Every room has a view. My view as I wrote my book, Fix-Her-Upper was the sight of a crowded birdfeeder and an expanse of on an old drafting table turned writing desk. Boy, I’ve leaned hard on my desk. I even left a few elbow dents. And after several power naps, much mocha coffee, and a book deadline—its clear my desk and I are now BFF’s!”
And what a timeless friend it is. Such a cool antique. The top tilts if I need it. It hasn’t been necessary for me to be topsy-turvy while I write…but still. I’ve certainly daydreamed about the possible ideas loosed on this once trunk of a tree. Needless to say, I’ve been eye to eye with a few inscriptions and random imprints left behind by the owner before me. I’ve stared long and hard at the loops and lines. My writer’s block solely to blame. Then one day I executed what I’d have huffed and puffed and blew over my kids for simply attempting to do—I tattooed the small words “pray attention” into the vulnerable pine!
I know what you’re thinking, “She’s out of her pressure-cooked mind!” And I know what my honey is going to think when he sees it. UGH! But I wanted to remember—while writing a book about God’s restorative power—to focus on God for my replenished needs. Tattooed words remind: “Time in prayer restores!”
Over and over I’ve allowed my attentions tugged in different directions. I often feel like I’m either trying to do too much, or not attempting near enough. Add to it the stress of over-the-top busy, and I’ve created my own internal chaos. Calm comes when I seek the Savior.
We can be encouraged by Jesus’ example, girls. His focus can be ours to stare at. Jesus loved. Jesus ministered. Jesus pursued time with God.
And ask a parent who’s taken an hour or two to tuck in an anxious child, loving can be draining. Jesus knew this and sought space to breathe. Let’s look at Mark as Jesus invites respite, “Then because so many people were coming and going they did not even get a chance to eat, he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”’(Mark 6:31) NIV. How can we ignore such a sweet invitation?
Stay Calm and Pray On
Let’s read on in the passage. The crowds gathered. The people needed. Then Jesus fed the five thousand. Shew. (Matthew 14:21). All this loving shortly after heavy after Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist. Jesus’ friend and cousin. So what did Jesus do? “After leaving them (the disciples), he (Jesus) went up on a mountainside to pray.” (Mark 6:46). Let’s pay attention to this: Respite with God restores life in every solitary way—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Jesus Himself sought time with the Father in grief. In exhaustion. In love. Wow. This thought is a deep challenge. No wonder I’ve drooled more than once on my desk.
I don’t always view prayer as holistic and the pause needed to heal. Sometimes I may even consider prayer as one more item on my busy list of to-dos. I just need to “pray attention” to truth, because time with God is the unprinted and calm outline of my distracted day. God is my white space. God is my respite. God is my restorer. Ahhh.
Jesus had a complete grasp of the concept of restoration through rest. Not only did Jesus pursue alone time with God, He formed His ministry around it. Prayer—an integral part of Jesus’ still, and often the first part of His day.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35.)
What a great reminder—don’t merge into the traffic jam of today before a focused timeout to pray.
Believe me. We wives, moms, and tattooers, need to give ourselves a break. Expect our busy calendars to throw a fit. Maybe even the agendas of others, too. But don’t be in a hurry. Be gentle and forgiving as you pray attention today. He restores:
“For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord…” (Jeremiah 30: 17).
“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.” (Isaiah 61:7).
“Create in me a clean heart. O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of my salvation, and make me willing to obey you. (Psalm 51:10-12 NLT).
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13).
Friends, I am praying for you as you seek Him. And I also wanted you to know, there is no more worry that my husband will see my desk-tattoo. The stain from an accidental glob of jelly fixed it! Oh the grace. And the grape jelly, too.
All scripture referenced ESV, unless otherwise noted.