If Demons Could Talk…What Would They Say About Godly Mothers?

So much to do...

Demons love it when we’re “too busy…”

 

Taken after the pattern of The Screwtape Letters, this post may be what some demon is saying about you. I know I’ve fallen prey to Satan’s wiles in the past, but by God’s Grace I am striving to not just be a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, but a crazy one at that! One who truly gives myself to God daily and takes up my cross and follows Him in a life of sacrifice and service for others.

 

Dear Fellow-Demon,

 

I hear you’ve been having some trouble with your assignment. While you’ve been doing your best to keep that Christian mother from her primary responsibility of training her children, she still insists on trying to teach them “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” as she’s so fond of saying. (Yes, I know she persists in using that old Book, that Holy Bible, even though we’ve sent people her way to laugh at her.)

 

It’s horrible when a Christian mother gets it in her head to take the responsibility for training her kids. First she starts by – of all things – Praying for them! That in itself is enough to cause all of us demons to quiver and run to hide! But then when the little ones come, she takes her own spare time and teaches them all sorts of foolishness from the Bible: Scripture songs, Bible stories, and even teaches them to memorize Scripture! It’s an awful thing, and it must be stopped.

 

You know, of course, what happens if she’s allowed to continue? It will mean your ruin as well as mine. She may raise up a whole bunch of good young people, and that in itself is scary. But if they truly get a hold of God, become born-again, then they may just turn the world upside-down, like all those silly apostles! And we can’t have that!

 

First, may I suggest that you begin by shaming her into thinking that she’s really not accomplishing anything by being a stay-at-home mom. After all, she’s not contributing to society by working a job. In fact, try to sell her on the line that she needs time away from her kids. After all, it’s just such a waste of time to change diapers all day! She can really fulfill her potential by getting a job, I think, instead of all that menial work of laundry, diapers, and meals. Remind her that any moron can do THAT work…she needs to be important, to really do something worthwhile.

 

Those lies are very important, and I think you’ve got a lot of support from the media and Hollywood. And don’t forget to remind her that all her friends are working, too, even the other Christians. That way, she’ll  be ashamed to stay at home with her children.

 

I’ve seen those lies work just about every time. It’s just a few tenacious mothers that will stand up to that sort of assault on their character and continue to train their children for God.

 

But if those lies don’t work, I have another plan. This one is so sneaky, so cunning; I think maybe even Satan himself may have come up with it. I guess that’s why it’s so effective. Here it is:

 

If you can’t get the Christian mother out of the home, just find a convenient way to distract her while she’s in the home. There are a number of avenues you have at your disposal: TV (which has worked for ages,) movies, and of course Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to name a few. These are great ways to make a Christian mother feel like she’s part of a group of friends who care for each other, and give each other all sorts of fun ideas of things to bake, decorate the house, and do with all their “spare” time. Especially for creative mothers, it’s the Death Knell for their child-training.

 

Distraction works every time…except with the very most dedicated of all Christian mothers – those crazy moms who gave themselves body and soul to God and seek to serve Him daily.

 

When those moms get with God and rely on the Holy Spirit, there’s no power from our beloved underworld, not even Satan himself, can stop them.

 

Let’s hope your Christian mama isn’t one of the crazy ones.

 

Your fellow-demon for the Love of Death,

 

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Are you one of those crazy mothers? What would a demon say about you, if you could hear him talk?

 

The Beauty of the Scars

Life is Precious, but is comes at a great cost...

Life is Precious, but is comes at a great cost…

 

If you read this post, you will know that I very stupidly accelerated over a hump on my bike and had an awful wreck, resulting in 22 stitches above my right eye. But what you probably don’t know is that my scar is virtually invisible. In fact, the only time I notice my old injury is when I tweeze my eyebrows!

 

Somehow Dr. Yates did a splendid job with his plastic surgery, putting my eyebrow back together with a very minimum of scarring. Which is good – my eyebrow is right on my face! No one wants a large scar on their face, if they can help it.

 

Of course, scars are Not Pretty.

 

They’re so ugly in fact that people will spend many billions of dollars a year on cosmetics, some of which is to cover up scars. We use concealer, foundation, and – get this – *Primer* before the concealer to make sure our scars don’t show.

 

But in God’s sight, there’s nothing more beautiful than scars or even stretch marks created through the giving of life to another person.

