I’m sure none of you fine, upstanding citizens have ever watched a bloody little flick called The Godfather, but I have and I find it fascinating. The family ties, the manipulation, the misplaced loyalty, the role of love and marriage; it's perfect fodder for a sociology doctoral dissertation. In the film, when feuding families go to war, the first thing they do is “go to the mattresses.” It is their code for “get to the safe place and strip down to the bare essentials.”
It was summer in Texas which means it was still 101 degrees at 8pm. It seemed like a typical Monday on the outside, but I could feel the undercurrent and it felt ominous. All it took was a simple email to blow the doors off. Like lighting a match in a room full of natural gas, sparks flew. Anger. Frustration. Hopelessness. My little family felt like it was unraveling and unraveling fast. When I look back, I realize I should have seen it coming. But I didn’t. And after a sleepless night with no resolution, I knew we all just needed a break. We needed to get out of town.
As I pondered where this weekend escape might lead, I heard in my spirit “go to the mattresses” and I knew what that meant. (God speaks to me thru Chinese food and apparently also thru 70’s mobster movies. He is creative like that.) My people needed to get out of town, to get into the quiet peace of nature and just be together. No distractions, no cell phones, no agenda other than to quiet our souls and connect with each other. We needed a safe place to get back to the basics.
I told everyone to pack a bag and asked my husband to be home early on Thursday. I didn’t tell anybody where we were going or what we were doing. The responses I got ranged from excited to annoyed. I wanted to yell “I’m doing this for the good of our family so shut your piehole and pack your ding dang bag!” But I didn’t because self-control. We loaded up, prayed over our trip and away we went. About 2 hours outside of the city, we stopped at a local favorite for a big, greasy cheeseburger and a big glass of awesome. Things were already looking up. The whole fam was checked into the hotel and in our beds by 8pm. #exhausted
Our family spend the next 2 days just being together. We laughed. We slept. We tried new things. This little getaway wasn’t going to solve all our problems, but it did help us regain perspective. It did help us refocus on what’s important, and it gave us a space to decompress so we could hear each other again.
It’s the same with God. When life gets so big and overwhelming, and we cannot tell which end is up, He tells us in His word to get a safe place and get back to the basics.
Psalms 18:2 says
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
He is our stronghold. He is the mighty fortress we run to when the enemy send out the troops against us. Sometimes the storms of life crash so hard, we find it difficult to even catch our breath. When the day that started out like all the rest ends up looking more like our worst nightmare, go to the mattresses. Go to the safe place and get back to basics. Go back to what you know when you feel like you don’t know much; go back to truth.
Here’s the truth: God loves your guts. He has plans for you that He promises will work out for your good if you will just hold on. He promises that He will never leave you, even when you feel utterly alone. Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross because He meant it. If you wanna know where God is, look for the peace. If you can’t find peace, cry it out, go to bed and start over tomorrow. His mercies are new every morning. (Can I get an AMEN???) Freedom is His end game. His agenda all day every day is to sit and talk with you because He LOVES you. Oh, how He loves you. Sister, if there is no other reason to go to the mattresses, it is so that your maker can whisper in your ear how much He so desperately loves you.