Discipling By Example
Back when I was a young, stay-at-home mom of three sons, my personal Bible study and prayer time looked somewhat different than it does today. I remember realizing that the best window of time to be alone with God was while my sons were either napping or at school. Still, I had to know when to be flexible and when to doggedly guard my time with God, no matter who/what was demanding my attention.
I can vividly recall one time I hid away in the privacy of my walk-in closet to pray during my youngest son’s naptime. I had kept the door slightly ajar, so that I could respond to him at a moment’s notice. When suddenly, I spied him bursting into my room, still very drowsy, but intent on getting me to read him the book he cradled in his arms. Thinking I was nowhere to be found, he dropped to his knees and began to cry in despair. Naturally, this meant being flexible enough to respond to his needs, rather than remaining focused on my own in that particular moment.
But more times than not, I realized that I needed to fiercely guard my time with God. Not in a way that was harsh or dismissive of my child’s desires or activities, but rather in a way that taught them how to pursue God in the everyday with both graciousness and determination. I knew that if they didn’t see me making God my priority, they would not see the need to do that in their own lives.
What does my regular personal Bible study and prayer time look like now?
Since I’m an empty-nester, my days are mine to order and arrange. This has given me the luxury of undistracted “quiet time” with God each day. Years ago, I decided that mid-morning was/is the best time for this, because that’s when I’m most energized, alert and undistracted. Of course, I fix myself a nice cup of coffee that aids in this effort, while also putting on a comforting instrumental playlist. Both of these serve to set the mood for something I can’t wait to get to regardless!
When I can’t make this mid-morning appointment, I either shift to another available time in my day, or make sure to get it in the next day. And I don’t beat myself up over this break in my rhythm. If I did, I think it might make this pursuit feel like an obligation and burden. But when I keep it about being with God, rather than jumping through some spiritual hoop for the day, it keeps me drawn to Him all the more!
How have my daily devotions impacted my life?
Honestly? I’m sure I would have gotten divorced, possibly committed suicide or, at least, resigned myself to an extremely messy marriage and life. It was truly that painful back in the day, my friends! These were the horrible outcomes that I was careening toward until getting into God’s word finally started getting into me! Sure, learning healthier ways to think and relate helped my life and marriage. But I couldn’t find the healing I desperately needed until I let God’s word and Spirit do “surgery” (daily) on my heart and mind.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
If you are questioning whether or not “wielding God’s word” should be a greater priority in your life, then take my word for it! Getting into God’s word and praying are the most important tasks you’ll ever pursue. Everything you feel, think and do hinges on this all-important goal in life.
Meet Beth Steffaniak
Beth is grateful to be a living, breathing example of how God redeems and refines “the messes and mess-makers” in this life. She now turns her messes into messages of hope and healing at her blog, messymarriage.com. Beth and her pastor husband, Gary, are finding their empty-nest to three young adult sons and one daughter-in-law to be fuller than ever before. That’s because their adorable grandson, who arrived last October, is filling their arms and hearts to the full!