“Mom, I really hate for you to keep driving clear down here.”
That’s the voice of my 33 week pregnant daughter, who not only is the mama of three rambunctious boys 6, 4, and 2, but she is carrying precious cargo of twin boys. Twin boys stubbornly insistent on not missing Christmas with the rest of the family. To insure they stay put farther down the road than the 7 weeks early they would be if they came today, the restrictions put on her are growing faster than her gloriously expanding belly. While the Rodeo Clowns, as we lovingly call the boys, are generally as sweet as doubly loaded fudge to their mama, they are still rowdy balls of ingenuity and energy. The most recent of their reindeer games was inventing “Roller coaster,” where the oldest got a running start and with all his might pushed the middle brother in a cardboard box to fly down the stairs with the thrilling ride’s end smashing into their steel front door. Even though Daddy is working a mere 10 minutes away on base at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, this grandma does not mind one bit traveling the four hours one way to keep things from escalating to a scene from Lord of the Flies Visits Call the Midwife.
My goodness, aren’t these the times grandparents were created for?
Still, Robin feels bad and uber responsible for my missed work and coming down so often grooves may start wearing into the highway. What she doesn’t realize, the byproduct of behind the wheel time is far from being a burden. Absolutely, far from it.
Welcome to my ruby red F-150 4 door sanctuary, complete with heated seat and cup holder.
Years ago, a pastor I worked with almost lived on the road, running and jumping to visit hospitalized church family 90 miles away without a thought. His heart was pulled to minister, but I stood constantly amazed at the peaceful spring in his step when he popped out of his old suburban that surely had racked up more miles than a trip to Mars and back.
“Aren’t you sick of driving? You’ve been to Wichita several times this week.”
“Not at all. That’s my sanctuary time.”
From then on, Boredom is no longer allowed to ride shotgun. The time alone has become precious and sacred, not merely a requirement to get from point A to point B.
Seriously, how often does one get four solid hours to pray and bask in the presence of the One who lays out the road before us? Often I enter with burdens, confusions, and frustrations that need released into the air. Miraculously, the blizzard of scattered thoughts fall into place, the heart calms, and peace drifts to like flurries on a snow globe floor.
As the various landscapes slide by, the rich sunsets paint a glory no earthly hand could begin to craft. A swelling of the heart brings forth an impromptu worship service in a completely different nature experienced in a pew. God’s creation inspires reverence and adoration that can not be contained.
For example, I sing! Loud and clear. This is truly a voice only God delights in. No disclaimer is required to whatever innocent soul sits in the pew in front of me. Since the only audience I’m to care about is God, I know I’m supposed to cut loose in church, still these are my family and would like to keep in that way.
Another benefit is the prime opportunity to lift people up near and dear to my heart, and honestly some who aren’t so much, but I know they are to Him. Most of the time that is the only thing I can truly do to help or start to grow a heart for….well, those folks.
If a prayer break is needed, here is rare uninterrupted time to chew on a spirit challenging sermon podcast. Likewise, this unique year poses the trade off of being home snuggled down in my chair with a twinkling tree to a radio dial full of old Christmas hymns. Their words link this exciting, yet anxious anticipation of dual births guaranteed to rock our family’s lives to the one of the kind Baby who nailed down salvation for the entire world.
What if we viewed every solitary location as a sanctuary to process the past and prepare our wills for the mysteries lying ahead? Even the preschool mom, who knows she may only have milliseconds before grubby fingers wiggle under the bathroom door or her eyelids are pulled open to be asked “are you awake,” can grasp a sliver of grace to get her through the day, if she looks at those moments with new eyes.
Sanctuary. It’s not just a place, but an opportunity. An opportunity not to be missed.
“When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end.” Psalm 73:16-17
Where are your most precious sanctuaries? What secret benefits have you discovered about them?
*Please add Robin and the twins to your prayers. Everyone is fine; just very early for them to be showing up on the scene. I can never thank you enough so I’m asking God to.