hen I was a little girl, my daddy would come home from a long day of working at the chicken plant. He would be nasty-dirty, covered with . . . well, you can imagine.
As I would run to meet him, I would ask, “How was your day, Daddy?”
His response was always the same, as I hung onto the dirty leg of his faded blue jeans. “Hard, Sissy—hard and dirty. Daddy is ‘tired to the bone.’ Let me go get cleaned up now.”
Many years later, I came to understand that phrase “tired to the bone.” It hit me particularly hard one day when I was huge pregnant with our second child. Jim and I were struggling to get our little church going, and things were very tight financially. I’d taken a job at a local doctor’s office three days a week—sometimes four. We had events at the church nearly every night of the week it seemed, trying to get attendance up and make people in the community aware of the ministry.
While I truly enjoyed our work with the church and was very involved in the women’s group that was forming, I also loved my work at the clinic and had become quite good at being a medical assistant. On any given day, I might be called on to take and develop an x-ray of a child with a broken bone or an elderly man with emphysema; or I might be the one to share the results of a pregnancy test with a new mother. Sometimes a patient was happy beyond belief, while at other times, a patient was simply, well, unwilling to believe.
One particularly hard day, I had been on my feet for eight hours. My feet were swollen over the tops of my white nursing shoes, and my huge baby belly was causing my back to ache until I could barely stand it. I was watching the clock, waiting and hoping for the end of the day. The clinic had been packed all day—full of sick people and those who weren’t sick but thought they were.
About 5:00, just before closing time, I heard a frantic banging on the back door of the facility, just off the exam rooms. Wondering who on earth would be there when most everyone used the front entrance, I hurried to the door. Standing in the late afternoon sunset was a young mother and father and their little boy. I knew them well. We had seen her through a recent pregnancy and rejoiced in the birth of their beautiful baby girl.
The mother was holding the baby close to her breast, and a look of utter terror was on her face. Shoving the baby toward me, she said,
“Do something! Please do something! She is not breathing!”
Seeing the tiny bundle held tightly in her mother’s arms, my heart nearly stopped. It seemed like yesterday when this baby with black curls had been born. I had rejoiced with the family as she squalled in all of her squirming glory, turning beet red, when she had her six-week checkup.
Ushering the family to an empty exam room, I turned to find the doctor at my elbow. The receptionist had alerted him of the crisis. As I watched, he gently took the tiny girl from her mother’s grasp.
Laying her on the exam table and turning back the soft blanket, he did what all good doctors do—he tried his best to find any sign of life. There was none. It was too late. The beautiful little girl was waxen and white, only a shell of what she once was.
We all wept as we stood helplessly in that cold, stark room.
During my life, I have felt that tired just a few other times…but I will save those episodes for another day. It’s a feeling of desperation—being caught in a situation you can do nothing about— being hopeless.
Yet, Jesus Christ tells us to cast all our burdens on Him. He says, “Come to
me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30 NIV).
A few months after the woman lost her baby daughter, she came in for another doctor’s visit. I was again on duty that day, and was asked to run the blood work to see if she might be pregnant again. As I watched the test turn positive, I didn’t know whether to rejoice or to cry. How would this young mother react to knowing she was once again pregnant shortly after losing her little girl?
By this time I had my own baby girl to hold and cherish, and could not imagine the pain of losing her, as had this mother.
As the doctor and I together shared with her the results of her pregnancy test, joy filled her eyes and her face. She began sobbing and thanking us for giving her the good news.
A few months later, this mother was blessed to hold another beautiful baby girl in her arms. I remember rejoicing as I saw the sweet head nestled to her mother’s breast and realizing there truly is rest for our weary souls. And that “bone-tiredness” does not last forever if we lay it at our Savior’s feet.