Today was Bible Study day. I say that with a little bit of excitement (because it's time for me to get together with other women and share and learn and focus together on God's Word) and with a bit of joy (because I'm finally able to attend a study!) and not without a bit of a feeling of selfishness.
You see...I consider any little bit of 'alone' time I have or time with other adult women (which just DOESN'T happen usually) to be treasured. So taking it every week seems like a lot. But it's not.
Here's where God's working on me.
God didn't give me eight children so that I could say "Thanks God, and don't forget that I need you in order to do this! But today I don't have any time for you because of all the other responsibilities you've given me."
I appreciate it so much when my Kristopher comes up and says "Mom, do you need help?" Admittedly, it doesn't happen often ;). But when it does, I'm always glad to say "absolutely!" and to give him a set of tasks that he can help me with. Put a new bag in the trash can, clean up the backpacks, empty lunchboxes, clean up the books in the living room, pull the sheets off the beds, change the laundry over... there's a whole list of things that he can do which he's pretty independent in and are very helpful to me when he helps out with them.
The thing is, when he's doing all of that, I'm coming along before or after him and either preparing the way (by taking the trash out so he can put a new bag in) or coming behind him to do the next step (by putting new sheets on the beds) which he can't quite do yet. I'm not sitting back watching him do all the work and glad to have him out of my hair.
When he's finished, I don't usually say "Good, now go to bed." No, part of the joy he has in completing such menial tasks is in knowing that he has helped me, and that he's going to be praised in the end for it. A pat on the back, a hug, and an encouraging word are all he's usually seeking, but sometimes a special treat or a snack, a promise of an extra few minutes before bedtime to read a book or something similar might be just what he needed.
When God asks us to do things for Him, he's right there with us preparing the way for us and finishing up when we've done what He asked us to. He's not sitting back thinking "Glad I got her out of my hair!" and never even paying attention. And we need to seek just the gratification of knowing that He will be pleased, that He will, in the end, say "well done, good and faithful servant." Sometimes he gives us an extra reward or recognition for the tasks we've done, but often it's simply "well done."
In the same way, he wants to spend that extra time with us too. He wants to invite us to share a special treat, he wants to let us sit and read with him an extra 5 minutes before we go to sleep.
He gives us things to do for His Kingdom-- sometimes little and sometimes big. Sometimes ongoing and sometimes temporary. Whatever the things He has you doing for him, those aren't the only thing that He wants. He still wants to spend time with you, for you to make time with him.
God didn't give me 8 children-- many with a lot of needs-- in order for me to spend every minute of my day feeding in to them and ignoring God (or my spouse for that matter). No, He gave us those responsibilities and joys knowing that there was still time for us to spend in communion with Him before the day is over.
And this week as I tried to get the Bible study pages finished before Wednesday's meeting, this was a big resounding "gong" that went off in my head. It's not about having a study 'done' by the meeting. It's about making and taking the time to spend with God every single day.
Healthy living also means community, and God is teaching us through not only His Word, but others' interpretations and applications of the Word. This time with other moms... it's priceless. And my relationship and walk with God will be stronger because of it! How would God be drawing me away from a closer communion with Him? He wouldn't be.
He doesn't call me selfish for attending a Bible study...
so where would those thoughts come from?