In this hot summer drought the taste of rain, even the faint hint of it, is intoxicating. It gives hope to a dry, crunchy, parched land.
This week, in general, has been filled with little moments of refreshment. Good reminders of God's grace.
I have managed to keep the early morning chores in my daily routine - at least during the week. Baldrick walks up into the seven acres with me to fetch the horses. When we get back to the barn the guineas are inevitably getting their first sips of water for the day.
Sunday morning was balm to my soul. A refreshing moment for the week. As it should be.
Church - especially when we make the effort to stay for all of the afternoon activities - can be hard work. With three children under the age of five, plus one in the oven, sitting through a two hour service takes practice and perseverance. It is part of the weekly routine and the consistency of church every week helps, as does "practicing" during family worship after supper, seeing the other little children in church held to the same standard, and the distractions of picture books and cheese sticks. But even during the good weeks (which are surprisingly often, and progressively getting more frequent with maturity and practice) it can be tiring, and I am lucky to be able to listen attentively to three-quarters of the sermon.
However, there are so many, countless, things that make it worth the effort. Little hands lifting up during the doxology. Little voices chiming in on the "Amens". Snuggling during the sermon when the appeal of picture books and scribbling pads have been exhausted. Discussions before and after church about everything that we hear and do (looking forward to these progressing as the children grow older!). The emphasis on corporate worship - family and community - in our church is one of the main things we love and have been blessed by. It is a wonderful thing.
Yet despite these blessings and rewards that are showered upon us every week, I can forget them and have the wrong attitude going into the whole process. When we sleep in a little too late, breakfast is rushed, the diaper bag is crammed together at the last minute and the kids are climbing into their car seats with syrup and bacon crumbs still smeared on their faces, I can feel a little frazzled during the drive in. Basically, when I don't make it the priority it should be and actually plan ahead of time, things fall apart. Surprise, surprise. Lesson learned? It is a work in progress, but I like to think I'm getting better.
Last Sunday morning, I hate to admit, was one of those rushed mornings. However, as it usually happens, once we settled into the back row of church I was surrounded with the peace of worship. Singing beautiful hymns, holding chubby baby hands in prayer, smiling at familiar faces around the sanctuary, listening to good words (from the Good Word), everything was right.
Service was a timely reminder to love on others, my life for yours. In 'humble judgement, recognizing that I spend too much time thinking of myself, and not enough time thinking of what Jesus Christ would have me do, and what I can do for others'. Remembering, also, that all of my little projects, that I often put too much emphasis on, are for naught, if I forget Him, and those around me. "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us. But to Your name give glory!".
O fill us, Lord, with dauntless love; Set heart and will on things above
That we conquer through Thy triumph
Grant grace sufficient for life's day That by our life we ever say,
"Christ hath triumphed, and He liveth!" Alleluia.