faith · marriage · prayer · scripture · Uncategorized

Love God More

Let me paint you a picture, a picture that happens in our household sometimes and one, that I am betting, happens in yours at times as well.

Last night I was talking with my husband when I decided to share a few fears and anxiety I was having. I will say that my intention wasn’t just to share, I was looking for comfort, rest, and peace. Remember that part folks.

Anyway, I’m sharing a few fears of mine. Instead of giving me the answer I went looking for, he gave me an answer that did not make me feel better at all. I immediately got frustrated and was on the verge of blowing it out of proportion. Is this sounding familiar to some? Just me? OK, moving on.

In the midst of my frustration, God calmed me and asked me an incredibly convicting question:

“Why are you expecting rest, comfort, and peace in your husband? That’s a lot to ask  out of man. Especially for someone who didn’t know those fears existed until now. That’s also something you should be looking for in me.”

And y’all, that hit me like a TON of bricks. I was placing a lot on the shoulders of a man who was sharing a lot of the same fears. He didn’t have the answers because he was having those same fears AND he’s not God.

After the conviction hit, what happened next was something the enemy hates. I asked for my husbands forgiveness. It wasn’t fair for me to put that on him. He then apologized for not being more sensitive to what was going on and we both turned to God. Together. No blowing up. No fighting. Take that Satan! Anyway, I digress.

God has taken me on a roller coaster this past year and has been weeding out other idols in my life. One of the biggest walks he has taken me on is the idol of my family. Specifically, that of my husband.

Now, let me be clear in that, yes your husband can and should be a place of rest, comfort, and peace. The issue comes when you expect it, look to him before you look to God, he fails, and you blame him. This, my friends, is making your husband an idol in your life.

You see, God tells us that he is our comforter, our provider, the source of our joy, our peace, rest, and so much more. When we go looking elsewhere to fulfill those, we are placing idols in place of our God. This doesn’t mean we can’t find joy in others, in fact I believe we should! What it does mean is our peace, joy and rest should not be dependent on those things.

As much as I love my dear husband, he is a sinful man, the same way I am a sinful woman. Trying to find my complete rest and joy in that is foolish. A year ago, I was finding myself getting really angry, frustrated, and sad really easily when Joey was grumpy or upset with anything. I was SO dependent on him for my source of joy. How awful and unfair is that? That is a lot of pressure to put on someone, and its certainly pressure I do not want on myself.

If I am being honest it is still a struggle for me. You see, its fairly easy for me to recognize material things as idols in my life, well, because they don’t hold the value a human being does to me. It’s a bit more difficult to recognize when someone I love is an idol to me and here is why I think that is. When you are holding another person as an idol in your life it is REAL easy to use Gods view of others as justification. Statements like:

“I’m supposed to love and respect my husband”

“I’m supposed to love my neighbor as myself”

“I’m just viewing him as God does and holding him to Gods standard.

As true as these may be, they can easily be used to justify placing anyone but God on a pedestal. I’d urge you to reflect and think about what happens when your spouse messes up. Does your faith waiver? Does your joy waiver? What about your peace?

It may be hard but are you able to look past your own emotions and see the Joy of the Lord? The Peace of the Lord? The Rest in the Lord?

If you recognize someone as an idol in your life, I’d urge you to take it to the Lord and ask for the other persons forgiveness as well. Recognizing that you have someone as an idol in your life is only the beginning. It’s what you do once you are aware that makes that relationship with God flourish.

I’m not saying this is easy. It’s not. It’s one of the hardest things God has walked me through and continues to walk me through. What I am saying is it’s worth it. It’s worth not feeling pressure from your spouse. It’s worth the unwavering faith. It’s worth the unwavering Joy. It is worth the trust and comfort that comes with making God your go-to.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:7

 

Love your family, your spouse, something fierce but love our God more. 

 

 

 

faith · parenting · prayer · scripture · Uncategorized

Praying Scripture: A Strategy

If you haven’t caught on by now, I feel very passionate about prayer. My current quest is to dive into scripture in a much deeper way than I have ever done before. Something that doesn’t quite come naturally to me and is a bit intimidating.

