Friday, October 30, 2009

A Quiet Place to Pray

A while back I asked a friend if she has a place in her home to pray. She (wisely) answered that she prays every place. I like her answer, and for me, it seems the same is true. As I travel along this journey of faith, I find myself offering up prayers with almost every breath. Prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of love, sometimes prayers for intercession.

What I should have asked was, "Do you have a quiet, comforting place in your home where you commune with God?" Because, yes, prayer should happen often, at many times and in many places, but I'm learning that it is important to set aside time every day to just...

be with God.

A few months ago I began getting up (or trying to get up) around 5:30 so that I can begin my day with scripture and prayer. My family are all still sleeping, and my house is truly quiet for a few minutes. I had been sitting in my favorite chair in our living room, but I was often so distracted. There was a full laundry basket near the coffee table. There were a few toys left on the floor from last night. There were a few dishes in the sink. There was that permission slip to be signed...

I've recently read and heard about where others go (in their homes) for their daily quiet time with God. I thought this sounded like a great idea, so I made one in my home. And I'm so glad I did. It's not perfect yet. I still have a lot to do. And it's not without it's distractions, but these are distractions I can ignore pretty easily at 5:30 am.

Two years ago we began finishing our basement in preparation for our new baby. My office had to be moved out of his room, and as long as we were building that, we might as well build a little seating area too. The baby is now 19 months old. The basement is far from finished. But I have my office, and now I have my quiet place too.
Okay, it's a bit of a mess. The bucket acts as my end table right now, to hold my morning Ovaltine and sometimes my feet. The shop vac is hardly conducive to relaxation... but I do have this:
A lovely fireplace. Okay, the fireplace itself is a little dusty from drywall work. And there are boxes of building supplies nearby. But the flame is lovely and warm. And it calms my heart and racing mind.

And that helps me take strength, wisdom & comfort from this:
That's my Bible. It's open to the book of Jeremiah, which is as far as I've gotten so far. Also, my "Our Daily Bread" is peeking out. Every morning I pray, read ODB, read a section of Jeremiah (as much as my time will allow) and pray (again) before greeting the day and heading out to work.

Although it was a bit of a challenge to train myself to do this, now that I have, I find that on those rare mornings when I skip it (bad, Kelly. Baaaad.) I really, really miss it. I feel all day as though I have forgotten something really important... like putting on pants. And let's be honest people, it is uncomfortable to walk around the world without your pants on.

So, do you spend time with God daily? Where do you go? What do you do? I'd love for you to share.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blessings Come in Unexpected Forms (Part 3)

So the very next day, I started getting up early to pray & read my Bible. I started listening to the BOTT radio network again. I began to recite Galatians 5:21. Often. I asked myself "Is this faithful instruction?" before correcting or directing my children.

And I began to feel better. And I began to function better. And after three days of this, I felt compelled to open the laptop that sits next to my chair and read one of those blogs. And the post that she wrote spoke directly to my heart.

And I realized that blessings come in unexpected forms.

Because the selfish "me time" that I no longer felt I had time for was really "us time" that I must make time for. God put these women in my life for a reason. They have much to share. God compelled me to start this second blog for a reason. I am here, in the beginning of my journey of faith, and even in my humble beginnings, I have much to share.

These blogs, this community of typed words and pictures, of bold fonts and italics, of prayers and scripture and lessons taught and learned... it's all a new kind of fellowship. It is Titus 2. It is the kind of gathering and sharing and teaching that the women who went before us had to go down to the well to experience.

And it's not a plague from man. It's a blessing from God. I asked God to teach me; He gave me a whole community of women from whom to learn.

So I am pledging to get back to reading the blogs, and to sharing my thoughts & experiences on my blog(s). I'm sure I'll never be able to read all 188 that I've missed, but I'll definitely go through & catch up a few at a time. Also, I'm pretty sure only one or two people read this blog, but I will still share anyway. God is doing wonderful things in my heart and my life, and I want to be praising Him and glorifying Him.

Wow. Blessings do sometimes come in the most unexpected forms. Isn't God amazing?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blessings Come in Unexpected Forms (part 2)

Over the summer I discovered some really great blogs. They are authored by Christian moms. If you follow my blog, you already know this. And you also already know that in reading these blogs, I began to learn about what it really means to be a gracious woman, a daughter of God, a wife and mother who walks with Christ. There are many that I have discovered, and each one brings her own personality, experience and wisdom to this whole new world I am still discovering.

So at the end of August, school started again. And I went back to work again. And the transition has been hard.

really. hard.

And the first thing to go was internet time. I no longer posted on either of my blogs. I no longer read any of their blogs. I stopped sharing and I stopped receiving. It was "me time," and I didn't have time for it.

188 unread posts. It has been weeks. During those weeks, I was trapped in a downward spiral. I became tired, cranky, overwhelmed and generally unpleasant. I lost my joy, and I could feel my love and faith following close behind.

And then I had the worst week ever. That week I slept in instead of getting up early to spend time with the Lord every day. I don't think I prayed the whole week. Depression & anxiety were not only knocking at the door, they were pretty close to huffing & puffing and blowing my house down. Oh, and my house! It looked like a tornado had gone through it. My house tends to be a mirror of what I'm feeling inside. Clearly, I was feeling chaos. Overwhelmed, insane chaos. I was failing big time and needed to get myself together.

