The Morning I Fell In Love

I fell in love in the fifth grade.

I met Him when I was five, but that fifth grade year, He really stole my heart. 

We met every morning at 5:30. And I forget how old you are in the fifth grade, but that's real early for a kid.

I didn't care. There was something about Him that left me wanting more. He was real. And for the first time in my little girl life, I knew it.

Our church started a read-the-Bible-through-in-a-year plan. So that January, I vowed that I would, indeed, read the Bible through in a year. Even if that meant getting up at 5:30. I was at church every chance the doors were open. I won every Bible drill given in that big room on the second floor with the tinkering pipes. And I always sat beside the girl who had no friends. I was a "good girl," that little fifth grader...

But what I didn't expect, was to fall in love. 

There's something about time with Him. I guess like any relationship, the more time you spend together, the faster you fall. And fall I did. 

Even though I was only reading the Bible out of commitment, in those cold, dark mornings, He met me there. Right in the covers, amidst my elementary understanding of Him.

I religiously read three to four chapters a day, a Psalm or Proverb, and wrote out my prayers to Him. They were mostly about missionaries. Because I knew, even then, God called me to be a missionary. Little did I know, what kind.

In the black and white of those pages each morning, I started getting a taste of Him. And it was sweet. I wanted more and knew Him to be more, even then. He went from being a God I was hearing about, to a God I could know. And although I didn't see it yet, we started

dancing together

back then. I cannot be more thankful. And that was the first year I read the Bible through.

After that year, I started praying that He would give me a desire for His Word. Because that's what I saw David pray over and over in the Psalms. And honestly, because some days I really had rather sleep later.

That's where it started. That recipe. My longing heart, His Word, a notebook, and the Spirit. It's all the ingredients to fall in love.

I got to college, my

parents divorced

after 25 years of being married, and my whole world fell apart. I was attending a Christian college, and couldn't eat my two biscuits with saw mill gravy slathered on top, without hearing Christian Studies majors arguing with one another. They liked to "talk" about the Bible all the time. Not so much Him, but the Bible. I needed HIM. I wanted to know Him. And I realized that just like I was there studying to be a teacher, I could study Him, too.

Those college days, I would drive home to my grandma's house and browse the bookcases that lined her back room. I would take as many as I could carry. She'd make me eggs, bacon, and homemade biscuits and would pour into me her wisdom along with a glass of orange juice (extra pulp). She would remind me that He is good, He is faithful, He does hear my prayers, and He is trustworthy. She'd wrap me up in her arms, give me a smack on the backside (because that's what southern grandmas do), and I would be on my way, driving back up the mountain to my school.

You could find me sitting in the middle of my room, with commentaries and every translation of the Bible surrounding me. And I studied Him. I studied how He dealt with His people. How He was kind, yet just. How He made no sense sometimes. But in those days of searching, He was being found by me. And He slowly started picking up the pieces of my broken life, and putting them back together.

Once we got married, my time with Him looked a little different. Because nothing is yours anymore when you become one with someone else. Not even your time. It took me a while, but I finally found a rhythm that worked. I was teaching and speaking a good bit during that time, and it kept me in His Word, digging. And then something incredible happened.

I don't know about you, but marriage

 has the tendency to surface the parts of my heart that have been hidden. During that time of healing, I didn't have the energy to study anymore. I knew God, but I really needed a Daddy. And one night, I realized it was Him. The Shepard I read about in the Psalms. The Father who hears and answers His children. Abba, who adopted me as His daughter. He became Dad, Papa. 

People email me all the time asking me how I spend time with Jesus. And it honestly baffles me. Because years ago, I would have given you a five step list of things I do during my "quiet time." But now, these days, it's more of a place to hide, a

time of retreat

from the battle I'm trying to fight during the day.

Sweet Micah has been sick for fourth months now. We've had five hospital stays, numerous doctors appointments and therapy sessions, and just recently a surgery. He still doesn't sleep. At all. Feeding pumps, tubes, power cords, and formula that must be ordered, consume my life right now. I also have an almost two year old, I

work full time

, and my husband works nights in the NICU.

Lately, my time with Him looks much different. It's a white couch, a water-stained journal, my Bible that has lost the front and back covers, a spit up covered shirt, very tired feet, and a weary heart. I all but throw myself on that couch. And I work hard to keep my eyes open the most of the time. 

