Time Change Torture

The delicious sensation of exposing a bare foot out from underneath the covers to catch the fresh refrigerated air before it turned to toasty warmth. Somewhere in the recesses of my memory resides vague cozy connections to Fall Back.  An “extra” hour of sleep, snuggling in bed with the pillow smushed just right beneath my side-sleeping cheek, the sounds of early morning as the furnace kicked on and hummed its comforting song.  I remember lying there wrapped up in security for an extra hour with no sense of urgency.

But now…now I am an early riser.  When our girls were babes and toddlers, falling back meant nothing to them either.  Motherhood called.  Work calls. The to-do list shouts. I used to and still can work myself up over Falling Back.  It means getting up at 4 am instead of 5 am, going to bed at 10:30 pm instead of 9:30 pm (yes, I go to bed early, too).  I have an unbending internal clock.  When we moved to Germany a few years ago with the military, it took me 2 months to shift my sleep habits 6 hours.  A lack of sleep can definitely be torture.  And then there is the darkness that envelops late autumn and winter.  It might be lighter in the morning, but yeah, when the sun goes down at 5 pm, something inside of me says it’s time to go down, too.  Can you imagine living before electricity or gas lighting?  Those people probably slept for 10 hours a night.  Ahhhhhh.

Then He whispers.

If you take the wings of the dawn…

If you dwell in the remotest part of the sea…

Even THERE My hand will lead you,

And My right hand will lay hold of you.

If you say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,

Even the darkness is not dark to Me,

And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Me.

(Adapted from Psalm 139:9-12 – don’t you just LOVE the Psalms?)

It’ll be okay, mommas and wives and those who live alone.  God’s hand is there to hold and embrace and lift.  What’s an hour?  A precious time to spend with a baby who won’t be a baby very long?  Another reading of a favorite book with a toddler in your lap?  A kitchen-table conversation with a teen? (Okay, just kidding. Pretty sure your teens will sleep in.)  An hour of spending time with God, a log on the fire and a journal of thankfulness?

No change.  Just adapting. No torture.  Just contentment.

How can you find contentment  in adapting to Falling Back?


Just Another Running Toilet

Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” Genesis 16:13 (NLT)

“Have a great time on your date!  Michael and I will have fun this morning,”  I reassured my middle daughter and her husband as they snuck out the back door.  My 2 year-old grandson Michael played with his car garage in the front room, talking happily to himself and his zoom-zooms.  As soon as Emily and Clark left, college sophomore daughter, Molly, set herself to doing dishes in the kitchen.

Then I noticed it. AGAIN.  The sound of running water coming from the bathroom.  I walked into the bathroom, determined to find the source.  Ah, coming from the toilet.  So, like any normal person, I hoisted the lid from the back of the commode to jiggle the little chain thing.  (Excuse my lack of toilet terminology knowledge.)  Except there was no little chain thing.  Only a small white tube to run water  into the return pipe.

That white tube was decidedly out of place.  It whipped up, rising above the toilet like an uncoiling snake, knowing no shame.  This was not a trickle of water.  This was a torrent.  Out of control, the little monster spun around and soaked my face, my hair, my clothes.  In a mili-second, I was standing in at least an inch of water on the floor of the bathroom.  I tried to shut off the water at the base of the toilet.  The valve. Would. Not. Budge.  I confess, I prayed not.  I screamed.
Unbeknownst to me, my nineteen-year-old was happily plugged in to her iPhone.  She didn’t hear a thing.
     ”MOLLY!! HELP!!”  No response.
Okay, I said to myself, put the tube in the return pipe and replace the lid on the back of the toilet.  Right. Water squirted out from under the lid, continuing to pour onto the floor.  That’s when I saw the clip.  The tube had a microscopic white clip on its side.  Clip attached.  Annoying sound stopped.   Situation under control.  A woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do.  It took all the towels they owned to mop up the bathroom.

Just another running toilet.

“You need to go in the prayer room!”  My bright-eyed roommate’s passion spilled into her voice.  Even though she carried her sweetly round belly, pregnant for the fourth time, mother of 3 boys, her energy caught me.

“Prayer room?  Where is it?”

Two days before visiting my daughter, I had arrived at the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, ready for a surprise encounter from God, wanting direction for where I was to journey next in my semi empty-nest life.  I felt too unsure and too under-equipped, in mourning from life changes over the past 2 years. But I prayed.  Others were praying with me.  ”God, speak.”

Fending off the sleepiness from getting up at 3 am that morning to catch a plane from Iowa to North Carolina, I took the elevator down to the first floor of the hotel where the prayer room was located.  The door stood ajar, and the room was empty.  God’s presence beckoned as I walked in.  The Presence.

“Our names have all been prayed over.  Your name is next to a Name of God that the staff felt we needed to know.  You should look for it,” my roommate had encouraged me.

Arranged on tables around the room were sheets of paper with the names of God and over 750 women’s names placed next to them.  My name.  There.  Written on God’s heart next to El Roi, the God Who Sees.  El Roi, a God so watchful that He cares even when the smallest sparrow falls to the ground. A Fatherly God who is always near in the desolate places, helping us find a path through troubles, working out His plans for our future.  

El Roi, the Name of God that had been placed before me over and over the past 2 years.  I cried.  Tears of relief, tears of joy, tears because this God touches each one of us personally.  No, He doesn’t just touch.  He lifts, He provides, He restores, He heals.  He knows.

He knows every sleepless night you cradle your baby, every tear shed for an aging parent who can’t remember your name, every fear from the doctor’s diagnosis, every scar from feeling ignored in this life.  He sees the seemingly mundane, too.

Not just another running toilet.  Not just another tired toddler or challenging teenager.  Nor just another misunderstanding with your man or oatmeal that overcooked and stuck so hard to the pan that it took two days to clean.  He sees.  Like Haggai questioned, have you truly seen the One who sees you?  Ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  Ask Him to speak.   He promises that He will find you.