Monday, January 30, 2012

In the quietness...

I am amazed to look back and see how far God has brought me on my journey of grief and healing. I can see the deep, dark hole I was in, and I can see where I am now - and they are miles apart! Yet, I can still see the long road ahead of me, to get to where I'd like to be with God.

Something that I've really struggled with is spending that one-on-one time with God. In part, that's because I feel I've lost the ability to hear God's quiet voice. In part, it's because I'm scared that I'll sit there, anticipating, and then hear nothing - that it will feel like God's abandoned me yet again. In part, it's that I don't feel I can make the time. In part, it's that I'm just too lazy to apply myself.

This is the area God has been tackling for a while now. I do hear God. I know I hear him - his Spirit has spoken quiet words into my heart, growing a longing in me to read the Word, to hear God speak to me through his Word. But there's always a good reason why I can't put it into practice, or so I thought.

Over the past few weeks, at church, to start off the year, we've been learning about why it's not only important, but also beneficial, to have a regular time with God, reading his Word and praying. Last year, I know that God was preparing my heart to hear this message, and so I've found myself receptive to it. I've found a few things startling though, about what has been said, and the way it has been said.

Firstly, something I've found really helpful is the idea that we don't read the Bible for what WE can get out of it. Rather, we read the Bible to expose our lives to it - to let IT read US.

Secondly, I've been impressed with the lack of side-stepping the issue the preachers have shown. While their messages have been sensitive and inclusive, the clear message is that having a quiet time in the morning, and having one every single morning, is best. There are good reasons for this, which, if you want to know, you can download off the church website ( (or is it

Usually, preachers are so careful not to offend those who are night owls, who work shifts, who are dyslexic, or whatever, that they don't lay down the law in this way, as it were. Again, although they DID make allowances, it was made abundantly clear that for most of us, failing to read the Bible, or failing to read it first thing in the morning, is simply a cop-out.

Thirdly, I was struck by the fact that if God is first in my life, this is something that should come first too.

Now I am NOT a morning person. I'm a night owl. I can work, very happily until 3am. Ask me to get up before 6am (8am on weekends) and you're going to get your head bitten off. Mornings are also really busy for me - kids to get ready, lunches to make, drop-offs at school, morning meeting at 7.45am.... So I figured that, if this is so important to God, He had better help me find a time to do it in the morning.

And He has. He identified 10 mins in the morning for me when I can just sit and read the Word. It's amazing. I'd never seen it before, but it was there, right in front of me all the time. So now I have a time slot, in the morning, without me having to get up extra early!

Fourthly, I was struck by the idea that if this is going to be important to me, I cannot allow distractions - even good ones (like my kids, or minor emergencies at work), to disturb me. And this is exactly where I fell down. All was going well for the first 5 days, and then there was "just" something I quickly needed to do in that slot. In the blink of an eye, I lost my time-slot as I allowed it to be eaten up by other things.

But it's not all doom and gloom. The next Sunday, the preach was on a useful method to employ during your quiet time with God - VIP. V - choose one verse to memorise. I - what insight can you gain by reflecting on it. P - how will you pray in response to that insight? The idea is that you journal those 3 points every day. I've also found a devotional study for 21 days for Busy Women! So, I'm back on the wagon. A fresh week, a fresh determination to spend that time with God, reading His word. A habit is formed in 48 days... let's see if I can make it through the week and weekend first. Then we'll tackle the following 41 days!

Thank God for 2nd chances! (and 3rd, and 4th, and 5th, and 6th....).

Candle burning at both ends

I'm not going to apologise (much) for leaving you all high and dry over the holidays... I was just TOO BUSY to blog, which tells you something. I'm not going to try to catch you up either. Sorry. There's just too much water under the bridge for that, suffice to give you one or two headlines.

  • There are black scorpions in Sedgefield. One crawled on me. Two others came home with us in the car.
  • I backed my car into a wall (no - I wasn't looking!) That wasn't the problem - the repair company was. Even now, nearly a month later, my blood starts to boil when I think about it. Let's not go there.
  • #1 has started school! WOW! Grade 1!
  • #2 has started a new nursery school around the corner. (Nice and convenient!)
  • #2 has also been given a new diet to help cure his eczema that includes: no dairy, no wheat, no sugar, no aspartame (artificial sweetner), no yeast, no honey, no peanuts, no preservatives, no colourants, and all fruit must be peeled (e.g. no apple skins). He is also not allowed any contact with soaps or detergents. Hmmm. Ja. Ok then.
  • Hubbie has started a new job (internal promotion), with all that entails, while continuing with his original job because he hasn't been replaced yet. Hmmm. Ja. Ok then. (And then the servers failed as well - still no email, nearly a week later!) Talk about STRESS!!!!!
Because the school holidays were cut short by a week (thanks, national education dept!) we all started the year still a bit tired and frazzled. Our time away was lovely though - glorious days of just swimming and swimming and swimming - in the lake, at the beach, in the river mouth. We even got a few days of camping practice in, so #2 seems ready to rock 'n roll on that front now. (Bring on weekends and Easter!)

When I'm tempted to complain about the tiredness though, and the busyness, I just remember that the extra work I did last year has paid for #1's school fees in full for this year, and when the rest is paid into my account (hopefully at the end of Feb), it will also pay in full for #2's fees. That will take a significant financial pressure off us this year. Although it was hard work, and took me away from my family a lot at the end of the year, I think it was worth it.

So - forward ho, into 2012 we go! I'm not counting weeks or days yet, but I am really looking forward to Easter. I'm looking forward to having some time off (read: away!) with the family, our 14th anniversary celebratory get-away,  and hopefully getting some rest!