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I Don’t Need a Spa – I Need Solitude!

I am thinking about the power of solitude. Solitude is something mommies with little ones rarely get. In the part of my life I call B.C. (before children) it was not difficult to get times of solitude. But once I brought my first baby home from the hospital, I realized my life was changed forever! I remember showering with the bouncy seat right outside the shower curtain. I remember peaking out to be sure my little boy was okay and there he’d sit in the bouncy seat, happy as a lark with the shower noise and steam delighting him. My solitude was gone!

I remember a time when my children were littler, they’d push notes and toys under the bathroom door (the crack was large in our old house lol!) Needless to say – I’ve learned that mothering is an intense – around the clock job and solitude is not something that happens to a mom – it’s something we have to seek out.

I have learned that I must be purposeful to get alone with God daily. It is in my times of solitude that God refuels me and I can hear him speak. I can find order in the midst of chaos and connect with my creator.

Solitude is powerful. Moms – are you getting enough of it? If you are feeling inpatient, irritable, bitter, forgetful, disorganized or disconnected from God – it’s time to take care of your soul in a time of solitude. Grab your Bible and get alone with God.

Jesus has set us an example to follow.
  • Jesus inaugurated his ministry by spending 40 days alone in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).
  • Before Jesus chose the 12 disciples he spent the entire night alone (Luke 6:12).
  • When the disciples had finished a long day with the crowds Jesus instructed them “Come away, by yourselves to a lonely place” (Mark 6:31).
  • Following the healing of a leper Jesuswithdrew to the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16)
  • And Jesus was alone again when he was transfigured (Matthew 17:1-9) and before his death in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36).

    If Jesus, who is God, needed solitude then certainly we do also. When we forgo our own needs, including our own need for solitude, we not only shortchange ourselves but our families also.

Here are some ways I have been able to find solitude in my own life.

1. For about 4 years I have risen by 6am so I can have time alone with God in prayer and scripture before the rest of the family awakes.

2. When the children were little I set the timer on my oven for 30 minutes every morning around 9am while the kids were still fresh. I had my daughter play in the playpen while my son played in his room. This taught my children how to appreciate solitude also! (This did take some time of training – starting at 5 to 10 to 15 minute intervals – working them up to 30 minutes of being able to play alone without calling for me.)

3. When the children were little, I lined up their nap times so they were both asleep at the same time – some days this felt like a work of art.

4. On days when we are home all day long, I still give my children (ages 5 and 7) a one hour “roomtime” (in place of naptime). It’s usually around 3pm. They look at books and play alone. It’s a peaceful rest time in our house. We all get a break from each other and I see that it really does refresh us all.

5. When the children were younger my husband would travel sometimes for a week straight. On those weeks, I had a sitter come once a week for 3 hours in the afternoon during the overlap of the kids nap times so I could actually leave the house and breathe fresh air without 2 children, 2 sippy cups, 2 snacks, toys and stress!!! I ran necessary errands and then always finished my time off at the library or Starbucks with my Bible and journal in hand. These were sweet moments of solitude that I savored!

6. Now, I take advantage of evening hours, once the kids are in bed, to sneak away to my bed for a moment of solitude with scriptures.
Mommies,

we don’t need a spa (although I’m not against it lol!)! We need solitude with Jesus!

Walk with the King!

 

How To Take Sermon Notes

How do you take sermon notes on Sundays? Every Sunday, my husband and I worship in the pew beside my mother and father. I take sermon notes on the back of my bulletin, while my mother writes in her spiral bound Steno notepad – a practice she has been doing since I was BORN! That’s 34 years. Don’t bother to try to read her writing (lol! No one in our family can read her writing!) – she writes very quickly in shorthand (shorthand is an abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases speed or brevity of writing as compared to a normal method of writing a language) From time to time, she will reference past sermons – she remembers details I do not remember. She’ll get out her notepad and quote the pastor. I have sat in her Bible studies where she will includes the pastor’s words as a part of her teaching. She not only worships on Sundays but she is focused and hungry to soak up God’s word and listens intently to the preachers words.

