I like afternoon pick up time.
Call me sappy or sentimental, but there is something special about the afternoon, when the kids get out of school and I’m sitting in the warm car in the cool of the day. The elementary schools here let out a little later, so it feels like it’s a mad dash after pick up to get home and get dinner going. But those moments in the car when my kids pile in with their enormous backpacks… those moments are special to me.
A long while back, while waiting for my older girls to end their school day, I remember reading a book while my little guy took a nap in his car seat behind me. I was parked and the sunlight was beaming through my window just right. I was suddenly startled awake (yeah, I fell asleep hard) by a fellow pick-up parent who was tapping on my window, “Um, ma’am…Your son is throwing his shoes and socks out of the back window.”
I mouthed out, “Thank you sir” with my half-awake smile. And I’ll tell you this: There’s nothing like picking up shoes and socks from the pavement while you try to hop back into the car to move up in line while all the other pick-up parents watch.It’s the best. But the calm I felt before the abrupt window tapping was so peaceful that I knocked out. If only that calm would translate to my regular evening routine when I would like to go to sleep, but that’s a tale for another day:)
Now that my children are more grown and often getting rides from friends, I find myself ultra nostalgic about those pick up times and drives home – when all the stories of the day would come pouring out in such a steady stream of enthusiasm and hilarity. Sometimes the conversations were a little more tough. Like when one of my girls started telling me about how after the holiday break, while playing a game, several students shared that their parents were separating or divorcing. Other times, my kids experienced so much exhaustion from their day, it was visibly as heavy as their backpacks and all they could do was slump into their seats and fall asleep while the seatbelts held their heads until we arrived at home.
Car rides in the afternoon just hit differently; they allow us to have space to share all about our day and share what was on our hearts.
I think that’s why I like the cool of the day so much…because it reminds me of the creation story when God came to Adam and Eve in, “ The cool of the day”,
To walk with them,
To talk with them,
To hear about their day,
To share life with them.
In the creation story of The Bible, Adam & Eve’s life in Eden went from perfect to poisonous really fast. Instead of pouring out their hearts to God, they ran and hid in shame. They heard The Lord walking in the garden, during the evening breeze-the cool of the day- as was His custom, and hid themselves from The Lord (Genesis 3).
God asks the question,“Where are you?”. Not because He didn’t know where they were, but because He wanted them to recognize exactly where they were; to acknowledge what they had done and how it impacted themesleves and their relationship with Him. Adam replied, “I heard you in the garden and I hid because I was naked.”
Then, The Lord of Creation proceeded to ask questions:
“Who told you that you were naked?”
“Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to?”
“What have you done?”
The questions were followed by blame, more blame, and finally a confession of what had taken place.
“I was deceived.”
“I ate the fruit.”
Before the fall, people poured out their hearts to God willingly. Now, the decision to hide and hold the burdens of our heart has taken the place of transparency with God. Adam and Eve grabbed leaves to cover themesleves, and here we are all these years later searching for and grabbing onto anything we can to hold all the pieces of our heart…like walking around with big backpacks after a hard day at school, not wanting to share anything we’ve packed away.
Friends, we are God’s children- and I believe God is in the business of wanting to hear all about our day. The brilliant parts that are shining with goodness, and the toughest parts filled with failures and regret. He already sees it all. He wants to walk with us and talk with us and spend time hearing about all of it. He wants us to be honest with ourselves, and honest with Him.
He loves us.
He wants to listen to us.
He wants to give us words of wisdom and encouragement.
He alone can forgive when we fail and fall short.
He alone can cover us with what will appropriately protect us – the precious Blood of His Son Jesus.
Friend, I’d love to tell you I’ve mastered pouring out my heart but I am still learning how to regularly pour it all out. But together, we can remember Him coming to us in the cool of the day, at pick up time, on the drive home, as we pull into the driveway, and we can remember that He still comes to us so we can share it all with Him.
We can be the ones that choose to share everything with The Lord.
We can choose to come before Him in honesty and experience His care and compassion.
Let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, everyday of our lives, we want to live honestly before you. You are faithful to come to us right where we are. You meet us at the point of our greatest need, and You want to be deeply connected to every part of us. Lord, help us today to look for you in the cool of the day; to find you walking into our lives in the spaces and moments where You invite us to pour out our hearts before you. We want to walk with You, Lord. We want to hold onto the truth of Your Word that beckons us to come to You and reminds us that You are Our Refuge. Thank You Lord for making Your way to us in the cool of our day. Amen.
Go The Extra Mile With Me: I have had this song on repeat many a days in this new year, and I hope it encourages you as it has encouraged me, to linger longer in God’s presence. To remain in Him, to seek His truth, and allow Him to remain in us everywhere we go. Check it out today friends, and turn the volume way up as you drive around town or as you go about your day.