Me n' Jesus Time
I want to clarify that as a woman with an English degree it has not been lost on me that the correct grammar is "Jesus n' me" not "Me n' Jesus", however, I like the sounds of the latter better and well you know I've said it before and I'll say it again: its my blog.
So you just never know when the Holy Spirit is going to get a hold of you and whisper and shout and nudge and shake until He gets your attention but yesterday I was in a leadership meeting, not typically known for their change-your-life-application moments but there I sat with an amazing group of ladies eating some sort of insane pumpkin crumb cake piece of heaven when my friend Deb spoke up.
Let me tangent here for a moment on my friend Deb. Deb is 50-somethin' and looks better at 50-somethin' than most of us do at 30-somethin'. She's gorgeous but what really makes her beautiful is that she makes everyone in the room feel like they are her favorite person. I'm not quite sure how she does that but my Uncle Bob could do it too and I'm convinced that those types of people must get a lot of Starbucks gift cards because people just really like them and like how they feel when they are around them and can't help but buy them coffee cards.
Um, ok, where was I? So Deb says to us ladies that her mentor challenged her to be in the Word everyday. And I mean IN IT. Like no messing around but seriously get your butt out of bed early and go get yo' self in the Word because God wants to change your life and He's just waiting for you to get serious about having a quiet time with Him so He can get busy. She talked for about 10 minutes about how her morning quiet times are rocking her world and changing her core and making her love Jesus like she's never loved Him before.
Now let me stop right here for a second. I've been a Christian a long time and I've been listening to other Christians tell me for 21 years that I should get up early and have a quiet time. And no matter how good they made it sound I never was convinced that a morning time was all that different than the bedtime quiet time I was owning. I love sleeping in; I'd sleep until noon everyday if I could. In my perfect world I would stay up really late blogging and writing and then I'd sleep late and get up just in time for lunch. I don't know that I can ever think of a time where my kids haven't been up before me; for over 3 years my kids have been greeted with, "5 more minutes. Just 5 more minutes." Poor little darlings.
So now you can imagine my surprise when I felt the Holy Spirit doing His Holy Spirit thing while I was listening to Deb. THEN, she pulled out the big guns: yep, that's right, a "challenge". As in, "Ladies, I challenge you to carve out some time to have some quiet time with God, away from the busyness of your lives and families. Any time of the day is better than none but there is something really sweet about doing it first thing in the morning". That last part, that first-thing-in-the-morning part? That's where I usually check out but man, she was passionate. I couldn't help but be interested. A little giddy actually.
I came home last night and set out "31 Days of Praise" a book I went through in '06 and LOVED. Its daily readings are short and totally focused on giving God our praise as an act of worship. I love how it shifts the focus from myself to Him. I set my alarm for 6:00 (gasp). I went to bed before 11:00 (gasp, gasp). I was ready.
The alarm went off this morning and I quickly hit the snooze but that's when something CRAZY happened. I didn't go back to sleep. I started praying, as Deb suggested, for God to wake me up. AND HE DID. Here's my favorite part of the story: I went downstairs to find Hot Jeff already showered, dressed and reading the paper with coffee (ugh, I married a morning person) and he looks up and sees me and says, "Are you sick?" Ha!
I realize this is getting long so I'm going to skip some of the details about my morning breath and thread-bare pajamas and skip to the good parts... As Deb suggested, as I settled in with a blanket and coffee I prayed that God would meet me and that our time together would be sweet. I prayed He would protect our time by letting my kids sleep until 6:45ish. I prayed He would keep my mind clear, focused and un-drowzy. Guess what? HE DID! Here's where I get all mushy on you...it was one of the sweetest times with God I can remember. Ever. The house was quiet, it was still dark out, I hadn't yet started to wrestle with kids, laundry, emails, phone calls, etc. It was just amazing.
One of the scriptures I read during my Me n' Jesus time (it was referenced in the reading of the 'Praise' book) was Psalm 23. How many times have we all read Psalm 23? 1 gajillion times, right? Me too but I tell you, my God is soooo cool because this just jumped out and got me, "He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul". Mmm. Good stuff eh? It was like God made Himself really tiny, met me in my living room and wrapped this verse up in a little box with a pretty satin bow. I could almost feel Him in the room, looking at me tenderly with love in His eyes saying, "Thank you for meeting Me here, I know its early but I got you something and I've been waiting until I could give it to you in person".
Maybe you have encounters like that with the God of the universe every day. If so, you're lucky. Its been a while since I have and it CHANGED MY DAY. Not much changes my day. I'm a mom of 2 little ones who like to eat and nap at pretty much the same time every day. I'm in a bit of a rut when it comes to who I see, who I talk to, what I think about, the words that come out of my mouth, the tone of my voice so when something changes my day I take notice.
I don't know why Deb's suggestion was any different than anyone else's in the last 21 years. Maybe its because I sensed she was doing this early morning routine out of relationship and not out of guilt. Maybe its because I'm at a point in my life where I'm desperate and I'll try anything, even something insane like getting up before anyone else. Maybe its because I'm finally realizing the Holy Spirit isn't something to be feared but Someone to be welcomed*.
Whatever. I'm hooked. He leads me by quiet waters, He restores my soul.
*quote from John Stumbo's sermon this weekend