Constant life transitions, depression, and apathy have stolen my consistency in my time spent before Jesus’ feet over a few years. I just couldn’t seem to get it together. Sure, I had periods of being more consistent and the fruit of that was evident in the blogging I did during that time. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve also read posts about my struggle with the Lord. I prayed and prayed for God to help me find a way to be consistent in my time praying, journaling, and studying His Word because I’ve experienced how it can bring me life and shape the way I live. Then, a series of events and the influence of three women finally helped me get back on that path in a way that only God could have ordained.
First, my church did a series focusing on helping women draw to God during busy lives unique to women (Listen to the podcasts from “For Her”). Two of the four women who spoke particularly changed my course of my relationship with God. Brandy Parker, wife of the lead pastor at Summit Church and mother to six home-schooled children, focused on trading a life of fullness for a life of busyness. I always struggled with the story of Martha and Mary preparing for Jesus’ arrival. I’m a Martha through and through, always worrying about what needs to be done rather than when to stop and sit before the Lord. Our time is precious and can either be filled with things that just keep us busy or filled with things that make lasting memories or an eternal impact on the world around us. I was convicted to cut out those things that simply took up time and replace them with things that made time purposeful.
Linda Werner – founder of Legacy Principles, co-founder of Circle Christian School, mother and grandmother – spoke on having a dedicated “quiet place” for spending time with Jesus. Now, I must interject here that my time with Jesus isn’t always “quiet,” but it is always focused on being fully in the Jesus’ presence. But, the purpose of this place is the same – it is a sacred place where one assumes Mary’s position before Jesus’ feet and wraps herself in His presence. She talked about her children seeing her in her quiet place and the impact it had on their lives, knowing that their mother regularly and consistently sat before Christ’s feet. I knew that I was missing this place – somewhere that didn’t tempt me with chores or TV or the distraction of the internet or phone – a sacred space where I knew I would find Jesus and only Jesus.
As I worked on eliminating things in my life that distracted me from busyness versus fullness, I prayed fervently for God to show me where my sacred space was in my house. In college and for several years after, this was never difficult. My life was simpler then. For one thing, I was only responsible for myself and my own time. For another thing, I lived up north where it was comfortable sitting outside in nature, where I most connect with God, for hours at a time whereas Florida only has a few short months of comfortable outdoor weather (I much prefer cool to hot temperatures!). Also, I was in full-time ministry for many of those years and it was part of my job to spend time with Jesus and constantly surrounded by people who did the same. I could work in a half or full day of time with Jesus as part of my work-week if I felt it was necessary, and it was even encouraged. Now, I’m married, work in my husband’s business, and have a child on the way, so the structured accountability isn’t as prevalent in my current reality. I needed a sacred space to escape from all the chaos in order to focus on Jesus so I could return to those responsibilities refreshed and ready to be purposeful.
Then, God answered my prayer in a big way. You may have read my letter to Michelle, a woman who made an impact on my spiritual life by teaching me how beautiful it is to sit before Jesus as my true broken and messy self. She passed away shortly after I published that post. Grieving her loss as been very difficult but God used her entrance to heaven as a turning point for my struggle to spend time with Him. I was very blessed to inherit her sacred space – a place everyone knew as The Big Blue Chair. In her Caring Bridge Journal, she often talked about her times going to spiritual battle in The Big Blue Chair. She talked about what God taught her there, how He met her there, and how he led her from that chair to follow Him despite her battle with cancer. She talked about her struggles with God as she sat in The Big Blue Chair. It was her refuge.
Here’s a journal entry I wrote just after receiving the chair:
I am sitting in The Big Blue Chair. So much prayer and crying out to you has occurred in this chair by a woman after Your heart. She now gets to sit at Your feet in heaven. Now The Big Blue Chair is mine to suffer in as I wait patiently for my chance to sit at Your feet in heaven. In that waiting, I pray that I’ll be able to live and live fully and completely for You.
I have struggled for so long to be diligent about sitting at your feet; to really lay myself before You. My life has been one transition, after one excuse, after another. I’ve fallen into busyness, depression, and pure apathy. I don’t want to raise my children that way. I want to raise them knowing that Mommy regularly goes before Jesus to know Him better, to cry with Him, to rejoice with Him, and to lean on Him for her strength. I want this chair to be a symbol of that. I want the whole family to know that they are welcome to the chair and no one will disrupt them while they occupy it.
Father, teach me what You want me to know. Help me be faithful to curling up with you daily. Let my time in this place draw me closer to You and transform me into the woman you created me to be.”
This chair is now my refuge. I do not allow this room – my bedroom – to get messy (every other room might be a complete disaster, but all mess stays outside its doors). I do not allow chores in this room (i.e. laundry is folded in the living-room and put away upon entering the room). I do not allow anything but time in prayer or Bible Study to happen in this chair. Every night, instead of watching TV until I fall asleep, I sit in The Big Blue Chair and read aloud to my unborn child from The Jesus Storybook Bible (a must have for both children and adults), then I journal, pray, and study God’s Word. Sometimes I fall asleep somewhere in the process, but it’s always at the Lord’s feet. I’ve joyfully found my husband sitting in The Big Blue chair doing his own study and I hope my child will find it a refuge as well.
It’s not fancy, it’s well-worn. It’s already full of cat hair (they love sleeping on it and using it to hide behind during their play). But it’s my sacred place – the one place I can get away from all the busyness in my life and sit at Jesus’ feet.