Sarah Anne Hayes

all other ground is sinking sand

FaithSarah Anne Hayes2 Comments

On Monday morning, I fly to Florida for six days of rest and relaxation paired with snuggling my 9-month-old, now-crawling nephew and sister hangouts. Much of me is infinitely excited for this trip, but the exhausted part of me can't be excited yet because of the mountainous to-do list I still have to wade through before that flight takes off at 6:15am. 

I have been tired for a long time. Yesterday, my mentor described it as bone weariness. She said those words while she prayed over my trip and by that point I was already trying not to let my tears turn into full blown sobs, so all I could do was nod my head in agreement.

As we neared the end of 2016, I began to feel the weight of my exhaustion. But I told myself everyone felt that way — it hadn't exactly been a great year for many of us. January rolled around and I seemed to shake it off for a bit. After all, it was a new year full of new possibilities and the only way to step into the new is to shake off the old. That excitement lasted for a few weeks, but as my birthday rolled around, the weight of exhaustion began to set in again.

I've mentioned it here before, but in 2014 I prayed the smallest big prayer of my life. I came out of 2013 almost as drained as I feel now, but it was more in a whiplash kind of way where a lot of big things had happened all at once. This kind of exhaustion is something entirely different.

When I asked the Lord to teach me how to trust Him, I can truthfully say I didn't know what I was getting myself into because, since I prayed that prayer, my life has been in perpetual chaos.

At a birthday dinner with some of my girlfriends, as we discussed the fact that, once again, my job and my housing are up in the air, I said I just wanted something to be stable. One friend commented that she thinks I'd get bored if things were stable, and there's an element of truth to this — I am certainly a person who can get bored quite easily — but perpetual instability in significant areas of life like housing and a job are far more exhausting than many people realize.

For the last three years, either my job or my housing has been in question. As soon as one seems to stabilize, the other knocks loose and is up in the air for any number of months. And then that one will stabilize and the other will knock loose again. Right now, they're both up in the air because my job is only temporary and I'm preparing for my ninth move in seven years.

Three years of instability and perpetual chaos has resulted in a heart that trusts the Lord for His provision infinitely more than it did three years ago, but also a heart that is weary in ways a week in Florida could never fix.

I know marriage doesn't automatically fix things or make life any easier, but I've had moments where I've wondered if the instability of the last three years wouldn't have been so exhausting if I hadn't had to go through it alone, if I'd had a person to lean on when it all just feels like too much.

In recent days, my prayer has been that birthday dinner sentiment — for something to be stable. Just one thing. That's all I want.

And every time I pray that prayer, the words of that old hymn ring in my head, "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand."

Something is stable, even when it doesn't feel that way. Or rather, Someone. Even when life rages all around and seems full of nothing but chaos and uncertainty, the Rock of Ages is there, solid and stable and completely unwavering. Too often do I forget this. Though storms may rage all about me and my job and my living situation and other big elements of my life are out of my control, I can rest in the stability of the Rock that is higher than I.

The state of my heart might surprise a lot of people, because I hide it well. I don't write about it and I don't talk about it but to a select few. Instead I smile and say that sure, everything is great, I'm just a little tired. But that isn't a true story. This exhaustion and uncertainty and discouragement is a messier story, to be sure, but Christ didn't shy away from the messy, incomplete stories, so why do we?

I don't expect this bone weariness to disappear overnight. I cling to the knowledge that He does give strength to the weary, that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, but also recognize that He sometimes tears down to build up. He creates beauty out of ashes, but the ashes have to be there first.

There have been a lot of moments where I've asked God for some kind of clarity or bit of direction, and He has yet to provide any solid answers. I suppose there's more that I have to experience before the knowledge that He is the only thing that will ever be stable and solid truly sinks in.


My hope is build on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging race;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.