 

God is a Creator. He fashioned the world with His Words, made man out of the dust of the earth, created woman from a rib, and breathed into his nostrils the Breath of Life. In His Infinite Wisdom, He granted to the woman the ability to partner with His in the Creation of Life, and Eve became the Mother of All Living.

 

Now, we know nothing about any of her pregnancies, labors, or deliveries, but because she had a perfectly created body, I doubt she had scars or stretch marks. Me? I have all of it! Far from having a perfect body, I tear every single time I deliver a baby, create stretch marks on top of stretch marks, and will for the rest of my life bear the 10-centimeter vertical scar from the one caesarian I had.

 

Pregnancy and childbearing are full of hardships, trouble, and trials. But the result is TOTALLY WORTH IT.

 

Here is the principle: LIFE SPRINGS FROM DEATH

 

John 12:24-26

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

 

25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

 

26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

 

One earthly example of this principle is the seasons. The bright colored fall leaves give way to death of winter. All is covered with the snow of frozen silence…until the first bud of spring appears, and life pushes up from the earth, filling the world with the beauty and fragrance of spring.

 

Another example is the pain of childbirth. The labor contractions are preparation for the inevitable death of dignity and calm – until the baby’s first cry sounds, and life is brought into the world.

Still another example is the Cross of Calvary. The thorny crown and painful whip led the way to two rough timbers and cold sharp nails, and Jesus allowed Himself to be subjected to the indignity of a painful, naked death….to bring us new life.

 

THESE SCARS ARE BEAUTIFUL.

 

After Jesus’ resurrection, when He appeared to Thomas, He showed him His Hands and His Side. Thomas responded, gazing at the scars made just for him, “My Lord, and My God!”

 

DEATH IS REQUIRED FOR NEW LIFE.

 

A missionary lady named Ruth Stull once said, “If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad.”

 

I read a story once about a young girl who was embarrassed when her friends came to visit because of her mother’s hands. Her mom’s hands were horribly twisted and disfigured, and the little girl was somewhat ashamed of them.

 

As she grew older, however, she discovered what had happened to disfigure her mother’s hands. It had taken place when the young girl was just a baby and her pajamas had caught fire. The dear mother was horrified to see the flames leaping up her daughter’s pajamas, and quickly smothered the fire with her own hands, burning them badly in the process. When the girl heard this, her mother’s disfigured hands took on a great beauty. They were no longer a cause of shame – they were a sign of her mother’s love and sacrifice.

 

When Jesus rose from the dead, “He showed them His hands.” He was proving who he was, of course, but more, He was teaching them what He had done.

And further still, He was sharing with them why He had done it.

Paul said “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17) He was probably talking about the scars from various acts of torture that he had went through. But what about us? What are the marks of our love for Jesus? Where are the signs of our affection and devotion toward Him? In what way has our life changed?

So don’t fret over the hardships. Don’t chafe because you have scars or stretch marks. Be thankful that God is using you to bring LIFE to someone.

Do not fret over the sufferings of life, the trials of financial struggles, physical limitations, or just unfair “stuff.” God is using them to bring LIFE to someone.

Someone is watching you, to see how you do this thing called Life. If they see joy and peace, they will want what you have.

How can your hard times be an encouragement to someone else? Has there ever been a time when someone told you, “I thank God for you. You’ve been a real example to me of Christ.”

What I’m Missing by Simplifying My Life

 

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One of the times we lived in Texas was during the emu and ostrich craze. I guess ostrich farming was a pretty lucrative business for awhile, and we lived not far from several ostrich farms. Farming ostriches, however, is not for the faint of heart; ostriches are known for being aggressive on occasion. In fact, my husband met a woman once who had been brutally attacked by one of her ostriches – I guess it got tired of her one day and kicked her in the back with its powerful legs, putting her in the hospital!

I’m so glad that my home is not an ostrich farm. I may get irritated sometimes, but my family deserves better than a cranky irritable mom who’s harried and tired.

My recent decision to simplify my life has been a good one. It was a decision to pull back from the normal whirl of life and spend more time in focused prayer, Bible reading, reading good books and making sure I got to bed on time. I took the time to evaluate my priorities, and began making my daily life reflect those priorities.

So far, I realize that I’ve missed out on a few things.

