Women Wielding the Word: Beth Steffaniak

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Pursuing God should not feel like an obligation or burden. Guarding our time with Him is important, but we must balance that discipline with the grace and flexibility necessary to love those around us. It can be tempting to legalistically stick to a rigid routine in the name of spiritual growth at the expense of others – or even ourselves.

Sharing stories of how God has impacted our lives encourages us and builds our faith. It’s one of my favorite things to do! The Women Wielding The Word series is meant to be an encouragement to you. I’ve asked other bloggers to share what their time with God looks like and how the Bible has impacted their lives.  

Beth Steffaniak is refreshingly honest in sharing the reality of her life before making her time with the Lord a priority. Her admission of how things have changed over the years with the different stages of life is an encouragement for those of us who struggle with desiring “the ideal quiet time“.

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.

Divorce or suicide… these were the horrible outcomes I was careening toward until getting into God's word finally started getting into me! @BethSteffaniak Click To Tweet "If you're questioning whether or not 'wielding God's word' should be a greater priority in your life, take my word for it! It's the most important task you'll ever pursue." @BethSteffaniak Click To Tweet

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!

Connect with Beth here: PinterestFacebookInstagram and Twitter


Read about other “Women Wielding the Word” in this series here.

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31 thoughts on “Women Wielding the Word: Beth Steffaniak”

  1. What a great point, Beth! As we work on that all-important vertical relationship by listening to His voice through His Word, our horizontal relationships become stronger and healthier!

    Reply
    • Yes, indeed, Michele! I’m sure you have experienced this in your life and marriage. I love how you’ve said that–“all-important vertical relationship.” That’s where every other relationship finds its anchor and hope! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging both me and Jana!

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  2. Such a great post Beth and Jana! I love hearing your testimony and the determined ways you approached quiet times yet still with grace. I value examples so you have made it so practical to learn from. I echo those years of learning the importance of time with God and how creative you have to be as a young mom. Lol

    Reply
    • Yes, it truly is an effort to be creative and to think “outside-the-closet” shall we say, Gretchen?! Lol! My only hope is that this encourages women and wives to make this happen! And I’m glad I’m not the only one who has learned this lesson well throughout the years, my friend! Thank you for stopping by to encourage both Jana and me!

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  3. Our time woth God is so importants. I pove what you said about how staying in God’s word has keep you away from divorce, suicide, etc. Sometimes we fail to realize how important the word of God is to transforming and strengthening ourselves. I know I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for His word!

    Reply
    • Yes, EJ, that’s been the best thing I ever did or continue to do for my marriage. No communication tool, counseling session, nor grit and determination can touch the healing power of God’s word on our marriages! Thank you for stopping by and encouraging me!

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  4. Beth,
    Excellent post! As I face possible surgery, I pause on the part that says that God does surgery on our heart every time we go into His Word…that’s a lot of surgery. It makes me realize just how much my heart needs it. Being in relationship with the Lord is not a once and done option. It is building layers of understanding and obedience as He continues to shape us into the likeness of His Son.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Reply
    • Yes, it is, Bev! I’m so sorry that you have to go under the knife physically, but grateful for the way the Great Physician does surgery on our hearts time after time. I’m certain He has saved us both from cancers and infections of our spiritual hearts and lives. Thank you for coming by to read and encourage! Trust that you are in my prayers, dear friend!

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  5. I’m finding that in these days,
    my talks with God aren’t here or there,
    for every hour in cancer’s haze
    makes my whole life a prayer.
    This may sound quite pretentious,
    or holier-than-thou,
    but I was once rebellious,
    and I’m over that stage now.
    I thought that I could call on Him
    as needs and wants required,
    but now, the aching days grow slim
    and I need Him, whole, entire.
    Thus every breath becomes a cry,
    “Abba, please, don’t let me die!”

    Reply
    • Yes, you’re whole life is a prayer to God, Andrew. In fact, your blog is prayer, your friendship and support of other bloggers like me is a prayer, and your impact in unseen ways is fueled by and a reflection of prayer! Thanks for your constant friendship and support! Prayers being lifted up for you!

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    • I bet, Tiffany! I sometimes miss those years terribly and other times feel elated to have my freedom and flexibility! Now, if only I could live a bit closer to my grandson so that I could have the best of both worlds! 😉

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  6. Thank you, Beth, this is such a great post. Getting into God’s Word and being intentional about scheduling that time, yet being flexible, and making that happen is so important and you’ve outlined the importance perfectly here! Thanks for sharing!

    Pinned and tweeted.

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    Reply
    • Thank you for your kind words, Patsy! But yes! Scheduling our time with God is important, as is being flexible! It’s the tension we must strike if we hope to find satisfaction in life, motherhood and marriage!

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  7. Thanks for your honest and vulnerable heart in this post, Beth. We often fail to realize how studying God’s Word can become so ritualistic, we may just look a little or a lot like a pharisee. And that zaps the joy and purpose right out of it. I’ve learned it’s a privilege not a burden to spend time with the Lord and in the Bible. We don’t need to beat ourselves up when something happens to shift our schedule. We not only choose to see how wielding the Word and prayer is important, but also how they are vital to our Christian walk.

    Reply
    • Happy to share openly, Karen! I think you are a lot like me and have a HUGE passion to share the lessons we’ve learned along the way with the younger moms and wives in our midst. Thank you for your encouragement and support of me, as well as all the amazing, caring and wise ways you support others on your blog and elsewhere!

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    • Yes, it did, Carri! Hence, the name of my blog, “Messy Marriage!” Though, I still have messy moments, God gets me through every single one of them! Thanks for your encouragement!

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  8. It’s true. I have been imploring people to make God’s word a priority in their lives. God had to bring me down a few steps for this realization to take hold. I beg people please, don’t wait until God has to remove everything from your life so you can see Him.

    Reply
    • Aww, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve gone through or are going through a valley, Mandy! But I’m so grateful for your vulnerability and important warning about neglecting this essential habit! Even though you may have neglected this and may be facing the difficulties that come with this neglect, I know God is working to redeem this for you! Praying along with you that He does and will!

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  9. I love my early mornings with God, but remember well the times as a young mom that it had to wait until they were all tucked in for the night or just like you said, naptime or while they were away at school. So thankful that in every season my Heavenly Father met me there! <3

    Reply
    • Yes, as older moms we have incredible luxury and freedom when it comes to our time with God, Vickie! But we also can appreciate the challenging season of child-rearing, while still finding consistent time with God! It’s always great to hear from a veteran, like me, in the faith! And I join you in thanking God for every season, staying as close to His side as I can! Thanks for coming by to encourage, my friend!

      Reply
  10. This was such a great post! I love when you say when you have to miss your appointment on a given day you don’t beat yourself up about it. I have a tendency to do that and find I can turn my time with God into a “legalistic” thing instead of what it is supposed to be. So thank you for that! And thank you for linking up @worthbeyondrubies

    Reply
    • Yes, I hear of so many moms–young and older–who do this to their detriment, Diane! I hope you use this as just one more reminder to be as gracious with yourself as the Lord is with you! I know you are likely very diligent most days. It’s more about a marathon than a race when it comes to making this our habit. Thank you for stopping by and encouraging me and Jana here and elsewhere!

      Reply
  11. What an honest and encouraging post! Here is my takeaway: “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.” Yes – it is so important to develop and commit to a Lifestyle of intimate fellowship with God. Thank you so much and blessings!

    Reply

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