Wednesday, August 31, 2011

He restores my soul...

My husband saw me reading "A Place of Quiet Rest" and said "What's that?  A place of quiet rest?"  My immediate response was from the old hymn, "There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God."  I hadn't read that in this book but immediately it clicked...that's what this idea of quiet time is all about.  Getting near to the heart of God.
For years I have felt guilt over not having enough quiet time with God, not having ANY quiet time with God, or not even thinking it was THAT important.  In college my excuses were way too busy with classes (I didn't even know what busy was but I sure thought I did!), or I did it when I prepared for Bible Study this week!  In early marriage my excuses were working a new job or being tired.  I was better about it then than in college, but mainly my quiet times were held out of guilt.  After having kids...well that's the perfect excuse for EVERYTHING, right!  :)  But I found myself being more anxious for my quiet times.  Actually looking forward to the quiet :), being able to take my worries to God, and to be restored by Him. 
The past few months my thinking has been really challenged on this subject through many sources, but a big one is this book "A Place of Quiet Rest".
"Wherever God finds you, if you are His child, I believe there is within you something that will never be satisfied with anything less than intimate fellowship with your Creator, Redeemer, and Heavenly Father.  Until you see Him face to face, you will never cease to hunger and thirst to know Him more.  I know that longing deep within my own soul."
These are Demoss' words...but man, they ring true here too.  No matter how much I know ABOUT God, I long to KNOW God.  I long to have fellowship with Him, and I long to communicate with Him day after day.  And at the times in my life when I have had this, when I go to Him honestly and openly, He never fails to restore my soul.  No, he doesn't always fix my problems.  :)  Sometimes God calms the storm and sometimes God calms His child.  He restores my soul. 
So our quiet times can come to a place where they aren't done so much out of duty...but out of desire for that time with God.  I'm not there yet.  Oh man, I am SO not there yet.  :)  There are mornings when I do not make it to my Bible and think, I'm just going to have to get there during nap time.  But I feel like I'm on a journey to get there. 
I want my children to see their Mom in the word and think...that's how I've got to start my day.  I want them to see me enjoying my time alone with God.  And I want God to restore me so that I am the best wife, mom, friend, etc that I can be throughout the day. 
Selfish, yes.  Those are all things I want to gain.  I only hope that in the process my communion with God will bless Him too.  But you know what?  I think it will.  :)
"One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in his temple."
Psalm 27: 4

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Prayer Promise

I started reading The Reading Promise a few months ago.  I liked the idea of the book...the premise is this dad and daughter read aloud together every night for years...I think they ended up with EIGHTEEN years or something like that.  While I fully agree that reading to our children is crucial and read to my children pretty much every night, I decided to use that idea to make a "promise" for something that is more important in my eyes.
I've also been reading A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh Demoss.  I highly recommend this book.  It has challenged my thinking on my quiet times like never before.  I want to blog more about this soon but for the sake of this blog post, I want to focus on this "promise" I made to my daughter.  Demoss really emphasizes the need to have your quiet time be first thing in the morning.  I had always thought that it didn't really matter when you did it during your day (and still feel that SOMETIME is better than no time!), but truly now think that beginning my day alone with God is the best time to do it. 
When my five year old started school, I decided to implement this idea very simply with her in something I called The Prayer Promise.  The idea is that we will pray for her day every morning before school.  Very simple, many people do this I realize...but just trying to hold myself accountable to doing that AND establish a pattern for her of beginning her day with prayer.  Now I use promise very loosely because I know that there will be days I will forget (I have already forgotten once).

These are some things I hope she will gain from this:
A daily pattern of beginning her day with prayer
A habit of praying for her teachers and friends
Allowing God to be in control of her day
A greater love of the Lord and communication with Him

These are some things I hope I will gain from this:
A daily pattern of praying for her day and my son's day
Remembering to pray for her teachers and friends
Encourage an open relationship with my daughter where she can express her worries and concerns far, so good.  :)  She seems ready and eager to pray each morning. I hope we can keep it up. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wow, it's been awhile!

It's been quite a while since I wrote on this blog...

Today my oldest started school.  The past couple of days as we have prepared for Kindergarten, I have had many thoughts going through my head.  There are two that I struggle with.  The first is wondering if she will be treasured.  Will they see the precious little girl that I see?  Will they love her like I love her?  Will they value her insights and opinions?  And let's be honest...doesn't every parent wonder and worry over this?  Some more than others, of course.  I don't want to be one of those extreme cases...the hovering mom, the one that the teachers roll their eyes at.  But I also can sympathize with all of those "annoying" parents.  That's how I feel too!  I believe a good teacher treasures each child...loves them for who they are.  However I know (because I've been there!) that it's awfully hard to do that when class sizes are big, time is scarce, and pressures abound.

The second is I don't want her to lose her innocence.  I realize that as kids grow up, it is a blessing when they are exposed to different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. But when that happens too fast, it can have devastating results.  I want to be the one to *explain* some things to her and there are definitely things that I will be fine with her learning about in third grade, but not Kindergarten.  I don't want her to have to learn hard lessons...but I know that's part of growing up.  There are also little things I don't want her to lose.  The way she says some words that is just so HER but not necessarily the right way to say them, the way she makes up her own words sometimes, the way she lives in pretend world 90 percent of the time.  I know those things will probably change this year too.  But I hope they don't go away completely. 

Letting go is hard.  But I don't know how I'd do it if I didn't have the security of knowing that God is with her.  Because while I do "let her go" and she stays in Kindergarten without me, I know she's not staying there alone.  I've told her at any time during the day if she is scared or lonely, she knows God is with her and she can say a prayer.  And I know that I can give her the best thing I can give her by praying for her. 

So...if you are reading as one of those moms (or dads) that is "letting go" some this aren't alone!  There are lots of us having to let go.  And there is One that never lets go...