Prayer, on the other hand, is in my comfort zone. I LOVE being in prayer. I get super passionate and motivated when someone asks me to pray for them because I know how powerful it is.  I will gladly intercede for you. I can do that! I think part if this stems from being raised catholic. Although I do not practice Catholicism anymore, I hold a special place in my heart for the faith because it taught me how to pray at a very early age. I would challenge you to find a friend who practices Catholicism and ask them to pray with you. There is a discipline and fervency that is attached to it and it is something I have carried with me throughout my life.

That being said, God knew that he could draw my passion for prayer to his word by giving me a strategy to turn his word into a prayer. Stay with me because I know there are a lot of blog posts and articles put out about praying scripture. These, my friends, are four things I now use to turn scripture into prayer. I’m sharing them with the hope that this gives someone the encouragement they need to start praying or dive into Gods word.

First and Foremost, this strategy is for anyone who wants their scripture life and prayer life to be one. It helps put your prayers into words when you don’t necessarily have the words to pray.

Now, I will say, there are chapters, and books (I’m looking at you 1 chronicles) that don’t really align with this and applying this strategy to a lineage chapter may be difficult. I can tell you that whenever I read those, I pray into my own bloodline and the lives of my children because as of now, that’s all I got.  ha!

Anyway here we go:

  1. The first thing you need to do is find a scripture. A chapter, a few verses, whatever floats your prayer boat. Got it? Hopefully, it wasn’t from 1 chronicles… fingers crossed! 
  2. Find Gods characteristics and truths in the chapter or verse. What are you learning about God? Is he speaking to someone? Great, we serve a God who speaks to us! Is he revealing himself as just, comforter, healer, etc.? Great, we serve a just, comforting, healing God. You get the picture right? great! Start writing your prayer with praise for the truths you just read about and thank him for the characteristics of him that he so freely shows to you. BAM. You should already have a prayer that has started with praise and thankfulness based on the scripture you just read.
  3. Next find the human behavior or earthly characteristics. This could be someone from the bible acting in wisdom, strength, humility. It could also be someone acting out in selfishness, pride, foolishness, etc. It could be idolatry, sacrifice, anything that we as a people are doing in that chapter or verse. Once you find those you continue your prayer. You first repent for any of those characteristics you have or have not shown to the Body of Christ. This will depend if the characteristics you pulled either align with God or not. After asking for forgiveness you bring those characteristics and you pray them over your own life or the life of the person you are praying for. You ask God to clothe you with those characteristics or strip them away depending on the nature of them.
  4. Use the same words that are used in scripture in your prayer. So if one of your thankfuls is one of God not forsaking you, use forsaken in your prayers. It keeps it as close as possible with scripture. Try saying your prayers out loud with different tones. Being louder and bold when you speak the truths about God. I love doing this because I call it “Clearing the room” When I’m in prayer there is no space for anything other than Jesus in the room. ha!  I then get a bit softer when I’m asking him for things in my life or the life of others. 

All that said I wouldn’t leave you without an example.

Below is a scripture that I turned into a prayer recently: This prayer is based on Isaiah 51:1-3

Father, you are a righteous God. Thank You Lord for creating me and being my rock throughout my life. You are a mighty and powerful God who is my comforter. Thank you for taking the deserts in my life and making them a garden for you. Father, forgive me for not finding Joy in you. Forgive me for not taking comfort in you. I pray that I recognize you as the source of my joy, the source of my garden. I pray that I run to your comfort in the midst of a desert. Thank you Lord for your word and the wisdom you shed into my life. Amen. 

That’s three verses y’all. JUST THREE. Imagine how intense your prayer life will be after a chapter, or two, or four?!

I will forever speak my “freestyle” prayers and not all my prayers will be these. However, I have found after writing and praying ones based on scripture, my “freestyle” prayers are more powerful, more bold, more fierce. Maybe yours will be too.

Sooooo, if this speaks to you and you try it, I’d love to hear from you on how it worked for you! If you don’t mind sharing your personal prayers that are created using this strategy, please send them my way.

