Why I hope you don’t see me

1 John 1

Years ago, I read about a man who had one daily habit he still maintained after decades and decades upon decades of marriage.

Every morning, he woke up before his wife and everyone else in the house.  He took a shower.  He shaved.  He brushed his teeth.  He combed his hair.  He dressed.

He wasn’t trying to give his wife more time in the bathroom either.

He said he always wanted his bride to see the best of him—the washed, brushed, shaved and dressed side of him.

I remember thinking the sentiment was sweet.  Every so often, I feel a bit guilty when less-than-the-best-of-me is rushing around the house getting everyone ready for school in the morning.  Maybe the guy had it right.  Maybe I should do the same.

But I don’t.  I’ll be honest.

The truth of my life is that my kids are my alarm clock and they seem to wake me up early enough already.

My son is the first sound I hear right across the house— “Mom!!!”

And, he doesn’t seem to mind the sight of me as I pad into his room in bare feet and lift him out of bed, carry him to the sofa and snuggle down with him for a few minutes of quiet before everyone else awakes.

He never complains about my bed head or my morning breath or my yoga pants and t-shirt.

He seems pretty content simply to enjoy my presence.

And in those moments of quiet as we wait for the rest of the house to cease their slumber, I quietly pray and consider the day (and try to actually wake up).

Maybe those few minutes of heart-grooming are what I need anyway.

Because facing my husband, my kids, the blur of the morning activity with my mind set on Christ feels like it reaches down into deeper parts of my soul than any session with make-up and a hair dryer anyway.

And surely what I want for them to find in the morning is a wife and a mom reflecting Jesus, even before I’ve had caffeine and a few minutes in front of the mirror.

Not that I’m begrudging some hygiene and grooming, of course.  No need to forego personal care indefinitely!

But I’ve been thinking lately about what it would look like for me to be a tabernacle for the Spirit of God, a place where His glory dwells, just a building really, an outer frame where Christ lives within.

And, after all, that’s what we’re supposed to be.

John 1:1 tells us:

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (HCSB).

He took up residence here.  The root of this phrase is “He tabernacled among us.”

This is Christ dwelling among men, housing the very nature of God within the confines and restrictions of human flesh.

And now— His spirit dwells within us, and He should still be visible, not hidden away—not by our skeletal frames, not by the skin, not by the makeup, not by the outfits, not by the coordinated shoes and handbags.

Whether we’re still in our pajamas or we’re dressed to the nines, people should see God’s glory all over us.

Because, that’s what happens when God’s Spirit dwelt in the Tabernacle out in the wilderness with Israel.

34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  (Exodus 40:34-35 ESV).

The cloud of God’s glory settled on that mobile sanctuary and you couldn’t see the building itself for the glory surrounding it.   It was completely covered by the cloud of His presence.

All you could see was Him.

And, that’s what I want.

Yes, in the morning.

Yes, when I’m stressed.

Yes, when I’m annoyed.

Yes, when I’m hurt.

Yes, when I’m rejoicing.

Yes, when I’m failing.

Yes, when I’m weeping.

Yes, when I’m serving

ALL the time yes—may God’s glory settle on my life with such a cloud of His presence that people can’t see me through the thickness of it.

They can only see Him.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King

Christmas Devotionals: Always Expect the Unexpected

My schedule is a delicate balance.

There’s a shopping day.  A scrub the bathrooms and the floors day.  Laundry days (one doesn’t cut it!).  Ballet day and another ballet day and yet another day at the dance studio.  Volunteer day.  Eat lunch with the kids at school day. Writing day.  Bible Study prep day.  Prayer meeting day.  Homework day and library day.christmas9

It’s an intricate design that took effort and some trial and error to develop, but by October it all settled into a perfect rhythm.

Then December arrived and stomped all over my perfectly balanced schedule like a giant through a flower bed.

Suddenly, my calendar has arrows swapping events in my week, items written in ink now crossed out and rewritten on different days and at different times.

Oh yeah, can you fit in a class party?  And a holiday concert?  Could you make gifts for teachers and stop by the Christmas get-together?  Mom, what are we doing for my birthday?  Can we have an extra cantata practice?

Onto the calendar it goes.  I’ve begun color-coding the items. Red is for the really super important things that I absolutely cannot forget, but am certain I’m going to miss.  I add dark circles around those also.  And some stars and exclamation marks.  You can’t go wrong with stars.

Now my calendar has become illegible.  So, I switch to the daily agenda plus master to-do list that spans the next two weeks.

Add in the meal plan for family dinners up through Christmas and the shopping list that I had to restart the day after I just went to the grocery store, and the planning is complete.

How euphoric it would be to keep the schedule in balance at all times and for the expected activities to happen on the assigned days!

No doing laundry on shopping day.  No extra trip to the store when it is supposed to be writing day.  No third trip to the school on a day I’ve scheduled for cleaning house.

It would all be so expected.  So perfectly planned.  So in control.

That’s the problem, though, isn’t it?  I have a certain capacity for juggling and as long as I’m tossing around the same few balls, I’m a fairly competent performer.

But when God tosses an unexpected ball into my rhythm and routine, I’m liable to drop them all on the ground.

To a certain extent, I need to practice the “no” and guard the schedule.  Keep it simple.  Don’t try to do too much.  Don’t over-commit.

At other times, though, the schedule just is what it is.  The lesson isn’t about eliminating activity.  It’s about allowing God to shuffle our expectations and disrupt our plans so that we remember how much we need Him.

It’s His reminder that we can’t always package up our days with decorated wrapping paper and a shiny bow, oh so neat and perfect.  Life is messy at times.  Chaotic in some moments.  Fairly unexpected so many days.

The one constant is Him and even He has a way of surprising us.

I think somehow it’s appropriate that December is the month when my calendar is left in tatters and all my perfect plans are shattered.  It’s a reminder that God has a way of shaking us up, mystifying us, and going far beyond our imagination.

Like the fact that the Savior of us all, the long-awaited Messiah, entered this world as a baby.

In Nativity scenes, we usually see the pristine image of well-groomed stable animals, fresh hay, perfect baby wrapped in bright white cloth.  Mary is already back to her pre-pregnancy weight and looking like she didn’t just labor and give birth.

But God chose to come to this earth the messy way.  It was childbirth.  It was pain.  It was blood.  It wasn’t even in the sterile white setting of a hospital, but all smelly and oppressive like the barn it was.

A newborn, a little Child came to save the world.

The Light of the World entered in darkness, while nocturnal shepherds kept the night-watch over their sheep.

The King of kings arrived in a stable.

The Eternal God, the Word who in the beginning was “with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning”—lay in a manger with baby dimples and the red skin of a newborn (John 1:1).

Have you settled into a routine and rut with God?  Have you figured Him all out?  Have you gotten comfortable with what you can do and with what you believe He can do?  Have you scheduled Him and assigned Him portions of your life?

Don’t be too sure!

Just when we figure everything out and fit everything in, God often will interrupt and amaze, befuddle and change your direction.

As Paul writes: “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.  Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes” (Ephesians 3:20-21, MSG)

Originally posted on December 14, 2011

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King