The hardest Monday of every year is the first Monday after New Year's Day. I will support this theory at the end of this post. But first, I want to color in the lines of my hardest Monday of the year - January 7, 2013.
I woke up on that day feeling down. A palpable down. A heavy sigh down.
My family and I had returned from a fun vacation in Seattle on the 6th of January, a Sunday. We knew getting up on Monday was going to especially trying, as our bodies would still be on Seattle time - 2 hours behind good old Central Standard time. Our 5:30 a.m. felt like 3:30 a.m.
But up we got. Facing me was a counter full of mail and bills, a week's worth of laundry to do and some school preparation that I had, of course, put off until the last minute. I teach the Essentials Class at Classical Conversations of Bolivar on Monday afternoons, and I needed to get my ducks in a row concerning that before I did anything else. I was trying to do the next thing, but before the clock struck 7:30 a.m., I was beginning to feel that feeling in my chest that I feel when I'm about to sing a solo in front of a lot of people. I was air hungry and nervous. And tired. And overwhelmed. And down.
I had had time to read a little in my Bible, but it felt a bit empty. I had prayed for help. I knew today was going to be a day of major battling for joy.
The time came to take Mary Grace to school. She and I got in the car and did what we typically do. We listened to our fighter verse of the week. The notification of the new verse comes right to my phone every Monday. Here is the verse for this week.
Hearing the words to this verse was my first help from the Lord.
He sees...and his heart is "to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him." I know my heart is not blameless, but He is merciful, and I was encouraged that he promises strong support.
About an hour later, I hear the familiar typewriter sound that lets me know I just got a text message. I open it to find my second help from the Lord of the day - this time through the sweet gift of my friend, Kim Scowden.
That kind of text will do things to you - in you. My anxiousness is beginning to be replaced with excitement over such specific, spot-on gifts from God.
The morning continues and I take the time to check my twitter account. I see the following tweet from Marc Lamont Hill:
I'm in a crappy mood so I'm probably going to be tweeting a lot today.
I don't know Marc personally, but I can tell by this he's not feeling so chipper on the 7th.
Continuing to scroll, I see the following tweet from my friend, Connie Tweedy.
Struggling with discouragement. But just saw this inspirational quote: "Until God opens the next door for you, praise Him in the hallway."
Good grief! I'm not the only one feeling down today! I wish Marc Hill could read Connie's tweet, because I was encouraged reading it! I had to tell her about it, and the result was the following texts.
As you can imagine, by this point, I'm not down.
I still have stacks of mail and bills waving at me from the kitchen counter. I still have laundry mocking me from the utility room. And, at 9:21 a.m., when Connie and I were texting, I was still working on my Essentials! But I was encouraged.
God used His Word and two dear ladies from my community to encourage me in the fight for joy. This spoke volumes to me about the importance of both. Of course, God's word is our absolute lifeline - our source of hope and joy. But God also provided people - our community, my community - to put hands and feet and voices and texts and tweets on His Word.
The more I thought about the tweets I had read and the feeling I had when I awoke (somewhat affected by jet lag), I started wondering about the whole "It's Monday" sentiment we often express in our culture.
And then I started looking at this particular Monday. The first Monday after the holidays. The first Monday after a new year. I think most of us go into a new year with high hopes, expectations, and resolutions. And for just a bit, we have a clean calendar, a clean slate - with no history of not quite measuring up.
Then the first Monday hits. We wake up feeling not quite so chipper and the reality of nitty gritty life hits us. This Monday feels a little more "ugh" because just a couple of days ago we were so pumped about all the possibilities a new year brings. That's why I think this is the hardest Monday of the year.
Thankfully, on my hardest Monday, a couple of dear ones encouraged me. The Word encouraged me.
I was rescued on this Monday.
That rescue reminds me of two things.
First, stay in the word - even when it feels empty. It is truth. It meets our deep needs.
Second, be the one who rescues, who encourages on other days. On the hardest Monday, on other Mondays, on other days, when God nudges your heart about someone, send the text, make the call, and pray the prayer. Tweet or facebook the encouraging quote. You never know who needs to hear what God has put on your heart to say.
My hardest Monday will now go in the books as one of my best Mondays.
Thank you, Kim.
Thank you, Connie.
Thank you, Lord.