How I Reconnected With God Through a “Grown-up VBS”

By Guest Blogger Sarah Damm

Have you heard the Christmas song “Grown-Up Christmas List”? Many singers have recorded it, but the version I am most familiar with is on Amy Grant’s Home for Christmas album.

The lyrics reflect back on childhood when Christmas included writing out a wish list and sending it to Santa Claus. As children, we hope for the magical appearance of presents underneath the tree on Christmas morning. However, as we grow up, our Christmas wishes change. We realize that we care less about material goods, and we begin hoping for less tangible gifts like peace, joy, friendship, and healing.

Last week, that song came to mind as I was sitting in the Adoration chapel at my church. My children were completing their week of Vacation Bible School, and I was closing out my own “Grown-up VBS.”

My “Grown-Up VBS” didn’t include crafts and catchy songs to teach me about my faith. It didn’t involve playing games and eating snacks. Rather, it simply consisted of time with God. Time I haven’t taken enough of lately, but time I so greatly need.

During the two-and-one-half hours I had without my kids each morning, I could have done a myriad of activities. I could have sat with my feet up and made a dent in my ever-growing stack of books to read. I could have rolled up my sleeves and got some much-needed cleaning done. There were hundreds of options, really, but the one that made the most sense to me was taking the week to do exactly what my kids were doing: immersing myself in the love of God.

With the transitional year I just had, I knew I needed to find my way back to a more consistent prayer life. I needed to reconnect with the Lord. So, each morning of VBS, I went on my own spiritual retreat. I headed to the chapel. I pondered Scripture. I prayed for my loved ones. I journaled. I read a spiritual book. I sat quietly in the presence of Jesus. I didn’t feel the need to rush; I took as much time as I needed. And over the course of the week, I realized three simple facts about my prayer life:

1. The Lord wants nothing more than to spend time with me. He is constantly inviting me into conversation and into deeper relationship. But He waits for my response before acting further. I think of all the times I feel like I am waiting on God to answer a prayer, but He has to wait for me far more. When I fail to respond, I create distance between us, and nothing can fill that space, that emptiness. I miss Him … and He misses me. And it is only when I return to His outstretched arms that we can continue that conversation, go deeper in our relationship, and begin to wait together for those answers.

Adoration

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

2. I need time with the Lord every day. I am not sure what keeps me from taking time to pray every day. Perhaps it is spiritual sloth, distraction, or feeling too busy. Whatever the excuse, it’s not a good reason. With all that I have going on with my health, my marriage, and my children, I can’t afford to stay away from God. I can’t carry this load on my own. I can’t expect to find answers to life’s questions in my human mind and heart. I need Him. Period. And the only way to rely on Him is to connect with Him every day.

3. My prayer time doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. Now that VBS is finished, I can’t necessarily go to the chapel for over an hour every day. St. Frances of Rome stated, “A married woman must when called upon, quit her devotions to God at the altar to find him in her household affairs.” God has called me to be a wife and mom, and He expects me to be present to the people He entrusted into my care. However, perhaps I could go one day per week. I can certainly carve out 15 or 30 minutes of prayer each day at home. Perhaps it’s before I check email in the morning or before I watch a favorite episode on Netflix at night. The time is there; I just need to take it.

I am grateful for the blessed opportunity to spend so much time with God during my “Grown-up VBS.” I am grateful for His patience, love, and mercy. I pray that I will use this reset in my prayer life to continue growing closer to the Lord every day.

How do you spend time with God each day? When life gets crazy and keeps you from prayer, how do you reconnect with the Lord?


Sarah DammSarah Damm is a Catholic wife and mother of six children, living in Minnesota. She spends her days running errands, cooking meals, and helping with homework. She and her husband Greg strive to weave the Catholic faith into their daily lives as well as into their family celebrations. Sarah blogs at sarahdamm.com. She is a contributing author for The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. In addition, she writes for CatholicMom.com and WINE: Women in the New Evangelization.

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One thought on “How I Reconnected With God Through a “Grown-up VBS”

  1. My boys and I have gotten in the habit of daily Rosary. I don’t know how we’ve remained faithful to this for so long, but I am very thankful. And we’ve added a few more prayers too. And I’ve said Morning Prayer ever since become a Secular Franciscan.

    Otherwise, I’ve had a hard time committing to regular prayer time all my life. But I try to turn my heart as often as possible to God or the Blessed Mother, other saints, and my guardian angel. I need to set aside time for just talking to God. But as you mentioned too, I feel like I am too busy to stop or slow down for a few minutes. Sad excuse, I know.

    Things that renew my determination to pray more: reading Catholic fiction or non-fiction, watching movies about saints, hearing the good that God has done in the life of another, having someone ask for my prayers, and your blog post!

    Thanks for sharing!

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