  1. I’ve missed out on being constantly tired, sometimes to the brink of exhaustion. It’s an awful feeling to start the day already tired, and to have kids, grandkids, hubby and church people needing me for some reason. When I’m exhausted, there simply isn’t enough of me to go around, and the default setting is to start barking at people. Which brings me to my next point:
  2. I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities to yell. Because I’ve been more rested and more at peace, I’ve not reached “the boiling point” where I snap and lose it. In fact, I’ve probably missed out on some wonderful opportunities to argue with the hubs!
  3. I’ve missed out on irritating arguments with the kids right before bed. This is another similar one, but I write this separately because the time right before bed, when I’m very tired and trying desperately to go to bed and no one will listen to me, is usually an extremely frustrating time for me. Since I decided to go to bed at a certain time every night, now I simply excuse myself and go to bed. No great ceremonies, no parting tears, no threatening yells.
  4. I’ve missed out on being harried and hurried. I heard one time that God gives us the time to do His Will – the things He wants us to do. It’s when we add all our other desires that we run like we’re being chased by zombies. Since cutting out any unnecessary activities, I actually have the time to do the things that need done. Fancy that!
  5. I’ve missed out on late night conversations. Now this one requires a second glance, because I love when my teens open up. But late at night? No thank you! I don’t know why it is, but some young folks wait until 11pm to bring up deep things or ask questions about things they don’t understand. I know it’s just me, but I’ve noticed that it’s very easy to get upset with them over something they say or talk about late at night, since I’m so tired. I’ve told them that, though I love taking time to talk with them, it’s much better to talk about these things when I’m rested and can think straight about the subject.

I’m certainly not perfect, nor will I ever be, but with God’s help (and the ability to say No to some things…) we’re seeing the advantages of slowing down a bit.

Are you simplifying your life too? How has it helped? If you haven’t been, what are some things you can lay aside for today, so you can get a bit of down time?

How I’m Simplifying My Life and Finding Peace

How many of us look longingly at a photo of an Amish horse and buggy and think to ourselves, “Oh, if only life could be so simple!”

Amish Horse

 

Ah for the simple life! The words themselves conjure up images of sitting in the tall prairie grass with the wind blowing my hair, watching the clouds scuttle by. Or perhaps the simple life is sitting by the beach reading a book. Or relaxing by the fire chatting with friends!

My husband has this amazingly simple bedtime routine. When it’s time for lights out, he gets up, uses the bathroom, brushes his teeth, turns off the lights and goes to bed.

That’s it!

My bedtime routine looks something like a two-hour drama: get things ready for breakfast the next morning (this includes, but is not limited to, things like putting my Bible at the table and a few Kleenexes, getting my teacup ready and preparing the coffeepot for the next morning), cleaning up the kitchen, scrubbing the sink, getting dressed, taking out my contacts, brushing and flossing teeth, saying goodnight to everyone in the house (which tends to lend itself to another flurry of demands…”Mom, can you…?”) and perhaps FINALLY turning off the lights and going to bed!

His routine is simple.

Mine is not.

My routine is terribly, almost painfully complicated.

I’ve been taking part of the 21 day Go To Bed Challenge, which I like a lot better than the Rise Up Early challenges. (Not that I mind Rising Early, but I prefer rising early and being Rested, rather than exhausted!) So I’ve been working on tweaking my bedtime routine. I’ve discovered that it really can be a whole lot simpler than I tend to make it.

For some odd reason, I seem to enjoy complicating things.

Perhaps it a bit of perfectionism, or maybe pride (which is at the root of perfectionism!) but the tendency to complicate matters goes for lots of things – not just my going to bed routine.

For example, what about God’s Will? His Will is very simple. It’s determined by my role in life as a child of God, wife, mother, homeschool parent, grandma, child, pastor’s wife, and missionary’s wife. If I merely do what I am supposed to do in these roles by taking responsibility in these areas, I will be doing God’s Will by “doing the next thing.” This may involve simple things such as making my hubby some tea, putting on some laundry, or by correcting some papers for my homeschool students.

But I tend to complicate matters by doing other things…making unnecessary phone calls, spending time on Facebook, reading blogs, or even just shopping … just because I feel like doing something else.

