2013 Fall · reflections

A season short and sweet

by Elizabeth H.

Last summer a dear friend mentioned that she had very little time and had exchanged her quiet times alone with God for quiet times together with her children.

“This is a season,” she explained.

Is that legal? I thought. I mean, how can quiet time even be quiet with children involved? Visions of kids crawling on me and asking forty-five questions per verse creaked on the floorboards of my imagination. How can she do that?

Throughout the year my friend and I had many conversations informed by lessons she had learned in these quiet times. What surprised me was how often her comments centered on new facets of God brushed clean for her to see by her children.

I thought a lot about her inappropriate methods. Family devotions are one thing. But each person should spend their alone time with God alone. My friend‘s methods felt too exposing. But this summer I gave it a try.

So the kids and I gather at the breakfast table each morning, and I read aloud a few verses from the Bible. Then we each answer aloud the questions, “What did you learn about God? What did you learn about people?” The questions are a tool I picked up from the sheets sent home with my kids from children‘s church.

My assumption is that all truth about God is praise, and all truth about man is confession. We take those truths we discover in the Word and then offer them to God in prayer along with our requests and thanksgiving.

One night as I lay awake fretting over the many responsibilities that autumn would ungraciously dump on my head, I heard the voice of my son, soft and small say “God has a plan.”

He wasn‘t in the room, but the sound of his voice from early that morning at the breakfast table was still in my head. We had read John 6:1-6 and found Jesus asking Philip a question―only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Will had said he learned from the scripture that “God has a plan.” What a powerful truth.

After that night I began writing these breakfast table discoveries―the kids and my own―into a notebook. The kids love for me to read it to them often.

We enjoy reliving James‘s confident assertion that “God could do anything, ’cause he could walk on water. If you see somebody doing a miracle, it‘s probably God.”

I don‘t want to lose insights discovered by Ella such as “He said ‘I am the bread of life.’ They wanted bread to eat.”

And perhaps one night as Will lays awake in bed tossing worrisome scenarios about in his head, something I have said in those mornings together will bring him peace the way the truth he shared with me has brought me peace. He was right. God has a plan.

Though there are still some things I will share with God alone, I will be spending my daily quiet time with God not so very alone. I will feel exposed as I share my heart with God in front of my children.

This is a season―short and sweet.

elizabeth_hElizabeth and her husband Matthew have been married for 17 years and have three children, ages 9 to 14. A librarian at East Cobb Christian School, Elizabeth has difficulty speaking without making book references, and is forever spoiling movie and television plots as she contemplates possible endings aloud. Elizabeth and her family have been at ECPC since 1998.

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