This past week we had our first ever family vacation. We went to Southern California with our five kids and their families. We rented a house that would hold all of us—although we could have used more than two bathrooms for fourteen people. JI had the best time.
We visited Knott’s Berry farm and the San Diego Safari Zoo. Some of us hiked, some went to the beach, some visited antique shops, and of course, we ate food. A lot of good food. What an amazing time. We laughed. We got to know one another better. And, at the end of the week, we still loved one another. I’m pretty sure. (Smile)
Our youngest grandson, Finn, eleven months old, had the most stressful time. He is at the age where he doesn’t want to be separated from momma. If she put him down to fix him something to eat, to go brush her teeth, or because her arms were tired, he immediately cried. Loudly. With tears. No one else would do. He wanted mom. None of us could replace her for long.
On the final day, we had lunch with our three daughters and families, all who live in Southern California and then my husband and I headed back to Arizona. As we traveled down the road, I found I didn’t want to go back home. I loved spending time with my kids and grandkids. I wanted to be with them. Sadness tugged at me. My heart ached.
As I thought about how much I felt like Finn—I wanted to cry loudly with big tears—but I also thought about God and how much He wants to spend time with His children. I was reminded how my family is a small glimpse of the relationship I am to have with my Savior.
Even though I spend time with God every day, often that time is distracted, not quality time. I’m not getting away from everyday busyness and work to focus on knowing God better. It’s more like a phone call I get from one of my kids that lasts a few minutes and leaves me wanting more. I know God wants more with me. More time. More openness. More depth.
Parenting has taught me how much God loves me. How much He treasures spending time with me. I needed this reminder that my first priority should always be to deepen my relationship with Him. No matter what else is going on in my life, He is the most important. No matter how much work I have to get done. No matter what fun thing I want to do. No matter what stressful situation I’m facing.
Time with God is to always be my priority.
John 15:4 reads, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” That word, abide, means to tarry, to dwell, or to be present. Spending time with God is essential not only to my growth, but to my ministry. He refreshes, nourishes, and yes, even prunes me, but all for my good and because He loves me so much.
God says in Hosea 6:6, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Getting to know God means more to Him than anything I “do” for Him. I must spend time with Him in order to know Who He is.
Paul says in Philippians 3:8, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Everything in my life is worthless compared to the absolute glory of knowing Christ. I must not be pulled away by life concerns or pleasures, but instead need to spend as much time with Jesus as possible.
Every day. Every moment. Spending time with Him should be as natural as breathing.
Just as spending that week with my kids and grandkids brought me joy, this is what brings Him joy.