Saturday, March 5, 2011

How Do You.....


West Michigan friends ~ Our Red Hot Monday's start this week, March 7th! We would LOVE to have you join us! Click here for more information! :)

Hey friends! :)

I received a sweet note from a Bloggy friend. She was so kind and gracious, and also asked some really great questions that made me think! Today I'll share her note (anonymously) and my response to her. I would also love to hear how YOU would answer her questions. Here is her e-mail...

Hi Cindy. I have been reading your blog recently, and today I read several old posts and just really felt so blessed by your amazing and obvious love for the Lord. I myself have been a Christian since I was a child and I love the Lord too. However, I feel my walk with Him is often so dry . . . my life in general often feels that way.

Anyways, I wondered if you would be willing to share how you structure your quiet times - how do you fit them into your hectic life, how do you know what to read/study/do to really grow and walk with Him? I feel like I really need some input from someone who seems to be thriving in their relationship with the Lord. I'd appreciate your advice. I know the Lord doesn't promise us an easy life with Him, but I know it's supposed to be more "abundant" than I'm experiencing lately.

Thank you for not "judging" me and for modeling a godly life through your blog entries. I so look forward to them.

God bless you and your family

And for my response...

Hello dear one ~
You are so sweet. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.


I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’m always blessed to share what I am learning!


You are right…my life is hectic! With 4 kids (7, 8, 9,and 16) I’ve learned I definitely MUST make time in the Word a priority. And first thing. During the school year, it's a bit easier when my kids are all healthy and go to school! :) Like Nike says, I've learned to "Just Do It!"


In the summer, I let my kids have some TV time in the morning while I read the Word. Not all moms would agree with this approach. My spiritual mentor (whom I dearly love and value her insight) let her 6 kids watch Sesame Street from 9-10 every morning when they were little. They all now love and serve the Lord.

During my quiet time, I sit with the Word and let it wash over me. I study the Word, write verses on index cards and carry them with me throughout the day, pray, and try to start my day with my eyes focused Up.

As for studies, I have such a hard time sticking with one study. (I drive myself crazy!). Thankfully I’ve been leading studies lately, because it then forces me to stick with the study until the end. If you are ever looking for a study, I would be happy to recommend some to you.


Besides being in the Word, I always spend time memorizing scripture. I do this whenever I have spare time. I have index cards by my bathroom sink, on my kitchen cupboards, by my computer, in my gym bag, EVERYWHERE!! When I walk the dog, I go over my verses. My life has been transformed because my mind has been transformed. And this has come by renewing my mind with the Truth of God’s Word. I was such a mess before Jesus. A real mess. But Jesus has set me free…and I don’t ever want to go back (I won’t ~ Lord willing ~ I won’t). I have learned I MUST be intentional about studying, memorizing, meditating, and reflecting on the Word of God. It is my Life.

I certainly can relate on feeling “dry” and like my life should be “more abundant” than I am experiencing. Believe me, I can relate. This school year has thrown me for a huge loop ~ I’ve had health issues (not big ones, just little irritating ones…but enough to rob me of my joy if I would let it). Life is hard. Just last week as I was talking with Christian friends, I had friends share their very real struggles with divorce and bankruptcy and depression and affairs and other yucky stuff. And these were my Christian friends. Life is just hard.


But I’ve also learned (esp. when my fiancĂ© was killed)…we always have a choice. Always. I can choose to be better or bitter. Pitiful or powerful. I can choose to live defeated or look for God’s goodness. And I choose to look for God’s goodness! The treasures in the hard times, as He promises.

For me personally, even this week …the Red Hot retreat is over, but then my little girl gets sick again. And Thursday night we learned the lice is back. UGH!! I was frustrated. Couldn’t believe it. Thought I’d finally “get my life back” after weeks of sick kids and snow days, and then we're right back where we were.


Boy was I discouraged…at first. So I asked for God to show me His goodness. I asked Him to help me see His hand in the midst of my mess. The blessings….like the Starbucks skinny vanilla latte shared with a friend on Tuesday. My mom and her offer to take all 4 kids overnight. The lunch I had with my mentor this week. The amazing hockey game with Jake on Wednesday. Rather than allowing my "mess" to rob me of my joy…I asked God to help me find the joy in the midst of it. And you know what…it worked. He is so faithful, isn’t He?!

I’m not sure if any of this makes sense…but please know, I would never judge you. I admire your desire to learn and to grow. Your note was a real bright spot in my day. May God bless you on your journey and reveal Himself to you in new and fresh ways!!

