I was thrilled to be a new mother again. Allen was one of those happy, mellow little guys. I would put him in his bouncer, and he would be happy to sit there, awake or asleep, while I rocked the bouncer with one foot and sat in my chair and worked on my laptop. I had a desk job and worked part-time at home, so I was happy for the opportunity to continue my work. I took pride in being able to multitask so well, and others commended me. Even when Allen grew older and was awake for longer spells, he still loved to be in his bouncer.
In working on this issue of Activated, I came across this great quote: “Relationship with God isn’t about what you do, how you do it, or where you do it—it’s about knowing who God really is.”
Even Jesus’ disciples struggled with really knowing God. One day when they were observing Jesus while He prayed, they noticed how He spoke to God intimately. They wanted to have that same connection, so they asked Jesus to tell them His secret.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:7
If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.—John Bunyan (1628–1688)
We all have many opportunities and possibilities to move forward in our faith, our relationships, our work, our inner lives, and more. Of course, making progress in any area requires determination, discipline, effort, sacrifice, and hard work, but the results are worth it.
The small cafeteria at our workplace was abuzz with chatter. Colleagues sat in groups and the room was humming with conversation. That morning I felt I had little to contribute and opted to sit alone. Staring out the window, I was lost in troubled contemplation of recent loss, rough edges in my working relationships, and a nagging health issue, and I wondered when I would finally reach the proverbial end of the tunnel where the sun shines again.
In a 1968 episode of the original Star Trek, the crew of the starship Enterprise encounters an intergalactic species whose lives are far more fast-paced than those of their human counterparts. But there is a price. “At this level, they are easily damaged,” Captain Kirk observes, “as if accelerated living burns them out.” Star Trek’s creators apparently were making an observation about where the mounting pace of modern life was taking us—and they may have been even righter than they realized.
New Year’s Day is sort of like the first day of school. It’s as though God gives us each a spotless new notebook, sharp new pencils, new textbooks full of new lessons, and a fresh start. Whether or not that comes as a happy thought to you probably depends on how well you did in the last grade, last year. If you excelled, you’re probably ready to greet the new year with high hopes and bring-it-on enthusiasm. If you just barely squeaked by, you probably feel something between jitters and trepidation.
I see your struggles and hear your calls for help. When you feel all alone, I am there. I feel your heartaches, and wait for you to come to Me in prayer. Come into My sanctuary, into that secret place that you and I can share. There I am able to lift the worries, the cares, and the confusion. There I can restore your feeling of purpose and infuse you with strength to go on.
“The conclusion”—the speaker said in a booming voice—“is simple. Thank God for the small things in life. Don’t look for the millions, but be thankful for the cents.” Everybody applauded.
The seminar was over. With my notebook full of hastily scribbled notes and two new self-help books on how to enjoy life, I left the meeting hall somewhat bewildered.
Hearing the crunch of metal against metal as I backed out of my parking spot almost made my heart stop. I was in a hurry and had quickly scanned the parking lot before climbing behind the wheel, but somehow I had overlooked a pick-up that was parked in an unusual place.