Sunday, July 20, 2014

Plans? God Has This One


Let the earth praise the Lord!
God's country - mountains!
We serve a great God, and it is always amazing to see His hand moving mountains in our lives.   His plans are incredible and I stand (bow, kneel, grovel) in awe of what He can do.

I told someone recently that although I'm teary-eyed over the impending departure of my college-bound daughter and our own cross-country move in another month (which means leaving so many dear friends), I am very excited to be standing on the threshold of the open door before us.   What new things will God have waiting for us?   New friends?   New challenges?   New experiences?   How will He stretch us and use us and fashion us?  

And then to consider how God laid the groundwork for this moment--maybe an eon ago?   For me.   For me?

King David once said something like this:  "It’s just too amazing, mind-blowingly amazing, to think about.”  
(see note 1 below)

I get it--what David meant--because wrapping my head around this whole deal in my life today is just head-shakingly, speech-defyingly amazing.   

David had another one where he said something like:  “What am I?  A worm of a man?  I’m nothing, and yet God—who created this whole universe and everything in it—God is thinking about me?  He’s thinking about how much He wants to be with me?” (see note 2 below)



He's in the tiny details, too
One of God's creations - flowers & photosynthesis!

If God could figure out the physics of throwing the universe together (and He did!) and the chemistry to create flowers that function via photosynthesis, then I trust no matter what's going on in my life or yours, today or tomorrow, a year ago or a year yet to be, He has it all handled.  


No matter how "it" turns out.  He's got it.

Trust Him.  He has this one.



"For I know the plans I have for you,
plans to prosper you & not to harm you,
plans to give you hope & a future.
THEN you will call upon Me
and come & pray to Me,
and I will listen to you.
You will seek Me AND find Me
when you seek Me with all your heart.
I will be found by you."
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV


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NOTE 1:  David's words from Psalm 139:5-6, 14b
"You hem me in--behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.... Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.


NOTE 2:  David's words from Psalm 8:3-4
"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"

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Titus Two FriendsDeb Hofland is a Christian wife of 35+ years 
and a mother to seven ... laughing at the days to come! 
  She loves encouraging young women and 
sharing her love for the Lord.

  When she's not writing Titus Two Friends blog articles, 
you'll find her quilting, crocheting, sketching 
or dabbling with flowers and photography.  

Connect with her on 







Monday, June 30, 2014

Bible Time With God and The Baby

Deb & Baby K - ain't we cute?
Even with warnings that "things will change" once Baby arrives, there is nothing like on-the-job training to find out what It.Is.Really.Like.   That cute little bundle is such a blessing, but my-oh-my there is just not enough time in the day to get stuff done.   Making dinner while holding a Baby should be an episode on Iron Chef or on Chopped! 

So the former routine of reading the Bible first thing every morning quickly becomes a thing of the past, a regret and a sigh.   It's noon before you realize it, the breakfast bowls are still on the table, never mind even being carried over to the dishwasher!   Plus.  Hubby expects to eat dinner when he gets home and, oh dear!, I forgot to take the meat out of the freezer when I thought of it while nursing the baby this morning.   ARrrgh!  

SO!  The dream of being the perfect little Christian wife and mother, the happy home-maker who would keep a tidy & pretty house and make every meal from scratch and create some cute little craft projects in her spare time, maybe write a DIY blog while the Baby napped in the afterno------screeeeeeech! 
  

Of course, we certainly expected that things would change when Baby arrived.  Like we're not going to get eight hours of sleep at night.   And the diapers.  And the laundry.   But wow.   We just don't expect things to change THIS MUCH!    
Like doing everything one-handed.  Like how TIME changes when you have a baby. 

God doesn't expect us to neglect our children or husbands in order to study His Word.   He also doesn't expect us to give up on spending time with Him either, but He *has* given us a job to do.  We're wives.  Mothers.   Keepers at home.   When we do the job He's given us, we're serving Him.

Review (for just a moment) these words from Titus.....they are your Marching Orders:

"Older women should train the younger women
 to love their husbands and children, 
to be self-controlled and pure, 
to be busy at home, 
to be kind, 
and to be subject to their husbands, 
so that no one will malign the Word of God."



Here are a few ideas I've figured out over the years.


1 - This period of life is a "seasonal" thing.   When you have wee ones at the breast and under-foot, your challenge is different than it is when they are older and more inclined to want to stay in bed half the morning!   So.  You must adapt.   That is, adapt your schedule.  Adapt your expectations.  

