Iced tea is still on the menu here as it continues to be very, very hot outdoors! I am so looking forward to the coolness of autumn. However, I also want to know where most of the summer has gone?
Being a pondering type of person, I spent some time this past week wondering where I lost them... June and July. They were here, right in front of me just... yesterday? So much for Mary. I have not been keeping my usual devotions, much less adding more time as I had intended.
If you will remember, this was going to be the Summer of My Mary Heart. Like Mary, I was going to sit at the feet of our Lord and do some serious praying, studying, Bible reading, etc. Sigh... such good intentions. Instead this ended up being one of the busiest summer seasons in my recent memory! All good intentions vanished out of the proverbial window. How I tried to get up earlier than usual. The spirit was truly willing but the flesh was oh so weak as my busy days took every bit of my energy. I felt quite discouraged. Where did the summer go?
It was while I was doing dishes a few nights ago that I thought of another past "saint of God". YES! This person will be perfect to emulate for the coming autumn months. Goodbye Mary and Hello Larry! Lawrence, that is... Brother Lawrence*. He spent a lot of time in the kitchen, too.
Brother Lawrence tried to be holy for many years but did not find true peace until he learned to fellowship with God while in the kitchen. I can relate to that. So many of us long to have hours of Bible study and prayer time but feel we are constantly being interrupted by people, and chores, and the constant gotta do's that come up each and every day. They can leave us tired, drained, and empty.
I guess my Eureka moment came when I realized (once again) that doing such important tasks as making a stew, baking bread, cleaning the floors, listening, chatting, teaching, offering advice, changing diapers, cleaning peanut butter off the carpet again, keeping a toddler safe, feeding a baby, driving a teenager to another lesson, helping a child learn to read, listening to a husband's fears about his work, sorting clothes and then sorting more clothes, and writing...can all be done as an offering to Him. That's what Brother Lawrence was trying to tell us.
All of life can be a sacrament when all can be offered at His feet. Our work and the tired body that results, a sacrifice of time returned to the One that gave us that time, and wife or husband, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, house to clean, clothing to clean, lawn to mow, and the ever present dishes to wash.
For the people he has placed in our life are not obstacles and the tasks are not to be rushed through so we can do something more Holy. They are the very fabric of our life, that for which we were born.
If we truly believe all Life is from Him, then our life is from Him. Yes, we must get away from our responsibilities for at least a short time each day to continue reading through our Bible and a devotional book, to lift up our praise and worship, our thanksgiving, and our needs before Him. Perhaps even spending time to write them in a journal. There are also those precious seasons in each life when we have more time to give back to the One who created us, perhaps even the setting aside of entire days for important prayer and pondering.
But He understands such limitations as Time and Space for He is the Creator. He was there when it all began. He created each of us. He knows our responsibilities and He does not ask most of us to spend a life only in prayer and study. At the same time, He knows we will not able to live a life of peace without spending time reading His letters to us, learning about those who have walked this path in ancient times, anticipating Bible prophecy and His next advent, chatting with Him about our day, crying out to Him and perhaps stomping our feet at the absolute unfairness (or so it seems) of this world, shedding tears on behalf of others, and just sitting in His Presence to soak up ...Life.
All we can do... is what we can do. The enemy of our souls whispers in our ears that if we can not worship Him perfectly with hours spent before the Throne of God, then he doesn't want the five minutes we can spend in quick communion today. We have learned to turn our back on the whispers, open to the Book of Psalms and soak up Peace. We have learned to write down our prayers so we can offer them up to Him during a break while the soup is simmering or the bread is rising.
We are developing true Relationship a little each day and during those precious times we can sit at His feet for long periods of time, we are not strangers to each other but Friends indeed. More than Friends but the Bride at the feet of her coming Bridegroom.
*The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence