Name after name the teacher called. “Amy Cashion”…I said, “PRESENT.” “Tonya Smith” …”PRESENT.” And so on and so on she called out the names of all of my classmates. One or two times she may answer for the missing student, “ABSENT.”
For the past few days, the roll call in my family has had one absence. My husband, Jeff, has been away on a trip to Tanzania with Compassion International. It’s one of these opportunities that you don’t let pass by – a rare chance to peek inside this organization as they reach countless families for Christ. I couldn’t be happier that he has this time. For this MK (missionaries’ kid) I hope that not only Jeff, but our whole family have opportunity after opportunity to travel to foreign land with the Gospel.
Jeff’s absence has had me thinking…a LOT! I have found the time at night when he is home and we are normally spending time together being spent more with my girls and lots more in prayer. I have become increasingly aware of God’s presence with me. Jeff and I always say that time away has always been one of the healthiest things, not only for our marriage, but also for us spiritually. Change of scenery, circumstance, surrounding experiences all contribute to what our hearts are often crying out to have…more of God. Being a mom, I often find concentrated time alone with God very rare and I have, over the years, learned to focus more on seeing the quality in the time I have. We all go through the times of getting up earlier (before the kids awaken) or adjusting our schedules in other ways to focus more on God. We even say, “My prayer is to focus more on God.” In the time I’ve had this week to myself, God has never been more present, more real, more accessible to me…in every second of the day. This week, on top of a spouse away, I’ve been sick for the first time in a couple of years. I put off going to the doctor and attempted to treat my symptoms at home…until I woke up yesterday morning and there was no denying it…I needed a doctor! Life is always throwing you curveballs. The planner in me had all sorts of things on the “to-do list” I wanted to get done while Jeff was away. Instead, God gave me time …something my heart often longs for and yet wastes when I have it.
As I read from my Bible plan this morning, my heart was literally enveloped in peace as I read “Watch for this-a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Emmanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).” Matthew 1:23. Yes, scripture I’ve read time and time again, but jumped off the page at me…God is with us. In times of being alone, in a crowd of people, in chaos, in calm…He is with us. When we feel like He couldn’t possibly want to be with us, He is. When we don’t have time for Him, He has time for us. When we had a plan that yes, included time with Him, He gives us even more of Him. Sometimes it just takes looking around to see He is always with us!
Do you need the comfort today of knowing He is with you? No matter where you are, what you are doing, where you are going – God is with you. He’s not a part of who you are, where you are, or standing at the arm’s length distance we’ve made Him be. He’s with you! At the class roll call, His name is always marked “PRESENT.”