Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hide & Seek

Yesterday afternoon I was “ambushed” by my SisNBff and whisked away to Lifetime Fitness to spend some much-needed, quality talk-time with her. I was treated to a couple hours of pure relaxation with her as we made our way from the eucalyptus sauna, to the wading pool, to the jacuzzi, to the wading pool again, and then back to the sauna for one last blast of steam to soothe our souls. All the while, we did what God created us for... we laid our hearts out to one another in complete honesty and trusted fellowship.

Over the past 6 years God has intertwined our lives in ways that neither one of us would have ever believed had someone told us before-hand the paths our lives would take together. Through those years, our friendship has grown into something that I don’t believe is easily duplicated - if at all. We have a unique relationship that transcends traditional friendships; a bond that is cemented by our relationships with Jesus. This relationship is the very core of who we are to each other, and because of that, we trust that our hearts, our thoughts, our struggles and our joys are safe to share. I am beyond blessed to have this friendship, and I know she feels the same.

During our conversation we shared things that were hard to talk about; things that exposed struggles and temptations. Yes, we are both Christians, and we have an incredible ability to push one another toward the deeper things of Christ, but - alas - we are still human. In our humanity we sin, we are tempted, we fall and we make unwise choices. But - BUT - we know, in the end, that our God has given us relationships to help us get back up and move forward when we feel like we can’t do it on our own; and more often than not... we can’t.

Here’s the catch: the relationships that we are blessed with are only useful if - drum roll, please - WE USE THEM!

What good is family and friendship if we don’t call on the very ones we love when we’re in trouble?
Why do we feel the need to hide away, behind our four walls, so that we can pretend that our lives are just as good as those lives we are hiding from? ... lives of people who are probably doing the same thing we are - hiding!

Why have we believed the lie from the enemy that if we actually tell someone what is going - the real truth, the real struggles, the real temptations, the real dirt - that it will only be used against us? that the dirt will only become fodder for nothing other than gossipy conversations? that prayer won’t actually take place?

Have we blown it too many times that the trust needed to share just isn’t there anymore? Or is it a matter of pride, or shame, or guilt, or condemnation that keeps us wrapped up tightly in our cocoon of false security?

Trust me when I tell you that I am not pointing my finger at you in my ramblings - for if I were, three would be pointing right back at me. Quite frankly, my heart is heavy today with a burden of questions that I simply cannot answer.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Throughout the month of January, I have been listening to and reading a daily devotion written by various members of our church - staff and lay-people alike. The devotional (titled FIRST) was written and distributed via CD's (so you could listen) and a book (so you could read), for the entire month of January. This was done in conjunction with a 10 day, church-wide fast that began on January 1st, along with a message series called "First". The basic premise is to focus on putting God first in all - really, ALL - areas of your life. One of the areas where God really challenged me dealt with time. I've been horrible at getting up and giving my morning to Him because... well, I'm not a morning person. I know... you're all in "shock and awe"! I can't count how many times I've prayed, "Starting tomorrow I'm getting up and giving You my time in the morning.” Tomorrow always came, and I always still found myself sleeping through those early hours. But, there was always tomorrow! :)

Well, like God is so capable of doing, He found away around my inability to rise early - He provided Anthony with a work position that required him to be out the door - not just up, but out the door - during my most coveted hour of sleep... between 7 and 8 a.m. You may ask, "How does that affect you?" The answer is simple. Since I am blessed with the ability to be a stay-at-home wife and mom and home school teacher, it would be completely selfish of me to sleep the morning away while Anthony's up and running by 6:45 each weekday. After all, we're going to bed at the same time, and I have the privilege of not having to commute to my job, so why shouldn't I be up at the same time as my husband?

So, starting January 2nd, I began waking up with Anthony - except while he got ready for work, I slumbered out to the kitchen to make breakfast so we could have a few morning minutes together to eat, read our morning devotion and pray before he left for the day. Let me tell you, that first week - okay! the first 2 weeks - were difficult, to say the least. My body was not the slightest bit happy to be up before 7 a.m., let alone have to be functioning enough to make breakfast and read! I quickly realized just how spoiled I had been with Anthony working from home. But there's a silver lining in this cloud of alarm-clocked reality. I also realized just how loved I was by God when He spoke to me one morning and whispered, "Your face was among the many I saw the day I created the coffee bean!"

And now, after almost one month of rising early, I have come to cherish my morning time. Anthony is usually out the door by 7:30 a.m. That's when my time with God starts. My iPod is on for a time of worship, I read through other devotions that I've come to love, I open my Bible to see what God wants to say to me each morning and I pray. I usually have an hour - sometimes a bit more - before I wake the kids up to start their day. My body has adjusted - more easily than I thought - to being up before the sun.

Yesterday morning Anthony woke up with a pounding headache, feeling achy, fatigued, and nauseous - one of those "hit ya quickly" kind of bugs. He decided early on that it was going to be a day of rest for him and no work. It was about 7:15 a.m. when he woke up and told me he wasn't going in to work. My first thought was that I could sleep in, but by 7:20 a.m. my mind was thinking about my morning time with God. I slipped out of bed, came to the kitchen, put on some coffee and sat at the table to have my quiet time. I smiled as I realized the difference 4 weeks had made. A month ago, I would have easily gone back to sleep without another thought. And now, instead of being spoiled with sleep, I'm spoiled by God!

Today I listened to a devotion written by a pastor at Gateway, Marcus Brecheen, who has become a significant and treasured part of both mine and Anthony's lives. I first met him last February at a Prayer and Prophesy night held at my first church here in Texas - Valley Creek Church. He spoke words of prophesy over me that night, which I wrote down and still have today. Then he was the man Anthony and I sat in front of twice for some "adapting to marriage counseling" about 6 months ago. Since that time, Anthony and I have kept a steady schedule of emails, phone calls and lunch dates with him. He went from being a pastor at Gateway to a cherished friend of ours and a mentor to Anthony.

All that to say, this morning's devotion is a great reminder of the need - and challenge - to purposely consider time.

Regardless of what day of the week this is, today you have 1,440 minutes. The chronos of this day will tick by regardless of what else happens. But the kairos is up to you. At the end of the day, it all comes down to this: did you kairos during the chronos? Did you notice the sacred things in the midst of the common? God will make sure they are all around you. Ask Him to show you. (MB)