Moving Up in order to Move Down: The role of a personal quiet time in a mother’s life

Achy, tired pregnant body…groggy mind…the alarm is blaring in my ear, but the whispers blur reason away…

“You need your rest- you are pregnant”

“If you get up now, you won’t make it through the morning”

“Its waaay to early…the kids woke you up alot last night”

And that carved out time, the very time when thirsty soul can drink from the Stream of Living Water, where hungry heart can feast at the Table, where Life can be breathed in and strength can fill a too-weak-for-the-job mamma of five six, it gets blurred away by those whispers.

No wonder everything has been so topsy turvey.  Every blurred thought, every outburst of anger, every running after comforts and crutches that can never truly uphold.  It is all traced back to this lack of feasting.

Trying to run a day with many young children without having feasted on the Word of God and the Presence of His Son, is like trying to run a marathon (at top speed) without having eaten anything for the past week.

And I wonder why I’m running on fumes…the fumes of my anger and frustration.

So, this snow day, with all children homebound ALL day long, warrants a movie watching, and while they watch the film I watch God’s Word awaken deaden heart.

As I persever in my commitment to read through the whole Bible in a year, I find myself at Exodus 34. Yawn. “Lord, your Word is Living and Active. Make it alive to me today” was the initial heart cry.

The Lord said to Moses, Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.” Exodus 34:1

Stone.Writing laws. And verses penned several centuries later rings through my mind and becomes my heart cry. May it be so, Lord: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26) and “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

And then, the words of Exodus 34 unfold how one moves into a place where this can happen.

“The Lord said to Moses,…..’Be read by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.

And Moses doesn’t roll over and hit the snooze button and tell the Lord he’s too tired from leading all these people (Moses had over a million….I have a mere five).

No.

And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 

And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.” 

…When Moses came down from Mount Sinai…the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.” Exodus 34: 2-9, 29

Moses, he was called to be ready by the morning. Like there was preparation to be made for the intent purpose of getting up to go meet with God.  And if we value that meeting time with God, we too will make preparations to be there. I will get dinner made on time. I will get kids in bed on time. I will not wander through facebook or blogs or instagram pictures when I should be going to bed so that I can get up, to go up…..in order to come back down with God-brilliant face for my family.

So Moses’ early morning meeting with God teaches me a thing or two on how I can meet with God.

1.He made preparations to be ready in the morning (Ex.34:4)

2. He rose early (Ex.34:4)

3. He went up to meet with God (Ex.34:4)

4. He presented himself  (Ex. 34:2)

and he did it all so that he could be dozing through the “meeting with God” and  miserably tired the rest of the day, and grumpy with the people because of his lack of sleep.

No.

The rewards of rising early, moving up the mountain, and simply showing up were beyond comprehension.

For in Moses’ moving up, God came down.

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him.

And the Lord filled Moses with hope, for He filled him with His Very Promises.

And Moses was given the opportunity to invite the Lord into every messy component of his task at hand…

O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people…” (Ex.34:9)

{ if you could hear the bickering of some stiff-knecked children and mama that goes on at our house, you would realize why I need to extend the same invitation every.single.morning}

And Moses went up, not to stay there and shirk his responsibility, but he went up, to be so awed by the Presence of God, that He could faithfully go down.

Go down into the sin ridden mess of a people he was to lead.

Go down into carrying a responsibility far to big for one person.

Go down into the nitty gritty of real life and struggle and problems.

But, once down there, he was never the same,

for “the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God”. Exodus 34:29

And this family of mine, it needs some God shine in it. And this wayward heart of mine, it needs some Holy God filling it. And this easily discouraged mind, it needs steadfast Promises of a Steadfast God to cling to, when the circumstances seem too overwhelming stacked against me.  This day of mine, needs some God going in the midst of it.

And the place to find all that, the power to go down into the many mundane tasks and demands, is in the going up…the getting up, and going up into the presence of the Promises and the Presence of the Promiser.

Will you join me?

Need some help in how to enter in? How to move up the mountain into the Presence of the Promises and the Promiser?

