INSPIRATION FOR THE SOUL
Chasing After God
By Cheryl R. Carter
I looked at my day timer I had missed morning devotions again! The house was a mess and Jarrett’s tee shirt was encrusted with bananas yet again. Yet, I was invited to a women’s prayer meeting and I was determined to go. I had rarely sat through an entire sermon since Jarrett’s birth. So I choose to forget about the overflowing hamper, the mountain of dishes and the adhesive kitchen floor. At that moment more than anything else I knew I needed to be at that prayer meeting. And I was on my way.
As I arrived, “This is the day that the Lord has made” echoed from the sanctuary. My heart leaped as I joined in the chorus. Joyfully humming I checked Jarrett into the nursery and secured paddle number seven slipped in the sanctuary crossed over a few women and sat on the second pew as the chorus refrained even louder. “I will rejoice and be glad in it” I closed my eyes and began to sing. Softly, solemnly and slowly and ever so worshipfully thankfully I sang “Yes, I will rejoice and be glad in –”
A few minutes later, a tap on the shoulder interrupted my touch with eternity. The woman behind me pointed to the woman in the bright red dress frantically waving the number seven paddle. I made my way to the nursery to retrieve Jarrett who was inconsolable. Concerned nursery workers flanked about him. They looked frustrated. His face brightened as I reached out to him. As I flung him on my hip, the relieved elderly nursery staff grinned “he just wanted his mommy”. I put on my very best fake Christian smile for appearances but actually I was downright angry.
I was angry with myself for being angry at Jarrett. I was angry with God for allowing my worship time to be interrupted. I was angry with Derek because–well he was the easiest one to be angry with–besides I didn’t feel guilty about being angry with him at least not at that moment. My emotions were all topsy turvy and conflicted.
Suffering through years of infertility I had longed to be a mother and now the very thing I had prayed to God for years was separating me from Him. Intellectually I knew that rationalization was wrong but at the moment it sure seemed right. The guilt was overwhelming; I felt bad that I resented Jarrett and at the same time was upset with myself for having inconsistent quiet or devotional time. So how could I expect God to help me, I reasoned.
All I wanted was God. I just wanted to know He was there. My heart longed to touch God but it felt like He was running away playing a game of catch me if you can. Other moms had told me to just accept that I could not do the same spiritual gymnastics I had done before I was a mother. I was known to get up earlier than God Himself and pray down holy fire…Well at least that’s the way I remembered it. Truthfully though, it was the overflow of my quiet time that had enabled me to teach, pray and give an encouraging word when needed. I just could not accept that aspect of my life was now long gone because I had embraced the call to motherhood.
I came home threw the diaper bag on the floor and sat on it consumed with pity and indignation. Still looking for a life line, I flipped through Derek’s bible which was still right there on the floor where I had dropped it as I was rushing out to the meeting. I opened it up to James 4:8 (NIV) Come near to God and he will come near to you. Inwardly, I felt like yelling God I am trying to draw near to you but you keep running away. But I had what I would term enough religious restraint or just sheer fear not to say what I was really feeling. This was not necessarily a good thing.
Ever so gently the thought occurred to me that perhaps I needed to be real with God. I was a lousy mom, at best a mediocre Christian , a terrible homemaker and a lack luster wife I thought as I kicked the splattered legos from under my foot. I waited for the fire of heaven to fall. Silence…well except for the plinking of Jarrett throwing the splattered legos on the floor.
God did not accept the invitation to my pity party instead a thought gently occurred to me perhaps I needed to run after God. The thought resounded in my head. Right there I began to hum This is the Day the Lord Has Made. I was a bit off beat and out of key but it didn’t matter and it was not long before ever so gently I could sense God’s presence. And guess what? He was not angry with me. In that little step of praising Him I had drawn close to Him.
Well, I reasoned if a little thing like singing His praises and being honest would draw me near, what other things could I do to draw me into God’s presence? Who said I needed to sit at a table and read the bible. I had received revelation while strangling a diaper bag on the floor among the crumbs and legos. Instead of transposing my frustrations on God and others, I needed to develop a new mindset. I had to be proactive and creative in my pursuit to know God better. I could not do things in the tradition prescribed way. That was the day I started chasing after God and I still haven’t stopped.
About the Author
Cheryl R. Carter continues to passionately pursue God in the most creative ways while raising her children. She enjoys the chase and is accompanied by her husband, three children and a host of inspired mothers. She is the author of Chasing God and the Kids too. Portions of this article are exerpted from her book Chasing God and the Kids Too (Revell Books) Visit www.momtime.net for information.