In the year since we moved to Philadelphia, God has been so faithful providing for our family in so many ways. One of the biggest difficulties, however, has been the subsequent distance that we experience from our families. There has been more than one occasion when I’ve desperately wished for some kind of teleportation device that could magically bring my Pittsburgh and Detroit families all together with us.
Although physical geography makes daily visits impossible, one of the best tools that has helped the separation has been FaceTime on the iPhone. (As if my husband needed one more reason to obsess over this phone). I remember when I first saw the commercial advertising it. There was that Marine watching his baby sonogram. And the little girl telling her dad, “Good night.” But when they showed the hearing impaired couple that could now talk on the phone for the first time, I cried. Those Apple people. It’s like they have a marketing strategy or something.
For my family, FaceTime has meant that Gabby and Claire can see and know their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on a regular basis, even if there are months between our physical meetings. They can share in big moments like Claire’s first crawls or little moments like watching Gabby twirl in her dress.
We use it so often, that Gabby (my two-year-old) doesn’t understand what it’s like to talk to someone on the phone and not see them. In fact, she has no use for just talking and listening to someone’s voice. She’ll instead tell her listener, “I want to see your face.”
Since adding baby #2 to the mix in March 2011 and a church plant in September 2011, I’ve found that my previously scarce alone time spent for quiet and reflection has gone the way of the wooly mammoth. It’s officially extinct. Daytime (and sometimes nighttime) hours are spent changing diapers, working part time jobs, planning children’s ministry, and enjoying time with my husband.
My quiet times with Jesus have changed a bit since the days when I could get up early before classes and journal and read for several hours. When I do get time alone with Jesus (usually early in the morning or late at night), it’s easy to find myself doing a lot of the talking. And when I say talking, I really mean whining.
“How am I going to get all this stuff done, God?”
“What am I going to do with our budget?”
“I’m a little concerned about this new behavior that I’m seeing in my daughter.”
“What are you intending to do to help that family in our church?”
And the whines go on and on.
I get so wrapped up in lengthy descriptions of problems (as if He didn’t know them) and desperate pleas for solutions (as if He didn’t have them), that I forget my heart’s true desire. In spending so much time seeking after my Father’s hands, I miss seeing His face.
Even more than I want Him to “say the word” and fix my life, I just want Him. I want to see the big things and little things that He wants to show me, whether that be direction on that important decision that’s coming up, or the beauty of my daughter twirling. And more than anything, I want to see Him. Although there may be a physical separation between my Heavenly Father and me, I’ve found that His Holy Spirit is far more effective even than FaceTime in providing a meaningful connection.
In those early morning and late night moments, when I get my alone time with Jesus, I hear Gabby’s words coming back to me, and I say them to my Father.
“I want to see your face.”