Your time with God? It’s not just for you

I thought it was just for me.
I was wrong.

Wednesday had been crazy already. We’d gotten up at 1 a.m. for a second day of airports, trying to get our daughter Jenna on a flight to Houston for her flight to Guatemala. The flights scheduled for Tuesday had been a bust, with one totally canceled flight and no make-ups. So Day 2 required an early morning 2-hour drive to Nashville International Airport instead of the 10 minute drive to our local airport.


We watched Jenna check in, kissed her goodbye, and drove away. But before we were even off the airport grounds, she called. Her flight to Houston was delayed. That meant she’d miss her connecting flight (again) to Guatemala.

Why did this going away have to be so complicated, God?

Throughout the day, she’d text us with updates, including when she finally made it to Houston. But now she’d have to wait until nightfall to catch the only remaining flight to Guatemala.

We busied ourselves at home, waiting on time to pass to hear that she’d flown out of Houston and arrived in Guatemala City. But another delay came. And another. And another.

I opened The Soul of a Pilgrim, a book I’m working through during Jenna’s weeks in Guatemala. The passage for lectio divina that day was Genesis 12.

“The LORD said to Abram: Go forth from your land, your relatives, and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”
Genesis 12:1-2

Had I been Abram and Sarai, I would have tried bargaining. Why do we have to go? Why can’t we stay? Can’t we do this nation-building right where we are?

But the message from God to them was the same message we get today: Just go. That’s our part. He calls; we go; he makes us a blessing.

A good word, but what did it have to do with me in this season?

An hour later, I found out.

More texts from Jenna in Houston. She was worried. Mark, the local in Guatemala who would be meeting her plane, had specifically said arrive during the day, not the night. Would she be imposing on him, now that her flight was significantly delayed?

She contacted him about the changes, and he was gracious each time. He would still come, of course. But she felt bad and continued apologizing.

So I texted her back what God had just given me.

God’s call for you is to GO. That’s all. You are doing it.
His call to Mark is to pick you up. That is Mark’s offering of obedience.
Don’t feel bad about how the details play out.
Accept the gift with grace, not guilt.
Then let God make you a blessing to others.

It was the message straight from my lectio time in Genesis 12. MY lectio time. The time just between me and God.

But God doesn’t work that way.

When we spend time with God, it affects not only us.

What we hear, we tell others.

Therefore we should never feel guilty about private time spent with God. It’s not selfish.

But we should never be stingy with what he gives us during that time. It’s rarely just for us. It’s often for someone else, too.

We’re all in this together. Part of our journey is to support others on their journey. Keep passing the grace forward.

About 24 hours later, I received the important text I’d been waiting for from Jenna: she’d finally arrived in Guatemala about 12:15 a.m., Thursday morning. Mark and his wife were waiting on her. All was well.

I’m glad we journey together. God is with us all. And all is well.

* * *

When have you received a message that you had to pass along? Please share in the comments.

36 thoughts on “Your time with God? It’s not just for you

  1. Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours

    Praying for Jenna as she ministers—and her mama while she’s away! I hadn’t thought about my time spent with God in exactly the same way as this, but it’s so true… Lately the message I’ve been learning—and sharing—is to interact with everyone as my neighbor. For those of us raised in church, it seems like a “no brainer” but, sadly, I’m afraid many of us have been very selective about which neighbors we want to build relationships with. Allowing God to clear my vision and get my priorities straight has brought much messiness and undesired schedule changes into my life… yet every day results in a blessings of obedience. Living out dirty faith is just that: dirty!

    (You’re only two hours from Nashville? You obviously don’t live where I thought. Where’s home for you, Lisa? We may be closer than I realized.)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You have a beautiful message to share with others, Susan. We all need reminding that our “neighbors” are all around us, and more often than not, they do not look like we come from the same neighborhood. I live in north Alabama, so we often choose to fly out of Nashville because the flights are much cheaper. Where are you?

  2. Samantha

    I see God using my quiet time to influence my husband. As a youth pastor, he comes across a variety of challenges. God has placed me as his wife to remind him of what the Scriptures says, particularly in the area of discouragement. I like how you said it’s not just about us, but God uses this time to glorify Him to other people. I’ll continue to pray for your daughter as she travels.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m sure you’re an excellent partner in ministry with your husband. The wife of a youth pastor is a special person. 🙂 I don’t know that I could fill that position so I’m very thankful for those who can!

