February 4, 2016—A young parent raising three kids was going through a hot, dry Texas summer. The garden was wilting, the grass withering to dry, brown patches. She moved the garden hose around back, filling a small wading pool for her kids to play in.
She meant to reconnect the hose to the spigot out front where it belonged, but instead left it in a heap in the back yard. She’d get to it later when things weren’t so busy. There were so many other things that were more important.
One day she looked out the front window to see that the dry front lawn had caught fire, probably from a cigarette butt tossed out a car window. She ran to the front spigot. No hose! She ran to the back yard and tried to drag the hose around. It was a tangled mess, full of kinks and knots. She ran back to get her children’s sand castle buckets abandoned by the wading pool. Racing back and forth from the spigot to the front lawn, she tried to put out the fire, one child-sized bucketful at a time.
This is the kind of story Jesus used for teaching. It’s a parable. The life-saving water is God. The hose is our connection that comes through developing an intentional relationship with God. The fire is whatever crisis is waiting in the future.
Have you ever disconnected your hose? Left it in a tangled mess? I know I have at times. Life gets busy. We mean to read scripture. We mean to schedule a prayer retreat. We mean to… well, a lot of things. Just like taking care of our physical bodies, spiritual thirst and self-care takes an intentional plan. This is especially true for people who have loved ones with special needs. Our lives are busy as caregivers, sometimes extremely so!
As the season of Lent approaches in the next week, take time to make an intentional plan for using the forty days of Lent to nurture your spiritual life.
Have you stopped attending a dearly loved Bible study? Find time for God’s word through something as simple as an email devotional, or join with friends and read together. Do you miss time in prayer? Set aside 10 minutes of quiet time each day to pray. Have you been missing Sundays at church? Be refreshed and renewed by regular worship. There are great options online if care for your loved one makes it hard to attend in person.
You know which spiritual nurture you thirst for the most. Use the season of Lent to water your spiritual garden and may your Easter bloom with abundance.
Rev. Dr. Lorna Bradley is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church and author of Special Needs Parenting: From Coping to Thriving, available in print and eBook. She serves as a Fellow at The Hope and Healing Institute and has led parent support groups for six years. She and her husband have an adult son with Asperger’s. She writes a weekly blog for parent support at specialneedsparenting.me. Follow Lorna on Twitter @revdoclorna or Facebook
The Center for Lifelong Learning offers an abundance of courses and events for pastors and lay-persons seeking vibrant learning and cohort opportunities specifically created to build and enhance skills in Christian education and formation, church leadership, spiritual formation and spiritual direction. Our courses are designed for people at all stages of their ministry. Check out our current classes HERE.