It’s 5:25 a.m. The birdsong and frogs in the pond woke me up while the earth was still gray and foggy. Early morning commuters are splashing through the fresh puddles on the road and I’m here, in my yellow chair, Psalm 7 open in front of me. The lilac bush outside our bedroom window is nearly ready to burst with fresh flowers. And the rest of the house sleeps.
Yet, my mind is the opposite of the world outside. Fears, worry, lists, busy noise. It won’t let me sleep. As heavy as my eyelids are and desperate to crawl back into bed next to my sleeping husband and sprawled out toddler (who happened to find his way into our bed again during the night), my mind cannot rest.
I’m on the other side of 35 now. I’m a few years away from 40, having just passed the tree-line of 36. The hill rises above me and though I have not gone over it yet, I feel my body preparing.
“We’re getting older,” a friend said recently. She’s a few years ahead of me and we were rattling off the most recent health concerns in our own failing bodies. These bodies that aren’t meant to be preserved and pristine. These internal clocks that tick toward the end. My latest slew of doctors visits and lab work have to do with the infamous hormones that rise and fall within us women. The ones that make us feel like we’re losing our minds. The ones that help us feel deeply. The ones that make us vibrant and joyful, and exhausted and weary, all in the same 24-hour stretch. The ones that aren’t so simple and predictable.
Everything is fine, I whisper to myself at the edge of the morning. Everything you feel is not true. Everything you fear is not certain. The rise of the wave of fear mounts within me about nothing in particular. It settles on a prey and then devours that thing. My kids. My future. Finances. The garden. The church. Culture. Friends in distress. My own body. Like a roaring lion, it seeks something to devour. My hormones cue stress and I sit in the silence trying to tell them, “Everything is fine. You’re ok.”
My own mother tells me this morning, “Relax today. Destress.” I laugh a little. She knows. “De-stressing” sometimes feels like the most stressful endeavor.
I wish I could tell my hormones to trust in Jesus, I tell my mother. I wish what I knew in my head started to trickle down into my body. I feel a bit like David in Psalm 103, facing my own skin and bones, blood and organs, body and mind to say —
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
This is not some prosperity, health and wealth gospel. This is me telling my body to trust in the Lord and remember him. This is me picking up the quivering chin of my inward being to say “Look at him. You can trust him.”
Dear hormones, trust the Lord. Everything is ok. He’s holding it all. Dear organs, worship him. Dear mind and heart and blood and muscle, praise the Lord. This is not an exhortation; this is a command.
The rain stopped this morning but the birds continued to sing. I read scripture again and prayed. I traced over Spurgeon’s words about the Lord who heals and wasn’t disgusted by humanity’s broken bodies. I crawled into bed next to my two sleeping men and I went back to sleep.