Except that I can't really get myself together. Because it was when I tried to do it myself that the wheels came off my wagon.

...and you'll have to come back tomorrow for the conclusion of this post!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blessings Come in Unexpected Forms (Part 1)

This is the type of thing that I think of when I ponder technology:
Despite being married to a computer jock who loves gadgets & technology, I tend to be quite suspicious of technology. My husband works in computers. Even more than that, he is one of the "technovators" in his company... his job is to dream up new and profitable ways to use technology in the credit union. He's really good at what he does because he absolutely loves technology, gadgetry and toys.

I, on the other hand, tend to approach technology as though it's a dog that could bite at any second. While I often see the advantages (I can email my mom in AZ in a split second; I can check the live radar from my phone; I can look anything up at any time without having to make room in my house for the entire Encyclopedia Britannica), I also see the dangers (internet predators, the lack of social accountability that comes with anonymity, the distraction that comes with all that information being right there at your fingertips, the big hole that was left in our budget when I discovered Ebay that one winter...).

I tend to think of the internet as being a big time-sucking distraction from the things that are - or should be - truly important. How many hours have I spent on Facebook when I could have been doing other things? How many times have my husband & I accidentally passed up real quality time with our children or each other because we lost track of time while checking Twitter & email? I tend to resent the technology and I know... I just know... that God does not want me to have it. It must be the opposite of how He wants me to spend my time (any of it). It is a horrible monster, a plague, really, created by man that will accomplish nothing but distracting us all from God and our families... I could go on...

But then again...

Every now and then...

God throws me a surprise.

And like a person hit in the face with a cream pie, I am surprised.

And then not surprised, because this is God we are talking about.

...and you'll have to tune in again tomorrow for part 2 of this post!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I didn't have time to grab the button this morning. I'll get it before next Thursday. But for more words of thanksgiving, click here.
  1. I'm thankful for my family. God has blessed me with a husband and two beautiful sons. My husband is a quiet, peaceful, patient man, and I know that God placed him in my life to draw me back from the precipice many years ago. My sons are unique in their own wonderful ways. Both are kind a sweet natured; one is a dreamer; the other is a firecracker. The greatest joy I have known is watching them grow. We love much. I am fortunate to be able to spend every afternoon & evening with my children, and most of the evenings with my husband. We all spend as much time as the Lord grants us on the weekends. They keep me grounded and calm.
  2. I'm thankful for my job. It is one of the most difficult jobs I can think of. It is also one of the most rewarding. This is what God called me to do. When people talk about what they would do if they won a million dollars, I know that I would still do this. I would still go to work every day. I love serving the Lord by serving his most remarkable children.
  3. I'm thankful for sleep. Both of my children are really good sleepers, and I am thankful that I am allowed to get at least 7 hours of mostly uninterrupted sleep just about every night.
  4. I'm thankful for my friends. I don't have many, but the ones I do have are such good people. There is my lifelong friend who has recently reappeared in my life. She knows all of my deepest, darkest secrets - and she loves me anyway. There is the work-friend, who shares a faith that is very similar to my own. I know I can always seek council with her. There is the unexpected friend, who is funny and honest and is the Godmother to my younger son. There is the friend who is also my mother in law. She is an amazing woman, and is exactly who I think of when I read Titus 2. She is always happy to impart her wisdom - when I ask, and she accepted me many years ago when most other mothers would have rejected me.
  5. I'm thankful for the blue sky. It has been raining for days and days. It's been a while since I've seen the gorgeous blue sky. But I know it's up there, behind all those rain clouds. And as soon as they finish dropping their rain & move on, I will be able to see it again. Eventually.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"...When You Needed Me the Most..."

I'm still here. Although I have been oddly absent from the blogosphere lately.

It hasn't been by choice. This whole "having a career" thing is putting a serious damper on my blogging activities.

Actually it's putting a serious damper on most of my activities.

Two weeks ago, I even failed to spend time with the Lord every morning. For a whole week.

Why is it that when the going gets tough, that's the first thing I walk away from? When I need Him the most, I stop praying, stop reading, forget what it is that I'm trying to learn to do.

I know the poem says that when we need Him the most is when He carries us... but I'm thinking maybe we (or I, at least) completely interfere with that by stubbornly standing my ground, digging in my heels and repeating one of my older son's favorite pre-school phrases:

"No. I do myself." (Only it sounded more like, "No. Ah doo Mahsewfff.")

Why is it that at the first sign of things getting hectic or stressful, I not only refuse to give Him any of my new burdens, but... in addition... I take back all the ones I successfully handed over for Him to carry for me?

Will I ever learn to get this right? Have any of you learned to get this part right?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
~Psalm 118:24

Whenever he feels a breeze on his face, my youngest son (who is 18 months old) throws up his hands, closes his eyes & says, "oooohhhh." It touches my heart every time because it really looks like he is rejoicing and praising the Lord in his own, private baby way. He takes such joy from something as simple as a breeze... this is something I have learned from him.

For more words of inspiration click here