Journey Back Home

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 (NKJV)

I got up this morning at 5:30—a good hour and a half before my scheduled “rise and shine” time. At first I thought I’d go back to bed after my bathroom trek, but my already too-long do-list got longer yesterday when I added an ambitious project with a Nov. 30 deadline. So I knew snuggling back under the covers would be futile. I’d just toss and turn and think and think and think. Body tired, mind wired. You know the feeling.

So I made my cup of caffeine, dressed, and headed to my study.

Since I was up early, I decided to have my quiet time, which, I’m ashamed to admit, has been sorely lacking. I opened my prayer notebook first. My last entry was Feb. 10. And the time before that was Jan. 17. Well, at least it was this year. When I opened my spiritual journal, I was aghast when I saw the date of the last entry: Dec. 14. My Bible study notebook was just as pathetically neglected. I used to write in them every day.

No wonder I’d been feeling adrift, mentally and spiritually.

Last year I blamed my dwindling time with God on life issues, particularly health challenges and family relationships, the latter undergoing tumultuous changes.

Have you ever felt like you’re standing in the midst of fallout you didn’t create? Yet there you are, stuck in the middle of it all, hanging on to a diminishing sense of direction. Well, that’s where I was last year.

This year, as those issues began to smooth out, a monster project took over my life: planning a month-long trip with our fifth-wheel camper to the Pacific Northwest with two other couples. Not an undertaking to sneeze at. Coordinating schedules, planning routes and stops and meals and clothes, getting the camper and truck ready for a 7,000-mile trip, downloading and learning to use travel apps we’d use on the journey—chunk by chunk usurped my time. Small wonder I’m way behind on my novel-writing schedule.

But I shouldn’t blame busyness for not taking time with God. I mean, who really sets my schedule? I’m my own worst taskmaster—slave driver is a better term.

But the more I got done, the less fulfilled and more empty I felt.

You can’t replace God with busyness, no matter how urgent or necessary your activities are. Only God can satisfy your soul. And if your spirit is empty of Him, your entire being—physical, mental, and emotional—is affected. It’s like you’re on a journey with no destination, without a map or app or plan, and are running on fumes.

So this morning, when I finally took quality time to meet with God (and not with one eye on the clock), God met with me. He had, after all, been patiently waiting for me to stop manufacturing excuses and make time with Him my top priority once again.

I opened my Bible to where I’d left off with my personal (and also sporadic) Bible study two months ago, Psalm 37: “Consider the staggering fact that the Creator of time and eternity loves you,” I read in the warm up section. “Write down 10 things you can think of about the love of God.”

Wow! What a place to begin my journey back to God—His love for me. The first three came easily—I’d been pondering them all year: Unconditional. Undeserved. Unlimited. Then, like water sputtering from a hand pump, more words to describe God’s incredible love for me poured forth: steadfast, eternal, healing, unchanging, sacrificial, reliable.

God’s love—the more I meditated on it, the harder it was to wrap my mind around it.

I hadn’t been faithful to Him, but He’d remained faithful to me.

As I wrote the words of Lamentations 3:21–23 in my spiritual journal and the words of Psalm 51:10–12 in my prayer notebook, I knew I’d finally returned home.

Thank you, Father, for Your steadfast, unlimited love. I don’t deserve it, but that’s what unconditional means, doesn’t it? Thank You for pouring its healing grace into my thirsty, travel-weary soul. Amen.

Read and meditate on Lamentations 3:21–23

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

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On and Off My Rocker

All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quiet in a room alone. – Blaise Pascal

The rocking chair described in this post is now downstairs in the family room. This one is now used for my quiet time.

In the corner of my dining room is a gray antique rocker. A thick, green-checkered cushion hides the lawn chair webbing that someone weaved in to replace the original cane seat. Over the rocking chair hangs a brown cane swag lamp with its switch a reach away. On the wall behind it, from the wainscoting up to the ceiling and the full length of the wall, a bookcase constructed of thick, rough timber, darkened with age and covered with several layers of clear finish and a thickening gossamer of dust, is crammed with two of my greatest loves: photos of my family and books.

The rocker sits next to a four-feet-by-eight-feet, triple-pane, casement window looking out on the front yard, with flowering bushes blossoming one right after another: azalea, lilac, mountain laurel, and rose. A wooden, six-sided bird feeder dangles from the branch of the maple tree 20 feet from the window, which reflects the tree and the western sky so well it fools the birds, which often fly into it. Here I watch the snow fly, the storm clouds approach, the leaves change, the sun set, the morning stretch over the field from yonder pasture to my front yard, where I saw two bears racing towards the woods behind the house one summer morning. Where I savor the seasons of the year and sense the passing of the seasons of life, uncertain of how I feel about it.

Surrounding my rocker are several baskets of yarn and projects-in-progress, three sewing baskets, a basket of my quiet time materials—devotional books, two or three Bibles (different versions), prayer lists, and my “basket case,” a wicker basket with 365 slips of paper with Bible verses; I take one a day to keep from going nuts.

There’s a coaster for my coffee, tea, or water; a radio so I can listen to the Pirates’ game while crocheting, a book or two for leisure reading, an old hymnal, a box of tissues, and a small basket of pens, pencils, and sticky notes.

Here is where I head in the morning, cup of caffeine in hand. Where I wait in the lulls of life. Where I find peace for my troubled mind, anxious heart, stubborn will, and battered spirit.

Here is where I talk to God, and where, in the absence of the roar of busyness and the static of the world, I hear His still, quiet voice. Where I weep with worry, pour out my problems, complain about life’s unfairness, deal with discouragement and disappointment. Where, impatient, I demand answers—something, anything, to hang my dwindling hopes on. Where I sing with gratitude when I finally see the answers, which are always so much more than I prayed for.

Here is where I finally “get it.”

This is my quiet time place. My little corner of the world, where I hide from the world to find strength to deal with the world.

Where I meet with El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, Adonai, my Abba Father.

So that when I’m off my rocker, I’m not, well, off my rocker.

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. – Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

 Read and meditate on Psalm 63

From God,Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God,

© 2017, Michele Huey. All rights reserved.