  3. Michele Morin

    As our girl friend Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
    If only we could maintain this perspective in the midst of our journeys.
    Linking with you today at Small Wonder.

  4. Sharon

    You know, I so appreciate your words here today. Life is full of complications, delays, obstacles, roadblocks. And it’s very easy to get discouraged or dismayed (at least it is for me!) But, the lesson that I am taking out of your time with the Lord is this – HE’S got it! In every instance, His hand is firmly on the steering wheel. He will get us where He’s called us to go. And we must learn to patiently go along for the ride – (and no back-seat driving either!!)

    I love how the Lord works in the Body. And how His words to one can spread ripples of blessing to many. I certainly have been lifted up today by His words through you.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      No back-seat driving? Boo. 🙂 There have been many times when I wanted to tell God to go left when he chose to go right, or vice-versa. But I know you’re right, that HE is the one to get us where he wants us to go. We just need to trust. I love how the Lord ripples through the body too—in person and online! Thanks for your consistent words of encouragement, Sharon.

  5. Bill (cycelguy)

    Isn’t it strange how we question and wonder about what God has in mind when He has a plan? I like to think God knows what roadblocks and stumbling blocks she may have faced along the way. Then again, we are dealing with “things of earth.” So glad you were able to find answers for yourself and to pass along to Jenna.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      If we could see the whole picture, I know we’d be awestruck at all the roadblocks that were really divine saves. I suppose God knows we couldn’t handle his awesomeness in full, so he parcels it out to us in measures we can handle. Praying you have a blessed week of ministry, Bill, and that you can get out to ride your bicycle some!

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          I can just hear God saying, You want summer? I’m going to give you summer! 🙂 It’s raining here too at the moment, but since I have no outdoor plans, I’m loving it. Hope you get your warm dry days soon.

  6. Jody Collins

    Whew! is all I can say. What a grand adventure you both are on–Jenna with the going and you with the trusting. I think as a parent that would be much harder, an area of real growth….
    I’m so encouraged how you take the hard and use it to push you to Him. Thanks, Lisa….

    Keep us updated!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Jody. It’s definitely been an adventure already—for her AND for me, yes. ha. We got to Skype yesterday while she was hanging out with some of the kids. All my Spanish went right out the window when I was suddenly staring at a screen trying to think of my few phrases I know to say. I’ll be better prepared next time. But such a blessing to be able to actually talk to some of these orphans! I do love technology in many ways.

  7. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Go it, Michele! Julian ROCKS!

    I get messages like this, that I have to pass along, every day…it’s that death doesn’t win, if you’re vicious enough to fight back.

    Every so often, pain in the pancreas blocks everything else…and I go down, hard. Can’t feel my legs, or my left arm.

    One working arm’s enough. You can crawl on that. Mostly. Some days, the dogs have dragged me back to the house.

    Happened a few weeks back, outside, on a weekend…my wife was home. She said that the aeroplane that pitches the local skydivers over the side (we live near an aerodrome) would circle us, to make sure all was OK…it took her 2-1/2 hours to get me back to the house.

    Someone’s always watching.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      So you’re a Julian fan too. We’ll have our own little fan club. You’re one tough warrior, Andrew. I continue to read every post you write about living with a spouse who is dying. Even though it breaks my heart. It’s still truth and if you can live it, we do well to listen to it. Thanks, brother. Yes, Someone is always watching, thank the Lord.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      There is always that temptation to think maybe God is saying no? 🙂 But there had been too many yes’s all along the way to doubt him at that point. Jenna will definitely have some good God stories to share when all is said and done.

  8. Barbara H.

    I’m so glad she made it there safely. One year my middle son was going with some of the youth group to Mexico and got stuck in the Houston airport for a few days because of a hurricane that shut down much of the Gulf Coast. Even though he was with a group, and our youth pastor was a good guy, he was pretty young himself, and I wasn’t sure how he’d keep tabs on a group of teens for that long. Then there were worries about the weather, food supplies, etc. Everything turned out ok, but it was hard for the mamas 1,000 miles away. But a lesson in faith, at least for the moms – I think the kids had a blast.

