June 27, 2021
Mama Eula loved everybody. I know everyone believes they have the sweetest grandma in the world, but I’m telling you…she was about as sweet as they come. I NEVER heard her say an unkind thing about anyone. I never even heard her raise her voice (and I promise you we all gave her many reasons to yell). She cooked the best fried chicken, made homemade Play Doh, let us eat butter beans with toothpicks til we were grown, and could turn an old scrap of fabric into a beautiful evening gown. She was everybody’s grandma. At her funeral, the preacher never once referred to her as “Ms. Eula”. She was Mama Eula to him, too.
She was just a quiet, sweet, patient soul….oh, and she was incredibly independent. Joe and I learned this first hand several years ago.
In the hours before a predicted ice storm, Joe and I went to town to pick up some last minute supplies. Before we left Mount Olive, we stopped by Mama Eula’s house to see if she needed us to do anything for her(and maybe talk her into NOT staying home by herself). She declined our offers for assistance and assured us she’d be just fine. Of course I could not leave well enough alone, so I might have asked her more than once if she was sure she didn’t need us to do anything or take her anywhere.
You could have heard a pin drop when she looked at me and said, “I’ll tell you what you can do for me, Ronda. You can go somewhere and get still.”
Her eyes were as blue as Joe’s, and she shot me a look that told me she was not messing around! So, I got my behind in the truck and got still. Joe Price laughed at me all the way home and used her line on me at least a thousand times when I tried to tend to somebody else’s business. 😂
He loved that line so much that he made it the title of this week’s lesson. I’m pretty sure he told that story to the ENTIRE congregation that morning, too.
Get Somewhere and Get Still
Hustle and bustle. Stress. Feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed.
Sometimes we just need to get somewhere and get still.
How many of you take a few minutes each day to just rest and be alone with God? I personally have a hard time doing that. If we are going to spend time in communion with the Lord, we are going to have to put forth the effort, because if we aren’t dedicated to it, the world will put more obstacles in our way than we can shake a stick at.
Jesus understood the importance of getting off by Himself and spending time in prayer. He was a mighty busy man, walking for miles at the time, preaching, healing, teaching, etc., but still He made time to rest and spend time with His Father.
Luke 5:16 says, “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”
Jesus taught the disciples to take time for themselves. After He had sent them out to preach and heal, when they all bunched back up, the disciples wanted to tell Jesus about all the things they had done. So, He listened to them and then we find in Mark 6:31 that Jesus instructed them to “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
In Psalm 131, we find King David as a very busy ruler. He had a lot going on and I’m sure he had a lot on his mind, but in verses 1 and 2 he said , “I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk…”. David understood the importance of intentionally quieting our minds. Instead of getting all worked up, he settled himself by putting his faith and hope in the Lord.
So, as we go about our daily lives this week, let’s try to set aside some time each day to pause and rest in presence of God. If you find yourself spinning in circles, you might just need to get somewhere and get still.
I have heard the voice of the Lord twice in my life.
The first time was that summer years ago, before we were married, when Joe lost his mind for a little bit 😜 and we spent a few months apart. Just as clear as day, I heard God say to me, “He’s coming back.” By the end of that summer, I finally realized that Jesus had kept His word. Joe did come back, but it didn’t happen overnight. I had a hard lesson to learn. Actually, I had two lessons to learn, but it wasn’t until recently that I understood the second one. (We’ll get to that later…). I had to get to the point that I loved Joe, but I loved Jesus more.
Finally, and most importantly, I had to get still. At the end of the day, I had a promise from God. Part of my job became resting in God’s presence, trusting that, even when the world said otherwise, He was working on my behalf. I had to let God be God. One day, I finally realized that I wanted Joe, but I needed Jesus. While I firmly believed God would keep His promise, I also knew I would survive if He didn’t. But oh my goodness I am so thankful that He made good on it!! Joe came back and we lived a wonderful, wonderful life.
The second time I heard God’s voice, I was, once again, in a very dark place. And once again, I was without my sweet Joe, but this time he wasn’t coming back. This admission is a very personal one, and it is not pretty AT ALL, but it is honestly where I was in the months after Joe’s death. Please know it is not where I am today.
Sickness and death just kept coming in the early part of this year. Every time I turned around, someone I loved either passed away, became ill, was diagnosed with a terminal illness, or faced extreme suffering. Part of me shook my fist at God, so angry that things just kept getting worse and worse. I remember thinking, “Lord, are you going to take away everyone I love?Are you going to make everyone I love suffer?” But there was another part of me, as people either entered the gates of Heaven or prepared to do so, that was a little bit jealous. I write that hoping you understand my perspective. It wasn’t that I wanted to end my life, but just that I missed Joe Price so much, and I longed to be where ever he was…so when it seemed that so many people were able to get there before me, I might have looked up and whispered, “Why not me, Lord?” I might have whispered it more than once.
That’s when I heard His voice again. My head was in my hands, my tears in a puddle on the floor,when I heard God say these words: “Because you can’t want to go to Heaven for Joe. You have to want to go to Heaven for Me.“
I have turned those words over and over in my head. I didn’t really understand them until this week at the beach. I guess I just needed to get somewhere and get still.
When I think about that cold night at Mama Eula’s house, or that summer I spent without Joe all those years ago, or where I’ve been over the past few months, I see a common thread. I will absolutely wear myself out trying to control things that are quite simply, out of my hands. So, once in a while, somebody will put me in my place. Someone will direct me to go somewhere and get still. Mama Eula did it. Jesus did it, too. And I think both of them were coming from a place of love. Both of them knew, better than me, who was really in control.
I wish I wasn’t so stubborn that God had to make my world stop spinning in order to get me to pause and rest in Him, but that has been the case so far. I’m working on that part. I really am. Nevertheless, when I finally drop to the floor, exhausted by carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, He whispers in my ear.
He reminds me that He is a keeper of promises. He reminds me that it was the truth I found buried in His Word that got me through those dark, uncertain days. He reminds me that, even when the world says otherwise, He is working on my behalf. He reminds me that His Word holds another promise, that although we do not understand what He is doing, one day we will. He reminds me that He carried the weight of this world on His shoulders, and because of that, it is not my weight to bear.
My second lesson in that long ago summer was learning to live without Joe. I’m glad I didn’t realize it then, but now I can see it for what it is–the merciful hand of God preparing me for the road ahead.
Just this morning, I cracked open the devotional that I go back to day after day and year and after year—Jesus Calling. Today’s devotion is entitled “Rest in Me a While”. I love it when the words of my Joe and my Jesus line up like that! ❤️ Below is an excerpt:
If Mama Eula could make a ball gown from a flour sack, there’s no telling what Jesus can make out of you and me. But we have to jump off the hamster wheel for a moment. We are all running on empty, and we are all looking for ways to fill our cup. You can’t fill it with things. You can’t even fill it with people. Trust me…I’ve tried to do both. Your cup is designed to be filled with the sweet love of Jesus. Let Him fill your cup, sweet friend, and watch it overflow.
“Set aside some time to pause and rest in presence of God. If you find yourself spinning in circles, you might just need to get somewhere and get still.“
-Words of Wisdom from The Book of Joe