This is the app I have downloaded on my phone. It sends the One Year Bible Reading Plan’s daily reading right to my email inbox. You can even switch the dates around if you are getting a late start.  And get this. It will even READ IT TO YOU. That means God’s word while we fold laundry, do dishes,  get ready in the morning, or drive to work . (although nothing can replace sitting still before the Lord to hear Him speak….the read aloud is simply supplemental)

Is that too daunting?

Try:

A Two Week Guided Tour of the Bible

Thirty days with Jesus

Thirty days for When You’re New to the Bible

Sixty days for the whole New Testament

Custom build your reading plan!

Lord, I want to see!

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more,

“Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him,

“What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see!”, he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

(Luke 38:40-42)

And I also call out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

As the diapers needs changing, the bathwater is overflowing, lasagna is still smeared over the kitchen floor, dishes are piled high, while the clean clothes are piled higher on the beds that need to soon be gotten into. The girls are nit-picking at each other, and a son is in tears over a Lego castle recently destroyed by one of the smaller sons….

He asks,

“What do you want me to do for you?”

I could tell him I want a personal maid, and perfect children, and a nice long vacation,

but instead, I cry,

“Lord! I want to see!

I want to see past all the work that these little people create, to the wonder of their little personhood.

I want to see the little struggles they have that are nuisances to my getting dinner on the table, as opportunities to engage in their world.

I want to see each as an individual, rather than a collective herd of noise and need.

I want to see, really see into their eyes, rather than a blur of tops of their heads as I bark orders over them.

Lord, I want to see!

I want to see each moment as a chance to REALLY be HERE, rather than view each moment as a means to the ever-elusive, and never-attained “there” where all the work is done, and the house is tidy, and the kids are calm and I can finally be content.

I want to see, really see, each person I encounter at the check out line, the grocery store, or neighborhood park as a soul, that will only be satisfied in knowing the Living Water, Jesus.

I want to see these neighborhood kids, not as increases in decibels, mouths to feed, and wear and tear on our house, but as little disciples that get to experience the reality of Christ in our home, and the feeding that happens when we feast on his Word.

I want to see my husband as the one I get to be a helpmate for, rather than just another set of adult hands to help me deal with this chaos called KIDS.

I want to see my Maker’s creativity in the fall foliage, the brilliant sun streams through the trees, the call of the owl, and the rhythm of the crickets song, rather than rush right past it all, just as thankless as if I were blind and deaf.

Lord, I want to see!

And often it’s the noise, not the visual that causes the blindness.

The internal noise, the head noise, the to-do list rattling off in my brain, the worry over an upcoming situation, the self-degrading inner talk over the failures of the day.

Its the noise that keeps me blind.

“Lord, I want to see!”  the blind man told him.

“Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”

And the cure is in the receiving. The cure is in the faith that it takes to be still enough to receive.

In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it. (Isaiah 30:15)

Its in sitting before Jesus’ feet, its in seeping in His Word, its in being still and knowing that He is God, its in the seemingly-not-so-productive act of worshipping Him for His Character.

And right there, in Isaiah, and then again in Luke, I see I can choose my blindness.

He offers me sight, He offers me salvation. He offers me strength.

but if I don’t take the time, this moment, to be still enough to receive it, I declare that I “will have none of it”.

May it not be so.

Jesus!

Son of David, have mercy on me!

Lord, I want to see!

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Why I Haven’t Blogged in Nearly a Month…

The picture below, sums up why I haven’t had time to blog in over a month. Count’em.

The little boogers keep me busy

Thats five little people that need by time, care, and attention.  We just added Ella (3 mo.) to the mix a few weeks ago, because her mom had to go back to work, and we needed some extra income.

Not to be making excuses, but this time I really do have a good excuse.  It’s not that I don’t think deep thoughts that I would LIKE to write out, it’s just that at the end of a long day, going to bed is key for survival of the next day.  So blogs get put on the shelf.

BUT this weekend, my incredible and servant-hearted sister-in-law, Sara-Beth, is watching my kids while Danny and I are at a wedding in San Francisco (with a little R&R built in).  So, the blogging will resume! (stay posted for yet another fantastic excuse for why I haven’t been blogging lately)

Just thought I’d add some of all the other 25 pictures I had to take, trying to capture everyone on the couch…

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