Suffice it to say I was pleased with my word usage...except for one word, that showed up nearly as large as the word "Jesus".
That word was "BED". Ouch. How embarrassing - and telling!
I have always had a problem getting out of bed - ever since my heart condition slowed me down at around 16. It's no different now. With a tendency to burn the candle late into the night in that blissful quiet that surrounds like a dark starry night, the wee morning hours, now still dark as daylight savings looms still far off, are painful and achy and completely and totally a matter of self-discipline. Of which I am in incredibly short supply.
My little boy wakes up hard. His cries are the first thing to crack my sleepy lids open, jarring me awake in a flurry of, "What's wrong? Is the house on fire? Did someone try to kill my baby?" And then, as lucidity returns, I realize that he is just being himself and nothing is wrong and once I help him, he will quiet. He has woken up crying since the first day of his life outside the womb. He just does not like waking up. And his request is always the same.
My son wakes up thirsty. Every. single. morning.
The very first thing he wants - the thing he is begging for through a sheet of hot tears and the squalling of his cries - is water. I need drink, Mama! Over and over and over again until his lips are wet, his throat is soothed and cool, he's consumed a few tiny glasses. And when his thirst is quenched, he always rewards me, eyelids squinched in his best and sleepiest smile. And then falls back asleep in my arms.
Some mornings we repeat this drill three or four times before he is actually ready to get up and move out of the bedroom and on to little boy activities of the morning: building a set of train tracks, clocking his sister a time or two just for good measure, and reading one of those annoying books-with-sound that chirps electronically and annoyingly all the way into the kitchen where I fry the eggs.
Do I wake up thirsty?
In hard seasons of life - the time surrounding my cancer diagnosis, when Amelia was in the hospital near death, when I was losing my 5th child to ectopic pregnancy and feared that I was laying myself on a senseless altar to carry that child - in those times, I woke up parched and moaning and begging for a drink. A drink of the only water that matters, the Living Water.
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
I want to wake up every morning craving the Word. I have found, in practical terms, that this means I need to be disciplined about reading my Bible when it isn't easy. I've heard it argued that you can supplement with a devotional book when the Bible seems daunting. I would argue that is only true if there is Scripture in that devotional book, right at the top of the page, and it is speaking to you loud and clear every day. There is something about reading more than just 1 or 2 selected topical verses that will speak to your soul deep in ways a pre-selected verse may not.
My accountability? I keep a Bible as a journal for 5 years at a time, pairing my notes and thoughts with the passages of Scripture. When my kids turn 16, they will each get a Bible with a love letter from Mama in the front, and years worth of notes and strugglings and lovings and thrashing about in the margins. I don't want them to see any noticeable span of time when I wasn't keeping notes. Some mornings, that is enough to get me to crack the covers and grab a pen, scribble a few thoughts by some random Psalm, even if inside I am tired, moaning, angry, brutish, dark, unloving.
On the days I don't get a shower, that Living Water is what washes my soul clean and allows me to sparkle through my dirtiness for my kids through the longest days. Hasn't God chosen the poor (and dirty) in this world to be rich in faith? (James 2:5)
On days when the laundry is piled and the dishes are dirty and the kids want to fingerpaint instead of help me clean, that Living Water is what quietly urges me deep that they are what matters, not the sticky floors or the dining room table piled deep. Whoever can be trusted with little can be trusted with much (Luke 16:10). Whoever welcomes a little child such as this welcomes me (Luke 9:48).
On days when Amelia is sick and I am on vomit and poop-scoop duty, the Living Word washes the floors with me and it is Christ's tears of anguish in Gethsemane that pour down my arms and fill the sponge as we scrub together. He whispers, It is okay to beg take this cup. It is okay to say why have you forsaken me in this? It is okay to wonder when will rescue come?
On days when I myself barely have the energy to drag cancer with me around my home, when I lie in bed to read stories to the kids, and sleep long through their nap, and the guilt eats worse than cancer over the neglected housewifing and homeschooling, the Living Word flushes it away and the scald lessens as Jesus whispers, Whoever finds her life will lose it, and whoever loses her life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:39).
His Living Word is the only water worth searching for in this world. Find it, read it, memorize it, pray it, believe it, live it, love it. You will never, ever regret it.
Like newborn infants, thirst for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (I Peter 2:2)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
Resources for Bible Study for the Thirsty:
- Online parallel Bible offering many translations, verse by verse comparisons, commentaries, and Greek and Hebrew lexicons: http://bible.cc/
- Easy-on-the-eyes English Standard Version online: http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/
- King James Version online: http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/
- An excellent Bible study on thirst that will help you determine whether your own spiritual thirst comes from an empty soul, a dry soul, or a satisfied soul: http://biblicalspirituality.org/thirst.html