Lastly, if you’d like me to pray for you, with you, please reach out. I would seriously LOVE to be in prayer with you or for you!

 

faith · marriage · Uncategorized

Praying for my Husband

Those of you that know my husband and I personally know that my husband wasn’t always sure about God. He had belief in him but he had serious doubt. Those of you that know my husband and I intimately, know that we have been through the ringer and by the grace of God, at the end of the day my husband and I love the Lord.

When I first married my husband we both had issues. We both thought we knew EVERYTHING. ( I can see my mom rolling her eyes saying to herself, “oh, I remember.”) haha, sorry mom! Anyway, we both made some mistakes. Somehow in the midst of our mistakes and falls, the Lord touched us and continued to reach for both of us. I had been raised in the catholic faith and was in a catholic sorority in college. I knew the Lord and I believed but I had a very wrong image of what a relationship with the Lord looked like. By no ones fault other than my own. It was not until I married my husband that the Lord began to pull on my heart in a way I had never known. Somewhere along the way, he thought it fit to deliver me a best friend who would tell me how important it was to pray for my husband. Guys, I am so thankful because he changed my life through her and everyone I met through her.

OK, so here is my point,about a year after we married I started praying for my husband FIERCELY. I know some of you have been told to start praying for your husband early on like in your teens. Guys, if someone tells you that, do it. Seriously. I don’t remember if anyone ever told me that and if they did, I was too selfish and self-centered to listen.

So here I was already married, realizing I needed to start praying for my husband. These next few points are how I prayed for him from where I started to now. Let me be clear, despite how beautiful it sounds, praying for your husband fiercely is not always beautiful, in fact sometimes it’s down right ugly, but the fruit it produces is heavenly. Here we go:

Check yourself. Your heart MUST be in the right place first. If there is no conviction in your own life, if your darkness is not in the light, your prayers are bias and foggy. In other words they fall short. So ask the Lord to reveal to you the spots in your life where you are falling short of being a woman of God. For example, early on in this walk when I was asking the Lord to reveal this to me, he revealed the selfishness and unfair thoughts I had toward Joey on a daily basis. In other words, I was praying for qualities like patience and steadiness in my husband yet I wasn’t even reflecting those in my relationship with him. How could I pray for patience over my husband when I was being incredibly impatient with him?

Surround yourself with women who also pray for their husband. My bible study group recently got together and dedicated a night on praying for our husbands and sharing what we do to pray for our husbands. Guys, I cannot stress how important it is to have these people. Early on in my walk it was other women who gave me incredible resources, an amazing little book, guidance on what to say in my prayers, all of it. It’s those same women who convict me today to keep praying for my husband. It’s these women who give me new ways to pray for him. So, no matter where you are in your walk or how comfortable you feel praying for your husband, these women are always important. Solidarity, y’all.

I prayed specifically into certain aspects of my husband’s life. I prayed over his work. I prayed over his heart, his choices, his friendships, his health, and everything in between. Let me be clear in saying that I never pray for a certain outcome. I still don’t. My next point may give a clearer picture. Point is, I pray for peace and Joy in his life despite the outcome or circumstance.

I prayed Godly characteristics over my husband. I found these in Gods word. I would literally read Gods word, find the characteristics that were exhibited and pray those over my husband. For example, I prayed patience like Abraham and Sarah over him. I prayed for wisdom like Elijah. Obedience like Moses. Diligence like Paul.  You get the picture. It helped me to know what to pray into my husband. It still does. In any aspect in his life, I pray these characteristics into him. If he’s going through a tough time in one aspect I’ll pray specific characteristics over him that will help him overcome. If he’s not, I’ll pray these over him generally and daily.

I prayed for my husband’s relationship with God more than any of the above. I remember nights where I was in tears praying that he would see how God loves him, that he would see his worth in God. I prayed that he would grow closer to him, That his heart would soften and open to him. I could see how much God loved him and longed for him but I prayed that he would see it. Guys, this is my one warning for you, when you are praying for it this hard, you get an answer. It may not be one you expect but you will absolutely get an answer. I interceded for my husband very boldly and fervently. My prayers were answered boldly. My answer came 5 years after I began this prayer journey. For some, it comes sooner, for others later. For some, this prayer is answered in a very different way. Your walk is not mine and mine is not yours.

