Be very careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
During my childhood we had a hedge row north of our farmhouse. I would slip out at night, sit on a tree stump gazing at the stars. There I would dream and talk to Jesus. This spot became my sanctuary.
I’ve dreamed many dreams that never came true.
I’ve seen them vanish at dawn,
But I’ve realized enough of my dreams, thank God
To make me want to dream on.
Darkness would bring the lightning bugs out as I waited for the moon to peek through the branches. Soon I would be serenaded by a chorus of katydids.
One December night, close to Christmas I discovered an extra bright star in the sky. It was my secret and it was my Christmas miracle. I knew God was sharing with me the star the wise men followed.
I’ve prayed many prayers when no answer came,
Though I waited patient and long,
But answers have come to enough of my prayers
To make me keep praying on.
When I went to college I left my sanctuary and my God. I seldom thought about Him unless I had a serious exam the next day and needed a good grade.
Friends, good and bad, came in and out of my life. I had a brief marriage that ended in divorce.
I’ve trusted many a friend who failed
And left me to weep alone;
But I’ve found enough of my friends true blue
To make me keep trusting on.
The pain of a broken marriage left a feeling of failure and darkness in my life. I wanted to escape the city life and those memories. I longed for my childhood conversations with God. Finding an acre of land along the Ninnescah River I settled in a mobile home. I rediscovered my childhood sanctuary along the river. Inviting Jesus back into my heart and life gave me a feeling of peace.
I spent a lot of time in prayer, and God-incidences started happening. Daily I asked Him to place people in my path that I could minister to. Trials at work brought me closer to God. I discovered I could be a vehicle for Him and learn to love the least of these.
I’ve sewn many seeds that fell by the way
For the birds to feed upon,
But I’ve held enough golden sheaves in my hands
To make me keep sowing on.
Good things happened. I met and married Norm, my soulmate. We were blessed with two sons that brought us lots of joy! Suddenly I was overwhelmed with parenting and working and lost my focus. I wanted a bigger home and new furniture. I was a baby boomer and material things became my God. There were trials of raising teens. I wasted many hours and lots of money trying to fix and buy a relationship with my boys. I had a fancy house, but no sanctuary and spent little time with God.
I’ve drained the cup of disappointment and pain
And gone many days without song;
But I’ve sipped enough nectar from the roses of life
To make me want to live on.
Norm and I are empty nesters now and living in Arizona. Our sons grew up, survived my hovering and went their separate ways. After spending thirteen years in this sunshine state, I retired.
No alarm clocks – gave me time to pause and enjoy my time with Norm. I let go and let God have my sons – his children – back. I pray for them daily but distance keeps me from trying to control their lives.
Finally in this winter season of my life, I became wise and reconnected to my sanctuary. It is no longer in the shelterbelt or by the river. It is with me wherever I go, indoors or outside. I carry Jesus, my sanctuary, in my heart.
PRAYER: Dear Father, My life would have been easier had I not been so busy with life, work, raising kids and forgot to pause and spend time with you. I should have kept my focus on You – like I did that special star fifty years ago. As I look back, had I never journeyed into the dark woods, I would have never known You.
Today, as I gaze at the beautiful Arizona sunset, I can no longer escape from You. Daily I am reminded of Your presence as you surround me with Your beauty. May I be bold enough to share with those You put in my path, the lessons I learned. We all need to pause and find our sanctuary in You. Amen