In the mornings, we sit squished together on the sofa while I read just one ch a book to my kiddos. In the afternoons, I watch out the window as they play with all the toys and stuff they’ve taken outside and “repurposed” for whatever game is at hand. In the evening, we might play a game of Monopoly or roast marshmallows or just be. Sometimes my children are right beside me, sometimes it feels like they are underneath me, and other times they are just within ear or eye shot.

On a walk earlier this week, I thanked God for whatever happened to jump across my mind in the moment. Without considering it, I said “thank you for allowing my children to be near all day long.” As I finished up that quietly whispered thought, my breath kind of held for an extra moment. In all of this change and uncertainty, I finally realized this beautiful gift from God – the recapturing, even redeeming, of nearby time with our families, our children especially. It’s a gift we quite possibly wouldn’t have even known how to request.

Then, the thought went deeper. This must also, and even more deeply, be God’s desire. He desires to have his children near to him all day long. Yes, he wants us to go to worship on Sundays. He wants us in his word. He wants us in community with his people. But, at the very core, I believe his strong desire is to have each of his children pulled near to himself all day long. Looking into his eyes. Fixing our eyes on our Savior. Calling to him for direction. Worshiping him for the great King he is. Offering him the gifts that were given by him. Extending ourselves in obedience because it draws us to his heart. Thanking him for circumstances, good and hard. Carrying our sadness, frustration, joy, anger, excitement to him. He wants it all because it keeps us near.

My children don’t stay wrapped around my legs any longer; they don’t need me to feed them and dress them and give every direction any more. Even still, they don’t go far. There’s a constant flow of “Mama, can I…,” “Mama, what if…?,” “Mama, where is…?,” and “Mama, look what I did!” They are tethered to me; there is an unseen but well-known fetter keeping us close.

So, as I thank the Lord for the gift of nearness, I’ll also pray the words of my very favorite hymn, “and let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee.” I pray we keep near to the Lord in this season and always.

May we begin or continue practicing disciplines of grace to draw us near to our God and King. Read his Word. Pray. Be still. Seek his wisdom. Offer him praise. Not just at a certain point in the day but all day long.

“A better hope is introduced (Christ Jesus), through which we draw near to God” – Hebrews 7:19

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