Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A long lost friend

I'm ashamed to admit this, but my Bible gets neglected. A lot. Like, a LOT lot (My mother is cringing over my grammar right there). I've never been one of those scheduled routine type people. Never. The extend of my routine is, 1. Feed children, 2. Read blogs, 3. Eat something. That's a routine. And often it doesn't go in that order. Often it's Coffee first, THEN blogs. And then breakfast when Oceana asks. But see, even my routine's not a routine!

My Bible has rarely been a part of my routine. When I was in high school I was better. In college I was okay. Since I've been a parent? It's been sad. I wish I didn't have to say that often a month will go by and I haven't touched my Bible.

See, the strange thing is - I love to read it. I can't understand why I don't make it my priority. Often I think, "Tomorrow", "During naptime", "Tonight". But like all things procrastinated, I don't get around to it.

But today I was laying on the floor taking pictures of Naomi. She wasn't very happy with me - turned out she needed a nap. I was laying on the floor with my finger in her mouth to plug the squalling (*grin*), when I looked over and saw my Bible on the bookcase. And for once, I didn't procrastinate. I wrapped Naomi up, since it was obvious this photo shoot was going nowhere, and plopped down on the couch with my Bible.

Since I had one arm holding her and a finger from the other hand occupied, I wedged myself sideways in the chair, finagled a hand-free for a moment, opened up the Bible, and started reading on the left. I figured that since I wasn't going to be able to turn pages, but at least I could read two pages - the left and the right.

And wouldn't you know - God met me. He met me on the right page.

"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD." Psalm 31:24 NAS

Last night at home group we were talking about Hope. And I blogged about Hope on Sunday, after my pastor's wife, Amy spoke about Hope on Sunday. Hope. Strength. Courage.

OK God - You've got my attention.

And I felt the Lord remind me that I can't do this on my own. I can't change myself. That's something He's going to change in me. That's not to say I don't have to make some decisions. But what good is my struggle to know God more if I don't ask Him to help me know Him better?

It's gonna take some resolve though. Because no sooner do I start reading, but it starts raining on my laundry - all 5 loads. And it's 3 o'clock, so its time to put the chicken in the oven. And my parents are coming for dessert tonight, except that I have no dessert. And I wanted to exercise today. And Naomi's screeching again. And sooner or later Oceana (O-shee-ann-uh to whoever asked) will get up from her nap and we'll be off to the races.

Strength. Courage. Hope. Resolve.

Will you join me? Or am I the only one? I've been transparent with you, will you be transparent with me?

27 comments:

  1. Susie,
    Thank you for sharing!! This is something I also struggle with. My husband and I are also missionaries, and sometimes I feel like I should be better at it than I am because of that. Thank you for being transparent.

    Many blessings with Naomi!

    Amy

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  2. He always does...Where ever we are...He always meets us there...

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  3. Guilty as well. Yet longing and desiring. Procrastinating - or just lazy - quite honestly.

    I'm with you, not that you are those things, but that I acknowledge I neglect my Bible. I'll resolve with you to improve. Not because I "ought" to, but because His word is life, and because I want it.

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  4. I feel your pain! After losing 2 little girls and finally bringing home a baby boy, I just knew I was going to be so thankful that all I could do was spending time with the Lord. I would just praise Him for seeing me through the past 3 years of sorrow and pain. I am ashamed to say I am struggling to find time to get anything done these days. The house is a wreck, the car is filthy, the laundry is always piled high. Time spent with God is rare compared to the 18 weeks I spent on bed rest just a few months ago. My prayer is similar to yours. Change my heart and give me the desire to spend quality time with YOU, Lord. Help me prioritize and get organized!! I want Him to be part of my daily routine. I don't want to have to think about it! i just want my relationship with Him to feel like my friends and family.
    Thanks for sharing! Will say a pray for you tonight!

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  5. hey chick hope u don't mind me commenting, im bored at home from work and i gotta say I've been struggeling with the bible thing too! When I first went back to church (roughly two months ago) it was no effort to read every day, but lately my life has been so crazy busy I haven't been reading as much. I felt pretty stink about it so I prayed and realised that there have been pleanty of times where I've wanted to read it, but I let other things stop me from it. Dont need a routine, just gotta say ok when you feel like it :D

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  6. I have not been reading my bible at all, I haven't even made time for regular books. Yet it's so easy for me to spend hours in the blogosphere. Thanks for the encouragement. Tomorrow I will find my bible and read it.