In Him,
Cindy

And now it is your turn! How do you structure your quiet times? How do you fit them into your hectic life? How do you know what to read/study/do to really grow and walk with Him? Please share with us your tips so we can all learn and grow! I'd love to hear what works for you!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*!! Have a fun, joy-filled weekend!!

4 comments:

Kendal said...

oh, thanks for sharing. my quiet times....i read the bible every morning. i've been the most faithful over the last year, and i've been able to stick with it by doing it first in the mornings. i don't do anything else before my scripture. like you, i struggle to stick with one study. lately i've just been choosing a book of the bible and reading through it slowly and meditating on it. since january i've been participating in beth moore's scripture memory team, memorizing two scriptures a month. and carrying them around on a spiral card book. this has been so meaningful. if i feel dry or down or anxious, i make myself say my scriptures. it is transforming my mind.

Darlene said...

Hi CIndy,

I just got your SheSparkles blog with the precious note from your 'anonymous' writer. Your response was wonderful (as usual)!
Here are a few things that have helped me along the way, in addition to the things you mentioned.
Quiet time: often I play soft instrumental music and just sit in my special room in which I do my devotions, Bible reading, Bible study, etc. The room's purpose is primarily to serve as my 'quietude' room–a get-away-with-God place.
Sometimes when one of my days gets especially hectic, I will stop in the middle of whatever activity I'm in, go in my room, turn on the music and just SIT! I don't try to even 'pray' or 'think,' I just tell God I want to hear His voice, and trust Him to speak into my spirit. This doesn't mean that I will necessarily hear Him that day, even, but the fact that I seek to devote quiet time to Him in order to still my heart makes all the difference, and honors Him.
Then I just sit there. The important thing is not to try to MAKE IT BE something. Too often we try to fill our time with God with prayers and petitions when we should just try to 'be still and experience God.' (Ps. 46:10) We can create our own 'noise' that drowns out what He is saying.
Another thing that hinders people is trying to by formulaic about it our 'devotional' time. Our time with God can be different each day rather than ritualistic. As mentioned above, sometimes just taking 5-10 minutes during the day to take a walk or just sit quietly in a room will 'speak' more loudly into our souls than anything. Remember, it is a 'devotion' of time and space in our day that honors God. It's not what we SAY as much as it is the motive with which we do it.
I believe, if every Christian is honest, we ALL experience dry spells. Sometimes it is a sin that causes us to wander into a dryness, sometimes it is God Himself that leads us to the desert so we can sit quietly with Him away from the worldly noise. The thing is not to fear the dry spells...embrace them and ask God what He might be trying to show you or tell you. After you have asked Him to search your heart and bring before you anything that might be causing the dryness, and if there is no particular 'sin,' celebrate with joy that He IS with you even in the desert, and will eventually lead you out of it knowing Him just a little better for the experience.
Each person's life and schedule is different, so it's important that we don't try to duplicate another's. What seems to 'work' for one person will not necessarily 'work' for another. Of course, Bible reading & studying, Scripture memory and prayers should be part of all Christian's walks, it just may 'look' different.
I would perhaps recommend that your writer allow herself flexibility and variation of these spiritual disciplines. I know I had been finding myself "doing" devotionals rather than 'devoting' myself to time with God in the not too distant past...which can tend to cause a dryness.
I will pray your writer will simply learn to trust that God is doing just as much good in her desert times as He does in her more 'abundant' times. Spiritual disciplines (prayer, reading/studying, memorizing, journaling, etc.) are vital to our spiritual walk and I'm am not suggesting she eliminate them, however abundance is found in practicing the presence of the Lord.
Keep looking UP!!

Blessings to you and your readers,
Darlene

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Cindy,

My quiet time looks much the same as yours. Mine is first thing in the morning...early before my husband gets up.

I always...always, always have some type of indepth, guided Bible study that I am doing. It helps me keep on track and focus. In fact, those Bible studies are the backbone of my time with the Lord...so much so that He led me to write one, as you know.

I, too, memorize Scripture. Very, very important. In addition, I try to pray Scripture back to the Lord. His Word is powerful and never so much as when we pray it back to Him.

Right now, I'm also praying for the nations...a different country each day. I'm using operationworld.org and they send me an email each day with a specific country to pray for. It is a wonderful tool.

Great post, Cindy

Lea also known as "CiCi" said...

What a great post Cindy, something for everyone. I have always spent time with HIM first thing in the morning and now that I have an empty nest, that's usually not a problem.

What a blessing to read your posts and see the great things the Lord is continually doing in your life.

May God continue to shine His favor over you and your life.

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