The restaurant was only half full but the table was crowded: five adults and four children gathered around two squares pulled together with plates, food, and napkins piled high.
My husband and his brother went to get the drinks and, upon their return, found us all settled in our seats. The only two chairs left were right next to each other, nestled between a four-year-old on one side and me with our not-so-small son on my lap on the other.
The tall brothers hesitated, glancing at one another as if to ask which one of them was going to eat at another restaurant, as no one could possibly expect these two over six-feet-tall men to squeeze into this tiny space, much less eat there with all the elbow action and room a man needs to consume food properly.
They needed space. Technically speaking, the space was there. They could have sat next to each other. They could have made it work. But there would have been no room for a dropped napkin under the table or simultaneous bites, not to mention comfortable conversation
There would have been no room to breathe.
I need room to breathe. I need space in my days and weeks and months to think and mull and ponder. Because when I don’t get it, I start to think things like this:
I wish for a faraway land to live in with my man and my babies, and I wish to live off the fruit of the trees and honey from the hives we tend with our own hands.
I want to walk barefoot in the grass and make sandcastles and read stories and sing.
I wish for my high school hair back with the corn silk curls, and skirts that touch the ground and crowns made of sweet-smelling flowers.
I long for money and chocolate to grow on trees.
I dream of buying a new toilet instead of cleaning my old one.
I wish for a maid, a hairdresser and a chef. And a milkshake. With whipped cream.
I dream about having lots of space. I dream about heaven. I dream of escape.
And in all of that dreaming, I find myself beginning to worship space. I try to imagine having it and chase after it and all the while it seems to become more and more illusive.
Life is messy and fluid and maddeningly unpredictable. My husband is a youth pastor and I lead a small group of girls and I have three young children and my house gathers dust and the PTA sends me email and my clothes start to stink and I have to meet that deadline. And so do you.
And so in my quest to experience space for my soul, to pin it down and plan for it, I’m hearing a voice reminding me that it isn’t simply space I want. It is a safe place, a haven, a resting place. It is calmness and strength and understanding that I seek. I want to be known fully, loved wholly, accepted unconditionally. That is really what I want.
For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory.
Psalm 32:7Leave a Comment
Sarah (UK) says
Thank you, Emily. I can identify with these words as a busy but blessed Mum.
I read this morning from 1 Chronicles 16 v 27 “Strength and majesty surround Him: strength and beauty are in His dwelling.” Made me think of Psalm 91 v 1 +2 “Those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge; my place of safety; He is my God and I am trusting Him.” I guess we could substitute the word “space” for “dwelling” and “shelter”! Wonderful! How amazing to be so close to the LORD that we are standing in the shadow of Almighty God. God bless you.
Southern Gal says
I’ve never thought of it as worshipping space before. A new concept. Now I’ll have to go ponder on that a while.
This is exactly where I am. Struggling to find that peace in the midst of chaos. Thank you for encouraging my heart today.
Good stuff. I guess if Jesus needed to get away to a quiet place to be alone with his Father, it’s okey for me to long for that as well. You hit an important note, though, pointing out that space, solace, and quiet–like any of God’s good gifts–can become idols if we let them.
As one on the brink of an empty nest, I’m considering what to do with more space in my life and in my days. I think it has something to do with receiving the gift with gratitude and taking every thought captive. I think. Trying to figure it out.
Maria Zematis says
Thank you for this post! I read In-courage when I can. Today was a day meant for me to connect with you. Thank you- as I return to loving, serving and being with my four young gifts. In response to your post, “Amen!”
Maria in CT
“I find myself beginning to worship space.”
Yes, that’s me. My idol is quiet time, alone time, lack of busyness, etc. And sometimes I can’t control my environment enough to have the “space” I want. Sometimes, God ordains busyness and pressure to strengthen me and help me grow in trusting him. How I Him to be my ultimate source for the comfort of breathing room!
Mandy Ford says
Oh I love this – thank you for putting into words something I struggle with a lot these days. Working full time and having two year old twins makes for not much space in my life (physically, mentally and spiritually), but you have given me a whole new perspective on it.
This is my struggle too! Sometimes I feel so suffocated. Thanks for writing this and including that Psalm.
You have put my feelings into words Emily. It seems that no matter what the season of life – it is all too busy with little time left to simply “be”.
I have felt those longings you write about – a little cottage by the ocean, long walks on the beach, spending days all by myself.
I hadn’t really realized that the longing is that need for a haven – one that is always there waiting for me to come and rest.
I have learned to realize when I start that longing, that I am longing for time with God. And sometimes, it means I need a girlfriend evening 🙂 So long as we don’t become depressed as we long for heaven. There is a reason there is a hole in our hearts and it can only be filled by one thing. It’s so sad that so many don’t know or recognize that.
Becky Ramsey says
Yes, we all want calm and strength and understanding. Thank goodness for a God who provides.
So beautifully expressed. Thank you!
So often you write just exactly where I am. Thanks. I just said to my youth pastor husband, “I’m running away. I’d like very much for you to come, but I’m running away”.
Just the very same emotions.
Thanks. I will seek my Haven.
Laurie Wallin says
Ooo, ouch, girl! I’m spending a lot of time setting up the summer with all four girls home, and find myself getting anxious about when I’ll have quiet time to myself…. I know, like Nancy said above, that it’s okay and that even Jesus took time away too. But I also know by the anxiety I have about it that I’ve begun to let it be an idol. Thank you so much for being faithful to share this – it’s a convicting, thus freeing truth.
May we all have a summer full of space – grace space – and see God give rest in ways we can’t even try to engineer.
(And here’s to hoping you have lots of inspired space as you finish your book, too! 🙂
This is wonderful. We need space in our lives, whether with our families, ourselves, or God.
Wow, this is exactly where I am in my life. I read this and found myself… reading the lines over and over again…
And realizing that today, my really awful, terrible, no good, very bad day needed some space in it.
Thank you for sharing your heart Emily.
Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
I love your writing because it is a place where I hear God speak calmly but strongly. This post is perfectly lovely, comforting, and TRUTHful. Thank you for this!
Wow– I think those exact same thoughts when I am overwhelmed and need space! That’s when I start planning vacations, and thinking that maybe, just maybe we could have a farm and just survive off of our own hands. Yearning for the simple life.
Yes, I can identify… This is the season I’m in desiring space. I’m feeling however I little convicted that I’m making it an idol because of this desperate need for it right now.
Thanks for sharing!
Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience says
Oh, you nailed it, Emily… again.
When I want space… what I really want is a Saviour. The one so spacious not even the heavens can contain Him.
Reviving Truth… in your reviving words.
Thank you, friend!
I’m a chaser too, and it never once occurred to me that maybe it’s not space I’m chasing, but instead a safe, hiding place. Thanks for speaking the truth Emily!
Michelle DeRusha@Graceful says
I agree with Kimberly above. Never once in my chasing time or space have I considered that I may be yearning for the space and safety God provides. Thank you for making this connection for me today!
Thank you for putting words to something I feel all to often. But more than that – Thank you for exposing my true need and pointing me to the only One who can meet my need.
I guess that to receive the mortgage loans from banks you ought to have a firm reason. But, one time I have got a financial loan, just because I wanted to buy a building.
cheap air jordans says
I’m twiddling my thumbs as I read this article, hehe. I guess i’m really perplexed in the topic in front of me. Kudos to you for making me forget about my plans!