    It would be an even greater lesson in faith for me to send one off alone. Sometimes I’ve encouraged myself with missionary stories: “If Mary Slessor could go to Africa alone and face down a prison riot, surely I can trust God to keep me safe.”

    It’s neat how often God uses something He’s shared with us in another’s life as well.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      No telling what the kids ate with the youth pastor in charge. Or maybe that’s just applicable to youth pastors I’ve known. ha. Yes, I’m sure the kids that it was a grand adventure, while the parents at home sensed all the dangers. The joys of parenting, right? 🙂

      Those missionary stories definitely are inspiring. I also reminded myself last week of all the parents sending kids off to the military and war zones. That is immensely harder than anything I’ve ever had to do, and my heart goes out to them.

  9. Cheryl Smith

    So grateful your daughter reached her destination and is now on the mission field for our Lord! But, then again, aren’t we all? Anywhere He places us is our personal mission field…even if it is simply right inside our own homes. I was thinking how you have invested your faith and relationship with God into your daughter, infusing and saturating her world with His truth, and now, she carries that part of you to another land! Our children take parts of us with them wherever we go, and even though they are going, instead of us, it is like we are making a contribution to that going and work. God bless you and your daughter and bring her back home safely to you at the appointed time. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Cheryl—we are all on a mission field for Christ, wherever we are. Thanks for your encouraging words. My daughter has been part of my mission field, and now she’s expanding the reach. I love how God works.

  10. Betty Draper

    It is kind of exciting that God will use us to encourage others..sweet post Lisa. Glad your daughter is there, it will change her life, her heart will be so affected by what she experience she might just want to go full time. I will pray for her Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you for your prayers, Betty. I have to admit my heart still shudders if I think about her doing this full-time. I’ll just take 6-weeks for now. The Lord still has lots of work to do on me. 🙂

  11. Alecia Simersky

    Thank you for this perspective. Lately God has been showing me how I can use my past to help my daughter navigate through her teen years. I use wisdom and discretion, of course, but the lessons I’ve learned can hopefully help her.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s beautiful, Alecia. God can redeem our past and use it not only for our good, but for the good of our children too. Your daughter is blessed to have your honesty and your love to guide her.

  12. Becky Keife

    God is so good. So gracious to give us exactly we we need when we need it. Loved reading this sweet story. And that nugget about time spent alone with God not being selfish? Yep, I needed that. Always a joy to be your neighbor at #TellHisStory.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Becky. Yes, God is beyond our comprehension in the way he weaves people and events in and around our lives, blessing us at just the right times in just the right ways!

  13. Jen Ferguson

    This is so good – I think so often we let guilt enter into doors it has no key to enter. The purpose of guilt is to convict and yet so much of our guilt has nothing to do with doing something actually wrong. And of course I am in full support of us sharing our revelations with our families and communities!!

  14. Anita Ojeda

    I love this, Lisa! I never thought about how others benefit from me spending time with God (other than the obvious–I’m a much nicer person when I spend time in His presence). I’m so glad your daughter made it safely and may she have a wonderful time while there!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Anita. My daughter emailed more pictures yesterday of the place where she’s staying and of the view in Guatemala. Oh my! Wish I were there with her. But for now, God has me tilling the ground back home. 🙂

  15. Laura Thomas

    Oh Lisa- sounds like such a stressful couple of days for you all! You are SO right… God’s time to whisper in our ear is often so that we can share that truth. For me, I think that’s why I blog and write Bible Devos. I have a memory like a sieve, so I journal what I believe God is speaking to me through His Word and then many times end up writing about it in a post. It’s such a blessing to then hear how HIS words have touched other hearts through my feeble interpretation… my time with Him is never. ever wasted. Thanks for this… Blessings to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t blogging a wonderful way to capture our thoughts? I’m like you, Laura—one reason I blog is to capture my experiences for myself and then hopefully they can bless at least one other person. But even if they don’t, our time with God is valuable no matter what. Thanks for sharing.

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