Dog Days of Summer

My system’s in shock from the quiet in the house. With the girls off to school, Reece watches his daily episode of Sesame Street while a pantry infested with rice weevils begs for upheaval and piles of mail and laundry await sorting and tending to. It’s the end of an era: no more lazy days and fun-time excuses for put-off chores. I’m still wrapping my head around it all.

It’s only been a couple of hours since we took their picture on the front steps and I’m already missing the girls. Amazing; true evidence of a new season with my kids. Either I’m getting more sentimental or they’re getting more likable. May be a bit of both. There is one summer experience, however, I will not miss a bit and that’s the wounded-dog sounds emanating from the backseat of the car crying, “I’m thirsty. I’m really, REALLY thirsty!”

We could spend hours at home–plenty of water nearby–and hop in the car for a ten-minute errand and you’d think I had taken them to the Sahara Desert for a week-long tour. It would start off simple enough, a single “I’m thirsty” statement from Lauren. After telling her we’d be back home in just a few minutes, the whimpers would begin–at first low and muffled–then would quickly grow in length and volume. Soon she’d be shrieking,“I can’t wait that long. I need a drink NOW!” We’d barely be off our street, when the crying and carrying on would reach such a crescendo, the rest of us couldn’t hear ourselves think.

It was hard to ignore; believe me, I tried. Blare the radio and she just got louder.

Mind you, this is a girl who’d just had three bowls of Honey-Nut Cheerios an hour ago. Hardly qualifies as an emergency. And with the lack of clean water in third-world countries, I find it hard to indulge these tantrums. At last count our home has thirteen such sources. (Yes, I included toilets).

“Don’t wait ‘til you’re desperate,” I’d say. “Drink some water before you get thirsty.” With most things I say to my kids, I usually hear a dual dialogue going on: what I’m saying to them and what the Lord’s saying to me. Repeating this phrase to Lauren on a daily basis (because, no matter how many times I said it, the pattern continued the entire summer) reminded me not to wait until I’m desperate to take time with Jesus.

Although my time with the Lord has evolved over a period of many years–sometimes nonexistent, sometimes out of duty–lately, I can’t imagine doing life without him. It really comes down to this: I’m transformed by His Presence. I can come stressed out and empty or happy and content–no matter my mood–He always has something more. More peace, more joy, more comfort…more adventure.

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson this summer with Lauren and started packing water bottles in the car. But that would’ve required thinking ahead and no Murphy’s Law: when I brought the water it wasn’t needed; when forgotten, it was.

I’m comforted we serve a God who knows exactly what each day holds and which supplies we’ll need for the ride. Ultimately, it’s not up to me anticipating my needs and preparing accordingly, as much as it’s about me showing up and allowing Him to fill me.

Most of us turn to Jesus when we’re desperate (aka the wounded-dog moments)–an easy choice when we’re at the end of our rope. Going to him before we get there is a great way to be faithful to him. Plus, it means we have a reservoir to draw from and, invariably, I find I need it. I mean, I’ve just shown you my lack of compassion and my sarcasm. Can you imagine me without spending time with Jesus? Not a sight any of us wanna see…

But that's enough about me…what about you?

What are your tips for taking time with Jesus in spite of hectic days?

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