Coffee Dates With God
by Jenna Lucado Bishop
Every morning on my way to school, I would catch Dad in his study with a Bible in his lap. If he wasn’t in there, his Bible would lie open in his favorite comfy armchair—a clue that told me he and God had had their regular morning coffee date. Occasionally, I have even walked past the room and caught a glimpse of Dad on his knees, with his head in his hands, talking to God. Although I never eavesdropped on their conversation, I knew he was praying for me. Every detail—my test that afternoon, my volleyball game later that evening, my relationships with friends, my future husband, and most of all my faith in God. No matter what morning it is—a Saturday morning, the ho-hum of a normal workday morning, a sad morning, a morning after little sleep—my dad will never miss his coffee date with God.
My mom used to grab me on my way out the door to school. “Mom! I don’t have time!” I would whine. But my mom would say, “Honey, just one scripture. I’m going to read one scripture over you before you go to school.” Little did I know that scripture would stick in my head as I went about my day. If I was stressed about a test, I would remember, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything… present your requests to God. And the peace of God… will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6Ð7).
In sixth grade I struggled with insomnia and this thing called obsessive-compulsive behavior. In my case, I had an obsessive routine before I went to bed. I had to have all my dresser drawers closed, my closet doors closed, all the bathroom lights out, the toilet lid down, and the shower door closed before I could even think about going to sleep. I would flip the light switch on and off, on and off, until I was convinced the lights were off for good. (That’s when I started realizing something wasn’t right. I mean, it’s pretty obvious when a light is on or off, right?) Although it is difficult to put into words, the obsessive disorder took over my thoughts. I would replay any negative events of the day, maybe a hurtful conversation with a friend or an embarrassing moment in the cafeteria, over and over in my head until I could mentally travel through the scene and picture every detail just the way it happened and then re-create what I should have said or what I should have done. I would do this every night while I lay in bed, replaying thoughts until I broke out in cold sweats. I would stay awake half of the night.
It was my first year of middle school, and my life was out of control! Peer pressure, loneliness, insecurities… and it was my need to be in control that brought on my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. The obsessive-compulsive tendencies interrupted my sleep, sending me to school with even more stress. And the nasty cycle continued… stress—control freak—obsessive-compulsive girl—no sleep—stress—control freak—obsessive-compulsive girl… you get the point.
I remember my mom lying next to me, night after night, as I tried to shake the plague of thoughts and tossed and turned in my bed. She would comb her fingers through my hair and whisper Scripture over me until my body would finally give up. Something in me would let go, and sleep would finally take over. To this day, I know it was the power of God’s Word that brought healing to my mind and, most of all, my heart. Peace, unexplainable peace, kicked stress off of its throne and began to rule my life—it was the peace my mom begged God for night after night after night.
Why did I go into all this?
Because my mom and dad not only have faith, they live faith. And living out faith is one of the keys to spiritual adventure! One of the most important ways to live out your faith is by dedicating time to soaking up the Bible.
My parents have chosen to daily hold God’s hand through the bad, the good, and the ordinary. They have chosen to meet with God on a daily basis by opening up God’s Word and then applying it to their lives.
Notice that I used the word chosen. It’s not that they always feel like hanging out with God. It’s not that they are always jumping up and down at the thought of opening up the Bible. Some days they long to sit with Him, and other days it can feel like a routine or habit. But no matter how they feel, they are committed. It’s through this commitment that they get to know God for who He is. And it’s through this commitment that they can honestly say, “God’s love surprises me more and more every morning.”
When you and I choose to commit to this God thing— when we choose to have a coffee date, a lunch date, or even a nighttime hot cocoa date with Him on a daily basis, His love will surprise us too.
Jenna Lucado Bishop Daughter of best-selling Christian author Max Lucado, Jenna has realized that she has inherited a passion for writing and speaking just like her dad.