I have a picture my grandfather painted of his childhood. The family sits on the porch under the moon and stars. Grandpa plays the fiddle. Mama sits in a rocker fanning herself and the little girl by her side. The boys stand next to the porch with the dog, while Grandma and Papa sit in the porch chairs looking on.
I like imagining what it would be like to live in that world. I have an abundance of things, but so little time. The picture makes me envious – not that I want to go back to a time before antibiotics and dishwashers. But I think I would have sensed God more if I sat every night under the stars. I know their days were hard, but I imagine scrubbing clothes against the wash board and hanging them up on a line to dry. With my body hard at work and my mind roaming free, I think my thoughts would run to prayer often.
In the real time world, my body sits idle at my desk while my mind is in constant demand. It’s why I’m spiritually dry so often. I know for a fact that when I was a stay-at-home mom, my mind did roam free, praying, thinking about God and his ways, even singing along to old hymns while I swept the kitchen or folded laundry with no one but a one-year old to listen in.
That life isn’t attainable to me now. I do have to work in an office. I do have demands on my mind. That’s reality, but I do think that even in our desk-chained, time-crunched world, there’s a way to God.
I read something a while back that’s stayed with me. An overworked woman said her devotions had run dry for a while. But when she went to reading the Bible in short bursts three times a day – a few verses before breakfast, a psalm at lunch and another short passage after dinner, the change made a world of difference. The Bible sang through her day.
Sometimes, it only takes one thing, one change in the routine to make the difference. I just increased my hours at work, and I’ve been more tired than ever. I open the Bible, but before I read through more than a few verses my eyes glaze over. A real devotion seems out of the question.
I lamented my exhaustion to God, wishing that He could be as real to me as in times past. The answer came, Give me two short times a day. Can you do that, Rachel, and not worry about how you feel? Give me ten minutes at each side of your day in any way you can, and I’ll fill the hours in between.
I’ve given God those ten minutes, the bookends of my day, sometimes with my eyes pasted shut with exhaustion while I whisper the words of a prayer I know well. I do it with the sense that I’m giving that time to God so that He will give himself to me. I won’t say there’s been a miracle, but I do find thoughts of God drifting more into my day.
Given time, I think that one change will make a difference. God is there, waiting. If I turn to Him, in just one way, He’ll turn to me.