For decades as a working mother who had been raised by a working mother, time was something managed by everyone and everything else around me. Prayer time was shortened by the traffic report saying we’d need extra time for weather related wrecks, so get out there early… then struggle to get out the door with everyone’s lunch, both shoes that weren't slippers, homework or the day’s to-do list, on time, to arrive without the scolding of what time it was in order to get to everything that would demand time, attention, care, wisdom, thought and energy until back home for the second shift. You don’t even have to work outside the home to understand the spinning plates that working parents artfully balance. Leaving that lifestyle for a new reality has been interesting as I create new realities, so thought I’d share a piece from that journal. I’ve added and elaborated upon the original entry, and it helped me again :)
If I don’t put a demand on me (as others have), I will drift. Help me, Adon Adonai, Lord of all lords, to keep balance in the hours. I seem to be so accustomed to life in an emergency room or what some called ‘waking up in a new world every day…’ What will I do today? What will I face today? In describing my role I would often say it was like riding a wave. Though in a tightly structured place, I felt more like a manager of crises, no, a minister of them, for that happened greatly – the grace of God would join us there and bring comfort, strength, words when words were needed and quiet assurance in just being present, wisdom and counsel when called for.
But now I need a new structure, where Ruach Kodesh, the Holy Spirit and I govern the drift of rest…
…the drive of progress…
…the decision of direction…
…and we determine the time for deposits…
The heart needs time.
Our busy hearts exposed to the world can be as complex and as simple as a cut finger and managing the kitchen without all the working digits. When a cut is left unattended, every bump to it hurts, makes it bleed again, and infection is likely. When infection is left untreated, it becomes systemic and then you have a real problem on your hands, pardon the pun. The simplicity of time in the action of pouring a little hydrogen peroxide over that cut, sticking a band-aid on it, would have sped its healing and prevented a world of hurt. You just had to take the time. Time only heals when you’re doing the right things with it.
What crisis demands is exacting. What the Word, Spirit, and conscience demand are liberating, and ultimately life-giving. When we draw in, yield, in a balanced life of hearing and doing in the presence of the Lord, of listening and pursuing (even if only baby steps), we proceed like scouts in a new territory…and this too is leadership. It’s not just the driving of the herd that leads, it’s the guarding of the herd’s rest and safety.
Balance what you give and take, for if you cannot do it for yourself, how will you for others?
“Happy is the man who is always reverent [pachad tamid] but who hardens his heart falls into calamity.” – Proverbs 28:14
The maxim there is that morning and evening, there is a caution, fearing in a proper sense, to take care of oneself. Yet in pride we harden or fool ourselves into thinking that’s for everyone but us. In the Hebrew mind, from Yahweh’s Torah instruction and in Abraham’s practice, prayer was morning and evening, and in the sacrificial worship system, it was daily and continual. Such is our relationship and covenant with One True God.
When we let ourselves go, when we let our marriages, friendships, covenants, even national moorings drift from their life-giving purposes, we suffer. When we sacrifice ourselves on the wrong altars, in pride or negligence, everyone around us suffers.
If anyone understands crisis living, it’s a mom. Mothers, especially of young children, are usually the last ones to eat (rarely a hot meal), the one tucking the last child in, turning off lights and laying down in body but mind not yet turned off, as her mental checklist attempts to wrap up the day. How many times has a mom popped back out of bed though exhausted because of one last forgotten thing – remembered after she laid herself down. Breathe, Mom. And go back to your schedule to make room for you. I’m pretty sure this kind of ‘life’ is why my best prayer times were usually after 1 or 2am, and concluded before anyone else got up. Maybe that’s the only time my heart could stop to hear.
The side effects of crisis living? We raise a generation of kids who can’t enjoy quiet time unless something electronic is on, a generation in a childhood without imaginative play (which is the true work of childhood)…batches without the blessing of Sabbath, family meals, quiet time, or solitude – all of where we can distinctly feel and hear and experience Divine Presence.
Every day is just today. What we accomplish between here and tomorrow is in the grace of God. How I measure that accomplishment is another subject, for if all I accomplish is something unseen and intangible in the presence of a living God or in the heartfelt communication of love to my family, then I won’t be the only one better off for it. Don’t just seize the day. Seize you.