Lastly, do not be afraid to ask the Lord to use you. In fact I think you should. I ask the Lord all the time to give me words, actions, and thoughts that reflect him to my husband. If my husband can’t see Jesus in me, what does that say about my love for God? Asking the Lord to use you gives your husband a tangible visual of God. If he can see the characteristics of God in you, there is a chance he’ll start to see where they come from. (God himself!) It also keeps you in check. Refer to my first point. Can’t be doing the Lords work while not actively keeping an eye on and searching your blind spots. Let’s be clear, You can do the Lords work with your shortcomings, the key lies on whether you choose to continually to ask the Lord to work on your heart. The Lord continues to reveal to me on how to love my husband. What that looks like, sounds like, etc. What it is for me, may look very different for you, but the prayer is the same. God, I pray that you would use me to show my husband you. To show him your love, grace, and joy.

I don’t know everything there is to know about praying for your husband. What I do know is what works for me. I do know that intercession works. I probably need a whole other post for this topic! I do know that praying for your husband at times, is hard and some days your heart is not in the right place to pray things over your husband. Look at my first and last point y’all. Your prayer and intercession begins and ends with where you stand with the Lord.

My husband will be the first to tell you that prayers for him were a critical aspect in bringing him to faith. I can also tell you that no one will pray for your husband the way you do, so go ahead and pray.

faith · marriage · parenting · Uncategorized

Honoring My Husband in His Absence

Last night our oldest pulled our heart strings. During prayer she wanted to ask the Lord to help her with her sadness when daddy has to leave. We tried to point out that he was here now and they were able to have all the fun. She immediately responded with “But he’s going to have to go again.” She’s not wrong. In fact it’s coming sooner than anyone in this family would like.

My husband works a job where he’s gone quite a bit. That job provides for our family and we are grateful but it doesn’t make the time away any easier. I know i’m not alone, not just in the military community but in a lot of families, sometimes their dad is gone a lot.

My kids have taught me that during this time, they are incredibly impressionable. I tend to believe that because their emotions are so high and extreme during this time, every little thing has an impression on them. I’m not expert, it’s just what I think. Not to mention my daughter is already trying to prepare her heart for it. ah!

This is why I don’t think it was a coincidence that this morning I was hit with conviction on how I honor my husband while he’s away. Do I even do that? Am I being purposeful in doing it? The answer to all of the questions I asked myself was either no or I could definitely do that better/more. The first and foremost question that needs to be addressed is this: Why is it important to honor your husband while he is away? I am a wife and can speak on my side. Maybe one day my husband can share his perspective!

By honoring your husband in their absence you show integrity and respect for your spouse, you’re showing your kids how to treat not only their father but you and those they are close to. You’re showing them how the people they choose to surround themselves with should treat them. Just because my husband leaves this house for work days, months at a time does not mean his presence, his convictions, the wise decisions he has made leaves too. However, the most important in my own life and walk; Biblically, you are showing them how to honor God. 

It also keeps consistency in the home. It keeps his presence here. It gives security to kids who so desperately need it during this time. It lets them know, “Oh, mom doesn’t do this on her own even when daddy is gone. They are still a team.” Guys, right below being an example of Christ to my kids and loving the Lord is showing them how healthy relationships work. I feel so strongly about this because of my own past and the unhealthy patterns that happens to so many people so quickly. ah, I digress, that is for another post!

Now that I’ve answered why, it’s time for how. This guys is where my own convictions lie. As you are reading these know I’m praying over these in my own life. I am battling the guilt. I’m on my knees and asking the Lord for help.

