It's one o'clock in the a.m., and I can't sleep. So, naturally...I write.
Lately, I have been frustrated. Mainly about how I've heard a personal relationship with Christ should look: wake up at 4am, drink coffee, write in your prayer journal, post a picture of it on Instagram, and repeat...
Wait, if you do those things, I AM NOT JUDGING YOU. How could I? If that is what your relationship with our Lord looks like, then you are a rockstar. Because you are doing life with Jesus in a way that glorifies Him and engages your spirit.
But. That's. Not. What. My. Relationship. With. The. Lord. Looks. Like.
Actually, that's a lie. Sometimes, when I'm really lucky, that is exactly what my relationship with my God looks like. But not everyday, and certainly not methodically. That's just not where I'm at. And it has taken me so long to figure that out! I can't tell you how many times that I have tried it in a structured way, only to have it not work out and then I feel like a complete failure or somehow less than my brothers and sisters who do life with God this way.
The sun brightens my bedroom, peeking through my curtains and I can hear the birds singing their morning song. I roll over in bed, plucking my phone from the charger. "8:00 a.m.," I think to myself, "What day is it?" As I stretch and make my way to brush the fur from my teeth, I greet the Lord, "Mrrmmph."
Making my way to the kitchen, I wonder what the day will hold. I'm silently asking the Lord to do what He wants and thanking Him for grace already when I inevitably will get in His way, today. I put the kettle on for my decaffeinated green tea and fill a glass of water to take my supplements. My eyes are less blurry now, and I can see the dishes in the sink that I left from last night.
I begin to rinse them and put them in the dishwasher as I think of my kids, still sleeping, and my husband who has already been working for several hours. Thanking God for these blessings, I hear the kettle begin to whistle. I quickly lift the spout, so as not to awaken the boys before I can steal a moment of quiet time with the Lord. The tea steeps as I finish the dishes. A bit of honey, a quick stir and I make my way to my favorite chair.
By now, it is usually 8:15 and I know there won't be a lot of time before the boys are begging for breakfast. "I should really wake up earlier," I think, knowing that when I have tried, it has always been the same: the boys wake earlier and I get just the same amount of time to myself. Shrugging, I grab my phone to read Streams in the Desert, musing to myself how sometimes it really does feel like little streams here and there.
Almost always, the words of this nearly hundred year-old devotional book speak straight to my spirit. I'm in awe of how sanctification and refinement are so transcendental and I tell God so. I spend a few moments in prayer thanking Him for words that are so personal.
Beside me on the table, there are five bibles and a notebook. Sometimes I write, sometimes I read through old things I have written. Each of the bibles are a different translation. I like variety. Choosing one at random, I flip through to the bible references for that day's devotion. Sometimes I read the Proverb and Psalm of the day. Sometimes I sit and think about what I have read.
A thump and a knock and I know that the boys are awake. I pull myself away from my thoughts and my prayers and my day is swept away. Pj's off and play clothes on (sometimes), breakfast, clean up after breakfast, put on a show for the kids as I check the social networks, put on a load of laundry while I pray for a friend who posted a need, referee when one of the boys won't share, praying for strength not to lose it, learning time with the boys and praying for wisdom to teach them, send them outside to play while I plan/prepare lunch, they come in and go out at least a dozen times needing water, toys, love...during this time, my voice has warmed some and I spend the moments where I am not answering questions and providing direction (correction?) singing my favorite praise songs to the Lord.
Lunch, a little more play time, get them to pick up toys and it's off to nap (quiet time) for the boys. Again, I sit and scroll through facebook, reading articles and blogs that make me think--sometimes sending me to the Word and prayer all over again. Sometimes I just read things that make me laugh.
Sometimes Husband arrives home soon after I have put the boys down, so I visit with him and listen to his day instead of having quiet time, myself. Often, he will sense my need for solitude and go do his thing for awhile. Before I know it, the time is up and it's time to think about cooking dinner, finishing the laundry, actually feeding everyone, cleaning them, cleaning the kitchen, bathtime, cuddle time, pj time, brush teeth, story, prayers and bed. Singing all the while...sometimes the boys dance with me in the kitchen.
At this point, Husband and I pretend to be adults, watching a show on tv or comparing funny stories while we scroll through facebook. He is worn from manual labor, I am worn from the neverending activity of raising (read: keeping alive) two very energetic and strong-willed boys. We do our best to love on one another a bit, then he is off to bed at 10.
Usually, I am awake another hour or two (well I DID sleep til 8). During this time, I read...fiction, non-fiction...engaging my imagination as I rest my aching body. As I fall asleep, there is a prayer on my lips, of thanks, of ideas, of bequest.
I dream in parables a lot. Startlingly vivid and imaginative words from the Lord. I wake at 2 or 3 in the morning to record things down. Sometimes it takes me quite awhile to get back to sleep. So I pray...
I have tried to sleep earlier and rise earlier, and both times I really gave it a good few weeks' try...I ended up quite ill. Deep inside, I knew that I needed to do what was best for my health in every aspect.
And wouldn't you know...in all of the busy-ness of my day, I don't feel as though I have neglected my relationship with the Lord, at all. I talk to Him constantly. Often out loud and I know sometimes I sound a little crazy. He speaks to me through the Word, through my discipline/teaching/correcting the boys, through songs and through His beautiful creation.
This season of life has taught me a lot about what it really means to be still and know that He is God. For me, it's not trying to plug myself into some formula of inputting certain things to receive certain things. For me, it's about knowing that those certain things are already mine because of Jesus. And I'm doing my best to be willing and available to both receive and extend those things in my daily life.
You know what? One day I actually do want to be an early-riser. I want to wake with the sun and enjoy a sunset. I want to spend hours at a time, exploring the depths of the Word uninterrupted like I used to. And one day I think I will get to do those things. I'll be healthy! I'll have the presence of mind to write down each beautiful nugget of truth or wisdom that the Lord brings me (in the same notebook, for the love of God!).
For now...I have random notes written in about 20 notebooks and at least 10 bibles. I have typed notes on a computer, a laptop and even quick notes on my phone. There are even a few recorded verbal notes that I have saved. I have this blog that keeps me (somewhat) sane.
Why am I writing all of this? Mainly so that one day when I'm feeling less-than or inadequate in my relationship with the Lord because of something some person or some tweet told me, I will come back here and read this and remember to go to the Source. If He desires more from me (doesn't He always?!?!), I want to know it and He knows that...I'll sense it, and yes...God's people will confirm it, but ultimately I know my Shepherd's voice well enough to follow where HE leads me on this journey.
And for now...that is enough.