I was upstairs lying next to the folded laundry for the day, which I was not putting away, because I was flat out exhausted. The baby was down for her mid day nap and that is usually a time when I rest with Jesus, but I couldn't remain in the centered quiet, the inward repose.
This happens often enough, but even when I know that such communion is a gift and can't be forced by either quietness or concentration, I still felt guilty when I gave it up and picked up my library book instead.
As I read along, I was plagued by this nagging feeling that I should have tried harder to spend time with Jesus and how I must be selfish and how I'd been too tired to spend time with Him at night lately, either, as I fell asleep too quickly.
Then I came to a part in the story where they quoted these lines from Psalm 32:
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye."
Guilt and tiredness were momentarily forgotten as I remembered how Jesus made that passage come alive for me, three years ago when He was first teaching me about Him and guiding my relationship with Him as it widened out and deepened into the way it is now.
My heart warmed with love as I remembered those earlier days and how it was to grasp that Jesus wanted a relationship so intimate and trusting that He could simply look at me and I would know what He was saying just by the expression in His eyes.
As my heart was eased from guilty anxiousness into love, I felt the loving presence of Jesus right beside me; I saw Him standing there and then He pulled me comfortably into His arms and settled down with me.
This is a good book, He said, companionably.
It was At Home in Mitford, by Jan Karon, and it was a good book.
"Yes, it is," I admitted.
And didn't I give it you?
I remembered in the library- Merissa's first outing to the library- and how, after she had played with the toys and climbed around on the shelves and attempted to eat the books, I had put her back into her stroller and tried to think how many fleeting minutes I would have to find a book for myself before she lifted up her voice and wailed. Gone were the days when I could spend hours perusing the shelves.
"Dear Jesus, please help me find a book fast, something peaceful and easy to read," I had asked Him, unable, in that pressing moment, to remember even one of my favorite authors' last names.
There on the shelf for New Books, distinctive by their similar titles and lined up all in the row, where the Mitford books. I wavered a moment before grabbing one, as they weren't my usual fare, but I had no more time and I didn't want Merissa's growing vocal complaints to disturb the other patrons.
"Yes, this book was Your gift," I said, realizing it.
Then how can you feel guilty for enjoying My gift to you? Jesus asked.
I sat there with the guilt washing away, and then took up the book again to read, only this time with a light heart- just resting and enjoying the gifts He's given is a part of being in relationship with Him.