So here are some things I’m doing differently this year:

  • I’m streamlining my priorities. I’ve boiled my life down to only 5 Things I really need to do:
    1. I alone am responsible for my relationship with God.
    2. I alone am responsible for who I am, to become all I can be.
    3. I alone can be Kevin’s wife.
    4. I alone can be my kids’ mom, and my grandkids’ nana.
    5. I alone can manage my household.
  • I’m saying a lot of “No’s” to anything that doesn’t fit in those priorities.
    1. This means saying no to a lot of invitations for other activities
    2. This means not checking Facebook every time I turn around.
    3. This means not watching, listening to, or reading much that doesn’t help me grow.
    4. This means scaling down on my time I spend working out.
  • I’m investing my time – and my Christmas money! – in things having to do with those priorities.
    1. I bought a new Bible this year, the AW Tozer Bible
    2. I bought several new books, including The Incomparable Christ, How to Get Things Done in Less Time, etc.
    3. I’m taking time to read.
  • I’m trying to schedule Free Time into my day
    1. Time to relax
    2. Time to meditate on all the things I’m reading
    3. Time to play games with the kids
    4. Time to create. I haven’t actually created anything yet, but I have some thoughts, and that’s a lot better than it has been in the past.

It’s this amazing ability to complicate matters that can get me in the biggest trouble! So this is my goal lately. To simplify my life. From my bedtime routine to my morning routine to my Quiet Time with God, my desire is that my life will be simple, and that it will simply glorify the Lord.

And that’s what life is all about.

 

Do you tend to complicate things? What are some things you can simplify in your life? How do you do it?

The Beauty of Silence

Sunrise in the stillness of the forest

Sunrise in the stillness of the forest

 

It’s an elusive time of day for me…that time of stillness and silence. I only find it when I rise early, and come to the front window to watch the sun rise. It’s a time of stillness and silence that resounds with the opening hues of the day.

 

It is in this time that I find my Lord’s presence. He waits for me there in the shadows of the dawn, and I rise early to go find Him. In the Beauty of Silence, He is there, with His splendid glory and infinite strength. I lean upon Him, and gather strength for the upcoming day.

 

In the Beauty of Silence I find my Lord’s infinite wisdom. His Word waits for me there on the table, and as I open it in the stillness of the morning, the dew of His gracious Words fall from the pages to my heart. I learn from Him, and gather guidance for the brand-new day.

 

In the beauty of silence I find my Lord’s mercy. His gracious forgiveness is new every morning; great is His faithfulness! The balm of His healing love comes from His heart to mine, and I gather hope for the rest of my day.

 

Life is busy; life is noisy. But for just a few moments, I enjoy the Beauty of Silence.

Healing From a Wreck

All banged up

All banged up

 

“…I am the LORD that healeth thee.” Exodus 15:26

 

Looking back to my childhood, I sometimes wonder how I survived. I could fill a book telling the stories of ongoing stupidity my brothers and sister and I engaged in.

 

Well, this day was no different. My sister and I were coming home from what we called a “bike hike,” which was nothing more than riding our bikes about a mile away to the Kmart, wandering around for no reason at all (shopping without money – the best kind!) and riding back.

 

I was riding behind my sister on the way back, and when I saw her turn up a road, I decided to take a shortcut…to ride down a dirt hill, over a three foot dirt hump, behind the ball fields and up to the house.

 

I spotted that hump from the top of the hill. I got this unbelievably wonderful idea, and I knew it was my day to shine! I began peddling faster and faster, putting the bike into high gear and screaming down the hill. I’m going to hit that hump as fast as I can, I thought. I’m going to go higher than EVER this time!

 

We had gone over that hump many times before on our bikes, to enjoy the rush it gave us to zoom over it, sometimes with one wheel off the ground. But this time will be different, I thought. THIS time, I’m going to FLY!

 

And fly I did!

 

I hit the brakes just before hitting the hump, hoping desperately to slow my speed a little. It may have done something, but not enough. I hit that hump like a jet coming off the runway, and I catapulted up into the sky as though I was taking off for New York. My flight was short-lived, however, and I flipped in the air, landing on my back in the gravel, with the bike coming down on top of me – banging its gear shift into my head, neatly slicing my eyebrow in two with a 1 ½ inch gash.

 

Did you know that head wounds bleed like crazy? I shakily got to my feet, and had no idea why I couldn’t see out of my right eye. Instinctively I put my hand up, and when I pulled it away, it was covered in blood!

 

Convinced I had lost my eyeball, I somehow staggered to a friend’s house close by. The rest of the day was like a blur, but I somehow managed to get plastic surgery and 22 stitches! It seemed forever until I finally got to go home.

 

Now it was time to heal.

 

The damage had been done, and I was wounded. I needed time and healing.