I asked my mom to write briefly about her notebooks and here’s what she said:

Prior to 1975, I wrote my sermon notes on the church bulletins using the front and back and often running out of space (as you can see below – she has saved her old bulletin notes). I realized that I needed a better note taking method. Beginning in 1975, I decided to use a steno pad for my notes. I had previously been a secretary and was familiar with shorthand so this was the perfect size notebook for me. It was also the same size as my Bible, making it easy to carry to church on Sundays. I fill about one steno pad a year. The steno pads are dated by year, and sermon topics are written inside the cover. For example: April 4 – May 16, 2010, Pastor Butch Pursley spoke on the topic of “Heaven.” (that is noted on the cover) Because steno pads are slim, I can easily store all of them upright from 1975 to the present on one shelf in a cupboard. They actually take up very little space. Some ask why I take notes. I like to take notes as the pastor is speaking because it helps me to focus my thoughts and keeps my mind from wandering. Also, I remember more of what is said if I write it down. I not only HEAR the message, but also SEE it written in my own hand. Whenever God uses a particular message to speak to my heart, I will often re-read through my notes, reflect on the passage, pray and make the necessary applications to my life. Because God has given me the privilege of leading women’s Bible studies, I refer back to my notes when preparing a lesson to refresh my memory of what I have learned in the past about a particular book or Biblical topic. Today we are blessed to have so many study tools available to us and many godly men and women who teach and equip the saints. This is just one of the methods that I have found useful in helping me understand what the Bible says, what it means, and then apply or act on the truth that God has taught me through His Word

Thanks mom – you always inspire me…maybe it’s time I go buy a steno pad!!
Walk with the King!

holy experience

Led By The Spirit Challenge #10 – Gentleness

Week 10 Challenge: This week we will learn gentleness is being submissive to God’s will. Looking at your life, are there any areas in your life where you are resisting God’s will? Ask God to reveal them to you and pray for an obedient heart that desires to do God’s will over your own. As a group, pray for each other in this area of your lives.

“Gentleness has been described as being gentle or meek, being lowly or humble. It is a form of self-control which Christ alone can give and it manifests itself in a submissive spirit toward both God and man.”- Elizabeth George

This morning I’d like to share with you two beautiful stories that illustrate gentleness in action. Both stories I’m sure are very familiar to you, both involve individuals being gentle, submissive and obedient.

The first story is found in Matthew 20, where Jesus is entering Jerusalem… “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey…” Jesus entered the city that would one week later crucify Him, GENTLY…He came riding on a donkey, submitting to His Fathers will for His life and obeying it all the way to the cross. Jesus demonstrates how we are to respond to God’s will for our lives…by submitting to God, obeying God’s will for our lives and responding gently. Jesus did not enter Jerusalem as a warrior ready for battle but as the King who is meek, gentle and peaceful.

Our next story is found in Luke 1, Mary is told that she will be with child, how does this young woman respond? By being humble, she knows her place, “I am the Lords servant.” Then by being obedient, “May it be to me as you have said.” Because of Mary’s obedience there are those who do not look upon her so kindly, some viewed her as an unwed mother and even her fiancé thought of breaking off their engagement. Mary’s obedience to God’s will for her life cost her a lot, yet she continued to obey and did so gently…not lashing out at those who did not believe her innocence.

How Can I Walk In Gentleness?

1. Accept- Accept everything in your life as allowed by God.

2. Pray- Prayer develops the proper posture of gentleness in us- kneeling, submitting to God.

3. Refuse to complain and grumble- To complain, one wise believer notes, “is an accusation against God. It questions God’s wisdom and God’s good judgement. God has always equated complaining with unbelief.”

4. Refuse to manipulate- Let God resolve the issue for you.
(Note these steps came from Elizabeth George’s book: A Woman’s Walk With God)

Jesus and Mary were able to walk in gentleness by submitting to God’s will for their lives and so can we with God’s help.

Week 10 Challenge: This week we will learn gentleness is being submissive to God’s will. Looking at your life, are there any areas in your life where you are resisting God’s will? Ask God to reveal them to you and pray for an obedient heart that desires to do God’s will over your own. As a group, pray for each other in this area of your lives.


Love God Greatly,

Quiet Time Tip: On-line Devotionals

Today I want to share a couple on-line devotionals that I enjoy. Then I’d like you to share with me in the comments section some of your favorites.

Here’s a few of mine:
1. I receive Anne Graham Lotz’s daily devotions in my email inbox every morning – I also recommend her books! Just Give Me Jesus is a great place to start.

2. Sally Clarkson blogs at I Take Joy. Her blog always includes scripture and inspirations. It is one of my favorites and she’ll be speaking at the Relevant Conference with me – I cannot wait to meet her!! I own a couple of her books and from time to time she even emails me encouragement – I am always humbled by her gracious ways!

3. Another Relevant speaker who I have been reading for over a year is Ann Voskamp. Her unique blog at A Holy Experience always comforts me and lifts me up. I never miss a post of hers. I can’t wait to meet her too!

