Daily Devotionals

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I used to be hard-core about Quiet Times. I’d try to cover all the bases; prayer, bible study, worship, dance. At one particularly zealous stage I worked my way through Wayne Grudem’s doorstop of a book ‘Systematic Theology.’ For fun.

These days, lengthy Quiet Times are a bit of a rarity. I have two small children who love to wake me up by bouncing on my head. Then fist-fight each other as to who gets to have the first cuddle of the morning. The little darlings. I don’t have the luxury of spending my morning meditating on psalms. I’m lucky if I get the luxury of going to the bathroom without both kids trying to sit on my knee. Sometimes even the cat tries to muscle in. It’s not a pretty picture.

I’ll pop your medal in the post.

I do miss the days when I could spend hours in silence, praying, pondering, journalling. Nowadays, I get snatched moments here and there, a longer chunk if I’m really disciplined. Though when I close to my eyes to pray it goes something like this: “Father, you are really fab and I love it when….zzzzzzzzzz.” I’m asleep within seconds.

I know, I know, you probably manage to juggle six kids, two dogs, a part-time job and running a charity while fitting in an hour a day with God without fail. I’ll pop your medal in the post. When I get round to it - expect it sometime within the next five years. And while I’m not advocating a chaotic approach to God-time, that’s where I find myself at the moment.

Father sneaks up on me

There are a couple of rather fabulous things to come out of this apparent failure of mine. Firstly, I notice that if I get a quiet millisecond when no one is demanding Ribena, trips to the toilet, a cuddle, a BAND AID (this is always screamed) or help finding the sticky tape, my thoughts naturally drift to Father. My spirit is live and kicking and given any opportunity, will turn to him. That’s nice to know. I’m not just tuning in to God-time because I have to; because I’m good at doing my ‘spiritual homework’.

Even more splendid, are all the times Father sneaks up on me. This usually happens in the kitchen when I’m stirring something on the stove, being besieged by 2 hungry cats, listing the 18 things I need to remember to do before bedtime and boiling the kettle for the umpteenth time to make a cup of tea. I am suddenly aware that he is there. He says something kind. And it feels like he’s put his arms around me.

He interrupts my zooming thoughts

His comments are usually some form of talking me down off the ledge: “It’s ok,” “You’re ok,” “It’s all going to be fine,” “Don’t panic,” “Trust me.” But it’s the gentle, teasing way he interrupts my zooming thoughts to start the conversation that really catches me off-guard.

I’m so used to thinking that I have to do all the running in our relationship. I go to him and ‘start a quiet time’. I schedule him in. I initiate. (Or not as the case may be). It’s still somewhat incredible to me after all those years of striving to gain his attention, that I have it regardless.

He’s like a dad. A proper dad.

I’m a ‘try-harder’ type of person by nature, erring on the side of perfectionism. I don’t cut myself much slack. But it seems like God cuts me a whole load of slack. Lately, he’s even able to bust in on my spiraling negative-thoughts, uninvited. As I descend into the gloomy realm of fear, I know that I should be trying to force myself out of the black and into the light. But I don’t even need to; he switches the light on without asking. It’s brilliant.

He’s like a dad. A proper dad.

I do miss my dedicated times with him where I’m rested enough to stay awake, and I know I’ll steer back towards them. The smart people just schedule them in, after all. But this is good too. This ‘turning-up all the time’ thing that he is doing. It makes me wonder, is this his version of daily devotionals? Being devoted to me on a daily, all-daily basis?

He’s like a dad. A proper dad.