Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)
TITLE: No Retreat!
By Lois Jennison Tribble
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Maybe now is the time, just me and my Lord and my coffee. Mark 6:31 pops in, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Mentally I correct God, replacing the plural with a more appealing singular. Just as quickly, I'm overruled: "Mommy, I wet the bed," wails Tommy, at my elbow. The clock says 6:10.
With task mastered and Tommy occupied, I exchange cold coffee for hot, snuggle down in my rocking chair and open my devotional. Quickly (I always move at lightspeed in hopes of keeping one step ahead of darkness) I flip through my Bible to find Matthew 11:28, assigned with the day's reading: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." <i>Fat chance!</i> I whisper and am struck by lightning--the phone rings, and my sister announces her husband's boss at the last minute is sending him to a conference in our area. "Could you pick us up at the airport this afternoon? We'll have three days to visit," she announces, sounding just like Little Mary Sunshine. Okay...
Thoroughly rattled, I flee to the bathroom, tiptoeing so as not to wake my husband. "Let sleeping giants lie," seems sound advice--or is it sleeping dogs? Whatever: hot showers never solve anything, but they do provide time to brood ... upon occasion. But the moment I wet my hair, Sam's disheveled head appears above the door confronting me: "Where are my pants? I've got to leave early for a meeting today--where the heck did you put them?"
"Good morning to you, too," I grumble, draping a towel around me for the hunt. Whoever dreamed grown-up pants could hide themselves behind the living room couch?
Seven o'clock and the house bursts into spontaneous frenzy. Regardless of wet hair and towel, I press Sam's rumpled pants, pop bread in the toaster and oatmeal in the microwave, and we're off and running. <i>Still there on hold, Lord?</i> I ask guiltily. Such good intentions, but it seems those who need the most quiet time have the hardest time finding it! Dashing past the hallway mirror, I catch sight of my profile. Oops! I discard my towel in favor of a bathrobe, then race back into the kitchen after grabbing Marissa from the crib. Exchanging cold coffee for hot again, I plop into my chair at the table beside my husband and Tommy, praying for just a moment's breath.
Our women's group is reading about Susannah Wesley? While living as an impoverished pastor's wife, she bore nineteen children with nine of them living to maturity, among them Charles and John. Susannah had every excuse for missing quiet times with God, but like Martha's sister, Mary, this woman knew time with Jesus is the highest priority! Three times a day she made time for prayer, Bible reading, and meditation. Desperate for a retreat, her only recourse was to flip her apron over her head and hide--a DON'T DISTURB sign for the kids. "Dear God, guide me. Help me do Thy will. Make my life count," she prayed daily. And God rewarded her faithfulness in small things, making her instrumental in changing the world through her children.
Remorse grips me: I don't own an apron for fear the children will grab the strings! I glance around the breakfast table at my cereal-slurping family. Seized by what Abraham Maslow describes as "a peak moment"--those few precious seconds when an ordinary event is revealed in an extraordinary way--emotion overwhelms me. How incredibly God has blessed me! I snatch the nearest towel and bury my face in embarrassment. Hardly an apron, but at last I am alone, within earshot of that still, small voice: "Everywhere you are is in My presence."
Miraculously ignored by the ones who depend on me, I bask in God's peace. "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" (Isaiah 30:15).
<i>Yes, Lord: it is a good morning, isn't it?</i> I reply.
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