It’s been internet ages (aka almost three weeks) since I’ve posted anything! What ever happened to the end of June? What happened to my month of prayer?
Well, summer happened, that’s what! We’ve been camping, beaching, gardening, and partying. We’ve had a couple rounds of family visiting from away. We’re going to Fiddle Fest! Summer has its own rhythm. Some days it feels like swinging between crazy-busy and hazy-lazy. It’s not a bad thing at all, just different.
The prayer journey is ongoing. I’ve been reading several books that have been expanding my ideas of prayer in indirect ways. I’ve been mulling. Meditating. Morning prayer really is the one practice that gets the day going on the right track. Some of my other prayer time “anchors” have become unmoored with our different routine. But I’m trying not to “get my shorts in a knot” (as my mother used to say!) about it. I know that when summer is over, we’ll all settle back into more predictable days.
In the meantime, God is still there. And we’re still talking. It’s not about becoming a slave to particular prayer practices. Those practices are tools. Those practices are tracks to my desired destination, but they are no substitute for the welcome upon arrival.
This thought by Sarah Mackenzie has been keeping my company the last week or so. It’s from her great little book Teaching From Rest. In it, she talks about the seeming impossibility of our task as mothers. To a certain extent, our inadequacy is a given. Our own resources are never enough. She writes,
“I don’t really have any idea how I’m supposed to tackle everything ahead of me in this day, this year, this decade when that’s all I’ve got. It’s just a couple of loaves of bread and a few fish.
Apparently, that’s all He needs.
We are weary because we forget about grace. We act as though God’s showing up is the miracle. But guess what? God’s showing up is the given. Grace is a fact.” (pg. 15, emphasis mine)
Ah. I’ve been letting that sink in a bit. It might be easy to think that all my good habits and discipline are getting me closer to God. And it may be true, in part. Those are all ways that I respond to His call to “draw near.” They are for my benefit. But beneath and above and around it all is the reality – He is there. I don’t have to conjure Him up. His presence is the given. “Grace is a fact.”
I could beat myself up over the fact that I didn’t have a regular devotional time at all this past week. Or I could be thankful about that book I read on the way to the beach that caused me to wonder about God in a different way. I could recognize the love of God in the faces of family members we don’t get to see very often. I could marvel at how one passage of Philippians that I read two weeks ago is still giving me something to chew over.
There’s so much grace all around me. So much God. He is never far, even on the days I forget to pray. I can relax a little, knowing that my inadequacy is a given. But so is grace, and because of that, I can rejoice a whole lot.