Remember the popular saying “spend quality time”? This idea was born out of the legitimate need that all children have – the need of time with their parents, and time to be parented. As a mother, I always felt that the quality time theory was flawed. What children really need is quantity time, but most two parent households are being supported by two incomes, and most one parent households are struggling to put food on the table, and fuel into the tank. Quantity time is a rarity, and the shortage exists in all of our relationships – marriage, children, friends, aging parents, and our most important relationship – our heavenly Father.
I’m honored to be thought of as a prayer warrior. I’m in church every week. I read God’s word daily. I’ve served in ministry non-stop for many years. All good things, but I reached a point where something felt amiss. I believed that I was close to God – I speak to Him almost constantly throughout my waking hours, but I longed for something that I wasn’t experiencing. I longed for a vibrant relationship with God. I began to realize that I was too busy for God, but not busy enough, just being with Him.
It happened purely by accident, or did it? After months and months of challenges, that continually drove me to God – all day long in fact, I found myself living in a dark dreary temporary home, which is also located in a very remote location. The only relief that I could get from the depressing interior of this house, was to go outside. I’m a mushroom, and cannot spend much time in the sun, so I found a shady spot on the back deck and began taking a cup of coffee out there in the morning. At first, I spent five or ten minutes and headed back indoors to tackle my to-do list. I’m a homemaker, and I also still work my home business, homeschool my son, write and I tend to the details of building our house. After a few days, I found myself staying out longer to pray, read God’s word, and journal about the amazing things that I was learning. Truthfully, after weeks of this, I could now spend limitless amounts of time with my heavenly Father out on that deck, but my family is really attached to clean laundry and home prepared food. Time – there is no substitute for spending time, to build a relationship. Time where you are completely focused on the one that you’re with. There is just no substitute for spending undistracted time with God.
I’d been crying out for months to Him. “I want more of You.” “I want this relationship that I hear others rave about.” “I want to feel Your presence.” “I want Your word to come alive when I read it.” “I want Your power in my daily life.” He met me out on that deck. There was nothing else to distract me except a busy squirrel or the circling bald eagles hunting for breakfast, but even they drew me back to praising the Creator. He changed me on that deck. He walked me through conviction, repentance, forgiveness, acceptance and obedience. He has held my hand and told me to wait and be patient. This time is so sweet, I began to fear losing it. I’ve already made plans of where I’ll continue this time, once I’m in our new home. Recently, God allowed a situation to arise, and I did very nearly lose my peace with Him. He gave me a taste and I didn’t like it – bitter not sweet. I persisted out on that deck, and He met me again. This time, He held my hand and walked me down the path of obedience, even when the personal cost was very high. He said, I have something better for you. As I write this, He is carrying me, while He fights a battle for me, and this I know for sure, His methods will be pure and powerful.
Quantity time – time where it’s you and Him. This is where His power is. This is where our transformation happens, and He changes our desires into His desires. This is where we the branches, attach to Him our Vine, and He brings forward the beautiful fruit of faith, peace, obedience and patience. Don’t get discouraged if this doesn’t work perfectly for you. Persist through the internal and external distractions. Read His word as slowly as you need to – camp on a verse or passage for as many days as you want to. If you are seeking God’s direction on an issue, stay there for weeks if necessary – either He’ll give you an answer, or He will actually change your heart to align with His desires for you. God never feels rushed and you shouldn’t either. This is where He unrolls the carpet, and you see the pathway of the hope of a future, designed by the One who wants to give you His best – which is the very best.