I was a little hesitant to participate in this Lenten series at the Chapel, mostly because the time I spend with my Bible is less than quiet these days and the time I have to reflect or write about what I’m learning becomes more and more scarce the older my daughter becomes. I used to believe that in order to have a “productive” or “successful” time studying God’s word that there were criteria that had to be met, like a specific length of time that must be dedicated to reading, writing, and prayer, that you had to be alone, that you should be in a quiet place, and that if those criteria weren’t met and the quality of that time spent with God wasn’t up to par, then that time essentially didn’t count. Well, my life is very different now than it was when I held those beliefs, and I’m more thankful than ever these days for an omnipotent God that knows my heart and my intentions. And even though Eleanor is almost always present and my attention is almost never 100% focused (because if it were, my poor girl would have more lumps on her head than I could keep up with), I still try, and hopefully that still counts.
When I read Monday’s devotional about the Beatitudes, I thought I certainly can’t claim to be meek, persecuted, or mourning, but too bad there isn’t a Beatitude that states “Blessed are those who haven’t gone to the bathroom alone in six months, for they will no longer fear embarrassing situations” because I could definitely claim that one. Thankfully N.T. Wright points out that this passage is not a prescription for us to try to fulfill. This passage is simply showing that God is moving in new ways, and those that are not in the most ideal circumstances will one day be celebrated and lifted up.
At the start of this Lenten season I’m learning that it’s okay that I’m busy and that my quiet times aren’t so quiet. I don’t have to feel guilt about my time spent serving Eleanor even if it isn’t ideal and interrupts my time spent reading my Bible. After all, serving her with patience and love is a form of devotion to God in itself.
I decided to participate in this series about Lent because I realized that a lot of people here at the Chapel are like me. A lot of people are full-time caregivers to infants, children, parents, or friends on top of their full-time day job. If I can encourage even one of those people with multiple commitments to find a few moments of peace in the Lord each day – even if that time must be spent in the company of someone else, filled with other demands for your attention, or studded with interruptions – then perhaps we’ll all be a little better off for it.