I grew up in a rural area. I went to a small, but wonderful Christian day school. And when it came time for high school, the options for Christian education were few and far between. Very few. Very far. But my parents were committed. So they enrolled me in a Christian high school 32 miles away. For the first few years, I rode with a girl a few years older than me. She graduated and I got my license and my own car. And I drove. And drove. And drove. I spent around 90 minutes commuting to and from school each day. My car had the mileage to prove it.
People often asked me if I really hated living so far from school. Sometimes, I admitted it was inconvenient. I had to wake up earlier than most. I did not get to really hang out with my friends at their homes all that often. I spent a lot of money on gas, even though it was 97 cents a gallon. But honestly, I LOVED the drive. I had a natural love of driving - it was just something I liked. But more than that, those 45 minutes between my home and school were the best quiet times.
Frequently in the morning, there would be no time for me to sit and have devotions. But I would get behind the wheel and all the way to school I would pray. Sometimes, even, out loud. And often in the afternoon on my way home I would have time to unwind, unpack my day, bring things to God that hurt me or concerned me.
God brought the memories of those drives and prayer times back to me this morning. And I remembered that at one point, I uttered a prayer that changed my life. One morning on the way to school, I asked God to help me love someone that day. Not in the lonely teenage girl way really - just in the real desire to bring someone in my school the love of God. This became a prayer I would repeat hundreds of times over thousands and thousands (literally) of miles. Just help me show them love.
Years later, I am a stay at home mom. A very much STAY AT HOME mom. We don't have cause to drive around very much. We live in town. We have everything we really need close by. I'm married to the kind of guy who really believes that it is his God-given purpose in life to drive the family vehicle whenever he is going along on the outting. And that's all fine. But there are days when I really miss driving. I miss the 32 miles of blacktop between me and my desitination. I miss the time I got all to myself...the time I gave to Him.
Lately, I've been good about giving time to Him each day. Shortly after Madison's birth, I heard Him tell me what I should ask Him for - love. I had been filling my prayer journal with requests for wisdom, guidance, peace, patience, endurance, strength, you name it. And one day He reminded me that the greatest of these is love. When I am living out His love, the wisdom, the patience, the peace, the endurance, the strength, the everything I could ever need in life, well, its all there. Everything else means nothing without love.
My wisest discipline means nothing without love.
My most patient moment means nothing without love.
My greatest perseverance through trial means nothing without love.
Its a truth I realized at the age of 16 - nearly half my life ago. Its a truth that becomes more profound and convicting every year of my life. To bring His love to others, there is just nothing more important. I'm so thankful that those long drives gave me time to listen to Him. I'm even more thankful that He brought me back to that memory much later in my life.
Ask for love. Watch what happens.