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“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”  NIV

Mary sweeps a frazzled strand of hair from her cheek. Purplish shadows deepen in the hollows of her eyes. Her knees crack as she stoops to retrieve candy wrappers from the hall floor. A knock beckons her to the door.

Five-year-old Tommy greets her as Momma-Mary, a nickname the neighborhood children have given her.

Her chapped lips stretch into a weak smile. “All the kids are out back, like always. I’m about to bring the snacks.”

“Thanks.” Tommy races past her. His sneakers print a muddy track through her living room. The door slams behind him on his way out.

She shuffles to the kitchen. Her cell phone jangles in her pocket. She answers with a yawn. “Sorry, I’m not sleeping much. Listen, I can’t make it to Bible study tonight. Too much to do around home.” Hungry chants draw her attention to the scene outside her kitchen window. “Gotta go. I’ll call you later.”

Hands trembling, Mary grasps the pitcher and cookie tray. She shuffles into the back yard. Her quaking arms falter and her load clatters onto the picnic table. The crowd of young faces blurs before her. Reeling, she stumbles back from the table. The clover patch swirls at her feet. She presses her forehead and collapses onto the lawn.

A child’s voice stirs into her fading consciousness. “There’s no lemonade, Momma-Mar. You didn’t fill your pitcher.”

Even if we have never served in Mary’s neighborhood mothering role, most of us can relate to feeling drained by external demands. Whether we have young children at home, needful relatives, or aging parents to assist, family issues have a way of ladling out huge helpings from our spiritual and emotional reservoirs. Careers, ministry, and social obligations demand our time and energy, too. We can pour ourselves empty in a vast number of ways. The consequences of allowing these external pressures to deplete us range from hamstrung relationships to life-threatening medical issues.

Christ modeled the importance of filling our pitchers. The Lord took time from his brief, three-year ministry to pray in lonely places. Despite endless crowds of needy people, he made time for spiritual refreshment with his Father, God.

As mere humans, we need soul-care even more.  Before quenching the needs of others, we must fill our inner reservoirs. Otherwise, we will show up with empty pitchers and have nothing to offer God’s children around us.

We can follow Christ’s example by carving time out for prayer and revitalization. Few of us have free time unless we appropriate it. We need to schedule time for soul-nourishment, with the same priority we give to regular meals.

Spiritual breakfast offers particular significance to our daily well-being. Sacrificing the first moments of the day brings miraculous dividends. God equips us with adequate time for the important tasks of our day when we connect with him first.

Seek solutions for including snacks to maintain spiritual vitality throughout the day, as well. If environmental noise poses a distraction, try headphones, find a closet or bathroom, or go outside for a stroll.

Insist upon this sacred time, especially with those who struggle to respect it. Assure them your best service, which requires prayer time. Jesus did not ask permission to go off by himself to pray any more than he asked the crowds whether he could take a meal break. Our daily moments with God nourish and sustain us in a more significant way than any of our three meals.

Lord, revitalize our spirits with your presence. Remind us to schedule time with you and in fellowship with those you send to refresh our hearts. Renew our minds and hearts each day. Guide us to maintain our souls as effective vessels. Help us know when to rest and when to resume, so we can continue to pour abundant blessings upon your children.

“The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.” NIV

Copyright © 2017 Tina Yeager. Used by permission.

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About The Author


Wife, mom, and latte junkie, Tina has won sixteen writing awards, including FCWC’s 2013 Writer of the Year. She enjoys writing nonfiction and speculative fiction while helping clients optimize their lives through her online coaching business, Divine Encouragement, LLC. Tina has over 20 years of experience teaching adults, teens, and children in academic, clinical, and faith-based settings. Inspirational speaker and mentor with Word Weavers International, she loves to bring encouraging messages through spoken and written words. Elk Lake Publishing will soon launch her YA supernatural suspense

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