I ponder on topics during the brief moments of quiet I get during the day...so, like, maybe right before I drift off to sleep or when I'm brushing my teeth or something. The point being - if I relied on the quiet moments of my day to be productive, nothing would ever get done. Enter: Holy Spirit. If He didn't interrupt my brain when I least expect it, I would never have anything to write about.
So, just mere moments ago, I was nursing my sweet baby Daphne to sleep, while watching Matilda on the video monitor to her room. The Pardy Man had to work late tonight, so I was rocking bedtime duty solo tonight. Since he is usually the hero who puts Matilda to sleep (stories, prayers, songs - the works...I know, I know, he's amazing) she was less than impressed to see the understudy for tonight's routine.
After multiple songs, stories, hugs, kisses, one more song and maybe another peck on the forehead - it was just time to say goodnight. The baby was doing the throw-the-head-back-rub-her-eyes-while-yawning bit, and I knew she couldn't last much longer. So, though I knew it was the last thing Matilda wanted, I kissed her goodnight and walked out. I got about one step before she threw herself down into what can only be described as "nuclear-mayhem" level of tantrum mode. Screaming, crying and gnashing of teeth, followed by the pitiful and drawn out "mom-mommmm" just to add a little spice of guilt on top of it all. Sigh.
I took Daphne to our room and nursed her (her crib is still in our room) and watched the video monitor with a pit in my stomach. Ugh. Even after all these months it still kills me to watch my child throw a fit. I know she is being a little naughty, but she just wants me. She wants to be held and coddled and have her hair stroked until her eyelids are too heavy to hold up any longer. But, you know what, she needs to go to bed. And, knowing her, I knew that after she got tired of hanging from the doorknob (no, I mean, literally this kid had two feet on the door and held her bodyweight up by holding on to the doorknob only) she would succumb to her senses and find her way back to bed.
Sure enough. Minutes later, still in a fit of rage and exhaustion, she pried herself off the door, tip-toed just out of view of the monitor for a moment, and then calmly climbed back into bed...Cinderella in tow. Yes, her latest obsession, reading Cinderella each night before bed. It really is super sweet. In fact, it's my old edition of the book from my childhood, so I am flooded with memories each time I read it to her (well, each time until maybe the twelfth time for the night...whew).
She didn't even try to read it. She just cuddled up with her sweet storybook, hit her glowworm one more time, and settled down as if nothing had ever happened. Comfort. Comfort in Cinderella.
Some people might look at this scenario and think that after having cried out to the one source she truly wanted comfort from (me) she finally settled for something "less"...that since mommy didn't come running, she looked to herself for answers and thought of an idea that would work in a gip. But, that's not the whole story. See, earlier in the day I experienced a similar series of events. You got it: nap time. But, I kept telling Matilda that if she wanted to, she could bring Cinderella to bed with her. She could read it in bed since I had to go put the baby down for her nap as well. I wanted to set her up to be prepared...not abandon her and leave her hanging with no where to turn.
Now, you start to see the analogy...
In that moment when I saw her on the monitor as she snuggled up with her little book and found total comfort...it hit me: Where do I find comfort? I would like to say that ultimately I do turn to Christ for answers. I pray to a God who can give me the peace that surpasses all understanding. I cry out to my ultimate source.
But, what about when it feels like He's not there? How do I feed myself in times of starvation- when it appears that my cries go unheard? He has not abandoned me. He has not left. (He's not even watching from a video monitor 15 feet away.) And He hasn't left me unprepared with no where to find guidance.
I'll be real honest here. I am not always motivated to read the Bible. I grew up in a Christian home where the Word was read often and unashamedly. It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. But, there are still days I hear a passage or read a verse and it might as well be in a foreign language. There are times I will open up to a book and just flat out think "WHY is this in the Bible?" There are a lot of days when I will hear someone quote Oprah or I will see another tidbit on pinterest and think "Now that applies to my life" when I can go months without feeling that sensation after reading the Bible.
But, that's the tricky (and super awesome) thing about God. His Word seeps into you. It nourishes you from the inside. It comforts you in times of trouble. And when you can't remember "how that verse went?" or you are sitting in church feeling bad you have no idea "where Hosea is?" or you start to blush when you quote something in front of your friends and then can't remember "what's the reference?" and you wonder why you ever brought up the fact that you were a Biblical Studies minor in college....welllll, that's where the Holy Spirit comes in...and a whole bunch of grace showers over you and you feel a little healthy thing called conviction and desire to want to know Him more and do better and be better. And you take comfort in the fact that God knows your needs even before you have the struggle.
Where am I finding my comfort? What am I feeding my soul?
We all remember the trend of Chicken Soup for the Soul and how you probably read it in your grandma's bathroom or someone got it for you as a graduation gift at some point. I remember thinking "Chicken Soup? That'll leave me hungry again in twenty minutes!"
Indeed. Nice little tidbits - stories, anecdotes, maybe a little devotional that encouraged you and filled you up with enough joy for the day to treat your neighbor nicely. You can still find Chicken Soup everywhere you look today - you can follow Oprah on twitter, get an app that will give you uplifting quotes, read your friends' status updates (especially that one that constantly posts quotes from what you can only assume is an actual edition of Chicken Soup gathering dust in her grandma's bathroom)...and it's fine, it's all nice and good to get a little injection of joy... But, it's not going to feed you for long.
Let's face it: Oprah is broth. Those little quotes we want to cross-stitch on pillows we see everywhere are nothing but sad little chunks of soggy vegetables that only taste delicious if we haven't eaten in days. And who wants to starve themselves just so you can slurp up salty leftovers when you have the full menu right at your fingertips.
Here I am, Lord, give me meat and potatoes.
I want to turn to God in times of crisis. I want to desire His Word when I think I need it the least. I want to be filled up on the good days so I have plenty in my belly when the hard times hit. I want to find comfort in the only sustenance that will last me this side of heaven. I want to curl up and fall fast asleep with a full belly, yet hungry for more.
I know I can't depend on my feelings of motivation to keep me in His Word. I know that feelings change and I'm a silly human who gets selfish and busy and will totally ignore the pop-up reminders to myself to get in the Word (hey, you do what you need to do). But, I don't want to forget the source. I don't want to get wrapped up in Facebook or Pinterest so long that I don't stop and read THE WORD OF GOD...I mean, right? How silly are we that we can get giddy over finding a new way to braid hair on the internet and yet I roll my eyes that half of the book of Numbers was ever even written (I mean, He wasn't kidding when He named it Numbers).
The time has come to be honest, put down the iPhone, and just start reading. When I was like 12 or 13, I will never ever forget that my dad was trying to get me to read the Bible. I felt lost and discouraged and I think my parents didn't have any words left to give me. I kept giving my dad excuses about where to start or what book didn't make sense, etc. Finally, he turned to me and said "Just read it. Just. Read. It."
It doesn't matter where you start. You are hungry. And if you're not hungry now, you will be soon enough. Maybe Psalms is a nice appetizer. Or Luke, a reasonable entree. Skip straight to Phillipians for dessert for all I care. We all take our greatest comfort from the most unlikely of foods. Just don't skimp on the portions.