I continue our story of Fran and Jesus on the Job. I began these stories several years ago to help us learn to practice the presence of Jesus in our lives, no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Fran communicates with Jesus throughout her day, and I hope her story will encourage you to be more aware of his presence in your life.

“Drew, I said, it’s time to go to bed right now, and I don’t want to hear any more whining from you,” Fran says to her son as she wearily tries to get him in bed. At the end of a hard day, the last thing she wants is an argument with her son. Finally, the house is quiet, and she flops down in a chair. “Oh, that I had wings like a dove; I would fly away and be at rest,” she quotes out loud from a Psalm, with a sarcastic tone of voice.

As she often does, Fran talks to the Lord about how she feels. She has learned that since he knows everything she’s thinking and feeling, she might as well get it out in the open and talk to him about it.

“Lord,” she says, “I guess I’m a little discouraged, and I don’t really even know why. I guess it’s just me; it’s probably nothing,” and she tries to dismiss the topic. But the Spirit of the Lord keeps probing her mind: “What’s causing these feelings of discouragement? Was it something that happened today?”

“Today—yesterday—tomorrow,” Fran says with exasperation. “It’s just life in general. I lost that account yesterday; they went with a competitive firm. Drew is having some trouble at school—goofing off, his teacher says. I still haven’t paid the dentist bill from last month. My friend at church says she can’t help me with the children’s church this year, like she promised she would. And well, I’m just tired of all the responsibility. I’m tired of being mother and father and career woman and….”

She thinks about that awhile, then says to the Lord, “I guess I’m just discouraged; can you understand that?”

She begins to think about Jesus while he was here on earth, and she remembers that often he would seem to be a bit exasperated and—yes—maybe even discouraged with his disciples. “I guess being discouraged is not necessarily a sin,” she concludes. “In fact, you warned us, Lord that in this world we would have tribulations and discouragements. But you also said that we can overcome the world.” Quietly Fran prays, “Lord, teach me how to overcome my own discouragements, which are pretty small compared to others, I know. But they seem big to me right now. Please help me, Lord.”