May I always be this teacher in my precious public school.
God has been telling me again and again through His Word that I need to slow down in order to hear His voice, the voice I talked about yesterday morning in my post. Apparently, He really wanted me to slow down today because He kept me home with a sick little girl.
It is in our unhurried moments that we can see and hear clearly. In our unhurried moments, we are able to listen to our spouse and understand him or her more clearly. In our unhurried moments, we don’t lose our temper with our children. In our unhurried moments, we do our best work.
When I think of my unhurried moments, I think of times that my home is cleaner, our dinners are more well-rounded, mornings are smoother, the kids get along better, we have a sense of peace in our family.
When I think of our hurried moments, I have flashbacks of a messy house, laundry piles, take-out food, missed quiet times, raised voices, children bickering, running late, losing my cool.
The unhurried moments bring far more joy than the hurried moments. The same goes in our relationship with God. God desires for us to slow down and spend time with Him, getting to know His Voice.
We need SOLITUDE! We need time alone with God. I find that the only way I will make this time with God is if I make it happen first thing each morning. This is my only time for complete solitude. When I rise early to spend time with God, there is a peace in our home as everyone else sleeps. I get to pray, read and listen to God’s voice all by myself without interruption.
We need this time to recharge. We need this time to read the words that God has given us. It’s only in the Bible that we get direct words from God – this is His Voice.
We listen to voices all around us. In this world in which we are currently living, we listen to voices from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. We listen to voices through our laptops, our iPads and our iPhones. We listen to friends (and people who aren’t really our friends). We listen to coworkers and bosses. We even listen to our children.
We are influenced by many different words – some lead us to the throne of God, but oh so many lead us away from truly serving our Father.
We listen to ways to be better mothers and wives and friends and workers in this world. But, is the world equipped to advise us in our walk with God? Does the world know the calling that God has placed on our lives? No. No. No.
The voice that we should be listening to is the voice of God. The advice we should be seeking is found in His Holy Word – we can hide it in our hearts, we can dwell on it all day long, but instead we dwell all day long on seeing the latest status update or photo upload. Instead, we compare ourselves to the lady next to us or down the street. We compare our husbands, our children, our homes and our jobs. We even compare our relationship with God.
I write this today to me more than anyone. I write this as a reminder to me to seek only the face of God. He is my Creator. Today, I pray that I will block out the voices of this world and tune in to listen to the voice of my Father. I yearn for an appetite that hungers after God. Let us pray for a passionate love for our Savior.
This is my challenge to myself and to each of you for this week:
Every time we pause from our day to check our social media site, pause instead to seek God’s voice.
If you are reading this, you are probably like me desiring more of God in your life. I leave you with this promise, this awesome promise:
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
Some of my greatest friendships have evolved through Bible Study groups. I hold particularly close to my heart a few college girlfriends that allowed me to deepen my relationship with God as they kept me accountable to serve Him. Our friendships today would not be the same without us being in a weekly Bible Study group together. I am certain of it. And, these friendships are the types of friendships that we need most in our lives.
The ladies in our Sunday School class have been talking on and off about starting a new Bible Study together, and I am reminded today that we have got to make this a priority sooner rather than later.
Why is a strong Bible Study group so important?
- Ladies praying for one another daily.
- Ladies loving one another as Christ first loved us.
- A time to be real and honest surrounded with ladies that will keep all of our struggles confidential.
- Accountability (when you want it and when you don’t)
What hurts a Bible Study?
- Talking too much about things that don’t matter.
- Failing to have our quiet time to prep for the study.
- Judgmental comments and thoughts
What is essential in a Bible Study group?
- A leader that will be praying for the ladies every day
- Good material to study
- Prayer time
- Time management
- Food & Laughing
I am praying to be revived through Bible Study soon, and I am praying the same for each reader. I promise, a great Bible Study group will be one of the biggest blessings – we must make time to share this journey with one another.
As a mom, I sometimes get caught up in thinking that the more I have going on for and with my kids, the more well rounded they will be and the better I will be at this whole parenting thing. I mean, doesn’t it make me a better mother to juggle 3 children to and from extracurricular activities, parties and church?
Nope. Wish it were that easy!
This morning, I read Ecclesiastes 4:6, and it has reminded me that more in my life does not fulfill me. More stuff in my life does not complete me. The only thing that can complete me, the only thing that can complete my children is more of God in our lives.
“Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”~Ecclesiastes 4:6
Tonight, Nathan and I were able to enjoy an evening of dinner and chatting with an old friend. It reminded me that there is something to be said about friends that know your history. I am so thankful for so many of these friends in my life.
I am thankful for those friends that know where I have been, for those that have walked through the good times and bad with me, for those that have prayed for me and with me, for those with whom I can reminisce and for all that these friendships have taught me along my journey. I am certain that God orchestrated these friendships in my life to keep me grounded. Some of them keep me laughing, some of them remind me that I need to shut my mouth more and listen, and others keep me accountable in my walk with God without even knowing it.
My girlfriends and I often talk about the “opposite peer pressure” we faced within our group, and man oh man, I am very thankful for that peer pressure even to this day. I am so humbled by these special friendships. I’m not sure why God chose this path of friendship for me, perhaps because He knew that I need them in my life to keep me serving Him, but it is one of those gifts from Him that I truly treasure.
It is also one of those gifts that I pray He shares with my children as He also gives me discernment to know which friendships to support and which ones to shield them from along their journeys. I truly believe that in many situations, friendships make or break your relationship with God. For me, my friendships through my girlfriends and my youth group were friendships that kept me longing to serve my Heavenly Father. Without those relationships, I don’t know that my journey would have been about serving the Lord.
All of this rambling to say, cherish your friendships and invest in them. I read somewhere recently that a friendship will last forever if it makes it 7 years – I don’t know if that has any truth in it, but it reigns true in my life to date. While some of my friendships have far surpassed that mark, I have others in my life now that I know will go beyond that seven year mark and flourish. I always know a good friendship has evolved in my life when I can say dumb things and not have to apologize because she already knows my heart. I know a good friendship for me is not talking for 6 months and being able to pick right up where we left off. I know a good friendship for me is a friend that will set me straight and love me through my craziness. A good friend for me is one that forgives me over and over again, one that prays with me and for me, one that loves me for me.
The thing that I want more than anything else in life is for my children to have a love relationship with our Heavenly Father. I pray daily for my children to receive salvation at a young age and live a life serving God. I pray for them, pray with them, we attend church, we listen to K Love (please don’t be dismayed, I don’t pray enough, we miss services here and there and we enjoy our share of secular music – we totally do not have it together) and we talk about God’s love often, but are these the things that will lead my children into a personal relationship with Christ? Maybe, maybe not. I do believe that building a love relationship with anyone takes intentional and consistent effort. We must be intentional with our spouses. We must be intentional in serving God. We must be intentional in raising our children to love God. We can’t make them love God, but we can create an environment that makes them want to love God.
I look at our family. Nate, our youngest child and only son, will more than likely grow up to be a University of Louisville Cardinals fan because my husband is a Cardinal fan. He will even be content to receive ridicule as he cheers for the team that many Kentuckians cheer against. He will live in this manner because he will desire to follow in the footsteps of his dad.
In this same way, our children will seek a relationship with God that is modeled after that of their parents. Our children will want to follow in our footsteps – are we leaving good footprints? This doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. Praise God!! This means we need to be real with our children. We need to serve God. We need to spend time in His Word. We need to ask for forgiveness when we lose it with them or our spouses. We need to have a true love relationship with God that includes us digging into the Word, praying, praising and serving. If we don’t have a personal love relationship with Christ, our children will not be compelled to love God in our homes. Yes, they may come into a saving relationship with God through church, friends or youth group, but our homes need to be that place in which they learn how to make that relationship grow by watching their parents love God with a fervor that is desirable. If they don’t find that in our homes, they will seek mentors outside of our homes. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m a little selfish, I want to hold that role for my children and let others simply enhance my role.
God will work in His time. His timing is perfect. Trust Him. Everything will happen in God’s perfect time.
So many of us know these truths, but it is so difficult to have faith in these truths. Today, I was reminded that God’s timing is perfect. I know this. I’ve read it a thousand times, I’ve heard it from the pulpit a hundred times and I have talked about it more times than I can count . . . but I still need to be reminded of the truth. His timing truly is knit together in a way that brings the most benefit to His children. He knows what we need, when we need it and how we need what we need. Wow. He knows our innermost beings, our hearts and our souls, and He created us for His purposes. I know these things, but it takes seeing Him work firsthand for me to be reminded about the awesomeness of our Heavenly Father.
