Recently I heard about a young mom, keenly wanting to grow in her Christian faith, who said, “I wish I could just swim in scripture!” Then I heard about other young women, perhaps just as eager to grow, who say, “How in the world can I have a ‘quiet time’? There are no quiet times in my life!”
Those two comments reminded me of an experience I had not too many years ago. It had been an exhausting, exuberant two weeks serving alongside our brothers and sisters in an East African country. The van we rode to the countryside was mechanically up to the required task but once we turned off pavement onto dirt roads, we discovered that we should have tucked face masks into our luggage; clouds of red dust blew up through holes in the floor! We walked along dusty, rocky paths to, from and within villages where the residents loved to hear stories of Jesus and could hardly believe that we had blankets, shoes, school supplies—and lots of hugs—for them.
Returning to our rooms after these bustling, people-filled days, we anticipated cleaning up before an evening meal, rinsing the days’ reddish dust from hair and clothing. Privileged to have running water, I turned the tap expectantly. Ah-h-h, here it comes. Definitely not the gush that comes from our pipes back in the United States, but a much appreciated dribble of cool, clean water. And yes, you can wash dirty feet and grimy hair in just that much water.
At the end of that project with heart and mind full of God’s love and people’s needs, I arrived home after midnight following a nearly 40-hour take-off-to-landing plane journey, desperately wanting a bath. First I stood under the hot shower to remove the top layer, then settled into a bubble-filled tub where I almost fell asleep in that warm and wet cloud.
I thought of all this the other day as I wondered how to encourage those young, busy moms to make time—time they don’t have!—for God in the midst of dust, diapers and dishes, packed-to-the-brim days and sleepless nights. Faithful to their calling, they play with little ones, rock babies, plan menus and cook whatever can be accomplished in thirty minutes or less, shop for necessities and try to keep at least one uncluttered path through the living room.
Women who work outside the home have similar challenges. Nine-to-five—or more likely, seven-to-seven—work days where they race to meet deadlines, interact wisely with both leaders and peers, fulfill required responsibilities that often seem senseless. All this leaving them so exhausted that falling into a stupor becomes a luxury.
Telling the Martha/Mary story—with emphasis on Mary’s sitting-at-Jesus’-feet experience—would not be a welcome lesson! When there simply isn’t time for the long, hot, bubbly bath of spiritual refreshment in Jesus’ presence, i.e., extended time contemplating His love, reading the Bible, quiet prayer, how do we grow into mature, Christ-like women?
I believe it’s then that we take full advantage of what I call the dribble moments. Set the timer so that once each hour we simply look up into Jesus’ face and say, “I’m here and you’re here and thank you for loving me.” Or maybe it’s glancing at that Bible verse written on a card during the last sermon and placed next to the toaster or on a corner of the desk. “Ah-h-h yes, I remember now: the pastor said you loved and searched for that smallest lost lamb. I’m feeling lost right now; thanks for looking for me, watching over me.”
But we must also take time—maybe during children’s naps or when friend or husband or mother watch the children or during a lunch hour walk—to “bathe” in the love of Jesus, read and meditate on a psalm or gospel story, attentively listen to and contemplate the words of a praise song that isn’t simply background music.
Whether in dribbles or baths, God is lovingly ready and willing to cleanse, satisfy, refresh. Don’t deny him the pleasure.