Parenting is hands on.

Many other hands. On you.

Washing dishes while dodging grabs and lunges at your knees is not easy.  Cooking with child on hip is tricky juggling of the highest order. Navigating obstacle courses of toys en route to the fridge and bottle of morning milk at 4.30 am could be an Olympic sport. Chubby hands cradling your cheeks, wet lips offering kisses, dimpled feet tripping over you at every turn of the grocery cart.

Hands, feet, lips, fingers, and toes on.

My memories of my mom are rarely sad, they are mostly just frozen in time from a child’s perspective. I often wondered why she would want to lock herself away with a book on a Saturday afternoon. Now, as a mom myself, I don’t wonder. I understand.

There was a church family camp we went to for many years of my childhood called CYARA (pronounced with a K and not a soft C). It stood for “Come Ye Apart and Rest Awhile.” I gave the name very little thought. If any, I wondered what we were supposed to be resting from. Life was good and full and rich – camp was simply one more dimension. I didn’t go to rest, I went to explore, flirt, laugh, swim, and revel in the comfort of friendships I’d had for as long as I could remember.

This past week has been rest-less.

Full of the needs and demands of others. Not only my kids. And I thought about CYARA and I looked up the verse:

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31.

Between commissioning his disciples, receiving news that his cousin John the Baptist had been killed, and feeding a crowd of 5,000 Jesus looked around at his weary crew and said, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (King James version).

Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat.

That’s me. At the dining room table managing a mouthful here and there between cutting someone’s food and pouring milk into the green cup and not the red one for someone else. Most of a mom’s meals are lukewarm at best. And that’s ok in the dining room. It’s expected.

But what about when my time spent eating more important meals is missed due to my busy-ness. When the Word is waiting for me, getting cold because I am caught between this and that, and then something else. My heart will go hungry. Ann Voskamp, farmer’s wife, describes the meal like this:

“But when we eat Scripture, we eat the only real food. When we eat the Book, the cells in the body, they rejuvenate, enlivened with the true strength. Broken and starving, I need that.”

I need that.

I need to need that.

So, I take His hand and follow him into His kitchen and watch as He makes me comfort food. I read and remember that He sees me. He hears me ache and leads me into His time out. To His table.

And suddenly I remember just how hungry I am.