I learned at an early age that if I put God first, everything else will fall into place. This is a lesson I had to learn again recently when several personal crises converged, demanded my attention, and crowded out my time with God.

Recently my family was overwhelmed with a series of significant medical issues. First, my husband was hospitalized and told he needed major surgery. After eight days in the hospital, he was discharged with instructions to rest and prepare for the upcoming operation.

Shortly after getting my husband settled at home, our adult son was hospitalized with a serious illness that required him to receive transfusions and other serious interventions. Fortunately, he recovered enough to be discharged just four days before his father’s scheduled surgery. 

Between the two of them, I practically lived at the hospital for weeks. Thankfully, my husband’s surgery was successful, and he was released from the hospital after a week. I remained busy with his care, as he was not allowed to drive. It was up to me to take him to his follow-up appointments and take over many of the things that he had done before he had become ill.

I felt stressed, tired, and even a little resentful because there was no time for me. Self-care had gone out the window, and I longed for time to listen to music, read, write, and exercise. Most of all, I wanted to spend time with God.

Losing Our Spiritual Practices

As a rule, I make time each day to retreat to that private place in my soul where I can be alone with God. That is where I find peace, relaxation, and joy, which prepare me for my day. But lately, I had abandoned that practice. I had not been making time to turn within and become still.

Sometimes we can get so busy and have so many demands on us that our sacred time is often the first thing we thrust aside.

After some consideration, I knew why. I have long been aware that our thoughts create our reality. But I realized our actions create our reality, too, and I realized that my actions—my constant caretaking efforts and relentless busyness—had crowded out time for my spiritual practice.

And my mind and body were feeling the effects.

I think this happens to most of us at one time or another. Sometimes we can get so busy and have so many demands on us that our sacred time is often the first thing we thrust aside.

Perhaps we do this for the same reason we take out our bad moods on those we love—and those who love us in return. We know we can express our anger and resentment and those people will love us anyway. Likewise, we are certain we can never be outside divine love, no matter what we do. It then becomes easy to keep postponing time in sacred communion.

Refreshing Our Spiritual Connection

I was tired of feeling unhappy, and I resolved to make changes. I had never been an early riser, but I had heard of the merits of spending time with God in the mornings. The next day, I was up before dawn. I was excited to hear birds singing outside my window and was amazed to discover that, with the first light of morning, the sky is a masterpiece of color.

After enjoying the sunrise, I had time to read inspirations and favorite Bible selections and to pray. Feeling refreshed, I greeted my husband with a cheerful, “Good morning,” before sitting down with him to enjoy breakfast together.

As I continued to meet God in the mornings, my life changed for the better. I found I was able to do the things I needed to do and participate in my husband’s recovery without feeling stressed or resentful.

It was wonderful to realize that making time for God also made more time for me.

About the Author

Peggy Toney Horton is a regular contributor to the “Essays on Faith” column in the Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette-Mail. Her work also appears in several online and print publications. She lives in West Virginia.

Peggy Toney Horton


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