• Jennifer Hastings

Refresh, Regroup, Recharge!

The cab driver asks my girls, "Well, what do you think of NYC?"

"It is a lot to take in," Claire says as she cranes her neck, looking into the sky filled with metal mountains.

Stewart's mother gifted us with a fall break trip to New York City this past October. The girls were crazy with excitement, and we were raring to go! The girls start with all the zeal a ten-year-old and eight-year can muster. They set out to conquer the city. Lovie, Stewart's mom, and I felt the same way.

We find a cute bakery in Rockefeller Center, called Bunchon Bakery Company. I find myself reading these three words aloud while waiting in line. Refresh, Regroup, Recharge! The words are in a fancy script behind the counter full of muffins and all things sweet. Although it is first thing in the morning, I know with four females wandering around the big apple, we are going to need to refresh, regroup, and recharge often. It becomes a mantra for the trip.

We get right to the business of sightseeing by riding out to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. We walk through Time's Square; we shop for souvenirs, we play who can see the coolest thing from the cab window. After a morning of walking, suddenly, there is the need again to refresh, regroup, recharge! Lovie finds a lunch spot, Ben's Jewish Deli. I feel confident we might see someone famous if we keep our eyes peeled. Empire State building, shopping at Macy's, dinner, and to the top of the Rock at night. Let's say by the time we made it back to the hotel; everyone was ready for bed.

The sightseeing continues the next day — fun thing after fun thing. If I watch the girls close enough, I can see when the need to refresh, regroup, and recharge starts to set in. It begins in their stride. Then the lean creeps in at every crosswalk; they start to hang on me while waiting for the light to change. Comments about feet hurting work their way into the conversation.

After a fabulous day, the girls were exhausted, and truth be told, Caroline just wanted to go back to the hotel after dinner. Lovie and I persuaded them to keep going and at least walk through Central Park. It is here where a fascinating thing happened. Claire and Caroline suddenly perked up, no more waiting for the light to change at a crosswalk, just wide-open spaces, and green grass. Caroline started to turn flips on the same feet that were killing her minutes earlier. The stillness of the park seemed to breathe new life into my girls. Well, maybe me too. Central Park was the closest thing to home we had seen in the last 48 hours, and we all needed a taste of home.

The Bunchon Bakery Company may have been talking about our stomachs and the calories needed to survive the day, but what about our souls, that place inside us that makes us who we are? How do we refresh, how do we regroup when we feel off track? Recharge? What do you do if you think your batteries are dead? Do you even notice when you feel fatigue start to set in, or do you push through? Do you fill your time with fun thing after fun thing as we did in New York with little or no time to reflect or slow down? It can begin to take a toll on you. My mom always called it burning your candle at both ends, and she always seemed to know when my candlestick was getting too short. Even as a teenager I resisted rest and in her wisdom she often forced it on me when she saw my candle wearing down.

Sometimes this world can be a lot to take in. Just like Claire and Caroline in NYC, as women, our busy day-to-day life outside our homes can wear us down. When we are dead dog-tired is when we begin to complain, when we start to look at our neighbor with jealous eyes, when we bark orders at our children, when we nag our husbands. If we don't take care of ourselves, this is the time we are most susceptible to becoming a grown-up toddler. Don't pretend like you haven't thrown a good old fashion toddler fit in the privacy of your own home.

We need daily time to refresh, regroup, recharge. I have found in my life; this is essential to how I function during the day. I need time in the morning alone with the Lord to borrow his strength and love for the day. That time is like walking through Central Park. It is a safe place to rest and a taste of our future home to come.

God created us with the need for more extended rest periods too! Keeping the Sabbath, this phrase has always sounded complicated to me. It seems like what people did a long time ago when there were weird rules. Just recently, God has been teaching me the Sabbath is a gift. A gift you can accept or reject. Unfortunately, I'm a slow learner. I keep saying no thank you. This lesson seems to be one I unintentionally fight him on thinking I know best. God has been showing me my personal need to recharge, regroup, refresh, comes from the way he created me. Mark 2: 27 says, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." I am trying to create a true Sabbath for my family. Which means not leaving all the laundry and the groceries for Sunday after church. A few months ago, unbeknownst to Stewart, I declared Saturday a workday. With all our chores complete, Sunday after church was a perfect gift of rest and relaxing family time. Right before bed, Stewart looks over at me and says, "Today has been the best day, I needed this."

I love how God knows just what we need. Take some time to refresh, regroup, and recharge this week!

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