Treading Water

I recently heard the term ‘quarantine exhaustion.’

YES! That’s me.

I am tired. Weary from all the changes and confusions in life.  Drained from dealing with loss, anger, boredom, depression, fear. Worn-out from having to think and make weird decisions and not knowing what to do.

I have felt fatigue of emotion many times in my life. I can get weary and down with the suffering in the world. But there is something uniquely hard about these days.

I feel like I am treading water, muddy water, trying to keep my head up, while going nowhere.

Sometimes I feel exhausted physically and mentally and emotionally and spiritually.

I need Someone to save me.


I woke up this morning remembering a time of weakness and grief, a night when I was weeping on a bed in a hotel room, alone and exhausted and Someone did help me.

I may have written this story before.

Forgive me, if that is so, even though I do not deserve your forbearance. When I was younger I had little patience with forgetfulness and repetitions in conversations with older people.  But now of course I am the one repeating, and I beg your grace.

(Confessing this makes me strangely love Jesus more, reminding me of His constant and extensive grace, past, present, and future. But let’s go back to that hotel room.)

That day I had traveled from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz with Daughter #3,  her wedding dress in her suitcase.

She was going to Spain, I was going to Texas.

Her flight was in the afternoon, mine was the next morning.

I would send her off, knowing the next time I saw her would be at her wedding.

I think I held it together at the airport, but I started crying in the taxi and when I got to the privacy of my hotel room, I let loose.  It was our last visit, our last time of having her to ourselves, in our home in Bolivia, our dearly loved daughter. Life with her nearby to us was over and it was painful to let her go.

I wept dramatically.

(For the record, I had moments of hard crying related to each of my daughter’s homeleaving.)

Have you ever wept ‘dramatically’?  It is not pretty.

Looking for a Kleenex, I saw my Bible, and something fell out when I picked it up.

It was a song sheet from the church bulletin from our home church in Montreat.

A dear lady named Mrs. Soos faithfully sent us the bulletins with her simple “Love, Helen Soos” written on the top.

(Hers is an inspiring story I wish I could tell you, how she kept her faith through WWII as a young woman in occupied Poland, but I digress again.)

The song on the sheet was “I Must Tell Jesus.”

So I did.

I sang:

I must tell Jesus all of my trials,
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me,
He ever loves and cares for His own.  

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!  I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!  Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

I told Jesus all about my sorrow. My distress. My loneliness. My weary-of-this-world-grief.

And He came with His love and comfort and peace, and I slept.


I am grateful to remember that moment this morning, as my thoughts and emotions were threatening to exhaust me even before I got out of bed.

Because I must keep treading these waters and I can keep telling Jesus.

Jesus listens. Jesus cares.

“Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.”

_          _          _          _          _          _          _          _          _          _          _

I was curious about the history of that song. You might be, too, so here you are:

Elisha Hoffman, 1839-1929, wrote over 2,000 hymns. He was a minister, who had a special heart for the poor. One day he visited one of his church members and found the mother in financial distress and mental anguish.

He tried consoling her with verses from the Bible, but she seemed unable to rise above her sorrow. He then told her, “You must tell Jesus,” and a light crossed her face as she cried, “Yes! I must tell Jesus.”

After a time of prayer, she rose from her knees with the brightness still in her face.

Hoffman left immediately and “under the influence of that experience,” he wrote the hymn, I Must Tell Jesus. 







13 thoughts on “Treading Water

  1. I’m right there with you!
    The exhaustion of quarantine is weighing on me. Thanks for this powerful reminder!
    I want to read about Helen Soos!
    Maybe your next blog?


  2. Hi Sarah! Thank you for this. I just forwarded it to each in our family. I love the hymn and your story behind it. It is perfect for each of us today!


  3. Just shared part of your blog with my cousin in Costa Rica who was weeping and weeping, she is so alone and in despair in her retirement home there…she has significant dementia, but she loves Jesus, so your words resonated and blessed. xoxo


  4. Hi Sarah

    I completely identify with how you’re feeling. I too have found it all incredibly hard and we still have the winter to get through yet, which also fills me with fear, anxiety etc.

    I think most people are having difficulty in some way or other whatever age, it’s just not many admit to it 😉. For me it’s a daily battle literally, putting on the armour of God to stop the doubts and fears. I often wonder what I’m so concerned about and like yourself the state of the world is quite frankly so so sad, plus the salvation of loved ones enters my mind relentlessly. It’s not easy is it. What’s the situation like in your area?

    On a lighter note have you managed to get out in your camper yet? How are all the children and grandchildren coping and are they all okay?

    Keith has been diagnosed with prostrate cancer so that’s been another thing to deal with and another journey begins.

    Hope Jake has recovered from his operation.

    Thank you for your honesty in your blog.

    Love in Jesus
    Gill xxx

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. I feel the same way. Plodding along, one very slow step in front of the other. Good story. I used to love that song – perfect meld of words and melody. I can still sing it. xo

    Sent from Outlook



  6. I’ll never forget that Helen Soos was in our basement ironing the day mom died. I have been so aware, especially these last couple years, of the ways that God shows us deep kindnesses in small and big ways, reminding us of his presence in all things. Thank you for this reminder, today, Sarah!


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