Now that Al and I are living closer to our family, it seems like each day is full and busy, not only with necessary chores, but also with family related activities such as concerts, birthday parties and sports events. In comparison, life in the foothills of the Sierras seemed pretty uneventful, except maybe for an occasional visit from a bear in the middle of the night!
Thankfully, my husband lets me have a big chunk of time every morning to pray, read the Bible, reflect and look to God for guidance as the new day begins. I really value having that time to meet with the Lord, especially after teaching school for 33 years.
During those years, there wasn’t much time for anything in the morning except getting ready, eating breakfast and flipping my Bible open for a few minutes. Usually I just said a quick ‘hello’ to God in the morning and ‘good-night’ in the evening and that was it!
There was so much to do during the day that all of my energy was gone by bed time. Papers and lesson plans regularly followed me home, demanding attention on weekends and evenings. It was difficult finding time to finish regular chores; and other activities were often put aside.
Once after a particularly busy day, I went to bed worried and burdened by all of the unfinished things in my life clamoring for attention. During the night I had a dream in which Jesus was standing next to a tall wooden cross. I tried to approach Him, but couldn’t move, being heavily laden with a whole armful of papers, books, a clock and other objects. As Jesus looked at me, I began laying each item down, one by one around the base of the cross until I stood before Him empty handed.
When I woke up there was a new sense of lightness and freedom in spite of the fact that my ‘to do’ list had not changed. That dream convinced me to try to spend time each day doing more than just saying ‘hi’ to God before running out the door. When He was in charge of the day, things seemed to go more smoothly, my frustration level was lower and my confidence that He would help me know what to do, what not to do and what to put off for another day grew.
After Al and I got married, life took a whole new turn. Again, things had to be re-prioritized; however, by then it was easier to trust God with the minutes and hours of each day, as well as choosing to put time with Him first in the mornings. There was more to do and yet things were accomplished in unexpected ways. Al and I made a good team and enjoyed working together on projects. He took over shopping and was a great help cooking dinners too, especially on those days that I got home late.
Retirement has been wonderful! I never expected to be writing a newspaper column, but now that there is a weekly deadline for the “Good News!” column in the Porterville Recorder, the same principle applies. God prepared me years ago with that vivid dream and has shown me that I can have complete confidence in Him to help me meet the deadline as it speedily comes around every Wednesday afternoon, with just the right words for those people who will read it. (Thanks to those of you who have prayed and are praying for me each week too!)
Turning over this area of my life has been a struggle. Sometimes I wondered what was accomplished when the greater part of the day was given to prayer, studying and meditation on Bible verses. It has taken a long time to realize that nothing could be more important than spending time in this way. With His help and guidance everything else seems to fall into place. Peace in the place of frustration? I’ll take it! Thank you, Lord!
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” — Romans 12:2 NIV
Judy Lowery lives in Michigan. The Good News column appears regularly in The Porterville Recorder. You can read more at Judy’s blog, goodnewswithjudy.blogspot.com.