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
Yesterday morning, I was thrilled to open up my email and see a birth announcement from a fellow teacher. She and I don’t know each other real well, but from the time I have gotten to spend with her, I love that I always see Christ in her sweet spirit. She and her husband have recently become foster parents, and in getting to know how they came to this journey, I had heard from a few other teachers that at one point they were actually trying for a third child and after realizing that was not in the plan at the time, they felt led to foster. They were blessed with a precious baby boy in December and found out they were pregnant two days later.
While I would have probably been a complete basket case questioning God’s timing, I was reminded this morning through her email that God’s timing is perfect. In her email, she praised God for His perfect plan, that even though it was different than their plan, it is His perfect plan.
As I journey through this upcoming year, I pray that I will embrace God’s time and let go of my plans to see His plan, His amazingly perfect plan.
I used to do these very things when I was in high school and college, but for some reason, I have steered away from hiding God’s Word in my heart and taking it with me throughout my days. I remember this being such an encouragement for me as a teen and young adult, so I am excited about this reminder to get back into God’s Word and take it with me all day long. I challenge you to get your index cards ready for scripture that will encourage you this week.
Click here to see the article or just read it below:
While God’s word sits on our shelves waiting for us to get a slow moment, the world bids us to keep busy. Get those kids signed up for soccer, piano, gymnastics, basketball, football, and the list keeps going. You just name it, everybody else is doing it.
The world tells us to get our calendars full and stay on the move. If you don’t, your kids might miss out, or they won’t be cool, or they won’t learn important life lessons, or they won’t be socialized, or they won’t, won’t, won’t. “Get busy and keep busy” is how the unspoken mantra goes.
The world says this chaotic running around is what the good moms do.
But the truth is that we need slow moments.
It’s in the slow moments that God speaks to us through his word and we speak to him in prayer. This is when we step away from all the busyness in order to fellowship with our heavenly Father. This is when we come to his word for the precious purpose of drinking from the living well — Jesus Christ.
Here is a simple guide for busy moms who want to build more of these slow moments into their everyday — moments to stop and drink deeply from the living well.
1. Choose one passage of Scripture for the week. My favorite passages for meditating on come from Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels, and the Epistles.
2. Write the passage on a note card, and slip it in your pocket or beside your computer. Pull it out periodically, and read over it. Keep it in your purse all week long, and pull it out at convenient times and read through it.
3. Read the passage first thing in the morning. Read the passage as soon as you get out of bed, so it’s the first thing on your mind that morning.
4. Open your Bible to that passage, and place it on the kitchen counter. All day long, when you walk through the kitchen, pause, read the passage, and then move on.
5. Read the passage out loud. Read it to yourself, and read it to your children during mealtime and at bedtime.
6. Reread the passage before you go to bed at night. Bookend your days with the reading of this passage of Scripture.
7. Write the passage at the top of your to-do list. This way, every time you look over your to-do list, you can review the Scripture passage.
Why oh why do I stress and stress over what others will think and feel when God is leading me in a particular direction?
At times in my life, I could care less about the thoughts of others and then, in other moments, I stress over upsetting others. Those “others” that I worry so much about are usually fellow Christians. As fellow Christ lovers, I shouldn’t have to worry about them thinking I’m crazy for following God, so why do I worry? I have no idea! I think it is my constant second guessing, my constant feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy that make me fear the thoughts of others.
This week, I came upon an article from Crosswalk that I had bookmarked years ago – two points really stood out to me as I read it:
- Keep your motives in check. When you think you sense God leading you to serve in a specific way, check your motives by asking who it will help, who will receive glory, and why you believe you should do it. Then spend some time studying the Bible to see if your desires line up with what God’s Word says about God’s love compelling you to serve others. Afterward, if you feel at peace, move forward boldly to use your influence and initiate positive change.
- Fear only God. You don’t need to fear anything or anyone except for God Himself. Fearing God means having a healthy respect for His awesome power, and doing your best to honor and obey God in everything you do and say. When you fear God, He will give you the peace you need to overcome any lesser fear, so you can keep stepping out in faith as the Holy Spirit leads you to change the world for the better.
Whatever you do,
work at it
ALL YOUR HEART
as working for the LORD,
not for man. – Colossians 3:23