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  7. I'm in the same boat and also a missionary. See that little red dot on the cluster map in West Africa? That's me! I'm in Ghana. Anyway, as I was reading your post, I saw my little devotional book out of the corner of my eye. I've recently been trying to read that every morning. It is sitting ON TOP of my computer so I have to move it in order to read blogs, etc. This way, I read it first and then do other things. It is only a few paragraphs and it has a daily Bible verse and a one liner prayer. It's just small steps but it is manageable. We do devotions with our kids every evening. Why is that so easy but 'quiet time' for me is so difficult?

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  8. Amen, Sister! I was telling a good friend the other day that I need someone to study with because I never want to let my partner down - so I read! Then I realized - I so want to be like that with God. I want to keep up with reading my Bible simply because I don't want to let Him down! Still working on it though...

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  9. Oh Susie, you are definitely not alone in this! I have always struggled with this ,and becoming a mama has only made it a greater challenge. I feel so blessed, and often feel guilty that I can't even find 10 minutes a day to spend with Jesus.

    Just this week, I've been trying to make a point to drag myself out of bed before my kids, and pray for a few minutes and read one verse for the day. This has been no more than 5 minutes each morning, but my days have gone SO much better. God is showing me that quantity doesn't matter, and more the attitude of my heart.

    There are certainly times and seasons in our lives as mamas. God know and sees your heart, he will bless the time that you offer to him.

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  10. Some people listen to the Bible on CDs while they are doing dishes, laundry or household chores. It works for some people so maybe it could work for you.

    For some reason, I can't do that, I can't keep my mind focused enough to actually listen and realize I've been off wool-gathering while the CD was playing. It's hard for young moms to focus on devotional time with little ones running around and interruptions happening. Just keep trying, one of these days they'll be all grown up and you'll have time then (maybe ;))

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  11. Its amazing how our lives quickly get so caught up in everything BUT the most important thing. Ever since my daughter's birth I have been horribly behind in stregthening my relationship with God. I need the same resolve as you...to make God the focus and allow him to guide me down the road I am on.

    Thanks for sharing! I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles with this.

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  12. I am sort of the same, but sort of the opposite of you - I LOVE routine - I CRAVE routine - this is why I thought I would go insane when Z was younger than 6 months, and had no routine b/c of constant growth spurts! All that to say, I work my Bible reading/devotion time in with our breakfast most every day. When Z finishes his breakfast, I let him get down to play & I read aloud about 10 verses of Scripture. Then while he plays, I take time to study them & write my observations in a notebook. But some days I wish I had more time to study & I feel like I just do it out of obligation, since it's part of my routine, so you don't want to get caught up in that either.

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  13. Guilty here as well. Since having my first child 9 years ago it seems the Bible is the last thing on my to-do list and should be the first. I absolutely love to read but I haven't even touched many other books either. Over the years my Bible reading has been sporadic but nearly as consistent as it needs to be. I sympathize with the missionary as I am a pastor's wife. One would think it just comes naturally or something - boy do I wish!!! It is just our human nature and the enemy to distract us with the very needs of our children! I pray the Lord would help us to put our priorities straight and discipline ourselves - I know HE is just sitting up there anticipating us coming to Him each day and it breaks my heart as I know I have so often disappointed Him. I am so thankful for His Faithfulness to us! Love ya!

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  14. Oh yes, I wonder over how it is that when I read the Bible I am always spoken to, always love reading it, and yet.....it is easily left to gather dust. Something that struck a chord with me from a study a bunch of us women were doing a few years back: We are opposed! When we are trying to follow God, then Satan is working to keep that from happening!

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  15. You've already been transparent as it can get for me as well!

    I struggle with routines, and I also have had God meet me in the bible I rarely pick up, but when I do he's always right on target.

    I also stash things in my bible not knowing where I stashed it, and that's another way I see God in my life and it's situations, issues, ect.

    I've never read my bible everyday, and besides that I've never done the read the entire bible through, but I know what it says.

    I know I used to feel guilty and struggle with that guilt of not opening my bible everyday for a loooonnnnnggggg time, but I don't do that anymore, and I haven't in a looonnnnggggg time.

