When I gave my life to Jesus Christ I was a young wife, young mother and was living with an unbelieving husband. It was not an easy road, to say the least. Some days I felt like I was drowning in laundry, housework, meal preparations and all the other things that go along with being a mother of little ones. Day after day it seemed like the more I wanted to spend time with God, the less I did. It was an endless cycle. But, I carved out time each day to sit in His presence, to make a way for Him and me to grow in our love relationship. During these times I would sit and write to Him. I would journal my prayers, I would write out what was on my heart, I would jot down scripture verses and also write down what He was speaking to me. It has been fourteen years now, and I have kept every single one of these journals and notebooks. Every once in a while He has me go back through them and He shows me how far I have come, and how majestic was the road we took together.
This morning was one of those mornings. I have some health issues and some tests my doctor wants me to take today, and times like make me want to go back and look through the various journals and bible studies that I have done and I re-read what He has done for me, what He has done through me and also the promises that He has given me over the years. As I went through an old study of mine, I found a sheet of paper that I was given long ago by a woman who had raised her children and saw my struggles of trying to find time with the Lord but still be the wife and mother my family needed. I am not sure why the Lord wants me to share it with you today, but He said share it, so here it is. She taught me that time with the Lord is like riding a bus. There are many stops and many bumps, but we must stay on the bus. These words helped me focus on Him and helped me live a life that was devoted to Him, in everything. I pray that you too will find the encouragement you need to stay on the bus with me. Amen.
Stay on the Bus
#1) Always Remember- There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are on the bus. Although we want to encourage you to protect your personal time in the Word every day- we all have our low times- we fall off the bus.
#2) Hop Back On- When you do miss, whether it is just a few days, or a few weeks-don’t try to catch up. Just start reading and don’t stress over it. Remember- This is not a notch in your belt. – Our goal is to stay in fellowship with God, not accomplishment.
#3) Personalize the Pace- Be realistic about your journey. For those new to Bible reading, devotion times, Bible study, mothers with young children, the students with lots of homework, etc, you may decide to read just through the New Testament this year. This reading segment will take just 5-7 minutes. If is much better to be consistent with a smaller portion, than to be overwhelmed with too much.
#4) Pen and Paper-If you pick up a pen and write the date in your notebook, you have put yourself in the mode to “pay attention”. What you are saying to God and yourself is that you expect God to show you something or say something in His word that is worth writing down and remembering. When you write something down, you more than double your retention. As you write one thought, often you will see other facets of it expand and grow into sweet, deep understanding.
#5) Find a time-Everyone has a personal rhythm. Some are morning people, some are night owls. Both types can buy an inexpensive alarm clock and set it for a certain time each day. This small action can help you protect your “personal appointment with Jesus.”
#6) Prepare a Place- Keeping your Bible, notebook and pen in a certain place all the time is a tremendous help. You can go right there and just jump in. You will find that you start viewing that place as special and holy.
#7) The Search For Answers- A quick review of the following questions before you read every day will help you anticipate and be excited about your reading.
1) What Did I learn about God?
2) What Did I learn as lessons about life?
3) What Did I learn about myself, my attitudes, my priorities, my fears, failures, desires, mission, destiny?
4) Is there a lesson I can apply today?
5) What can I take from my reading and pray back to God for understanding, instruction or help?
We all struggle with finding time to spend with God each day. But we also know the importance of carving out time and making room for God each day. Being a wife and mother of small ones is difficult, I know, I have been there. But we must make it a point not only for our lives, but for theirs as well to make time for God. I do not know where the lady who gave this to me all those years ago got this, but I thank her for it. Because of these seven steps I now have a daily routine that involves God first. All the way back to those first few months and years as a Christian, these simple steps have helped me build that relationship and that special time with my God. I have been blessed and so have others because He called me into a sweet, quiet time with Him.
I pray today that these words encourage you, and that you would make time for Him each and every day- wherever and whenever you can.