 

We all have wounds we deal with, and at different times of our lives we all need healing. When I think about healing, there are a few things I remember.

 

  1. I needed someone to help me. I couldn’t get to the ER myself. I couldn’t even see right, let alone figure out how to get help, so I needed a friend to help me home so Mom could take me to the hospital.

 

There are several times in my life that I remember being terribly wounded, and each time I lost sight. Not physical sight, but spiritual sight. I was in an awful state, and could not get to help by myself. In each of those cases, the Lord used a friend or even an entire church family to love on me and speak words of comfort and strength. They took the time to care, and to pray for me. I couldn’t imagine where I’d be now if it weren’t for their concern and guidance.

 

  1. I needed a physician. I needed someone who had the expertise to take the broken pieces and stitch them back together. I couldn’t do that by myself. I wouldn’t have a clue what to do or how.

 

It was during those times in my life when I was most discouraged that I needed God so desperately. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that we don’t need Him other times. In fact, we need Him ALL the time – but during a time of distress and anguish He wants to be our Great Physician.

 

I had no clue how to put myself back together. I only knew that I hurt – bad. But our Great Physician, Jesus, who knows all things and has given “balm in the Psalms” for my life, knew just what I needed, and through His Word those healing balms were applied.

 

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly,

 

  1. I needed time. Time to rest; time to heal. Time to take in nourishment; time to strengthen. It was not a time of activity or great accomplishments; it was a time to step back and let others run things for a while while I recuperated.

 

Healing takes time. It doesn’t happen in a minute, or a day, or even overnight. Those times of severe discouragement were times that I needed to just pull back and let others take care of things for a bit, while I rested and received the nourishment from the Word.

 

Perhaps you are discouraged right now. Maybe your marriage is not all you had hoped it would be. Maybe it seems like your finances will always be short, or maybe you have a wayward child who is causing you heartache. Don’t give up – look around you for someone who can lift you up and bring you before the Great Physician. Take time in His Word – as much time as you can – and allow Him to put your pieces back together.

 

Remember, Healing takes time. God can do it. He specializes in the impossible.

 

How has God helped you through a difficult time?

My Courageous Journey

 

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I’ve been bumbling around for years on this blog, trying to find what they call my “niche” in writing. I’ve come to the conclusion I may just never find it…I may just have to “write,” and see what comes out. It’s a bold and daring endeavor – bleeding my heart all over a page and putting it out for all to see. It’s just another Courageous Journey I need to take.

 

I’ve taken many trips over the years, and each one of them is full of inconveniences, difficulties, and sometimes heartaches. There is not a time I jump into the van without some amount of fear of the future. After all, the roadways seem littered with wrecks anytime I venture out of my normal circle of routine.

 

Each trip requires a bit of reckless abandon – that inner faith in the Lord, knowing that this is His Will for me, and that these miles ahead will be full of His service, and hopefully ultimately His glory. And every time I get in the van for another thousand-mile-journey, my thoughts are the same: I have no idea what this trip will be like, or where I’ll end up, but, Lord, I’m holding Your Hand through this.

 

But no journey in my life has been so courageous as that of being a wife and mother.

 

I entered marriage with the silliness of a 19-year-old, the seriousness of an elderly woman, and the fear of a patient heading for surgery. I had no idea what the future would hold – I only knew that the One who held my future could be trusted.

 

I entered motherhood a bit wiser, but still scared as a baby bunny hiding from a hungry hound. Of course, I had no clue what trials and hardships awaited me through this journey…how could I, at only 21? But I strongly felt that the One who knew all things would guide me as I sought His Will and Word in training my little ones, and I knew He wouldn’t let me down.

 

I now enter into what they call the “mature years” of my life, eyes wide at the prospect of a body which refuses to cooperate and a mind that no longer thinks as clearly as it once did. I tremble at the possibility of future limitations and ailments, all of which come with the passing of time. And I know…beyond a shadow of a doubt…that He who has everlasting strength and lives forever can come under me with His Everlasting Arms of strength and escort me into His Presence with the feathery echo of celestial wings.

 

All along the path of this Courageous Journey, I find myself nestled deep into the arms of the Wonderful God who can do all things. I have learned, all the way from the very beginning, that He is Able!

 

May the Courageous Journey of my life bring even just a pinch of glory to my Wonderful Saviour, who is All in All to me.

