Saturday, April 28, 2012

Morning Grace

I'm a rule-following kind of girl. Its a great trait to have...sometimes. Sometimes it can really get in the way, though. When it comes to my morning quiet time, it can be downright dangerous.
As a college student and into my early married years in my 20's, it was easy for me to get up early and spend an hour ir more with God every morning. Then we had kids, and everything changed. Suddenly I was a 22 year old stay at home mom who considered taking a shower a major accomplishment. Days went by without me ever even opening my Bible. My prayer time dwindled to, "Lord, how am I going to get this done?"

I'm a voracious reader, so as my kids got older, I started reading again - along with my Bible, I read books on marriage, parenting, and being a Godly woman. I learned a lot from those books - mainly that I was failing. One book said I should spend an hour or more a day in Bible study. Another told me it should be easy to pray for an hour a day. Still others told me I should tithe my time - spend 10% of my time with God and never miss a day. I beat myself up a lot during those early years of marriage and motherhood. I knew there was no way I could live up to what those books suggested. I was breaking all the rules.

Then, a few years ago, I discovered something amazing - grace. Its my morning grace - grace for my times with God. My goal is to get up early every morning and spend time with God. Most days it happens, but if not, there's grace. Some days its long, other days its just a short devotional. One day I might spend more time in Bible study, another day might be focused more on prayer, and still another might focus on journaling or scripture memory. Whatever I'm doing, there's grace.

I believe that God delights in our efforts and our successes to spend time with Him, but I also believe that He's ready to wrap His arms around us and carry us when we're frazzled, frustrated, and struggling to keep up. He made us, He knows us, and He understands our ups and downs. My morning quiet time is again something I look forward to. In fact, its one of my favorite times of the day.

Beginning May 14th, I'm going to do something a little different with my quiet times, and I'm so excited about it!  I've pulled together a group of friends from throughout my life to form a Good Morning Girls group on Facebook.  Together, we're going to study Proverbs 31, pray, and support each other.  We stretch halfway across the country, from Texas to North Carolina, but each day, we'll connect on Facebook.  I can't wait to see what God is going to!
Do you want to have consistent time with God every day? Sign up for Hello Mornings or Good Morning Girls!  These amazing websites have encouraged me so much.  If you're struggling with your quiet times with God, check these out and discover your own morning grace.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

When Priorities Get Pushed Aside

Something dawned on me the other day.  I haven't been blogging lately.  I'm a month behind on my "read through the Bible in a year" plan.  I don't remember the last time I worked out.  These were all supposed to be priorities for me - what happened?

I was reading an article on blogging last week, and one point from it really hit home.  If you're going to blog (or do anything else for that matter) you have to make it a priority.  Duh, Amanda.  Sounds simple, but I needed that kick in the pants to bring me back around.  The reason I haven't blogged, read my Bible, or worked out lately isn't a matter of not having time, although things have been insane lately - it's a matter or priorities.  I haven't had my priorities in the right order.

Yes, college is insane right now, and I'm a basket case over it.  Yes, I've been sick.  Yes, I'm a new puppy mom who has been busy with our new baby.  Yes, life is crazy.  But somehow I can find time to catch up on my favorite TV show or play Angry Birds on my phone (I'm a little addicted obsessed hooked on that game...).  Yet I'm pushing some of the most important things in my life aside for these trivial things.

My priorities are being re-alinged this week.  You will see me blogging at least twice a week now.  I will work hard, reading extra until I am caught up on my Bible reading.  As soon as I get over this repiratory virus I'm fighting, I will drag my out-of-shape behind back to the gym and start working out again.  I will sit down every Sunday afternoon and plan my week - I will make things happen instead of letting things happen as they may.  I will make a fresh start and get things moving in the right direction again and fulfill my "one word" goal for this year - FINISH.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

No News?

I listen almost entirely to Christian rock music now, but way back, many years ago (like 15+ years ago), I listened to country music a lot, and there was a song that I loved called "No News."  Part of the song goes like this (and no, my memory's not that good - I had to Google the lyrics):
She missed her bus, missed her plane, surely this can be explained,
Lost her car at the mall, got locked in a bathroom stall,
Playing guitar with the band, on the road with Pearl Jam...

Um, yeah...I can't use any of those excuses for my absence from my blog.  Mine is simply called dental hygiene school.  My life revolves around school right now.  I never knew there was so much to getting your teeth cleaned!  Next time you're at the dentist, hug your hygienist.  Seriously, they worked so hard to get where they are.  Tell them thank you.

On the bright side, there are only 6 weeks and 2 days of this semester left.  Not that I'm counting or anything.  Just 44 days until I have time to read, blog, work out, run, spend time with my family, cook, and generally have a life again.  I can't wait!

There are other things going on, too, that are keeping me busy.  There are some job situations (with me) that I can't get specific about, but I would appreciate your prayers.  I'm really needing some direction.  On the bright side, my home business is growing steadily.  I set up my first booth at a large event this weekend, and it went really well.  I'm praying that in time my income from that will become steady enough to let me reduce my work hours.  This opportunity has definitely been an answer to prayers for us.  (It's a great company that's still pretty small - if you're looking for your own home business with a great ground floor opportunity, I'd love to share more about Miche with you, or you can check out my website.)

Despite the stress and pressure I've been under lately, though, I'm excited.  There are some situations where I'm just not sure what's going to happen, but I'm doing my best to simply trust that God is going to work things out.  I'm trying to keep my focus on the new opportunities and new chances for growth that are coming my way.  I'll definitely be sharing more about them here - watch for details on the new adventures coming soon!