Consistent patterns in ones life ...some things are hard to come by.
I am almost obsessive about noticing, identifying, studying patterns...it’s a trait that has served me well and has paid me well. I can dissect and identify the core foundational pattern of almost anything I focus my attention on...from science and investigative research...to art...to seemingly random tile patterns in bathroom stalls.
All of God’s creation is built on foundational structures and patterns that repeat and build into more complex structures. If you understand the foundational core and the logic behind the variations and repetitions of that core then you can successfully play with those patterns...and create a fresh variation or interpretation of an existing pattern.
I have a difficult time establishing consistent patterns in my life and so I am obsessed with studying them. Pastor Foley preached on prayer tonight and exhorted us to establish a consistent pattern of prayer in our lives. Some things are hard to come by.
I don’t know if its the undisciplined artist, the attention deficit manic, the non conforming rebel or just pure laziness...but as much as I enjoy studying patterns I am terrible at repeating them. Replicating a consistent pattern for a year...highly unlikely...how about a month?
I love prayer and I love spending time in God’s Word. I love pouring my heart out to God and praying at the top of my lungs, but I can go for days and weeks without getting around to prayer...and when I fail to pray, I know it...and my family knows it and our home suffers for loss of prayer and loss of time spent in the presence of a holy and merciful God. Days are lost, and moments are lost and opportunities to touch the throne of God and to be transformed by his Saving Grace are all lost.
So I establish altars. The Old Testament often refers to standing stones and covenants. Reference points for times when one has wrestled with God and has come to an understanding of His Grace and His mercy and His faithfulness. Standing Stones like foundational pillars for building a lifetime of patterns. I often stray from those patterns...but when God gets my attention...which He is faithful to do...I look back in time...back to the altars and the covenants and the standing stones established in my life and I renew my side of the agreement and once again I apply my understanding of the core foundational instructions in Gods Word and day by day and week by week I rebuild the pattern of prayer in my life.
Its been quite a few years ...more then 15 years since my children were toddlers and babies and I must say those were the most crucial years for establishing patterns and they were also the hardest. Talk about attention deficit...every time you turn around ...a distraction to pull you off task, a chore you thought done is now undone, an interruption, a demand, a cry, crashing toys, screaming babies, hungry tummies, crazy mommy.
In those early years I worked hard to establish discipline in my life...but mornings just didn’t work...so after a couple of years of beating myself up...I asked God to help me...and sometime around my firstborn’s toddler years I established a pattern that literally carried me until our fourth child went to kindergarten.
At the end of a long day...two, three, maybe four times a week...I would go to my children’s bedroom, read a story and sing. It started out as the night time ritual that included nursery rhymes and favorite songs that I would sing before saying goodnight. Unfortunately, the little monsters would never stay in their beds for long...and so to prevent insanity and because I was too tired to do anything else...I would stay in that little room and sing. First, I would sing lullabies, and then I would sing church songs...and then I would stop singing for them and start singing for Jesus. I would sing and worship and pray. I would touch the throne of God in my child’s bedroom...often with a nursing baby on my lap and tears streaming down my face...and the Spirit of God would fill a mothers heart in a child’s room ...and the world would stop turning and I would know that He was God.
When my children were young they fell asleep to the sound of their mother worshiping God and woke to the sound of their father praying before leaving to work. A powerful foundational core to build ones life on...and a variation on a pattern that believers have been repeating since the time of Christ.