2 - Consider that NOW your role has changed from "student" to teacher, from eater to feeder.   Of course you will ALWAYS be a student of God's Word and will ALWAYS be sitting at Christ's feet. However.   
Instead of moaning over missing out on quiet time with the LORD, consider that reading a Bible story from the Old or New Testament OR sharing a simple devotion with one or two Bible passages is EXACTLY what your children need.  When you teach someone else, you learn more than your students.     

3 - Lead by example.  
When I taught third & fourth grades, it was standard practice to encourage parents to model reading at home: studies show that children of readers become readers.  Doesn't matter if it's a book, newspaper or magazine--as long as the parent gets engrossed (you'd say something like, "Oohh, I'm at the good part, can you wait a second?"), the child most likely will see the benefits and want to copy her parents. 

I'm convinced the same is true of Bible reading:  if your children (from tiny on) see you eager and excited to read God's Word ("can't get enough!"), they will soon be doing the same thing.  Little ones are very QUICK to copy their parents! 

First thing in the morning, read with your children.   Last thing at night, say prayers with them.   You are creating life-long habits.  

4 - 
Change your thinking about what you're satisfied with when you DO get to sit down and read or study God's Word.   Instead of regretting you didn't get to read/study for an hour, be thankful you got one minute!   Besides:  even just short passages are beneficial; remember, the LORD tells us "My Word will not return to Me empty."  Your whole perspective changes when you read with and to your children. Passages and concepts that you NEVER noticed before will POP (!!!) off the page at you.  Studying or reading for one minute is better than no minutes!  Be GLAD for what you DO get to munch on each day.

Sign up for Bible Love Notes - seriously, they're ONE MINUTE long to read...but they are spot-on and so uplifting!   

One of my sketches - shared on TTF Bible Reading Buddies

5 - Wolves don't eat three meals a day. But, whoooo! when they DO make a kill, look out (!)--they chow down on a banquet.  Eat up, Junior, we don't know when we're gonna eat again!  Gut-busting FULL from that one meal.  

So, too, when the chance presents itself in your day (or maybe only once a week); gorge yourself on God's Word when you can and then mull it over and over all week long.   And realize = you might be on this kind of diet for a few years.  But don't worry--there will be time later for lingering and leisurely lounging through God's Word.   But for now....make do with what you get!

Yes, it's good to have priorities, and most days--as the children get older--you will find a way to work it into your routine.   But when the schedule gets sacked, be GLAD you've committed a few passages to memory--and feast or nibble on those!

6 - Hook up with like-minded friends on Facebook or via email or real life (imagine that!).   Agree to send each other timely Bible passages, share what you HAVE had time to read, and encourage one another.    I have a Facebook group for just this purpose (we're following a chronological reading plan through the Bible); click here if you'd like to join us:  TTF Bible Reading Buddies (TTF stands for Titus Two Friends).  

Encourage your sisters who aren't as far along the path as you are.   Remember what it was like to be a new mom, tired and discouraged.   And if you're the discouraged new mom....take heart--it is ONLY for a season.   Smile and thank GOD for the sweet blessing in your arms.  God will give you what you need--He says when we ask in His name, He hears us.  

7 - Use the technology you have available.  Set up your smart-phone to send you daily Bible passages.   Get one passage to come in about 1 minute after your alarm clock is set to start your day.   Have another come in around lunch time.   Another in the afternoon or evening.  OR whatever time you seem to notice your need the spiritual snack.

I don't have little kids, and these are such Day Boosters it always makes me reflect on my blessings.   So.  TREASURE those little tidbits.  God is sending you JUST WHAT YOU NEED at that time.   Soak it up.   There are a ton of these apps available; here are the ones I like:


YouVersion
iTunes "Word Alert"
iTunes "Daily Bible Inspiration"

8 - Treasure up God's Word in your heart.  Print uplifting Bible passages on card-stock and stick one on your bathroom mirror.  Read it every morning, while you're brushing your teeth--let it set the tone for your day.  While you're washing your hands later in the day, close your eyes and recite it to yourself.  Just think:   God is with you.  
Here is a list of 100 Bible verses that are worth printing and committing to memory. 
Yep!  We just made YOU smile!








  

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Hopefully these ideas will help you put things into perspective for making time for Bible reading and caring for Baby without neglecting either one.
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If you liked this article, you might want to check out this one about Time & Priorities  or this one about Bible Time with the family.