Sometimes I think my laundry basket has the whole Elijah thing going on—like with the widow who never ran out of flour. Most days my home runs like a fast-paced assembly line. Wake up, make the bed, clean the kitchen, answer the phone, take my daughter to school, fold laundry, mop the floor, pick my daughter up from school, go to bed, wake up, make the bed… It’s like a never-ending cycle that drags me from one task to the next like a wayward waif clinging to a steadily moving conveyer belt. And each day before I pull myself out of bed, I make a promise—to myself and to God. Today I will find time to pray.
But then the day begins, and laundry must be folded, lunches must be made and dishes must be washed.
But what would happen if I quit…for a day? What if I put my to-do list aside, turned off my cell phone, unplugged my landline and shut down my computer? Perhaps my house would not be as tidy as I would like, and maybe left-overs would grace our table more frequently, but along with the dirty dishes and micro-waved meals, my family would get a much happier, calmer me. And I suspect, if I were to ask them which they preferred–an immaculate home and crabby mommy or a little bit of clutter with much joy–I am sure they would choose the latter.
Unfortunately, creating a sanctuary where my heart can truly connect with God is not easy. As a freelance writer, I work from home, which means no matter where I go, work surrounds me. Couple this with the normal day-to-day tasks of raising a family, and often my prayer time resembles more of a daily shout out than a divine romance. Turning on the answering machine isn’t enough to keep my mind centered on my Savior. To truly connect with God, I have to venture outside.
I have a few special places that are close enough to allow for last minute retreats and yet far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city to allow my heart, and senses, to soar. For me, worship is a sensory experience where sights, sounds, smells and the gentle touch of a soft summer breeze all come together to create an atmosphere of intimacy.
One of my favorite places to go is a small park just south of my daughter’s school. Surrounded by flowering Dogwoods and American Elms, with blue birds flittering among their branches and the soft scent of honeysuckle blossoms in the air, I am instantly drawn to my Creator. I take a notebook, Bible and pen with me, but nothing else. No cell phone. No watch. Nothing to distract me. I have no expectations. No plans.
Like the glistening leaves dancing in the wind, I let my Savior lead me, one gentle breeze at a time, into His divine dance.