On Valentine's Day we tend to focus on the more romantic form of love, and that is just fine. But what is on my heart today is, do we take time to love our Father and be loved by Him?
We make cookies, or buy chocolates, flowers, go on special dates, but do we take the time to love the One who loves us with an everlasting love?
If you get to know me at all, you will find I am passionate about the importance of having a quiet time with the Lord. I have already written little bits about it here and here and here.
I will repeat a few important points:
1. We are all at different seasons in our lives, so do not compare and be discouraged!
2. We are all unique individuals on similar, but different journeys. Therefore God speaks and moves in our lives in many different ways.
What He uses for one, He may not use for another~so~no condemnation, no discontent, unless it is a good discontent that spurs you on to another level, okay? ;-)
Many people have asked me over the years what I actually do in my quiet time, so I will share a peak inside what has become a very precious time. Writing a blog post about it cannot possibly express what it means to me or how wonderful it is, but I will try.
First of all, I am a journal-er! I have to write, it seems, for it to count as my quiet time. Quirky, I know. Don't even ask me how fussy I am about journals and pens!
I always start out by dating the top of the page and my usual salutation:
Good Morning Father,
I then proceed to thank Him for...maybe sleep, or the children, or this calling of mama-hood, or Brian or whatever wells up in me. Years ago I got into the habit of starting out thanking and praising Him first because of this verse:
Every day [with its new reasons] will I bless You [affectionately and gratefully praise You]; yes, I will praise Your name forever and ever. (Ps. 145:2)
For weeks I had a sticky note with that verse to remind me to start by praising Him.
Next is where I literally pour out my heart. Whatever, and I mean whatever is going on in my heart. Be it a certain struggle with sin, a need for wisdom or strength, health issues, a heartache or all of the above- whatever is welling up in my heart just spills out into my journal.
Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). (Ps. 62:8)
So, I love Him by praising and adoring Him. By trusting in Him enough to pour out my heart to Him, by waiting on Him, by bearing my soul to the One Who knows before one word is written in my journal, every longing, every tear, every dream, every sorrow.
Then I read the pages for the day from 'Streams in the Desert' and 'Springs in the Valley' (highly recommended!) and whatever verses those might lead me to. Or, I might read the Psalms for the day or wherever I sense the Spirit lead. Sometimes it is a big old study of the Greek or Hebrew of some verse. Other times it is just one verse that pierces right though!
Do you know what almost always happens? Something I read speaks volumes to the very things I poured my heart out about. I am always amazed and overwhelmed at the love I feel when he speaks to me this way. How does He do that? I marvel at how I cry out about something so specific and then literally minutes later I read a verse or devotional that is exactly what I needed to hear!
I write down the verses or the section from the devotional at that point, usually through tears.
I then pray or sing or have to hustle off to put out some fire somewhere else, but that is the gist of what it looks like.
Ladies, I share all this to encourage you, that if you do not have precious, intimate times with the Lord, you are missing out and He is missing out!
I believe He longs to shower us with His love and mercy. GOD is LOVE! We long to be loved, right? It is a perfect fit.
He loves us with an everlasting love. (Jer. 31:3)
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and steadfast love...
I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy and steadfast love...
O love the Lord, all you His saints! The Lord preserves the faithful...
The Lord preserves all those who love Him...
Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness--trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].
The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.
For the Father Himself [tenderly] loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from the Father.
So, love your husbands and your children, make treats, eat chocolate ;-) but more importantly LOVE your Father and sit before Him and let Him love you!
Oh, one more reminder, be patient, be diligent. Don't give up if you don't 'feel' anything. Continue to love Him by showing up, pouring your heart out, by waiting on Him...we don't love Him just so we get something out of it, right?
Tell us about your quiet time. Do you have a special routine? Do you journal? Are you struggling to make it happen and want prayer?