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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quiet Time Encouragement

Pregnancy always seems to derail my quiet time....first the morning nausea makes it hard to focus, then the discomfort and lack of sleep that comes from being ever so large makes it hard to beat the kids out of bed.    Thankfully, once the babies are born, I tend to have an unusual amount of energy despite the lack of sleep.    I usually get up after the early morning nursing, at 4-5am and have a quiet time.  This has been the pattern with all my babies, and I look back on those times as "spiritual sprints" where God has allowed me to have more extended times of quietness with him.   Seeing as this is most likely the last time I will pass through this baby-early-waking season, I want to make the most of it and try to make early waking a habit that is not dependent on a hungry baby...but dependent on a hungry mommy, needing God's word as nourishment for her soul.    I thought I would share some of the tools that I am using this time around.  

I use Tapestry of Grace for our school curriculum.   The author, Marcia Sommerville, is very concerned about nourishing the moms who are teaching, as well as the children.   She has developed some tools that she sells on a CD called Garden Tryst.   There is a teaching CD, as well as a CD of printable forms you can use to make your own notebook.   It is very reasonably priced at 10.00 and can be purchased here.   You can read about what is included in this article.     I'll give you a little run-down of how it works for me.  I wish I could show you some sample pages, but I'm afraid I would be violating her copyright.  

Our church has a bible reading plan that I use for scripture reading, and this dovetails perfectly with Garden Tryst.    Every day there are two readings from the New Testament, and two from the Old Testament.  The first section of my daily pages in my notebook give me space to journal about these readings, and talk to God about what I am learning.   Then there is a section for me to focus on the attributes of God, and praise and worship him based on the aspects of his character he is revealing to me at that time.   Then I move on to my least favorite part....dealing with the sin issues in my life.  The forms ask me to think about my sin, and how they manifest themselves in thought, word, and action.    There are many additional forms provided to help root these sins out and do the hard work necessary do away with them.     For example...after looking back at my admittedly sporadic journaling over the past two years, I've noticed that I very constistantly struggle with impatience with my children, especially in the afternoon.   This usually involves me resorting to yelling, sending children to their rooms, or tuning them out all together.   There are consequences resulting from this.  One is that they sense my not wanting to deal with them or hear their concerns, and the second is that I am not dealing with their heart issues with the appropriate training and correction.   When I realized exactly how far back I had been journaling about this same problem I was really embarrassed to have done nothing to deal with it, and to not have taken my sin seriously.   It was time to pull out some of the other forms to help me study the issues involved in a more indepth manner.    I realized that I was really not looking at myself as a servant of God, or my family, but looking at myself more as a person who deserved to be served, and have her desires (clean house, quiet and peaceful atmosphere) met despite the costs to others. I'm using these forms over the coming weeks to figure out exactly what thoughts and attitudes that I need to take off, and which ones I need to put on.

These forms have really helped me to study scripture in an organized manner, and are helping me to not gloss over the truths without putting them into practice.   I highly recommend this wonderful, incredibly priced resource.   I think it is good for both men and women.  My husband has been using it as well, and finds it very beneficial in his life.   By both using the same resources, it makes it easy to communicate to each other about what we are learning, and we are able to hold each other accountable to staying on track and following up on what God is showing us.   

The bible reading plan starts up again on January 1st...I'd encourage you to order your own copy of Garden Tryst to make the most out of your quiet times in 2010.

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