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You'll never leave me thirsty...

The day is over, the boys are asleep and I'm finally allowed the space to take a shower.  I'm still in frantic, keep-my-head-above-water mode and I take note as I scrub furiously and feel the whispered, "Hurry, hurry!" in my head.  I'm so exhausted and in a complete state of unrest and I can't slow down and I can't think and today I was just trying to plain make it out alive.  And the conversation in my head starts, the slightly bitter, the frustrated, the I-think-I'm-screwing-up dialog still draining my heart.  The words bite silently in my head.  In my soul.

"He gets it, right?  He gets that I'm here?"  

And I pause in washing my hair and wait for an answer.  Because I know there is one.  I know there has to be.  And I trust that He does get it and He is there, but there are times when the failures feel so high and the times I lost my patience outweigh the times I was kind and all I can think about is the laundry left to fold, the dishes still in the sink and that pound of burger that I set out to thaw and then completely forgot to brown up.  And I find myself getting a headache and note how my face hurts.  My jaw is clenched with pent up anxiety and fatigue.

And I think how I'd love to get up before the sun and do devotions and have quiet time to re-order my mind and renew my focus and prepare for the day in the best way.  And even though I'd gladly wake before the sun to have some one-on-one time with God, the truth is that I'm already up before the sun, but with two early-birds.  My boys are hardwired for early mornings.  I suppose this is the payback I have been hearing my whole life by being a morning person.  The words, the need to justify, flood my head.

"I have two boys.  They are my devotional readings every day.  I can't do any better than that.  You get that, right, Lord?"  

And I felt the war, the fire burning all hot and self-righteous sputter.  Doused with His quick response.

"You get it, right?" 

I swallow hard and think, can He meet me here?  Really?

And the answers pour out, oil on my desperate head, one after another.  Can He meet a woman on the outskirts of society, her shame marking her an unloveable?  Can He meet a sinner on a dirt road and turn him into a righteous patriot?  Can He turn a stutterer into a leader?  Meet a man weak and scared high in the tree of his shame?  Can He meet a shepherd boy in all of his fear and then be there time and time again, every time he runs to him - after the affair, after the murder, after the loss?  Can He meet heartfelt bravery with compassion when the will to stand on water is met with the uncertainty of human nature and the waves topple over?  

I know we tell each other that God understands.  That He sees all we're doing (and on such little sleep) and how true our hearts really are striving to be, but we still feel like we're coming up short.  We say we shouldn't compare, but we do.  We say we aren't insecure, but we totally are.  We say we need to be online less, but we're online more.  We say we need to be involved, but we're on the fringes.  We say we need to commit, to serve, to reach out, but we stay home and drink that pot of coffee alone.  We feel the deep calling in the nooks and crannies of our hearts.  And we want it and we avoid it.

Do I know that God hears and meets me even when I can't keep up on any one of the high-stacked devotionals I have on my shelf?  Yes, of course I do.  Do I know that He speaks to my mother's heart many times throughout the day and so many times more that I miss in my hurry and my fatigue?  Yes.  I know He sees, I know He has compassion, I know He sees and loves my heart and loves me.  God isn't the one who needs to understand that an hour-long, daily, introspective journaling session isn't mandatory to a vibrant, real and life-giving relationship with Christ.

Sometimes I get awfully hung up on all the things a "good Christian girl" always does.  There.  I said it.

I think about how often my mornings start... with bleary eyes and my heart truly focusing on gratitude to pull my sleepy head upright.  I think about how I talk sweetly to the baby even though he's up so much earlier than I wished he'd be.  I think about it when I answer my toddler with patience and love when he asks me a question he already knows the answer to.  And it makes me smile because that's how I'm reminded that sometimes (a lot of times?  All the times?) I'm a funny toddler, messing up words and asking to be reminded of what I already know.

It's dialog.  It's the daily music of my life.  The ups and downs of questions, of tantrums, of instruction, of play, of nap times, of feedings, of noting the nature and world outside our front door, of being respectful, of honoring Daddy when he comes home, of using manners, of offering hospitality and sharing what we have.  It's spending time and sitting close and a heartfelt apology, "Mommy, I'm sorry for taking Travis' snacks." long after the punishment came down - evidence of something greater at work in a tiny heart.

And sometimes I'm so slow to get it, too.  And I need to be reminded that I am sometimes slow to get it.  I need to see my children waking up with joy and excitement because they have another day in order to be reminded about new mercies every day.  I need to see their adoration for each other, to watch Joel reach for his brother's hand when they sit and watch Mickey Mouse to be reminded of transparent and vulnerable love.  To be reminded of the little things, the greater things.  To learn compassion, to consider another's need and joy and well-being above my own.  To focus on love and not always order.

I have these two handsome devotionals walking around all day long.  Following me.  Asking me questions, sometimes requiring me to dig deeper and to look higher.  They cause me to unfold stories of God's goodness, His light in the world, in us, His providing for us in every possible way.  We talk about creation and about God's making bears and lizards and little boys, too.  They are my daily devotional, my guided readers.  I am their concordance, answering and teaching and adding a highlight to a simple phrase.

It's the daily talking about it when we get up... and when we go to bed.  And when we're on the road and when we're taking walks.  And it's as much for them as it is for me.  As much, if not more.  Because God knows I'm a mother and He gave me that role and that gift and that duty.  And He knows the best I'm trying to do and the less I so often fracture to.  There have always been days and nights and mothers getting up to check, to feed, to change diapers. There have always been early mornings before we're ready to start the day and always wanting more - to know more, to do more.

God's truths are not so hidden and confusing that you need a 12-week study.  He says that if we seek Him, we find Him.  Period.  And I am seeking Him so much in my days and in my every-day moments and I know that I find Him.  I know that He is there, over and over, every time I call out, every time I strain my eyes to see the smallest bit of glory or hope or saving grace.  It's always there.  He's always there.

I just have to knock.  And then it all opens up...


"For everyone who asks receives,
and the one who seeks finds,
and to the one who knocks 
it will be opened..."
~  M a t t h e w   7 : 8



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