The way you talk about your husband, especially in earshot of those little sponge- like ears. It’s no joke that the frustration builds, the hurt in your own heart that longs for the husband who can be present himself to discipline the kids or just help with the chores that you’ve done on your own. The longing for a hug from him. Guys, I get it, believe me, I get it. I am very thankful to have a husband who tries to do what he can while he’s away. I mean even getting on the phone and talking to his kid when I can’t even. The wisdom comes when you let the frustration out, is it directed toward your husband? Are you placing blame in him? You see Joey and I made his Job decision together. We chose this, together; To place blame on him is unfair and wrong. It definitely shouldn’t be something my kids hear. You are their safe place. If their safe place blames their dad, slowly but surely they will too. They will remember the way you talk about your husband. The way you talk about their dad in his absence will become the standard for their own lives when it comes to how they talk about their loved ones and how they expect to be spoken about.

Respecting his convictions and decisions for the family. Joey and I are a work in progress and we are constantly working on what our teamwork looks like. One thing is for sure, we made a decision long ago to support each other in front of the kids. We do not go against the other on a decision until the kids are asleep then we discuss it and change it later, together, if needed. There are rules that Joey has brought to me with wisdom. Ones that I have agreed with. Decisions that tend to slide while he’s gone whether because of shear tiredness, laziness, or guilt. For example, the TV remotes are off limits for our 1.5 year old. However, I have found that when he’s gone, if I see her with one, I’ll let it slide. Mostly, because I’m exhausted, I justify it by picking my battles. Really, correcting her probably wouldn’t cause a fit if I did it every time but because I’m inconsistent when he’s gone, it’s a fit. I made that bed. It’s my own diligence that needs to be checked. It’s my conviction. If i trust my husbands wisdom and discernment, than I need to respect the convictions he has for our kids. The same way, if not more, he does for me.

Which brings me to Diligence. My diligence needs to outweigh my laziness, my exhaustion. This is true in parenting in general but even more so when honoring my husband. It is my diligence that keeps things consistent. It is my BIGGEST struggle. Guys, seriously, pray for my diligence in parenting.

Talk about your husband. Honoring your husband while he’s away means that his presence in the home should be real, even to you. I don’t mean his absence. Focusing on his absence means focusing on all the things that he does that he can’t do right now. Focusing on his presence means honoring the wise choices and decisions he has made. It means talking about daddy regularly. I constantly tell the kids, “Daddy is going to be so excited, proud, etc” Even more so, on my heart is this sentence starter with the kids:  “Your daddy and I….”

Yep, even while he’s gone y’all! Send me all the help, because I do not say that enough if ever while he’s away! Why not?! I do not become a single parent while he’s gone. Why don’t I act that way?

I have so many friends who read my blog in which their husbands are gone just as much, if not more, than my own. In what ways do you honor your husband while he’s gone?

 

 

faith · marriage · Uncategorized

Guarding Your Marriage (Part 2)

 

 

A few months ago I wrote a post about guarding your marriage. It’s my favorite blog post that I’ve written to date. My marriage is incredibly special to me and God works in it to bring us closer to him, especially through the messes. It’s beautiful.  I’m here to continue the list I started in that blog post as Joey and I walk through a very new year of marriage.

Be wise about when to keep going and when to stop. Joey and I were out with friends this past weekend and we were having so much fun. However, it was hot and we both don’t do well with crowds. Towards the end of the walk, there were these beautiful ruins that we were admiring from the outside. All of our friends went in while we stayed out and let the girls play and run around. At one point our sweet friends offered to stay with the girls as we went inside. Joey and I started to walk in and then stopped and looked at each other. We had a choice to make. Go look inside, face the crowd and do our best to fight off the grumpiness that was sure to try to creep in. Instead we turned around, went back and opted to stay in good spirits and keep on enjoying our time. We knew we both were not going to be able to handle it, we knew our limit that day. Know when you’ve had enough. Be wise about when to keep going and when to not.

Flirt, flirt,and  flirt some more. My best friend recently reminded of this. It’s my job to lift my husband up. So gals, keep on calling your husband handsome, keep giving him those eyes in public, and remember PDA. Husbands, keep calling your wife beautiful, grab her hand in public. kiss her forehead, all that mushy flirty stuff! ha!

