God has always been near to me, in theory. My father was a pastor and still is to this day. As a music director, I lead others in singing about God every Sunday. “Walking in fellowship with God” is a phrase that seems as familiar to me as my own breath. Every night I take a walk outside. Usually it follows the draining routine of putting my children to bed and telling them in a raised voice to go BACK to bed several times. And then, because ultimately I realize my physical health is what will give me the habitual strength to keep up my activities as a mother, day-in and day-out, I force myself, exhausted from the day’s rigor, to take a walk. Usually, this walk is the only time I’ve been able to get alone all day. I can finally hear myself think and I’m usually thinking about how desperate I am from all of the day’s disappointments that are fair game to a mother of seven.
I start walking. Then I start praying. And after a few minutes of talking to God, I start crying. And in that moment I begin to feel something, something other than frustration, anger, bitterness and wistfulness. I feel God walking right next to me, helping me to take that next step. All of the sudden, I feel like a better person, like God’s child. There, under the starlit night, I instantly transform into who I wish I could be during the day, all day long—a good Christian woman walking in fellowship with God. If my children and husband didn’t already know I was out taking a walk, they might not even recognize me, should they pass me on the street, because when I’m not walking in fellowship with God, I’m better known as the angry mom and ever so popular nagging wife.
Every night I ask God why He doesn’t walk with me during the day, why He only seems to be by my side at night. I beg Him for an epiphany of how I can feel Him just as close to me, during the day when I’m feeling alone in the struggle to be the Christian mom I need to be. Night after night, I know that I can’t stay outside forever, that I’m going to have to go back inside and face my real life problems in biggie sized proportions. I know that I can’t really walk in fellowship with God all the time. It would be nice, but impossible. Fellowshipping with a close friend as you take a walk together is way more intimate than running a marathon with a lot of strangers who have a common goal to pass the finish line. But both have value in the scheme of a whole lifetime that requires disciplined action, scheduled time with God and yes, even stressful moments of just coping when God seems nowhere to be found.
Instead of beating yourself up for getting absorbed in the stress of your typical day, try to take a walk tonight and see if God shows up to walk alongside you. After all, one of the first accounts of God, is of Him taking a walk. (Gen. 3:8) Walking in fellowship with God is more than a pretty phrase off a page. Our walk with God must be intentional. And planning time away from work, family and friends might seem next to impossible. But trust me, once you experience the intimacy of walking alone with the Creator of the universe–your Father and Friend–it will be habit forming.