I’ll be honest. Port-a-johns are not my thing. I don’t have a phobia of them, nor do I refuse to use them when necessary as I know some do, but I definitely do not enjoy them.
My four year old, on the other hand, thinks they’re down right awesome. There’s not one ounce of hesitation in his bones when it comes to using a port-a-john. On the contrary, I think he secretly schemes of ways to use them as many times as he can and proceeds to exclaim how cool and fun they are each and every time. “Mom, these are so nice!” he’ll say to me with a big grin as he looks up, down and all around the port-a-john while I urge him to stay focused on the task at hand. Sigh.
You see, when I come to David’s Tent, I actually prefer to spend my time IN the Tent, NOT in the port-a-john. With five children going on six, this, unfortunately is not my reality. Quite the contrary. There have been many days where I have spent more time at the ports-johns than in the Tent worshipping. So goes the life of a mother of littles.
I’ll admit. At one point, this reality pushed me over the top. I was not thrilled, by any stretch of the imagination, when I was on my third trip to the port-a-johns in the matter of 20 minutes with the same said 4 year old as spoken of above. I had about had it. This mommy was not a happy camper and I chose to let my four year old know it.
There I was, giving my son an ear full, when I felt my heart come under arrest. I felt the weight of Heaven’s hand upon me. I knew I was caught. I knew I was busted. In the matter of a second, I was under interrogation.
“Is your worship any less meaningful if offered up from a port-a-john than from a Tent?”
“Is your time and patience in caring for your son any less of a fragrant offering to Me than if you never once had to leave the Tent?”
“Is your “interrupted” worship any less pleasing to Me than your “uninterrupted” worship?
These were some of the questions I heard the Father asking me. Gulp. Swallow the lump in my throat. I knew the answers. I knew the truth. In those moments though, I for one wasn’t living it.
True and pure worship doesn’t happen when we’re comfortable, it happens when we’re surrendered. I was not surrendered. True worship comes when we’re focused on the beauty of the Most Beautiful One, not on our surroundings. I was focused on my surroundings, in other words, the germs congregating in the port-a-john. True worship isn’t a matter of singing, clapping and lifting of hands, it’s a matter of the heart. It’s a matter of the spirit.
How quickly I can forget. How quickly I can loose focus. I’ve traveled the world enough to know that there are many unpleasant places where I never expected to see joy or worship filled hearts, but I did. I’ve been a mother long enough to know that even in the mundane, not-so-glorious moments of motherhood, my worship is precious and valuable to Him. Somewhere in my journey back and forth to the port-a-johns with my son though, I lost sight of Heaven’s perspective. I’m so thankful for the Father’s hand that stopped me in my tracks that day.
Recently, this same “multi-trips to the port-a-john” scenario played out once again with my little guy, though I felt the pleasure of Heaven as I handled this go-around with greater patience and grace. This time, it was a worship experience, not one of singing, clapping and lifting up hands, but one of a pure heart, operating in the fruits of the Spirit as it ought.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:23