Keep your spouse in the know about your struggles. The daily ones and the larger seasonal ones. I say this keeping in mind wisdom. Your spouse is not a bowl that you pour into and leave to hold the weight. You share your struggle. You let them in and share the weight. This way, no one is on their own through the daily battles the enemy has. Have an open heart to hear their struggles and have compassion. Be empathetic. When your spouse is being open with you about their struggle, this is not the time to be a “one-upper” It’s not the time to mention how exhausted you are all the time, okay Annalisa? haha Seriously, though, they are opening their heart up to you, take it in and guard it. On that note…

Guard your spouses heart. It is not my job as a spouse to take the heart my husband so openly shares with me and offer it up to the enemy. Yep, I said what I said. Here’s what I mean. When you are making choices that affect your spouse in any way do you have their heart in mind when making the decision? Recently, Joey brought an opportunity for his work to me and asked me if I thought it would be a good idea for our family. He laid out the options and the risks. One risk he brought up he paid special attention to and made sure my heart could handle it. He was guarding my heart. He knew that particular risk would hit me harder and he was prepared for it. We prayed over the decision and ultimately opted for him to go for it. It’ not just in the big things though, it’s in the little things. In the daily choices you make in how you talk to and about your spouse. There is wisdom as to how you talk to your spouse and how you talk about your spouse. Yes, even when you’re going through a tough time guys, it’s hard, but there is still wisdom as to how you are speaking of your spouse.

Pray for one another. Why on earth was this not on that first post, I have no idea. When you’re living this life so closely with someone, why would you not pray for them? As Christians, it’s sometimes so easy to pray for those that pop up in our Facebook feeds, or the ones the come up during prayer requests. Let’s not forget our spouse. They need our prayers more than ever. Not only that, if you guys are sharing your struggles, you have very specific prayers to give to the Lord, take that step and give it to him.

When I write these, I write them because I see them working in my own marriage.  Joey and I have struggled both on our own and together. This year has been a breath of fresh air for us as we both enter in it with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Everything I write about guarding your marriage is not one sided for the wife. Joey will be the first one to tell you that. Both Joey and I fail all the time on doing these things but when we don’t fail, our unity works pretty awesomely. Then there is the grace the Lord gives us and we freely give each other for those times that we do fail.

Joey and I don’t have it all together. We don’t have the perfect marriage, in fact it’s VERY far from it. It took a lot to get us here and it will take a lot to get us through the rest of our lives. A lot of prayer, grace, forgiveness, and Gods goodness.

 

faith · Uncategorized

Keeping Pace

I recently started training for a half marathon. I’ve always been a runner and got super pumped when I met a friend here who holds the same pace as me. I don’t have to do this alone, thank God!

Here’s the thing, I have always been terrified to join running clubs or teams because I’m not the fastest runner. In fact, the past few years, I’ve been on the slower end. I immediately get discouraged and just count myself out and run on my own.

Before, you say, oh that’s no reason not to join a group! I know this but there is more. Here’s the catch, I get discouraged very easily when I am left behind. When I am running with a group and am left behind I will absolutely talk myself out of pushing myself. Which leads to walking if I get too tired. Just ask my husband. ha! He tells me all the time I sell myself short when I run on my own and he’s not wrong. Bless that man.

Do you see my dilemma though? I REALLY want to push myself, in order for that to happen right now I need accountability, BUT I won’t join a club because I don’t want to get left behind. It’s a never-ending cycle that I’m working on you guys.

Side note: That cycle is starting to end because the Lord delivered me a partner that runs the same pace as me! baby steps y’all!

Anyway,  I was thinking about this during my run this morning. This cycle that I am in when it comes to my running. All I could think was, “Thank you God that you don’t do that to me.”

You see, this is one of the many reasons why I LOVE the Lord so much. He refuses to leave me behind no matter what pace I’m going with him. He sees whats in front of me and he stays with me. During those times I choose to walk, he walks with me and stays there until I’m ready to run again. He patiently waits with me and for me when I just stop. He knows when to push me and he knows when to give me rest.

