It has become my routine. Get up, make the bed, dress, and settle in my little corner of my bedroom and have my morning devotions. My comfy chair is antique, a Banff Springs hotel cast off that I got on an online bidding site. The circular table to the side of my chair is covered with family pictures of my three adult children when they were babies, my five grandchildren, with two of them wearing printed t-shirts, “My grandma is my hero”. They honoured me with having these shirts made when I was going through treatments for endometrial cancer in 2019. There is a picture of my husband holding our infant son, taken only a few months after our adoption of him was finalized. A recent group picture of all three of our kids with their spouses, with their children posing in front of a big tree at our favourite camping site in British Columbia. The photo always makes me smile and brings back summer memories. In front of the pictures laying on the table is my journal, a pen, highlighter pens, a daily devotional book and my Bible. I switch devotional books each year; this year I am reading through Oswald Chamber’s “My Utmost for His Highest” for the fifth or sixth time. The dormer type window beside my chair lets in the early morning light, and I pick up my pen to write in my journal. I have written in journals for close to forty years. They are filled with private thoughts, daily happenings, and God stories. I now have over twenty of these filled-up journals in a file box. Not sure what I will do with them.
I chew on my pen, before I begin to write how I spent my weekend. It was okay. Not much to write about really. Needing some inspiration, I turn back several pages in my journal and read about how memorable my birthday weekend was in August. My kids had made me a special dinner. My son, who loves to cook, made chicken fettuccine alfredo and mussels cooked in a tomato, white wine sauce. Yum! My younger daughter made individual strawberry shortcakes, and my oldest daughter, made a sweet broccoli salad. My mouth waters recalling the tastes of each dish. I giggle to myself, thinking about my grandbabies, sitting on my lap, with their sticky fingers, runny noses, and bear hugs aplenty. It was such a precious time. My thoughts are flooded with precious recollections from that day. I scowl at the few sentences I’ve jotted down listing how the weather was over this past weekend. Pretty mundane stuff. Guess not every weekend can be stellar.
Feeling a little defeated, I read from my devotional, but my thoughts still scramble back to my birthday weekend celebrations. I barely recall what I’m reading. Flustered, I try to refocus on Oswald’s daily dose of wisdom. Today, I admit, his words do not seem to impact me as they normally do. I open my Bible. I am immersed in Ezekiel. The book of Ezekiel pronounces judgement on Israel and surrounding nations, but also provides by way of visions, the restoration of God’s people, and a prophetic look into the future after Christ’s return at the end times. I know the intro to the Book but I will admit, I find myself reading half-heartedly the words of the prophet, not sure if his teachings apply to me at all. It is taxing trying to concentrate on this particular book because I’m not as interested in it as I am with other parts of Scripture. However, it follows a reading schedule I’m trying to adhere to read through the Bible in a year, so I press on. Once again, my mind wanders. Perhaps I’ll be more attentive reading the book of Daniel once I’ve finished slogging through Ezekiel. I put a bookmark in my Bible and prepare for prayer time.
I am completely distracted now. An errant spider web in the corner has caught my eye. Immediately I feel the need to attend to dusting that cobweb aside. I start to berate myself for not being a better housekeeper. Surely, there must be other webs in the corners that I haven’t noticed before. It requires a thorough inspection, and yet, I can’t interrupt my quiet time. It’s prayer time! Making a promise to myself to grab my dust cloth the instant I’m through, I close my eyes, but that pesky spider web is in my mind’s eye now and I can’t let it go.
“Lord,” I say out loud, “help me.”
I am always amazed how patient the Lord is with me. This morning’s “quiet time” has been anything but quiet. I realize quickly that my heart is being pulled in many different directions. My thoughts are scattered, I’m distracted, and I’m more intent on finishing my “routine” than being fully engaged in my daily dialogue with God. I need a reboot, a do-over this morning.
“Forgive me, Lord.”
I suddenly recall the weekend’s snippets of life that I had thought not even worthy of note before, but now seem special and memorable. A phone call from a dear friend. A drive in the country with my husband and spotting a moose standing tall by the side of the road. A sunrise, a sunset, the sound of rain on the roof lulling me to sleep on Saturday night. Texts throughout the day from my children. Smiling at a picture posted on social media of my young grandsons meeting their newest baby cousin. Gathering with my church family for worship on Sunday morning. Smiles, hugs, waves. A feeling of belonging. Going home, enjoying a meal, and having a cup of hot chai tea. Spending some alone time immersed in a good book. Watching a few original Star Trek episodes Sunday evening and making my husband laugh when I recite the dialogue word for word during the “Trouble with Tribbles” episode. I praise God for the little, ordinary things I take for granted. The everyday events, the mundane becoming memorable.
I pick up “My Utmost for His Highest” and this time I carefully read through the devotion, asking God to give me insight that I did not have on first reading. The message takes on new meaning. The weekend events combined with the wisdom of Oswald, causes me to add several paragraphs to my journal entry.
When I pick up my Bible, I ask God to illuminate the message and meaning He would have me glean from the Book of Ezekiel. How can I apply this prophetic Book to my own life? A particular line almost seems to stand out from the page. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I gain a clearer understanding of what I am reading. I add the verse into my journal and underline the passage in my Bible with my highlighter pen.
When I bow my head this time in prayer, although the industrious spider’s web still attempts to distract me, I can maintain focus. My conversation with the Lord is lengthy, I forget time. When I rise from my prayer corner, I feel rejuvenated for the day. I speculate excitedly about the new memories I will make during the day.
I grab my dust cloth.