Faith | Time With God Pt. 5

Last year, a friend of mine was kind enought to let me and few other moms into her home as she hosted a live broadcast of the Thrive Moms Retreat

The purpose of the retreat was to give moms a chance to bond with one another, without the kiddos, while being uplifted uplifted by some amazing guest speakers. The event itself was so wonderfully put together, the women who spoke encouraged us in God's truth, and the worship session during the intermission could've easily left anyone of laid out on the floor in reverence and gratitude for the Father. Unfortunately, I did not realize most of the aspects of the retreat until about two days later when I watched the playback at work. 

Why?

Because only one mom could actually find a sitter that day. 

Our "retreat" quickly became a play-date for our littles. And even though we are grateful for the pint-sized humans God allowed us to feed and change and chase and stop from pushing over surround-sound speakers and teach how to share a bowl of pears, I became very aware of a truth that wasn't mentioned during the retreat: my time with God is my responsibility first. 

I must fight for it. 

Whether you have children or not, there is probably something in your life that keeps you busy that you can't just brush off. You can't reschedule what time your child will wake up like you can a lunch date so you can have a little meditation time. Your professor may not be very understanding if you say you failed an exam earlier this week because you wanted to watch Women of the Bible on Sunday so you didn't study. The chances of a husband saying he'll watch the kids on a Saturday morning (even though he may really want to) so you can get lost in that Beth Moore book you downloaded last Spring are kind of slim. Not because he doesn't care, but because he probably worked a full day on Friday just like you and is also craving more time with Mr. Sandman. I don't know any supervisors, not even ones in full-time ministry vocations (and there may be some), that will say, "You know what? I'll get someone else to teach Children's Church for a couple of weeks. You spend some time in evening finally finishing that Abide study you started over 6 months ago". 

These are people who probably care about our spiritual well-being (yes, maybe even the professor; they might actually be a kind-hearted Christian who prays for their students each night so don't assume they aren't). But they have responsibilities just like you do. 

We have to fight for those moments. 

Sometimes, the way I come across having some amazingly intimate times with God are completely unplanned. I was simply folding laundry and realized my daughter was asleep, son was knocked out and there was a Bible on our filing cabinet calling my heart to get lost in it. Other times, I have had to fight for those moments. 

I have had to do whatever I possibly can to make sure I get some alone time with the Trinity. 

My sisters, my brothers, it's worth the fight. 

He is worth the fight. 

One of my favorite songs right now is A Little Longer by Jenn Johnson of Bethel. Each time I hear her belt out the lyrics, "Stay. You don't have yo do a thing. Just let those things go; they can wait another minute."

That truth is so difficult for me to grasp sometimes.

A friend said it best about a week ago when I asked them were they about to start studying for a final they had coming up, or about to spend some time reading their Bible. They casually, yet confidently, replied, "Bible before work."

Bible before work. 

Yes, Lord!

You before work. 

Being with Him shouldn't be work. It shouldn't feel like a chore. It should be something we crave. The laundry, the dishes, the text message, the E-mail, the phone can wait another minute while we rest at His feet.

Even if it's just for a few minutes. 

So, how are you fighting for time with God? If you haven't been zealous in fighting for time with Him, in what ways do you think you could start? I'd love to chat with you about it. 

...and feel free to bask in the beauty of this song with me. *hugs and love*

 

 

xoxo, 

Ashley Danielle

 

Faith | Time With God Pt. 4

It's so hard for me sit still and be quiet.

 

Our society is so busy and noisy that I know I'm not the only in this constant struggle of wanting to hear God's voice, but feeling undeniably uneasy when I'm in an almost completely quiet room. No, removing ourselves from noise is not a requirement to be intimate with God, but Scripture gives us several examples of people who removed themselves from the crowd to dig a littler deeper into our Father's heart for us. 

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit over here while I go over there and pray.

|| Matthew 26:36, NIV ||

 

When the people saw the thunder and lightening and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembles with fear and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. 

|| Exodus 20:18:21, NIV ||

 

No, I do not believe God is hindered by the chaos we create with our to-do lists, and goals and obligations and...blah blah blah. And not all of those things are bad. I think He wants us to be organized and methodical when it comes to carrying out the tasks and gifts He's blessed us with. However, we should never allow the internal noise of our schedules to overcast the eternal thunder of His presence. There is something so intimate, so beautiful, so self-sacrificing in one of the smallest but yet meaningful ways when we give our time to Him. 