My walk with the Lord has not been a fast one or an easy one. In fact it has been the exact opposite one. It has been a slow and difficult one.  There have been times when I get discouraged yet still he stays with me. Last year was a tough one for my family. My heart was shaken way too many times for me to count. There were times that I ran with the Lord and times where I walked. Despite the struggles that we went through, God never left me or my family behind. He stayed. He lingered. He prompted. He paved THE way.

No matter what happens in your walk today just know, God does not leave you behind. It is said over and over in scripture that he does not leave you or forsake you. Guys it is said multiple times, you think he wanted us to know that no matter what, he’s got us? I think that would be an accurate statement.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

I could tell you that one day I pray I am able to push myself in my running on my own but I’m not quite sure I want that. Right now, its serving as a sweet reminder of what God does for me that I could never do myself. He keeps pace with me, always. And I really like that.

faith · Uncategorized

Where to Start

Ok, so I haven’t walked into a gym since college. I’ve spent my workout time doing outside workouts or just plain running. Well that’s about to change as I prepare to go to a gym for the first time since college. I’m realizing now I have no idea what I’m doing.

Que my searching the internet for gym workouts. Which, as you can imagine, was a bit overwhelming.

This got my wheels turning and brought back a lot of the same emotions I felt when I first starting delving into the bible. Much like now I was overwhelmed and had a ton of bible study tools at my finger tips.

I began to realize the similarities and how those emotions drove me farther away from truly understanding his word. If you’re at that spot in your faith and you find yourself staring at bible study books like I’m staring at gym workouts, this ones for you. So I’m going to share with you how I lay out my time with the Lord in hopes that you feel a little less overwhelmed when you’re staring at your bible.

I do pick up devotionals and bible studies with groups but my quiet time is something I cherish because it truly is an experience with the Lord. During my quiet time I journal for many reason but mainly because it works for me. It is not necessary.

First, I go into it my quiet time with no time frame in mind. I may be there an hour, I may be there fifteen minutes. In the beginning I would only a lot for 15-30 minutes, I now give myself an hour or more. This is not by my own accord. Gods’ goodness and faithfulness has changed me and I look forward to the time now. It was not always like this, though. It took a lot of baby steps.

Next, I put on some worship music and I ask for forgiveness. I present the sins I am guilty of and I lay them down to the Lord. Once done, I ask the Lord to use this time to fill me with him so that I can enter the day doing better than yesterday.

I don’t dive into the bible just yet and here is why. I get sooooo distracted you guys. There are things I have to get out so that I can truly just be in his word. This is when I lift all of my prayers. I say all my thankfuls and all the prayers. If I’m praying for certain people, I lift them up here. I write all of these down. I write these down because one day those prayers will be answered and you better believe my journal will be proof of the Lord to my girls.

After I am done getting all of those prayers to the Lord, I ask for wisdom. Often, I will specifically ask for wisdom on a certain struggle or issue I personally am facing. God makes it very clear that if you ask for wisdom, he will give it to you. So I do. I then read two verses of proverbs. I literally started with proverbs 1:1. I pray over them and then I pray that I can use that wisdom to understand the words that I am about to read.

Finally, I dive in to the bible. I pick a book of the bible and read a chapter a day. If it’s a longer chapter, I split it up. I’m not going to go into the specifics on how I read the bible because I think that is a post for another day. I will say, I highly recommend starting in the new testament first. Get to know Jesus.

Once, I’m done reading his word and journaling through it, I bow my head in prayer and ask for the application. I look at the issue in the chapter. Is it a chapter about hope, justice, forgiveness, obedience, anger, leadership, pride, etc.?

Lastly, I do some self reflecting and end in thankfulness and prayer over the application in my own life.

This lay out has grown me closer to the Lord in a huge way. Each part of this set up can be shortened so that it fits into your time frame. I didn’t dive into proverbs in the beginning of my walk. I didn’t always journal the way I do now. I’ve added and taken away over time. You will too.

No matter what, remember, God just wants the time with you.  He wants to share his love with you. The beautiful thing about that is, he can do that in minutes. He doesn’t need an hour, he doesn’t need a devotional, he just needs you.