Blessed Interruptions

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“Sure,” I said to my husband, “that sounds like fun. We don’t have a lot else going on that month.” And just like that, we agreed that we would pull the kids out of school for a week and accompany him on a business trip. It would be an adventure. It would take a little planning, but we had time to do it.

Or so we thought.

You know how they say, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans … ?” I can just imagine God listening to our conversation and chuckling at the “we don’t have a lot else going on” part. As it turned out, not two weeks before our intended departure, two massive things happened in our family, and within the space of 48 hours we were plunged into a pit of paperwork and a flurry of meetings. Big, exciting things were happening—things we had prayed about for years—but they required big, expensive commitments of time and money. And we were supposed to be going on vacation right in the middle of this? It was ridiculous. Laughable. Maybe we should cancel the trip given how much we had going on. This was such a terrible idea.

Or so we thought.

But the trip which we feared was an awful intrusion, was in fact, a blessed interruption. A few days into the trip we found ourselves relaxing, taking naps and relaxed walks, and laughing unhurriedly in our kids’ company. I found myself lifting my eyes heavenwards and praying “Thanks, God, for interrupting our to-do list and planning this rest time for us. We didn’t know we’d need it, and it has been so lifegiving.” When we’d been planning, we thought we were taking a trip. But our Heavenly Father knew that what we really needed was a rest. A sabbatical, not just a vacation.

In the weeks and months since then, I’ve been noticing this pattern more and more in smaller ways: little interruptions, while sometimes irritating and feeling like a distraction from the Very Important Thing I’m Doing, are often an invitation to refocus, recalibrate, and refresh.  

That dentist appointment scheduled months ago could be the first time I’ve had to really think in the midst of a busy week.

That infuriating traffic jam could be an invitation to pray about that thing I said I’d pray for, but then had to run out the door.

That email from a teacher asking me to check in with my kid after some outburst could be an invitation to listen more closely to my child’s heart.

That person turning up just before the dinner hour may, if I invite them to sit down and eat with us, be the conduit for just the word of encouragement we need right now.

That little arm on my shoulder saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” could be an invitation into delight and laughter and the intimacy of family: a reminder of the who and why behind the what and when of my calendar.

That delay, distraction, or disturbance in my jam-packed week might just be God’s invitation to humility and rest. It might just be a holy invitation to lay down the pride of thinking I can do it all and manage it all. It might just be an invitation to the mercy of lowered expectations, and the Sabbath of surrendered outcomes.

And so I give thanks for this blessed interruption, for it teaches me I need Jesus.

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