I reclined in the bed, skin still pruned from the shower, and basked in the silence of the nighttime. The kids were asleep and I had a few moments to myself before I turned in for the night. I stared absently into the air when I realized I was staring at my feet… my toes to be more precise. The beautiful chestnut-brown nail polish I had chosen for the fall was now faded and chipped, almost beyond recognition. The shiny lacquer had disappeared from almost every toe, with only a couple of large stubborn bits that refused to let go, remaining.
It had been months since I had had that pedicure. Months. I still remember that day, though. We were in the middle of some of the toughest times of our adult lives and my husband surprised me with a trip to the salon for a mani-pedi. It was an hour and a half of sheer heaven. Never mind that it had been the middle of October, I wanted to wear sandals to show off my perfectly polished digits. I remember feeling like a new woman that afternoon.
This night? Not so much. I felt like my old self again…like an old, rundown version of myself that is. To look at my feet you could tell they had been painted for sure, but you could only see but a shadow of what they had really been like.
Has your spirit ever felt like that? Is what was once shiny, bright, uplifting and inspiring to others now just…dull? Chipped? Worn?
Sitting there staring at my sad, faded, pedicured toes I realized that my heart looked exactly the same way. Oh, to look at me you could see I was a child of God…if you knew what you were looking for. There was some evidence – some fruit – to show that the Spirit of the True and Living God dwelt within. However it was but a shadow of what a life filled with the love of Christ truly should be.
Pieces were missing; distorted. What was there was not a true representation of the power and freedom that is to be found in and through Christ.
Think back to the last time you really and truly had a sweet time of fellowship with God. It’s like finding a clear, cool oasis in the desert, is it not? And just like I didn’t want to cover up my beautiful fall-colored digits, when we are shining with a fresh application of God’s grace and mercy we are hard pressed not to share it. Many times we don’t even have to say a word – it’s just…obvious.
Mamas, we can’t give to our families what we don’t ourselves have. We can’t expect to pour out God’s love, grace and mercy if we aren’t ourselves being filled daily – sometimes hourly, am I right? - at the Well of His throne.
We can’t instruct our children in the Word and Wisdom of the Lord if our own hearts aren’t steeped in it.
I know you’re tired. I am, too.
I know your schedule is jam-packed. I’m right there with you.
But friend, we cannot do this on our own, in our own power. Just as much as I was refreshed and renewed after taking some time to pamper myself and relax, how much more renewing when we take time to let our hearts rest in Him and be pampered by the One who made us? And how much more important for all things eternal – particularly our children’s hearts!
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 (emphasis mine)
Dear friends, we can “fake it” for a little while, riding the “polish” we get from a good quiet time for a while. However, before long, the edges will chip, the shine will fade and it will be obvious from the quality of the fruit in our lives – our attitudes, our love, our patience (or lack thereof) – that we have been apart from the Vine just a little too long.
The dishes can wait. You can fold the laundry later. Give the kids a snack and grab your Bible. Let’s keep our hearts polished and shining – for our own benefit and growth, for our marriages, for our kids, and for the Kingdom.
How do you maintain quality time with God in the midst of crazy and hectic schedules and family life?