In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (Romans 8:26-27 NIV)
Curled into a ball, she shook in tiny tremors. She knew the bathroom was only ten feet away, but it looked like a mile. Exhaustion strangled her. Breathe deep. She fought for control. Carefully, she stretched her legs over the side of the bed and sat up slowly. The carpet felt like a brillo pad, even before she put her full weight on her swollen feet.
The 18-hour days over a year and a half had finally caught up to her. She had no more adrenaline to spare. Mind over matter. I can do this. If she couldn't get to work, she'd lose her house. She couldn't keep pace with his gambling and spending sprees.
She took another deep breath and winced as she pushed up to stand. Her legs trembled but wouldn't move. Instead, they crumbled and gave way like the rush down a rollercoaster, a split second that lasts forever. The heel of her right hand burned from the scuff on the rug as she landed face-first.
"I guess you're staying home today," he said. "Good. I don't have to take the kids to the sitter."
"Help me," she whispered. "I'm sick. I need to -" Her stomach heaved and tears ran down her cheeks as she gagged repeatedly.
He looked down with disgust and walked out of their bedroom. The door slammed behind him. A moment later, the front door echoed through the house.
Slowly, she sat up. Hot tears filled tired eyes and dripped onto the front of her nightgown like a drizzle down the house gutter. A groan rumbled deep in her belly and snaked into her throat, her pain so deep no words could describe it; only the sound of a wounded animal.
Her hand slapped onto the nightstand as she tried to right herself and her dusty old Bible fell to the floor. She blinked twice and then picked it up. Sagging back against the side of the mattress, she let the Bible fall open in her lap. Her eyes scanned the verses in Romans eight half-heartedly until she skittered to a halt at verses 26 and 27.
Six times she read through it, letting the words permeate her being. Her gaze moved to the ceiling as she prayed out loud. "God, you already heard me when I groaned. You say right here," she tapped the page, "that was a prayer. Thank You for telling me that You hear me, even when I don't know how to say it. Thank You for the Holy Spirit taking my groaning right to Your ear. God, I don't know what to pray or how to ask for what I need. I don't even know what I need anymore. Please step in and take over. I just can't do it alone. I'm tired, Jesus, so tired."
Her eyelids drooped and her head fell back. Her breathing calmed as salty tracks dried on her face. She slept there, sitting on the floor until the Lord gently woke her with the gift of a toddler's wet kiss.
"Mohnin' Mama, you be bein' Sleepin' Booty?" He yawned as he climbed into her lap and pulled his blankie up with him.
She inhaled the sweet soft baby scent and snuggled the little one against her breast as he fell back asleep. She was no longer alone in this mess. God was, right now, hearing her case.
Do you feel like someone else is in control and you don't know how it got that way?
Are you ever at a loss for words to express your feelings or needs? How does God hear you then?
Does your mind ever swirl in images too fast to get a hold of and pin down?
Is there something you need to groan about - a wrong done to you, a life change or a loss? What if you feel stupid groaning? Really, what if you do?
The Holy Spirit has a very specific job, according to Romans 8:26-27: the job of mediator. The Spirit acts as One Who represents you to God, right into His ear.
Close your eyes and imagine what that would look like. Imagine God seated in the majesty of the throne room and the Holy Spirit leaning in to whisper in His ear. They both look over at you with compassion. What is the Spirit telling God for you? Do you see God nodding? Maybe smiling? Isn't that a relief? Can you feel the hope building because help is on the way?
Be at peace and rest, because that's what is happening for you "in accordance with God's will."
© 2006 by Angela Breidenbach