Today’s subject quite possibly has more potential to summon the guilt within than a piece of double fudge cake for breakfast.
Two words. QUIET. TIME.
Let’s be honest ladies and gents. When we hear those two words, we feel as though we’ve been reduced to 4th grade Sunday School, when the teacher asked us if we had practiced our memory verse for the week and could now recite it in front of the class.
Shame. Guilt. Remorse.
We know we should spend time alone with the Lord talking to Him, hearing from Him, pouring over His Word to hide it in our hearts. But we don’t.
December of 2001 the Lord called me to establish a consistent quiet time.
I had spent the previous six months pouring my heart into my very first full-time job. A ministry calling, it didn’t take long for me to realize that constantly giving without putting anything back in was forcing me to run on empty. What had started out as a joy was becoming a chore and I was positioning myself to burn out quickly.
I knew down deep that something had to change or I wasn’t going to be able to fulfill the calling God had placed on my life.
So January 1, 2002 I began to get up two hours earlier than usual to spend concentrated time in the Word each day. From then until June 19, 2005, I experienced exponential spiritual growth in my life. My memories of those two-hour quiet times with the Lord are so sweet. I remember lingering over His Word. Hungering for it more and more each day. Feeling as though my eyes were being opened to a whole new world! For God was teaching me and giving me a passion for Truth…but even more importantly, I was falling in love with my Savior. Seeing for the first time the great worth of my salvation even though I had been saved for many years.
But why, you might ask, did I place an ending date on this time of great spiritual growth?
Friends, I’m going to share a secret with you. If you’re like me, and oh I pray you are, hearing what I’m about to tell you may help you find peace and freedom. Because if you have experienced this, you’ll know you are NOT ALONE.
June 19, 2005 was the day I experienced bringing a new life into the world for the very first time. It was also the day that my nectar sweet time alone in the Word of God came to a crashing halt.
I was unprepared for the emotions I would experience as a new mom. Despite having a Masters in Counseling and knowing I might struggle, I was unprepared. The first year of my sweet baby boy’s life was filled with doubt…
“Who am I now?”
“I’m totally responsible for keeping this baby alive. There’s never going to be a vacation from this child.”
“Why won’t you help me with this Lord? Why won’t You make him sleep?
“I’M A FAILURE.”
The first six months after he was born my husband and I didn’t even have a church home, so I had no women to help me through my fears and anxieties as a new mother. We had just left a church under very painful circumstances. With a new baby who wouldn’t take a bottle and a husband who, because of his job, could only accompany me to new churches half of the time, I fell into a form of depression. And instead of choosing to turn to the Lord with my fears, I got angry with Him. Thought He had deserted me. Thought that if He REALLY loved me, He would change my circumstances.
After about six months we committed to a new church home. It’s where we continue to worship today. Slowly, but surely, we began to trust again and take initial steps toward building relationships. I realized that I was in desperate need for fellowship with other women, so I began attending the women’s Bible studies.
And I came out of the fog. One small step at a time.
I knew down deep in my knower that something had to change or I wasn’t going to be able to fulfill the calling God had placed on my life.
And I began to see again…see His great love for me. See that He had been there all along. He was with me every long night and every stress filled day…He was there.
I found Him again in His Word. Finally I was able to stop living based on what had been in my life and instead, live for what He was doing…now.
When my second son was born just 23 short months later I found myself tempted to respond the exact same way. It didn’t get any easier. There were times when if I had kept alcohol in the house…well…let’s just say there were times when I would’ve taken whatever means there were to have a break.
Except this time, I knew the consequences. And I never wanted to feel so far away from my God again.
Through it all I learned some interesting things. I’d like to share them with you now.
1. Quiet time doesn’t have to be in the morning. God doesn’t care for legalism.
2. I think God delights in our creativity when it comes to time alone with Him each day. When my sons were young they both went through seasons of chronic ear infections ending in tubes. During those two five month periods, my husband and I didn’t sleep. At. All. Add to that shift-work and momma working four days a week and you get an equation for disaster. The only time I consistently had to hear from the Word of God was on my drive to and from work and when I was pumping milk for my children at work. I bought the New Testament on CD and would listen to a few chapters on the drive to and from work. Then two times a day, I would hole up in an office without windows and open up my Bible to those same verses I had listened to that morning. To study it in-depth, and to stay close to the One who would give me the strength to get through a difficult time.
3. A friend of mine who had her three daughters VERY close together shared with me that she had struggled to find consistent time in the Word. Her secret during her children’s very young years? A Psalm and a Proverb a day. That’s it. It sustained her until such a time that her family life could allow her to set aside more time.
4. I heard a story about Billy Graham. He was known to keep several Bibles laying around His home so that anytime he entered a new room he could read a few verses and meditate on them while performing day-to-day activities.
I’m happy to tell you that I am finally moving back into a season where consistency can be the rule of the day. My children are 6 and 4. Their schedules are fairly consistent now, which allows me to streamline my own schedule. I look forward to my sweet times of peaceful communion with the Lord each morning.
My point is this; time in the Word of God and communion with Him is essential to living a full, joyful, hope-filled life as a Christian. We’ve been promised trouble (John 16:33) in this world simply BECAUSE we are Christians. Life is hard. Being a parent is hard. This season of difficulty has kept me diving head first to the Cross.
No matter what it costs or looks like, I know I MUST have more and more of Him. And I want to encourage you to commit now to joyfully setting aside time each day to spend with the One Who gives you your life and breath and being.
Get creative. Ask other people in your season of life how they do it. But do it. It’s a commitment you’ll never regret. And it’s a commitment that gives back more than any other “resolution” you’ll ever make. I promise.
Let’s encourage each other today. Have you struggled with consistent quiet times and found creative ways to overcome? Share them in a comment. If you’re in the midst of struggling now, be honest and tell us. And we’ll pray for you … that the Jesus will show you the way to make it happen and give you the courage to walk in obedience.
This guest post is by Brooke McGlothlin – a writer, prayer warrior, boy mom, and author of the well-loved eBook Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most. To read more of Brooke’s work, visit her website, or follow her on Twitter as @BrookeWrites.