Some days, all I can muster, is to sit there. And clear out space in my brain for Him. To think of His goodness, and kindness towards me. To know in the midst of the absolute chaos in my life right now, that He is good, and faithful, and worthy of my trust. And that's okay. Because He still meets me there in my chaos,

spit up covered shirt

, very tired feet, and weary heart. And rather than dancing together, He just holds me close. Like a daddy holds his baby girl.

Most days, I start by asking Him to help me clear my mind. I tell Him that He has all of me in those moments, and ask that He would stir my affections for Him and His Word. Then I adore Him. 

You can read about

adoration

on

Sara Hagerty's blog

. She loves Jesus, the way I want to love Him. So I copy her time with Him. I print this

31 Days of Adoration

, and spend time adoring Him along with a community of sisters. He uses this, speaking His Word back to Him, to shape my heart and remind me who He says I am to Him. While He washes away the lies I believed about myself that day through adoration, I continue adoring Him by reading a chapter or two of wherever I currently am in His Word.

Then, I write to Him. Like ugly things, things I would never want anyone else to know. Or dreams, the ones He has put in my heart. Or prayers for my family or wisdom in decisions I need to make. Whatever fills my heart, somehow finds it's way out on those lines.

And somehow, even in this short time, He pulls me away from the chaos, into the quiet desert to speak tenderly to me there. Although I might still feel weary, my heart isn't as heavy to carry, because He carries it for me. I let Him in.

This time invites me to allow Him to see the real me. The me that doesn't have it altogether. The me that is a complete mess. The me that feels as if I am going crazy. The me that so utterly and desperately needs Him to make it through each second. This is where He is found.

I am by no means saying this is how time with Jesus should be spent. I would love to sit with Him for hours. I would love to sit in a circle, surrounded by commentaries and different translations of His Word. I'm sure that some of you have this figured out much more than me. But in this season of my life, this is all I have to offer. And it isn't much. But He says that if I seek Him, He will be found. 

And somehow, He always is.

If you're in college, girl, get out those commentaries and become His student. You'll fall in love.

If you're in the middle of infertility treatments, mark up His Word. Circle every promise He has made. Write them on index cards all around your house. And preach them to yourself when you hear the enemy tell you He isn't good.

Sweet waiting mama, if your time with Him is spent pouring your heart out to Him in an empty nursery, He will be found there. And soon when you're rocking your sweet baby, there will be more of Him to find.

Tired mama, in the trenches of motherhood, put His Word next to the kitchen sink. And steal a few seconds breathing in it's sweetness between washing bottles and wiping bottoms.

No matter what your time with Him looks like, when we seek Him, He WILL be found.

And that is beautiful news for this tired mama's heart.

"

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me

with all your heart."

Jeremiah 29:13 ESV

Come and Listen

This weekend was our annual couples ski trip to the mountains. After such a busy week, I honestly was dreading it. It was our first time leaving Selah, and I found myself shoving shoes and clothes in our bag that morning at 5:30 before work.

We were the last couple to arrive because of our schedules, and I wasn't feeling great. I even told my mom on the phone before we got there, how I just needed a few days to sleep. I wasn't in the mood to laugh and joke around. The weight of the week and all the responsibilities I was leaving behind lingered in the back of my head.

The farther we drove, just Brandon and I, the nicer it felt to get away. And once we got there, we had so much fun! It was EXACTLY what we needed. We laughed and hugged. Talked about our growing babies and our imperfect, sweet marriages. And He was there. Enjoying us and together, we enjoyed Him.

I woke up early Sunday morning and met Him at the dining room table. I looked out the window and saw this.

All of His beauty.

And I thought of you.

I've heard from so many of you over the last few weeks and noticed there are quite a few new faces around here. I read each comment and every email and absolutely love when you share your story with me! Oh, how I wish I could invite each one of you over to my house and pour you some coffee while you share your soul with me. But for now, we'll do that here.

I wanted to make you aware there are going to be some new changes. So our little space might look different, but know that it is still the same! If you are new, first of all, welcome! And thank you so much for stopping by! I'm so very honored to have you! If you do not want to miss a post, simply type your email in the box on the right side bar. Then each post will be delivered straight to your inbox.

Know that I pray for you, sweet friend. I really do. I pray that God uses these words to woo your heart to know Him more and that you will find Him in your waiting. Whatever that might be.

So let's laugh, hug, and even cry a little sometimes. I invite you to come and gaze upon His beauty with me!

"

Come and listen, all you who fear God,

and I will tell you what he did for me." Psalm 66:16 NLT

Dear Working Mama,

I'm so proud of you.

