My son, Andrew is my first-born. He is an absolute joy! The light of my life. A kind, caring, compassionate and helpful young man. He loves God, and he loves to see his friends and family happy. He has taught me so much, and opened-up a passion in me that I never knew existed.
Since his birth, I’ve grown accustomed to a lot of appointments, endless amounts of paperwork, sleepless nights, surgeries, worry, overwhelm, and exhaustion. You see, Andrew is a young adult with multiple disabilities.
In 2019, I found myself with additional caregiving responsibilities when my dad, Arne, was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer. In the beginning it was manageable; his doctors and chemo appointments were spread out well.
However, the last year of my dad’s life — combined with Andrew’s cares, work responsibilities, and daily life — almost broke me. I was exhausted, weary, empty, and alone.
We often think of what a lack of rest does to us physically. What I didn’t see is how much it was affecting me emotionally and spiritually.
I found myself saying things like:
I’ll rest. . .
After I get my to-do list down a bit more.
After this round of doctors, specialists and therapists is complete
– both for my son and for my dad.
After this busy season at work is over.
Sadly, my dad passed in August 2022. So, that turned to:
After I’ve written the message for his funeral.
After his funeral service has taken place.
After I complete these forms for bank access, paying his bills, submitting his insurance, 401K, pension, death certificates, titles. . .
You get the idea!
What brings each of us to the point of exhaustion may look different. But the need for rest is the same.
At one point prior to my dad’s passing, I cried out to God: “God, I need You. I can’t do this anymore.” And, in His goodness, He reminded me that we are not the first to struggle with overwhelm or exhaustion. Nor are we alone.
In fact, 2,000 years ago, Jesus looked at a crowd of women and men, just as exhausted as you and me, and He said:
“Come to me, all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”
Matthew 11:28 – 30
I cried out to God:Carrie mastenbrook
“God, I need You. I can’t do this anymore.”
He doesn’t tell us to wake up early and go to bed late in-order to hustle our way into His Kingdom. Quite the opposite. He invites us to lay down our heavy burdens and find rest in Him.
What does rest look like in real life? Asheritah Ciuciu, best-selling author and speaker, developed an easy-to-remember REST acronym to guide us toward Jesus when we are feeling overwhelmed:
R = Recite God’s goodness
The next time we find ourselves hustling, let’s pause to praise God for who He is and what He’s already doing.
Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul and forget not all his benefits.
What can we thank Him for?
Let’s start there.
E = Express your neediness
Then we get honest with God about our struggles and sins, casting our burdens on Him because He cares for us.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.
S = Seek His stillness.
Next, we take time to “be still, and know” that He is God.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
We quiet our hearts to listen to His still, small voice. Is there anything He wants to say to us? Are there any burdens or to-dos He is asking us to lay down?
T = Trust His Faithfulness
Finally, we declare our confidence that our good God, who began a good work in us, will be faithful to complete it.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
We don’t have to wait for that elusive “someday” to experience God’s rest. The gentle and humble Jesus opens wide His arms, and He says, “Come, today, just as you are, come”
Let’s come to Jesus, lay down our heavy burdens and receive the gift only He can give us: rest for our souls in His loving presence.
Carrie Mastenbrook is an Army Wife, mom, passionate disability ministry leader, and Board member at Walk Right In Ministries. Together with her husband, Jim, Carrie has three sons. Andrew had a stroke at birth. As a result, he is affected by cerebral palsy, epilepsy and developmental-cognitive delays. Carrie credits Andrew with helping her recognize her passion for helping other kids and their families get to church and know Jesus. For more than ten years, Carrie has been leading disability ministry at Eaglebrook Church in Minnesota as the Kids Care Manager. She oversees ministry with more than 350 families with special needs on nine campuses.