Today, I challenge you.

Take five minutes. 

Yes, five whole minutes. 

And be still.

Put your phone on silent, go in your closet or bathroom or bedroom or wherever, close the door, set a timer and just be still. Close your Bible, put away your journal and put down your pen. Tell God you are here to hear Him and to just rest at His feet. If your heart feels there is something you need to say, just go ahead and say it to Him. But try not to ask for anything. Just praise Him. 

Thank Him for your life. 

Thank Him for your pain. 

Remind yourself of your unworthiness and His sacrifice for you. 

Just be still. 

It is my prayer that we all fight for time with Him. 

 

 

xoxo, 

Ashley Danielle

Faith | Time With God Pt. 3

I love to pray. 

 

It's never been something I felt forced to do. Even when I was a complete mess in my walk with Christ during my preteen years, I would still go into the prayer room/office at our house and just still before the Lord. I didn't quite know His character the way Scripture so beautifully paints it. However, I knew He was ruler of all, and was the only One who could change my heart and heal the pain I was dealing with. 

 

I still love to pray and probably stop for just a few seconds to have a mini-convo with the King at least...well, honestly, I don't know how many times a day I do that; it's a lot. 

 

But that's the beautiful thing about prayer; it's ongoing. 

 

We don't have to wait until we are in a large gathering, reading from a book of Common Worship.

 

We don't have to wait until sunrise or sunset. We don't have to wait until something bad happens. We don't have to only shout praises to Him. We can be real with Him. 

 

I can stop typing at work for a little bit and ask Him to refocus my wandering mind on the task. I can suddenly smile at the thought of something sweet my husband said and whisper an almost inaudible "thank You, Father" into the air. I can thank Him for a meal, ask Him for direction, tell Him I trust Him, and even tell Him I'm nervous about the unknown. He knows that I'm flawed. He knows how much I need Him even more than I could ever begin to comprehend.

 

He knows you need Him too. 

 

Go to Him. 

 

Slow down for a moment and sit with Him. 

 

I try not to get caught up in any kind of formula of prayer. I know several doctrines are taught on how we should pray, many of them being modeled after the Lord's Prayer found in Scripture. If you're unfamiliar with it, it reads:

 

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." 

|| Matthew 6:9:13, NIV ||

When Jesus prefaces this prayer with the statement, "This, then, is how you should pray:", I do not believe He meant we should say those exact words every time and nothing else. Mainly because He prayed in many ways throughout Scripture and we should always strive to imitate Him. 

But there are a few things I notice that seem to come up over and over again when He prayed; He was grateful, He was bold, He was corporate-minded, He was honest, and He was humble. 

Those are how I want my prayers to look. 

I want them to be a time where I can be completely naked in spirit as I pour my heart out to my Daddy. 

I want to be humble enough to see gratitude all around me, and know He's the one who provided it all. I want to speak (or write in my prayer journal) the gritty unpleasantries of my life in all honesty, and rest knowing He will still love me anyway. And I want to boldly make petition for His blessings to reign in my life. 

I also, want to make sure my prayers aren't just about me. I want to pray for His kingdom as a whole. I want to look beyond my little corner of existence and pray for strangers around the world with the same amount of passion that I have for my own children.

I keep a little journal in my handbag (that I definitely don't pull out as much as I should), with prayer requests from other people and world issues I want to focus on each month. Mine is from ValMariePaper, but any little journal that's small enough for you to keep with you all day will do just fine. You could even keep the things you want to remember to pray about in the notes section of our cell phone. The point is to keep them somewhere you will actually see them. My husband even writes his on a sticky note and puts it on the inside cover of his Bible so he knows he'll see it.  

I don't want this post to be one that gives you a list of things to try, but instead I pray it's a little reminder that you can engage in prayer all day everyday

 

xoxo, 

Ashley Danielle