Most days I dare not share this verbally, but within the confinement of my heart, I think this... I use this... I stand by this as truth.... or, as an excuse.
And not just the kind of time I use to cram for a bible study or a teaching, but the kind where I'm coming before Him to simply rest in His presence...
As the nourishment of my soul.
As the key to my joy.
As the strength to my bones.
As the remedy to my life.
As the restorer to my brokenness.
As the healer to my depravity.
As the father to my needs.
As the love of my life.
Before anyone is awake in my home.
Before attempting to climb through life.
Before interacting with anyone or anything.
Before checking my phone, email, texts.
Before wearing the label of mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend.
He has life-giving power, Jesus says.
It's here I sit and meditate on the rawness and truth of this foreign word my ears hear and my mind attempts to comprehend.
What in life is Life-Giving, I quietly ask myself.
Life is full of life-taking, life-depleting, life-exhausting.
But God is promising...
Life-giving NEW life,
Pressed down, shaken together, making room for more, running over and poured onto my lap (Luke 6:38.)
Interesting how soon I forget the beauty of spending time consistently, vulnerably, transparently, genuinely, intimately with Him fills me to the peak of overflowing-love, which enables & infuses my spirit to give out to others that which was given undeservingly to me.
And with this thought deeply surfacing round and round in my mind, I open to the back page of a treasured bible with words containing a powerful, yet a simple truth from Philippians:
"Don't worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what I need and thank Him for all He has done. THEN- I will experience God's peace which exceeds anything we can understand. This peace will guard my heart and mind."
So, in the elementariness of my thinking, I recognize a pattern, a theory, a recipe for a healthy soul:
Prayer = Gods peace = guards my heart= guards my mind
(Spending time with Him ushers in peace, which ushers in protection of both my heart and mind.)
I'm beginning to recognize a pattern in God's design.
Could it be that spending this daily time with Him not only ushers in His overflowing radical love, but pours in His unfathomable peace which then provides a protective mechanism over my heart and mind?
And doesn't it just so happen to be that these are the two key areas in which satan seeks to destroy the most? They certainly are in my life.
Could it really be that God, in His incomprehensible simplicity, asks only of my time, my dedication, my loyalty, my obedience to seek Him before all else; resulting in health and protection for my mind and heart?
For my mind that's prone to wander?
For my heart that's dictated by unstable emotions?
Prayer, according to the transformational book of Philippians, is the natural remedy to a stable mind and a decisive heart that's fixated on the Only key to life.
And if all this wasn't enough, while sitting here on our well-used family room couch in the early hour of this Tuesday morning, I hear Sarah Groves angelic voice usher through the faint speaker of my phone. singing...
"You are my hiding place... early when the day is new, before the stirring I will come and talk with you...and confess the ways I am broken to recall the words you've spoken.. and try to comprehend the love you have for me... You are my hiding place."
That's when my eyes drift up to view the make-shift wall of blankets just footsteps from this couch. A wall of blankets the children used to make a tent, a hiding place of their own less than 24 hours earlier.
Memories flooding back to the innocent joy I found in making a hiding place of my own as a child. Still seeing and smelling the fabric of each well-loved blanket that tapered over the old wood chairs that were used as the infrastructure of my tent.
Untouched from outside reality.
Empowered by its solitude.
Silenced by its peace.
Strengthened by its boundaries.
Refreshed by its simplicity.
Protected by its coverings.
Could it be that Jesus desires, above all else, to be my hiding place?
To give me an opportunity each day to climb back into my child-hood tent and find rest, refreshment, safety, hope, love, protection and acceptance?
A hiding place that is marinated in life.
Desiring nothing but for me, for you, for them, for all- to choose and experience refreshment for the soul, rest for the mind and His love to consume the heart.
It's here, I find life.
"For You are my hiding place.
You protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory."