This week at church we sang a song called “Worn” by Tenth Avenue North. This is a popular song on Christian radio, and every time that I hear it, it strikes a cord in my heart. It can be a particularly depressing song upon first hearing it. But I LOVE the words, and I love the hope that it eventually turns to. Here is an excerpt from the song, the whole song can be heard here:
Cause I’m worn,
My prayers are wearing thin,
And I’m worn,
Even before the day begins,
I’ve lost my will to fight,
Heaven come and flood my eyes…
Being worn can take on a lot of forms, and I am sure that at one (or several) points in our lives we have all felt worn, defeated, stressed, tired, burdened and shoved aside. Living in an oil boomtown takes “worn” to a whole new level. Daily I look into the eyes of men who are physically worn, from working 90-100 hours in a week. Some of them are living hundreds of miles away from their families, in dorm style housing, simply getting by. Others are lucky enough to have their families here, but are rarely home, and feel the emotional burdens that go along with the long hours. I spend time with moms whose husbands are away for weeks at a time on “hitches”, doing their best to wake up each morning with a smile and the energy to take on that day alone. There are shop owners that struggle daily with the challenges of paying astronomical rental rates on their buildings, and figuring out how to pay their employees a competitive wage so that they don’t quit when something better comes up. It seems like almost everyone is living in cramped housing situations, there just isn’t enough housing available, and the rental rates are mind blowing. The roads are falling apart, schools struggle to keep up with the constant rotating of children in and out of the district, restaurants and doctors offices are over crowded, the cost of groceries, and yes, even gasoline, is inflated.
In my own life, I often have to make a conscious effort to not be worn. Our family lives hundreds of miles from any other family members, something that neither my husband nor myself have ever had to do. We live on the second floor of an apartment complex in a two bedroom apartment, with 5 people and a dog. Our son lives in the master closet and we don’t own a dining room table. The winters are brutal and the summers are unbelievably short, like painfully short. It sometimes seems like the daily ins and outs take a little more effort than they would elsewhere. Sometimes I am completely guilty of being worn before the day even begins. The challenges of being a stay at home mom can be overwhelming at times, and with our upcoming adventure in homeschooling, I know these challenges are not going to get any easier.
But this is not a cry-fest and I am not wallowing in my own self pity. And I am most certainly not saying that Williston, ND is a crummy place to live, this is the experience of a lifetime. Every person in my community faces the different challenges that go along with living here, and I have seen those challenges played out day after day. But I have also been witness to the unmatched camaraderie that exists amongst a group of people living in unique, yet strangely common situations. I am a part of a church whose mission is to be a living witness to the community. I am friends with people who know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the only reason they are where the are is by the will and grace of God. The buzz in this town is amazing, undeniable and contagious. This is a place where anything can happen, and amongst the dirt, wind and turmoil, very real miracles are happening every day. I am blessed to be a part of it all.
My observations have led me to a conclusion that is a lesson only learned through life experience. In our moments of despair and exhaustion, we often have nowhere to look but up. It is in these seasons of life that we realize that our own efforts aren’t always enough. Try as we may, we simply cannot make things happen just because we will them to. We learn to pray, to be humble, to take the things that we desire to have complete control over, and give them to God. We learn that fear, anger and despair are absolutely part of the journey. But we also learn that there is healing, hope and joy in the Father. Although it makes me sad to see people in my very own town hurting, I am filled with the utmost hope and anticipation, because I know that “worn” is often just one step away from grace. Just as I know that on those days when I wake up feeling doubtful about my day, I have a choice to reach up and ask for help. We all do. Even if you have never asked for that help before, it is not too late for any of us. If you are feeling worn, tired and wanting to throw in the towel, give prayer a chance. You will not be disappointed.
Do you know someone who needs prayer this week? Do you need prayer this week?