 

What sort of things have you learned on your Courageous Journey??

 

Emergency Rooms and God

Emergency Room!

 

My daughter was in a lot of pain – in fact, to the point of tears, and she’s not one to cry easily. I wrestled with what to do. We had already taken her to the doctor and tests were done, but the results were not in yet, so there was probably nothing to do but wait. Oh, how I wished there were some way to make her more comfortable during this time!

 

My options were to either wait, and pray that she could endure the pain, or take her to the ER to try to speed up the process of getting relief. In the end, after much prayer, we decided to go to the ER, so I saddled up the car and we headed to a neighboring town.

 

Being a Saturday, the Emergency Room was bustling. We registered and took our seats, not knowing how long it would be before she could get some help. We didn’t know it at the time, but all told it would be about 6 hours before a doctor saw her!

 

By the time we finally left, she was a bit better…and it was quite late!

 

“That’s just how it goes when you go to the ER,” I explained to her. “You just have to be prepared to give up the rest of your day!”

 

I thought on the way home of my Lord, and how approachable He is.

 

When we have an emergency, He is always available!

 

We can get immediate access – no signing up, no waiting to be seen by a triage nurse, and no having to go through a dozen secretaries to get to Him!

 

We see the One who knows exactly what the real problem is – no taking blood tests, asking a score of questions, or needing x-rays before He knows for sure what’s going on!

 

We can get immediate help for our problem – He is able to fix it right then and there, either through fixing our own attitudes or working in the situation. (Of course, sometimes He chooses NOT to fix the problem right away, if He knows that we will become more like His Son because of the situation.)

 

I’m so thankful that my God is approachable, accessible, and able to help!

My God is Able!

Hebrews 4:16

 

How have you found God to be faithful? Has He done anything special for you lately?

An Audience of One

An Audience of One

Who’s Out There??

 

I sing for an audience of One.  Whether I sing in the shower, or sing in church, or record a CD, I sing for an audience of One. It is He who deserves my song, and my heart so willingly gives it. He desires it, and even gives me the strength to sing and the words as well as the tune. I sing for an audience of One.

 

I work for an audience of One. Though I cook for my family, wash my family’s clothes, and take care of our home, I work for an audience of One. He who has given all for me is deserving of my every minute, my every last bit of energy, and my every waking moment of work. I work for Him, and He is an audience of One.

 

I write for an audience of One. If I write a blog, or a book, or just write a prayer, I write for an audience of One. He is the One who looks at my writings, who scrutinizes my words, who sifts my heart. He it is who decides what is worth writing and what isn’t, and He it is who gives the “go-ahead” or says, ”Stop.” He is my audience of One.

“The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” Lam. 3:24

When You Struggle to Spend Time with God

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Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:38-42)

By the time my youngest son was born, my body was trashed. I had had 8 pregnancies total, and the last 3 children were born within 5 years. I had been exhausted during my pregnancy, and still felt incredibly tired, all the time. One day the scale scared me, and I decided I would let those numbers rise no more! The very next day, I took a walk. It was only 15 minutes, but it was something.

From there, I expanded my walk to 30 minutes, and then began jogging for one of my minutes. Each week I jogged another minute, and by the end of 9 months, I was actually jogging 20 minutes straight! …and I felt better than ever.

One of the things that was hard for me – besides learning to breathe – was the time it took to get back into shape. I am a homeschool mom, and have 7 children. That means a lot of laundry, and a lot of paperwork. But I needed to get myself into shape in order to better serve the Lord and my family, so I took the time, and I walked, ran and worked out.

And that’s the way it is spiritually. We can’t be in any sort of spiritual shape with just a wave at God in the morning, or a casual glance through the Scriptures on our way somewhere. It takes time to grow.

WHY WE NEED TIME WITH GOD:

We need His wisdom – “The entrance of Thy Word giveth light…”
We need His strength – “Without Me ye can do nothing…”
We need His presence – “If thou go not with us, carry us not thence…”
We need a relationship with Him – “When Thou sadist, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8

WHY WE DON’T SPEND TIME WITH GOD:

Busy
Selfish/Don’t feel like it
Perfectionism – if I can’t spend an hour, I’ll not spend any time at all…

Last week, someone asked me for some tips on having good devotions, because it was an area they struggle with. I know it has often been a struggle for me over the years, and it’s a common problem with many people as well. So I told them some of the pointers I’ve learned over the years, and things that have helped me.