    The reason....God speaks to us all the time we just have to listen, and I think when he really wants to get through the prisons of indoctrinations that can surround us, cripple us, and make us "tone deaf" He speaks the loudest and most direct, and we aren't even aware until we hear it/see it, and then we know,and the Power in that sometimes just overwhelms me!

    God is in everything...even the plastic under our fingers here in blogger.

    But He only gives us what we can handle, and He knows the exact amount...even though He's knocked me off of my stool a few times.

    Thanks for sharing openly, thanks for the offering of transparencies, and thanks for listening.

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  16. My best friend and I - a missionary and pastor's wife, respectively - had this conversation not too long ago. There's a perception, I think, that we churchworkers have got this whole devotions and Scripture reading things DOWN and we're good to go. Except... we don't always. We don't often.

    We don't.

    We've been through a lot in the last couple of years. And while I've firmly relied on God's promises that I was raised on and that I studied through elementary, high school and college/Masters, I haven't been picking up my Bible lately, either. I'm embarrassed to admit that when I *found* it the other day (I even forgot where it was) there was a layer of visible dust on it.

    So, you're not alone. Now I just need to cross over and join you on the reading it again side.

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  17. How about typing out (or writing out) some passages of Scripture and put them where you'll see them often and focus on memorization and meditating on passages until you can get into a more regular habit of spending time reading the Bible. I've been known to put them on my mirror so that I can memorize/meditate while getting dressed.

    I'll be in prayer for this for you too C:

    Tamera in Missouri

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  18. Mark me down as guilty, too. We'll do this together!

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  19. Just really glad that Jesus is your best friend,
    Love,
    Mum

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  20. Don't you love those "ah-ha" moments? God always knows how to get our attention. Like you, I have a problem focusing on Him as much as I should...but I pray that I will continue to get better, and I'll pray that for you, too.

    It's tough being everything a wife and mom needs to be, but you can do it!

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  21. You are not alone ... Bible study was such a huge part of my life before kids ... nine years later, I find myself going WEEKS without picking up God's Word. And like you, I know it is important. I love reading the Bible and soaking up everything God wants to teach me ... but somehow in the busy-ness of life, what is most essentially gets crowded out day after day after day. And then we're trying to run on empty, doing the difficult work of mothering without the right fuel.

    Thanks for your honesty. I think you've started a great conversation.

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  22. christina taylorMay 15, 2009 at 9:14 PM

    count me in.... count me in.

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  23. Oh Susie, I remember struggling with the very same issues of being in the word daily when my children were little and dealing with sickness and just everyday life with little ones. Now that I have the time to spend every morning I realize that the time spent with the children was not in vain. It is very precious in God's eyes. Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren that you do unto me. Children are a ministry. It took me years to realize this. We are building his kingdom in our homes. And you are doing an awesome job! Love you so much sweetie! Know that you are a pleasing child in His sight.

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  24. Oh, I suck majorly. And I'm the worship leader, which always makes me feel guilty, and even a little fraudulent.

    I've been using the excuse lately that I myself don't have a bible. Mine finally fell apart to the point where I could even find Ephesians, so Adam retired it. Of course, Adam has one, and I still have my Nana's KJV (littered with her sweet, precious margin notes) and an ooooooold NCV from primary school... but not one that is MINE, that I can highlight and uderline and scribble notes through.

    Pretty crappy excuse though. I have journals. I could write in them.

    We should find a study to do on line together. We could all read it, then post about what we learned from it, what bits we strugled through, what did or didn't make sense and link it all together with mr linkies.

    Love you girl. I really hope I can get to NZ before you ever leave. Of course, I'm inviting myself to your place if I do :)

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  25. Susie, this is me to a t...I can't even tell you! I am the same way about routines too...they just don't agree with me! My only "routine" is about the same as yours! LOL! So yes, I can't promise that I'll do great, but I can say that I'll try. :) Oh! and Praise Report! My husband is going to church with me tonight! Which, without a big long story...is a big deal.

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  26. Susie-

    Thank so much for being transparent and sharing! I know exactly what you are talking about. I am too awful about ignoring my bible. Like you, I like reading my bible, but life gets busy and it's so easy to put it off.

    Jenn

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  27. I say the same things. I always have an excuse why I have not read my bible in FOREVER! I promise to sit down and read it tonight. Thanks for the reminder.

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