Friday, June 24, 2011

Quiet Time

The title of the blog post makes me giggle a bit.  It's not often quiet at my house.  It seems that my boys are gifted in physical movement and other words, they are always on the move and always making noise of some sort.  The little cuties can't help themselves.  They are practicing being brave, bold, adventurous, and fierce protectors...defeating "bad guys" and "big bad wolves" at every turn.

So, in the midst of the madness at the Johnson home...this momma's heart seeks a little bit of "quiet" each day.  I need some opportunity to think....or complete a task without interruption...or just to "be"...and if I am being completely honest, I'd just like to go to the bathroom alone.  {snicker}  The days are long and sometimes difficult.  I often run out of patience before my little men run out of energy or questions to be aanswered.  My work is often undone before I am fully able to enjoy know, like when the freshly mopped floor is immediately marked with little muddy footprints.  Thankfully, I am wise enough to know that these are some of the sweetest days of my life.  Full of blessings like:  chubby little hands that want to hold mine, sweet little voices to tell me that they love me, mischievous little grins and twinkly eyes, and hugs that melt my heart and cause me to fall in love with them all over again.    

The kind of quiet I need is not just "alone" time.  As a matter of fact, I need to be with Jesus so desperately.  Time with Him restores my soul, rejuvenates my heart, stirs up His love within me again, and helps me to find some perspective.  My time with Jesus gives "shape" to my life.  It brings peace in the midst of the madness.

I have been in the habit of having this "appointment" with Jesus for years, now.  I don't want to age myself, but...for over 20 years now I have sought out this time with Jesus.  Over the years, this "appointment" has taken many different forms.  There have been times of tremendous learning - when God was showing me things in scripture that profoundly affected me and shaped my heart.  There have also been "desert" times...when my heart was hurt or my mind was too full to focus.

When our first son was born, I was learning to mother and balance a full plate of responsibilities.  With the addition of each child, it became more of a struggle to keep all of the balls I was juggling in the air!  During this season of my life I was far too "legalistic" about my quiet time with Jesus.  It was as if my time with Him was just another "thing" on my to-do-list for the day.   If the day was nearly gone and I hadn't "gotten it in" - I would flip my Bible open and read anything...and try to find some sort of applicable nugget of truth...then close in prayer.  Ahh...the satisfaction of another "thing" accomplished.  I had to learn the hard way that it was my pride at work - I wanted to be a "good christian" and having a daily quiet time was part of what good christian people do.   gulp.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  I was so focused on accomplishing the goal that I didn't allow room for being authentic, for allowing the Holy Spirit to move, or for trusting God's love and not trying to "earn" His approval (or the admiration of others, for that matter).  It was a pride I had to die to. 

 With the addition of each little blessing into our rigidity in quiet time became more apparent.  I was scrambling to keep it all together...and it was all seeming to fall apart.  {grin}  So how does a mom of four young children find time to be quiet?  I love the days when I manage to muster the energy to get my keister (is that really a word) out of bed before my little ones arise to spend some time talking to God and digging into the Word.  However, my  children are very early risers so this doesn't happen as often as I'd like.  Most of the time, my quiet time happens late at night...after everyone is in bed and my house is silent.  Usually, I have a few books I am reading...I always spend time praying (I have kept a prayer journal for years - it helps me to see and remember God's faithfulness)...and I always read scripture (if I am not doing a more formal Bible study book).  Every day, I am praying (often just to make it through the day).  When our first son was born, a dear friend shared this sweet promise...and it  has been such a comforting word to my weary-momma heart.

"He tends his flock like a shepherd:
   He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
   he gently leads those that have young."
  Isaiah 40:11

What a sweet thought that God knows and understands the challenges that face "those that have young" and He is so kind to be "gentle" with them.  He knows I need to be led gently!  Little stolen moments with the Lord throughout the day are my "fuel" and provide some sanity and levity to my days.  We usually have a "Praise Dance Party" after lunch.  It's simply a matter of crankin' some praise music the kiddos like and dancing around the kitchen.  I am amazed at how restorative it is for all of us.  It's hard to be cranky or unkind when you are singing God's praises.  {grin}  Above all, many years of having a quiet time with God have taught me much...I am loved much, I have grown much, I have been given much and I can trust Him fully.  What an amazing thought that  the creator of the universe longs to be with me...and I desperately need to be with Him, too.  Having quiet time with Him makes me a better wife, a better momma, and a woman growing in grace and wisdom.   
Thanks, Jodi, for inviting me to join the conversation about quiet times.  You can find some more perspectives here.

A four boy pile-up in the hallway makes for one of my favorite pictures.  {grin}


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