I watch you hit your alarm clock three times every morning and fumble out of the bed. Your exhausted feet hit the floor and you know you won't be off them until you fall into the bed again at night. You rush to get ready. Throw on your clothes. Look in the mirror, and wonder if you can make it through another day. 

You dread waking up your sleeping baby to brave the bitter cold. After you put all the bags in the car, her bags, your bags, lunches, and who knows what else, you stand there and hold her. Yes. You're running late, again. But you breathe in her scent because it will be the last time for 7 hours. 

You strap her so tight in the car seat she might as well be going to the moon. You pull out of the garage and check the "going out the door" list in your head before you close it. And you're off. 

You sing to me all the way to work and I love it! She's listening to you and although they're just babbles, you're teaching her to love me. I know you feel stuck sometimes and wonder if what you do really matters. Sweet mama, it does. 

I watch your heart break every time you walk into the sitter's house. Not because she isn't wonderful, but because she isn't you. She's the one who gets to hear a belly laugh and see a squishy smile all day. You'll have to share your sweet girl with so many over the years. Do it graciously. I'm written all over her little life.  

I hear the prayers you pray for her as you walk out the door. Don't worry, Mama. I know you love her more than your heart has words for, but she was mine first. 

I know when you get in the car, you put on a different face. Your work face. I know you're trying your best! I see how hard you work, even when you feel no one else does. All the meetings, meltdowns, expectations, and pressure. It's a lot. Too much sometimes. And you can't stay there all day and night making the newest, best lessons anymore. You have to budget your time and use it wisely now. You might not be on all the committees like you used to, but I watch you love. And I love that more. I'm so proud of you. 

I hear you whisper to me throughout your day. I know you can't wait to retreat with me, but I'm here now. I give you those super powers when you feel like you can't make it until bedtime. 

You've learned that perfect looks a little different now. So it's okay to leave when you still haven't graded those papers. You've done Kingdom work today and your day is only half way over. It's time to put your mama face back on.

You run up the steps to pick up your sweet girl. I love watching you with her. I had your family planned out from the beginning of time, and I love watching my beautiful plans. 

You glance at the mirror, still shocked even after a year, that your daughter is asleep in the car seat. I love your grateful heart.

We went through a lot to get her there, didn't we? 

I hear you make all the phone calls in the car. Because not only do you work during the day, you're a mom, but you also pay bills, make appointments, and work out the schedule for your little family. Everyone depends on you. And I love how you depend on me.

I hear you mentally go through the "what to do when I get home" list. It's so much. Unpack all the bags. Repack all the bags. Iron your clothes, her clothes, his clothes. Lay them out. Pack lunches. Cook supper. Clean up from supper. And that's a day you have at home. That's a day without a meeting or appointment, so you have extra time.

And although you have all of that to do, I'm so proud that she comes first. You know how fast she grows up. And tomorrow, she won't be this little. So I watch you get in the floor with her. You play, read, and sing the Bumblebee song. You are doing Kingdom work, Mama. I am so proud of you.

When he gets home. Everyone's day is better! I know you two aren't perfect, but I also know your hearts. And you really long to love each other like I do. Your marriage is so beautiful to me. You both are putting the Gospel on display, and she is watching.

I watch you glance at the clock. Because for now, life runs on time. And your days just don't seem to have enough. Someone starts to get cranky and it's time for a bath and bed. It's okay when you feel guilty that you're glad. I give you just enough energy to make it through the splashes and tantrums. And I hear every word you softly sing over her. I am already answering those prayers for her. Mama, you just wait to see what I do in her life. And you will be a part of it. I laugh sometimes when you dose off. And then other days, I want to come down from heaven and carry you to YOUR bed.

The "things I have to do today" list is almost complete. And even after all of that, you still come meet me on the white couch. It's my favorite time of day. I get all of you. I understand that you can barely hold your eyes open, but Mama, my Truth is just the refreshment you need. My Word is the energy you need to love hard tomorrow. You serve so many all day, and you need me to serve you. This is how I do it. I love on you through my Word. And all I need you to do it open it. I'll do the rest. And I'll give you rest. You're learning to dance with me and you're getting really good.

I watch you melt in the shower and wash the day away. You fall into the sheets that you will all too soon stumble out of. And I sing over you and pray for you while you slumber. You did more Kingdom work today than you will ever know, sweet Mama.

And you will never know how proud I am of you.