Angela dropped the phone down in its cradle and put her head in her hands. This was not going well. Her client was untenable. They wanted to renegotiate a very lucrative contract, and not in her company’s favor.
She looked out the window of her corner office on the 13th floor. It was raining, again. She should be envious of this view of Piccadilly Square – in the heartbeat of London – where humanity goes to and fro all day long. Blinking red and green traffic lights, rumbling buses and motor cars, sounds of business and tourists alike; the occasional pounding radio, and lots and lots of sirens. As Senior VP of a global drug development company, she had worked hard to acquire this office and the status that came with it. Hah! She thought – It was a great analogy of her life; always moving at the speed of light yet never really stopping for rest.
As she walked down the office corridor to the ladies room, she squeezed her eyes tight to wring out the salty tears gathering in the corners of them and dabbed her nose with a hidden tissue. Releasing a heavy sigh she checked a mirror to see how bad the red blotches on her neck and cheeks showed… for the millionth time she disdained her Welsh heritage which delivered her hives in obvious places when she was stressed out. The betrayal of her blotchy face in the mirror reflected back what she already knew. She was at her tipping point.
“I just don’t know how long I can keep this up,” she thought as her mind silently assaulted her with the myriad of responsibilities she had to manage. The list seemed endless – her work, dealing with demented aging parents, stressed out siblings, daughters in need of more mommy time, personal issues, health challenges, a husband traveling all over the UK for work and endless expectations from many corners of her life.
She heard someone enter the ladies room and quickly scurried into the bathroom stall to gather her composure.
Another deep sigh. Hands shaking she clasped them together and leaned against the wall. “Hells bells,” she silently thought, “I am falling apart here, that is just not ok…” expecting nothing in response she said out loud to herself, “Get it together…” and fumbled to open the stall latch unsuccessfully.
“What?” She heard her name. Who said that? she thought. Thinking maybe someone was in the ladies room talking on their mobile phone (a practice she disdained), she ignored her name being spoken.
Once again she attempted to open the stall door and the latch held fast. “Flippin’ great! Now I am locked in a toilet stall!”
She heard it again.
“Who said that?” She snapped as she continued to pull on the stall door.
The voice spoke again, but this time she wasn’t sure if she heard it audibly or in her head. “Awesome, now I am as nutty as my parents,” she thought bitterly…
“Angela, stop. Call to me, I will tell you the things you do not know…”
This time she was sure she “heard” it in her heart and realized who it was speaking.
It was someone she used to know. Someone she had not talked to in a very long time since her childhood days wandering the flower fields outside of her village. Someone who she thought had forgotten about her so she decided to forget about Him.
“Is that you?” She silently whispered.
Angela began to cry again. She was so exhausted from bearing so much, from striving, from managing life in her own strength; there have been so much raining down on her for such a long period of time. She had self- conditioned to just react. At one time, she knew the source of peace and she knew how to find it and in this moment, something started to crumble and a small spark of hope, a whisper began to grow inside her.
Angela remembered a saying she heard a long time ago- perhaps over-used but still true- “when you realize all you have is God, you find out He is truly all you need.”
The hot tears that she worked so hard to control earlier freely poured down her face. Dripping off her nose and onto her white sweater, she ignored the stains she was making on herself and lowered her head. She took a deep breath, “Speak Lord, I am listening..”
He answered Angela immediately – reminding her of what she already knew,
“Come to me, all you who 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
Her heart broke. She knew this. She just didn’t want to release control. If she did, then she would have to trust someone else other than herself, but she also knew, deep inside of her- that her striving, pushing and controlling all the many facets of her life had gotten her to this tear filled moment…
And so she prayed…
She lamented. She confessed. She apologized. She knew she had put Jesus in a corner of her life long ago and walked away.
“I am sorry God. I ask you to forgive me for pushing you away for all these years and I thank you- for not leaving me. And I thank you for reminding me that I do not have to do this thing called life on my own.
I do not know why you have allowed so many troubles to come into my life – for such a long period of time God, but I pray Lord you will change my perspective and help me to embrace these trials as a process you are using to change me, to strengthen me, to prune me into something that is worthy of walking with you. Father God, I know it is so easy for me to wrap my hands around a situation and force it into submission by my own will. I never seem to stop to ask what your will is- I never come to you for guidance with how to handle things. I know that I have been the CEO of my own life, my household, my marriage, raising my children, and everything I felt I had to put my “capable” hands on. ”
Angela gulped in breaths of air and continued. Her prayers were like pressured water coming out of a fire hose- they just poured out powerfully…
“What I have learned over time Lord, however is that I am not capable. And apart from you I can truly do nothing. Jesus, I pray you will send your spirit inside of me to guide me – to help me walk through this life according to your will and your purpose. I pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen me and give me the wisdom and discernment I need to move from hour to hour, day to day and that you will help me to release all my anxieties to you – and to bring them as often as I have them to the cross in prayer and petition. Lord please teach me that I can rely on you and that I do not have to carry these burdens alone. Show me how to speak life into others and exemplify your love in word and deed to all.
Please forgive my stubbornness. My hard heartedness. Forgive me of putting me on the throne of my own life and taking you off it. I have done life on my own for so long now, and I see how that has worked out so far… help me to trust you and increase my faith. Please Lord, calm my spirit, hold me, heal me and let me do life with you from now on, in your name I pray this- amen.”
Upon finishing her prayer, Angela realized she had stopped crying. She felt less burdened and indeed strengthened. Wiping her tears away she went for the door latch and it opened. She shook her head and laughed at the idea that God had to lock her in a toilet to get her attention. The irony did not escape her…
Returning to her office she sat down at her desk and felt renewed strength to handle the next drama of the day. She still had to return the call from her client. Reaching for the phone, she swiveled her desk chair at the same time to stare out the window.
She giggled. There in the sky was the most vibrant rainbow she had ever seen stretching across the horizon. It didn’t escape her thoughts- like the rainy weather previously, she had cried her eyes out and God, as He is wont to do- sent her and all who stopped to notice, a reminder of His promise – He can and will make everything new.