I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm
16:8, NIV

After submitting a request for a personal day, I was overcome with the giddy expectation of having eight hours to do whatever I wanted. Even a stressful day filled with parent-teacher conferences, student misbehavior, and unexpected subbing during my prep could not suppress the joyful anticipation I felt.

Determined to create the perfect day, I tried reserving local retreats for a time of quiet reading, seeking the Lord, and—inevitably—a nap. The first location was closed for the season; the second was closed due to a family death; the third canceled my reservation for repairs. So I finally resolved to spend my personal day at home after my husband pinky-promised he would work in the shop at the farm so I could have solitude.

The deal was made and, a few hours later, so were my sub plans. Everything had fallen into place for my perfect day.

But then, on the morning of my highly-anticipated day of rest, my 13-year-old son woke up sick. My husband sensed that this trumped his pinky promise, so he stayed home to work on farm paperwork and talk continuously on speakerphone. Unable to concentrate on reading or writing, I started in on laundry and vacuuming. By 11 o’clock, my two boys asked what I was making them for lunch and when it would be ready.

Some day off, I thought. Lord, You know I wanted a day away with You. In solitude. Not this.

As I stood at the kitchen counter and sulkily moved the wooden spoon around the mixing bowl, quiet, simple, and unmistakable words stirred my heart: I am here, too.

The tears that were already close to the surface emerged. Even though the day wasn’t even close to what I’d wanted it to be, I felt understood. Perhaps this personal day had been divinely set aside to teach me that it doesn’t take an Airbnb and a “perfect” day to be in the presence of the Almighty God.

Dear Lord, thank you for being everywhere we are. You are in our moments of solitude, and You are in our moments of busiest action. When we are surrounded by circumstances we didn’t plan, You are here, too. You are at our right hand, and we will not be shaken. Amen.

Copyright Kristi Shanenko.

Kristi is a current member of Christian Educators and a high school English teacher who lives in North Dakota.

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