This week, when I talked to her again, she excitedly told me, “I’ve grown so much this past week! I feel like I’ve actually been closer to the Lord than I’ve been in awhile, and I’m able to have good prayer times. And I’m so much less stressed! It’s simply amazing how a brief time in the Word of God and prayer energizes my day!”

Here are the things, plus a few others, that I shared with her last week:

WHEN WE’RE STRUGGLING TO SPEND TIME WITH GOD:

1. Decide that you WILL have devotions every day. It’s something non-optional in your day. It’s a decision already made. Not, “Do I have time for this? But, “I’m going to find time for this.”

2. Plan your day around it. Having a quiet time with the Lord before the day begins is the best time to do it. As Elizabeth Elliot says, If you can tell the Lord that morning just doesn’t work for you, He will help you find another time.

3. Prepare for it the night before. I’m a tea-in-the-morning person, so the night before, I fill the hot water dispenser with water, put a tea bag in my cup, and measure out the sweetener. I lay my spoon beside my cup, and cover it with a small wooden lid (it conveniently says “tea” on the top!) and I set my Bible at my table where I have my devotions. I even go so far as to get my breakfast ready the night before, because I’m usually so hungry in the mornings. It’s so easy just to pour my hot water, go to my seat and get out my Bible.

4. Plan your time. Strive to spend at least 15 minutes, if you’re just starting out. Soon you’ll find you want more!

5. Reduce interruptions. This is what kills the average Mom during Quiet Time. Notice I did not say “Eliminate interruptions!” If you have children, especially small ones, interruptions are a part of life.

a. But one way you can reduce interruptions is to simply get up 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the fam. That way you can have a bit of uninterrupted time with the Lord before having to face the demands of the day.

b. When the children get up, let them know you’re spending some time with Jesus, and you don’t want to be interrupted. We assume they know what’s going on, but I know when I was a kid, I was clueless to everything going on around me unless someone looked me in the eye and told me point-blank.

c. Use a Bible app that plays Bible out loud. That way the children know you’re having your devotions, and they’re less likely to interrupt you if they hear Bible playing.

d. For prayer time, try to go to a separate room, or assume a praying position (perhaps on your knees, with your eyes closed) so folks know you’re praying.

i. When the little ones come up and start banging on you, “Mom, Mom, Mom!” look up from prayer & hold your finger up and tell them, “Mommy’s praying right now. I’ll talk to you in a few minutes.” Then proceed to ignore them, unless of course it’s an emergency. You won’t be praying for hours, so there’s no real danger of true neglect!

ii. Resort to hiding, if absolutely necessary. When we lived in a motorhome, we had all 7 children in about 320 square feet of living space, and it was completely IMPOSSIBLE to get alone. So I did the thing that Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, used to do – pull a blanket over my head. (She used an apron, but the principle is the same!) Funny how it is – it’s almost as if I disappeared!

6. Keep it Simple! We can easily complicate things by insisting that we have a journal with us and write in it daily, etc. but its best just to keep your Quiet Time as simple as possible. Last but not least, if you’re still having trouble…

7. Take a Media Fast – media may not be morally corruptive, but it does have a moral impact because of the things we could…& perhaps should – be doing instead.

One year in our travels, we were privileged to park our bus by a rather large church that had a gym attached to it. “Why don’t you come by the gym tomorrow morning? I’ve got a class I’m teaching, and you’re welcome to come work out with us,” the pastor told us after the Sunday evening service. I was trying to get more in shape, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I showed up early the next morning and joined their group. There were about 5 other ladies, all older (considerably!) and the pastor. He led us through a short warm up, and then we started the workout in earnest.

I know I wasn’t very much in shape, but I was quite a bit younger than those other ladies. I thought for sure I could do all those moves…but they showed me up! Those elderly energizer bunnies kept on going, smiling the whole time, while I slogged through the simplest maneuvers.

I went away from that workout sweaty, exhausted, and most of all, I learned something very important: never work out with elderly women! They work out like their very lives depend on it!

I talked with my elderly father about it a few days later, chuckling at my own lack of fitness, when he told me something that arrested my thoughts.

“They work out like their lives depend on it, because they really do!” he replied.

I thought to myself, My devotional time with the Lord should be like that…I should have my Quiet Times as though my life depends on them…because it really does!

What are some habits that you have learned that help you have good Quiet Times with the Lord?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum