I must admit something to you. I drove into a snow storm with someone other than my husband, and I spent the night with him while waiting for the storm to blow over. No, this is not an episode of housewives gone wild, and my husband knows and is completely okay with it! Well, except for the part about me driving into a snow storm. He worried a little about my safety, but Chris knew who I was with and knew HE would take better care of me than he himself could. In fact, it was Chris’ idea for me to find a motel room and wait out the storm with this Him.
See, I am back in school for a year. I am working on a certificate in Children’s Disciplemaking Leadership. What does this have to do with spending a night in a snow storm with someone other than my husband? Well, this last unit was on soul care. My assignment was to go on a “silence and solitude retreat” for a day then write about what God said to me. At first, it just sounded like an exercise, another assignment to fit into my schedule and complete. I immediately began planning for it, making lists, considering scenarios, and reflecting on its purpose. But in my flurry of planning, I have to admit I was more excited about getting away by myself than running away with God.
I am a wife. I’m a home schooling mom of four. I am a leader in the children’s ministries at our church. I am a writer for Titus II. I am on the board of directors for the local Options for Women center. I am a student in the CDLC. Scheduling anything can be a real chore at times. I circled three dates on the calendar that would work. I ended up cancelling on the first and second date due to ministry requests. I could feel myself putting God on the back burner and I realized how much like Hosea’s wife, and Israel, I had become. I put God’s creation and ministry before God.
Please read that again. That’s right, I said God’s creation and ministry. Sometimes I run around thinking I am the only one who can get things done at home, in ministry, in school…the truth is I get nothing done. Not without God.
As I read through the book of Hosea during my daily time in the Word, I found a passage that really spoke to me about how God plans out time with His people. In the second chapter, beginning with verse 14, and the last part of verse 15 it says: “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her…There she will respond as in the days of her youth.”
Suddenly, this silence and solitude retreat became more than an exercise to me, and I didn’t want to be by myself anymore. It became an alluring encounter with the One I love. All of my being wanted to be alone with God. I couldn’t wait to hear Him speak tenderly to me and feel myself respond to Him with the complete abandon and love I knew when I first accepted His salvation and lordship.
This realization is why I drove out into a snow storm to meet with God, to spend time with Him alone and in silence. That third day happened to come with a snow storm, but I wasn’t going to cancel because I need time alone with God. I turned the sound off on my phone and drove out of town. I went all the way to another city to get away from the distractions. The storm grew worse and I had to find a motel room. It was fantastic! Just God and me. All those things I have been giving a cursory place to in my life were given center stage. I listened a lot. I read more deeply through the Scriptures. I wrote out Scripture I felt Him speaking through. I wrote in my journal, and I even colored with God. There were tears, both happy and sad, there were smiles and songs. Most importantly, there was renewal and an overflow of love.
In the busyness of December we sometimes get caught up in the bustle of creating the feeling of Christmas. We talk about keeping Christ and the cross in Christmas and concentrating on what is really important. I want to encourage you to stop and know who your God is. Take the time to get “snowed in” with Him and fall in love again. That is my Christmas wish for you.
Abba, I thank you for your unfailing, unconditional, powerful love. As we celebrate Your Son coming to live among us, as we share the truth of Your love, provision, and sacrifice I pray that we all stop and remember that You are our all in all, You are God. You are our refuge and strength. You are everlasting and on the throne. You are the tender lover of our souls. You are the great I AM. How beautiful is the life You breathe, the love letter that is the Bible, and the time that we spend in the glory of Your presence. Thank You for all that You are, for your grace and mercy, for Your love. I love You too, with all my heart and soul. Amen.