4. The first blog I ever followed on a daily basis way back in 2005 (many years before I even thought I’d ever blog) was Girl Talk Blogs. I still visit them weekly and catch up on their blogs and teachings. They have discipled me in some Titus 2 areas – especially marriage. I own their books and some of their CD’s.

5. Nancy Leigh Demoss has a ministry titled Revive Our Hearts. Daily she has a radio broadcast you can hear on-line along with the transcript you can read. I also must recommend her 30 day challenges. She has a Gratitude Challenge (which I just completed in June – loved it!), Husband Encouragement challenge, True Woman Makeover, Television Free, Praying for Your Pastor, and Praying for Your Pastor’s Wife Challenge. When you sign-up for a challenge – daily you will receive a quiet time in your email that directs you.

(Two honorable mentions that I visit regularly but not daily are Mrs. Joseph Wood’s site A Moment with Mom (this woman is SO wise – I discovered her on-line and she even takes my phone calls with questions on motherhood! Bless her!) and I use Crosswalk.com’s Bible study tools whenever I am doing commentary work.)

So these are some of my favorites. I know I may be missing a few but I don’t want to overload you! What are some of your favorites – please share the links in the comments section!

Walk with the King!

Led By The Spirit Summer Challenge #9 Faithfulness

Do you walk with Him?

Week 9 Challenge: As we work on being more faithful in our lives, make a list of areas in your life where you are struggling to be faithful and target one of those areas this week. Some examples might include: tiredness, laziness, hopelessness, procrastination, and apathy just to name a few. Pray over that targeted area and if you feel comfortable, ask your Good Morning Girls to join you in praying over that area in your life for you. Ask God to help you have victory and to show you the steps you need to take in order to do so.

As we move through the Fruit of the Spirit, we have learned that love, joy and peace grow through great sacrifice. When looking at patience, kindness and goodness we learned to treat others the way Jesus did, by doing good to them and putting our love into action. Now we change gears some and instead of focusing on others, we now focus on ourselves, this week dealing with faithfulness in our lives.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6)

I don’t know about you but I want to be a woman who pleases God and earnestly seeks him. In Hebrews the 11th chapter, the bible says it is impossible to please God without faith. What type of faith pleases God? In Hebrews 11:1 we find out, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Two words describe faith: sure and certain. These two qualities need a secure beginning and ending point. The beginning point of faith is believing in God’s character- he is who he says. The end point is believing in God’s promises- he will do what he says. When we believe that God will fulfill his promises even though we don’t see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith. How can you demonstrate true faith right now in your life?

In order to live a faithful life, we need to do these 3 things
* Desire to live a godly life- make that choice and commit to it.
* Look to God- Seek him, go to God in prayer.
* Follow God’s Word- what is God saying to you?

In the Book of Genesis and in Hebrews we read about a man named Enoch. We don’t know a lot about this man, but what we do know is very crucial for understanding what is important to God. Enoch is described as a man who pleased God and a man who walked with God. Enoch is listed right along side Noah, Abraham, Joseph and many others as heroes in the “Hall of Faith.” Obviously pleasing God and walking with God is VERY IMPORTANT! What are some ways you can please God with your faithfulness and walk with him?

Here are a few examples of ways to walk in faithfulness
* Call upon God in prayer. (Psalm 138:3)
* Be faithful in small things. (Luke 16:10)
* Rely on God’s strength. (Philippians 4:13)
* Fight self-indulgence. (1Corinthians 9:27)
* Eliminate laziness and idleness. (Proverbs 31:27)
* Begin at home. (Proverbs 31:27)
* Be faithful in all things. (1 Timothy 3:11)
(Note: these examples came from Elizabeth George’s book, A Woman’s Walk with God)

When I think back to Enoch and how he is described, what I love most is what God loved most about this man. Enoch pleased God and walked with God. Enoch is not described as having any special talents or skills. He wasn’t valedictorian of his high school class and he wasn’t described as a great leader…….no, for the most part he sounds pretty ordinary. What Enoch did well, we can all do well. We can have faith in our God because of who He is and because of His promises. We can please God with our lives by choosing to walk with God daily. That’s what Enoch did and we can do the same.

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life,…before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)

Week 9 Challenge: As we work on being more faithful in our lives, make a list of areas in your life where you are struggling to be faithful and target one of those areas this week. Some examples might include: tiredness, laziness, hopelessness, procrastination, and apathy just to name a few. Pray over that targeted area and if you feel comfortable, ask your Good Morning Girls to join you in praying over that area in your life for you. Ask God to help you have victory and to show you the steps you need to take in order to do so.

Praying for you all this week!

Love God Greatly,

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