Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Watching for God

Hi Friends,

I'm finding this is one of those super-busy, too-much-to-do weeks with editing deadlines, article deadlines, payroll, taxes, things due for the kids' school, other things I've promised to have to people by Friday, not to mention the regular stuff like laundry, dishes, marriage class homework, responding to emails, paying bills, feeding all the critters at the "zoo" (human and animal both ;-)), and so on. So, as I'm zooming from here to there, I was reminded of something that happened a couple months ago, and it really spoke to me about watching for God in the busyness, keeping a heart of worship, and remembering where my focus should be even when I'm buzzing from one thing to the next. It happened like this:

Everyone says God is found in silence. I’ve discovered that sometimes he’s in the chaos too. For me, that’s a good thing, because with five little kids, chaos is plentiful at my house.

It was especially so one Friday afternoon not too long ago. Disasters abounded. One kid had tumbled down the stairs and clunked her head earlier that day, then she skinned her knees on the pavement, another fell off her bike and broke the fall with her face (good thing two of her teeth had already fallen out the night before), the other wet her pants, twice, and the oldest needed help with some tangles in her hair. Meanwhile, the dryer had just buzzed, the phone was ringing, and my parents were coming for the weekend, so I really needed to clean house and make the bed they’d be sleeping in.

I finished feeding the baby, then plopped him into his playpen with his toys. Next, I went about doing all the things a mom has to do – kisses and bandages, dishes and laundry, bills and hair brushing, picking up messages (I never did get to the phone in time to answer it), making beds, and rubbing antibiotic ointment on a variety of “owies.”

Meanwhile, the baby chewed his rubber duckie, rattled his toy rattle, squeaked his bear, and pushed the button to make his stuffed dog sing the ABC song. As I passed by his playpen once, twice, three times, I began to notice something. Every time he caught a glimpse of me, he looked up, grinned, clapped his hands and raised his arms.

The third time he did it, I had to stop, because something about his actions reminded me of God, reminded me of worship, of clapping to a song, of raising my hands in praise.

Baby Jayden was in his little playpen world, busy with his little baby toys. And yet, he was watching too, waiting, eager for a glimpse of the one who loved him, provided for his needs, and kept him safe. He wasn’t too busy to keep watch, and when he saw me, to giggle and raise his hands.

I paused and picked him up.

He laughed and clapped his hands some more.

That was when I knew I needed to be a lot more like him. In the midst of all my busyness, I needed to also keep watch for the One who provides, protects, and loves. I needed to keep an eye out for God working around me. Only that would make me happy enough to clap my hands and raise my arms. Folded laundry, bandaged owies, a vacuumed floor – all were necessary, but none filled my heart with delight. If I wanted to be as happy as baby Jayden, I needed to put myself in a position to see God’s glory, whenever he passed by. I needed to be like Moses in Exodus 33:18-23 (NIV):

“Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’ And the LORD said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence …’ Then the LORD said, ‘There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back… ’”

All Moses wanted was God’s presence, was a glimpse of his glory. And God put him in a position to see just that, much like I’d placed Jayden in the playpen where he could see me too. But both Moses and Jayden had to watch.

And just like them, I had to learn to watch too, to pay attention to what God might be doing when I'm in my little playpen-world, with my toys and trials, tears and limitations. No matter what I’m doing, how much chaos surrounds me, how many boo-boo’s need bandaging, I need to still be watching for God to pass by. And when I spy Him, I can throw up my hands, grin, and giggle with delight, because nothing makes me happier than catching a glimpse of God at work around me.

And that’s what I hope I'll remember this week in the midst of all the deadlines and to-do's.