Sometimes I feel like I’m living in one of those adoption stories and after years of separation, there’s a glorious reunion where I’m making up for lost time.
It’s the season of life I’m in, I guess, but I have, much to my chagrin, become a morning person– and am actually enjoying the time of quiet solitude before the craziness of the day begins!
I always said that in every different season of life, there is change, and I want to learn to enjoy them all. Live without regret. Make every moment count.
I know that’s not a realist’s perspective, but just pursuing the possibility makes my attitude different.
I was always a night person, hitting my peak from about 9-11 p.m. After kids were all settled in and the house got quiet, that was when I could start to think for myself and process things clearly.
From the time my kids were born until recently, I rarely had (or made) time in the mornings for myself. I “squeezed” in my time with the Lord when they were napping, at school, or in bed. It wasn’t until about 10 a.m., after a couple of cups of coffee, that my brain function kicked in. I really don’t think I was just making excuses for not starting my morning out with Scripture– I really believed it would be the best way to start my day, but after trying it multiple times, I was convinced that it was futile for me. I would struggle to even remember what I had just read, and that frustrated me, so I just kept my routine of grabbing the most quiet moment of the day.
I’m not saying (or judging) that this “grab the quietest moment” way is necessarily the wrong way to pursue a relationship with God, but what I am finding now that I’m starting my day WAY earlier, is that I’m spending a whole lot more quality time in The Word. What that means is, the time I spend just flies by, and the hunger for more continues to grow. It also means that I am more acutely aware of His presence as I go about my day.
I am no Bible scholar, and those who know me, know that I am all about practicality. I want to know what the Bible says, but my heart’s desire is in the “Now what?”. What does it mean for me? What am I supposed to do with this?
Sometimes I can see God’s direction in something immediately, and other times I see it as a truth I need to take to heart for the future. I don’t know why, but it still amazes me when the verses I’ve read most recently are exactly the ones I need for:
… a particular situation
… a specific person
… a special need
… an exact moment
Let me illustrate.
Several months ago now, I had been reading in Matthew 25 and my thoughts returned to the days when we lived in Texas, and because we lived right off a major interstate between Dallas and Ft. Worth, we would often have transients coming to our door. We didn’t have much to give in those days, but we knew that if we ever wanted to offer them the Gospel we would need to meet their physical need first. Sometimes it would be food, other times it would be gas, or help finding a place to stay. Our limited resources and wisdom told us to never give cash–to prevent any misuse.
Those years are long gone, and the opportunities where we live now are not as obvious, so on that particular morning I specifically prayed that God would open my eyes to the needs around me and not be so busy as to be unaware…
Yep. You guessed it. God answered that day.
I was driving to church, nonetheless. Playing on the radio was this Casting Crowns song:
AND THERE SHE WAS. Walking right down the road beside the church. She was walking with her head down, clutching a jacket or a blanket–I wasn’t sure which one.
She was unkempt and looked afraid. Does anybody see her?
I had an appointment. What was I to do? Be respectable and be on time for my appointment or stop and help?
I compromised. I said, “Lord, if she’s still out here when I get done, I’ll see if she needs any help.”
Much to my disappointment and shame, when I came out, she was no where in sight. I started praying right there, asking God to forgive me and to show me what to do next. I felt the urge to search along the road and in the area surrounding our church. Still no sight of her. Thinking she must have gotten on a bus or gone into the grocery store, I proceeded toward home. Not exactly frustrated at myself: I was forgiven, but frustrated that I couldn’t find her. I was still pondering it when I spotted her near the city park–walking toward another bus stop.
I pulled into a local Hardees to watch and see if she was getting on a bus, and my heart started racing when she kept walking–right into Hardees! Well, now, you know what I HAD to do. I cautiously walked in and noticed that she had gone into the ladies restroom, so I proceeded to the counter to buy her a gift card.
When I came out she was sitting at a table by the door. She was definitely carrying a look of fear, so I gently asked her if there was anything I could do to help her. She nervously replied, “No”, so I asked her if she would accept the gift card, sharing that I had felt impressed by God to bless her in this way. She didn’t want to receive it at first, saying that she didn’t need anything right now, so she’d feel guilty taking it. I assured her she shouldn’t feel guilty, but that she should take it and save it for another time, allowing me to be obedient to what God had ask me to do. She did receive it, and I shared with her that God loved her, but she was very closed to any more communication.
I left a little shaken that I couldn’t do more, but felt I had obeyed in the best way I knew how. I’ve lived in this town for 18 years and I’ve never seen this woman before, nor since. I don’t know that this small gift meant anything to her, but it sure meant the world to me. Not only was I reminded that there are opportunities all around us that we might be missing if we’re not careful, but I also was reminded that God WANTS to reveal Himself to us, if we’re only willing AND searching.
I am a pastor’s wife. I go to church more than the average person. I read my Bible daily. I pray consistently. But if all I’m ever doing is taking in what God has for me–and keeping it to myself, I am selfish. This message of God’s love is not one to bask in and then cover up with a mask of complacency. His Words are meant to reveal the truth of who we are apart from Him, and His light should shine through us to others.
It’s a long story with a short moral:
The richest blessings of heaven are not to become objects of covetousness–they are to be distributed to a lost and dying world in need of hope.
If we live a life that sees beyond ourselves, will we not more clearly understand that no matter our station in life, THE LORD IS OUR REFUGE. We all need compassion. We all need to show compassion. Our reward comes from serving Him by serving others!
Where do I go from here? I pray that I follow the path of obedience. I desperately want to live out the truths He reveals!