My Gift to Him....His gift to me

My personal, Christmas quiet time table, in my bedroom, private--sequestered away from the hustle and bustle of my home.

Getting my body to move, my mind to clear, was as if I was coming off of a thick cloud of  anesthesia--and then a heaviness began to creep over me as I began to awaken and remember what day it was--another event in my home, just two hours away. Stress crawled over me like mist over the sea--weariness bade me stay in bed, beckoned to me, urging me back to sleep. Then suddenly--the memory  of all that needed to be done moved my body into action and made me hit the ground quickly.Too much to do, too much cooking, too many activities, too many people's needs to meet, too much, too much....was beginning to take its toll. All of these feelings were familiar from so many years, months and days of knowing this feeling--and so the assurance that I had made it through many other such seasons,  kept me from panic or the blues. Resolve, familiar resolve, whispered to my heart, that soon--very soon, all would be well. A plan began to form--tomorrow morning, I would ignore everything on "my list" and arrange a special meeting. Decorating a place just for me and him; clearing out the clutter from this space, giving time to beautify--I began to get pleasure and peace in my heart just knowing what I had to look forward to--my time with him.

I have always loved the passage in Genesis when, after creating a breath-taking, dazzling, wondrous world, breathing with life, color, sounds, scents, pleasure--that God, the master artist, was strolling in the garden--looking for Adam and Eve--the ones for whom He had created such a personal gift. -He was walking along in His garden, surely admiring it, wanting to know what His children thought--if they were happy--if they appreciated it--looking for them in the heat of the day. "Where are you?" He called out--and they were not looking for Him---
Most of my mother-life, after I fell in love with being a mother, I have found I receive such pleasure at providing for my treasures--cooking, decorating, providing, loving, serving--hoping to be God's very hands and breath and words to them so that they can better perceive what He is like. I look for them in the garden of my own life--"how do you like what I have provided? I want to be close to you--I want your companionship."
Recently, after Nathan had been home from California for 10 days, I was looking, as always, on my email to see if I had any letters from him--or Joel. There in my in-box, was a short note--
"Mom, I don't know what I would do without your love and encouragement. I appreciate everything you have done to make home a haven. Thanks for your love and prayers."
No money or thing or experience could have topped the pleasure he gave me--he was my special one--he is the one from whom I long for time and friendship.
and so it is with God, my very own Father, who prepares life and looks out for me--to see where I am, to spend time with me! Imagine!
I realized very early in my knowing Him, that the miracle was that He was always looking for me--wanting me to be His companion, friend, to talk, to commune, to live together hand in hand--to delight in the pleasures He had prepared for me. 
And so I knew that my Christmas season would not be complete, unless I gave Him what He wanted, unless I made my plans--around Him, around just being with Him, listening to Him, loving Him--just what I needed--just the gift of my love I would give back to Him. He was not looking for my works--my good deeds, my Martha effort to beguile my family or my friends with dazzle and good food and fine presents--but He was looking for simple, feet of clay--me--to tell me more that was on His heart.
As I desire the companionship of my own children--that is what--amazingly--he desires of me.
And so I made it through the day, talked with so many, fed, cleaned, rushed about to the other tasks that needed to be cared for--but I knew that my date was just ahead--so my heart took pleasure.Sunday morning as I opened my eyes, I looked out my window upon a purple-ish, blueish sky that promised colder weather again. My eyes lit upon the table I had late last night prepared for myself and for Him--a place of beauty, a place of quiet, a place of worship

--the framed picture Sarah had framed for me at Christmas years before--"The Peace of Christ be with You."

Just what I longed for....A beautiful, delicate bird nested upon pine boughs--the reminder of the years before when I was spotting again--after a miscarriage, and yet pregnant again--but again beginning to bleed--alone in the mountains of Austria--when praying to God, wondering if I would ever be able to keep a baby--God sent a small bird, to perch upon the very window sill in which I was pouring my heart out to Him from my small hotel room.

--He spoke to me His comfort--"Not a  bird falls to the ground without My knowledge--I see you--I hear you--I am with you"--and the baby inside of me became Sarah--in spite of 6 months of bleeding. And so small birds, when they hop across my path or are collected in my home, are a symbol to me of His love, His care. This new little bird, recently purchased for its lovely colors and simplicity--was appropriate for my table before Him.

My berry and vanilla candles--the flickering lights a delight to me-- a reflection of light--a reminder of His light into my world. The fragrance like incense--lifting my prayers to heaven.

My little cross that reminded me of what I wanted the new season of my life to be characterized by--belief. All spoke to me of our special bond--I was His and He was mine.

It was worth the little extra effort it took to make the setting of my date a special one--after all He had done to make the place I lived in His world such a place of beauty.
One of my favorite instrumentals softly set the stage. I had picked a book the day before--Prepare my heart, Lord, through one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Goudge--a beautiful, lovely children's story--the picture of a child's faith--the heart of faith, the delight in life, the expectation of goodness--contrasted by an adult who had forgotten how to have grace of life, compassion, to live in freedom, not under constraint. And so as I sipped my coffee, the Lord greatly encouraged my heart--I want a heart of innocent, loving trust.

And then to my Celtic Daily Prayer book--verses from the Psalms, the Old Testament, the New Testament--and more from His heart--Psalm 18: 28, "The Lord lights my lamp; The Lord illumines my darkness." Verse 32,  "The God who girds me with strength, and makes my way blameless." Verse 35, "You have given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great." Psalm 118: 6, "The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes."

And so it went. He spoke of His love for me; His presence; His strength; His peace. I gave Him the gift of myself, my time. He gave me the gift of peace, rest, delight and strength to keep going. Now, I had what I needed and longed for--perspective, a plan of simplifying, dancing one more time knowing He was with me in the minutes of my days.

Have you given Him the gift of yourself during this busy season?

He is walking in the garden, calling your name. May His peace be yours today.