Gas Station Dates

Until now, I’ve written mostly about places and stories where I’ve been drawn out of my comfort zone (a retirement home, my senior year of high school, even at the feet of Christ) in great part because those are the situations where I’ve felt most acutely that I am an introvert. 

They are indeed part of the picture — much of following Christ is about laying down our lives and learning to walk in obedience to His commands — but if I were describing this landscape to extroverts, or to introverts who feel less then comfortable in their own skin, I’d want them to know that it’s beautiful here, too. That loving and being loved by God have brought me into times of closeness with Him that I never imagined could exist.

So this week: a tender defense of introversion, by way of some favorite memories of and places visited with God.

*

Motherhood has brought me into some unexpected sites of conversation with Him.

I think of a certain spot where I usually stand at the kitchen counter and the carpet I’ve tread for years while singing lullabies. 

With deepest admiration, I remember Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles and eight other living children besides, who found a place to pray in a bustling household by throwing her apron over her head.

And then my mind turns to nighttime trips to the gas station. I’ve made quite a few in recent years, mostly on days when we ran out of something at home and it was too cold or taxing to carry a small baby to the grocery store. Once, when my mom was visiting and I couldn’t venture too far from an infant on a three-hour feeding schedule, Y and I went on a date to that familiar convenience store, strolling the aisles between snack cereal boxes and travel size Advil as we held hands.

But there’s something about a driver’s seat and a velvety night sky that’s made for many a prayer, and for space to listen. When the children are grown and all these gallons of milk are an emblem of the past, I’ll remember how He met me there.

Went out to get milk from the gas station tonight. I have an inkling now that He was calling me out, an irresistible invitation. So I went; Y had left a Hillsong United album on in the car, and as I listened I heard Him call me back to the fervor of my first love for Him, hearkening back to my heart of ten years ago… totally abandoned and wanting to surrender. I got the milk and juice, and came back, and sang; sat in the cold car in the driveway listening and singing and wanting nothing more than that the Lord should know that I love Him, and this unquenchable longing to give Him something excellent, something beautiful. Not much else to add; I prayed for my children, for my husband, for my parents, for his parents… and what lingers is this stronger sense of intimacy that I haven’t had before, a sure confidence born of knowing Him: He whom I love so imperfectly, and in Whose love I am so perfectly bound.

4.4.14

 

 

This post is part of a 31 day series about Loving God as an Introvert

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    1. No, I’m afraid I haven’t read any of his writing. I don’t believe that Rumi and I would agree much about the basics of faith or the why’s of private prayer, but I gather from your mention that he talks about contemplative space or solitude?

      1. Oh, he’s known for his beautiful prayers of devotion to God, whom he calls his Beloved; they’re love poems, truly. Your writing reminds me of this. Much of his prose deals with recognizing that everything can be a communication of the Beloved, especially nature, especially the quiet moments. (The main goal of a Sufi mystic is to know God.) I’ll bet he was an introvert!

        “Those who don’t feel this Love
        pulling them like a river,
        those who don’t drink dawn
        like a cup of springwater
        or take in sunset like supper,
        those who don’t want to change,
        let them sleep.”

        ~*~

        “All
        of what
        I would want my child to know
        my poems attempt.

        We are infants before each other,
        are we not,
        so vulnerable to each other’s words
        and movements.

        A school I sat in cured me of hurting others.

        I have come to see that all are seated at
        His table, and I
        have become His
        servant.

        Sometimes God is too shy to speak in public
        and He pinches me.

        That
        is my cue—
        to fill in the blanks of your
        understanding

        the best I
        can.”

        ~*~

        “If God said,

        ‘Rumi, pay homage to everything
        that has helped you
        enter My
        arms,’

        there would not be one experience of my life
        not one thought, not one feeling,
        not any act, I
        would not
        bow
        to.”

        Looking forward to tomorrow’s piece,

        Kit

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