hopefully, a renewed strength to face whatever God has planned next.

–Virginia Henry