All this talk about humble, peaceful and joyful busyness isn’t just for you. It’s for us too. We really need it right now. That’s because in addition to all the normal fall activity we’ve begun work on a new book.
Due out (God-willing) in the Summer of 2007, and published by our dear friends at Crossway, this book will build upon the material from the “Highly Effective Woman” series we posted last January. We hope to encourage women to live intentionally by God’s Word in every season of their lives, and experience grace, peace and joy as a result.
So would you pray for us? Writing is good for our souls—if for no other reason than that it makes us aware of our desperate need for God’s help! Specifically, you can pray for:
-wisdom as we finalize the title
-clarity as we shape the material (and decide what to add and what to delete)
-strength and stamina for the long hours writing (in between dinner and carpool!)
-creativity and skill—so that this book will be a blessing to those who read it
Most of all, please pray that we would bring glory to our Savior—not only through the content of this book, but in the writing process as well.
Thank you, dear friends.
Nicole, for the girltalkers
“No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” Charles Spurgeon
Babies know when you are making dinner, and they inevitably start to fuss and whine. It takes a creative mom to keep a baby entertained while completing her task. My friend Tali found the perfect solution for her son Tyler. This will keep you laughing too.
Last week’s chapter was on the life of Mary and Martha. The take-home lesson was applicable to all of us:
“It is a danger, even for people who love Christ, that we not become so with doing things for Him that we begin to neglect hearing Him and remembering what He has done for us. We must never allow our service for Christ to crowd out our worship of Him. The moment our works become more important to us than our worship, we have turned the true spiritual priorities on their heads” (p. 167).
As promised, we want you to hear from a woman who has faithfully made rising early to sit at Jesus’ feet a priority in the busy season of motherhood. My dear friend Julie Purswell first shared this testimony at a retreat that I led for the pastors’ wives of Covenant Life Church several years ago. We were all provoked and inspired by her faithfulness to pursue the spiritual disciplines, and benefited immensely from her practical ideas. Soon after, we had her share these thoughts to a group of moms with young children (a season where it is sometimes difficult to maintain the spiritual disciplines). Today we want to share this testimony with all of you.
We hope you are encouraged to follow the example of Julie and Mary, and “never allow service for Christ to crowd out our worship of Him.”
Finally, as we near the end of the book we want to hear from you once again. “Of all the women we’ve studied, whose life has encouraged you the most and why?” Remember to send us your response by Thursday of next week. Even if you’ve fallen behind in the reading you can still feel free to participate!
Happy Thursday, everyone! I sure can relate to Mom and Kristin with this busyness thing. There’s been lots of meetings, a few time-consuming photography jobs, the cooking and cleaning, the dentist (cavities are the pits), laundry and for the icing on the cake, Caly has been up in the middle of the night teething. I peeked at my calendar through half closed eyes this morning only to see that the next two weeks seem to have even more.
Now, I would like to say that I usually run around completing my tasks with a happy smile set on my face and mirrored in my heart. Not always. If you saw me, you may see a smile, but my heart often looks a little bit different. Complaining and grumbling sometimes find a home. I move from one task and event to the next, caught up in how I feel and what I would rather be doing instead.
Today I read something from one of our favorite authors, Mr. Charles Spurgeon. He never knew me, but seemed to pen these words just for me…
“Cheerfulness is the support of our strength; in the joy of the Lord are we strong. It acts as the remover of difficulties. It is to our service what oil is to the wheels of a railway carriage. Without oil the axle soon grows hot, and accidents occur; and if there be not a holy cheerfulness to oil our wheels, our spirits will be clogged with weariness…Reader, let us put this question—do you serve the Lord with gladness? Let us show to the people of the world, who think our religion to be slavery, that it is to us a delight and a joy! Let our gladness proclaim that we serve a good Master.”
My mission? To apply these wise words. I need to oil my wheels of service with an extra dose of “holy cheerfulness” (along with humility and dependence) so that a watching world will see my relationship with the Lord as a delight and not slavery. I want those that encounter me over these next few weeks to see that I serve a “good Master.”
It’s a familiar verse. One we are often quick to quote and slow to apply. And yet, if obeyed, it can produce peace in your soul and mine during busy seasons. Charles Bridges’ provides fresh insight into this little verse. Consider his comments carefully:
“Take one step at a time, every step under Divine warrant and direction. Ever plan for yourself in simple dependence on God. It is nothing less than self-idolatry to conceive that we can carry on even the ordinary matters of the day without his counsel. He loves to be consulted…Consider no circumstances too clear to need his direction. In all thy ways, small as well as great; in all thy concerns, personal or relative, temporal or eternal, let him be supreme. Who of us has not found the unspeakable ‘peace’ of bringing to God matters too minute or individual to be entrusted to the most confidential ear?”
Proverbs 3:6 is our go-to verse when we’re faced with a big decision. We are often quick to acknowledge the Lord and seek His guidance in extraordinary situations. However, we assume we can “carry on…the ordinary matters of the day without his counsel.” God calls this self-idolatry and pride. How often I live as if I don’t need God in order to clean my bathroom, or discipline the boys, or get dinner on the table—as if I am sufficient in and of my self to handle most things! My lack of dependence upon God is pronounced in these “ordinary matters.”
And yet, as Mr. Bridges points out, “God loves to be consulted…no circumstance [is] too clear to need his direction!” He wants us to bring to him all our little decisions, our minor frustrations, our small dilemmas. He doesn’t just tolerate our questions—God LOVES to be consulted! Hasn’t he commanded us to acknowledge Him in all our ways?
A season of busyness may tempt you to anxiety, but as Christians, we are truly meant to experience peace in our souls each and every day. This precious, “unspeakable peace,” comes when we bring to God all of the ordinary matters of our day. ??So what were you going to do next? Before you get up from your computer, pause, read this verse and quote again, and acknowledge Him. Unspeakable peace can be yours for the rest of the day.
Yesterday Mom talked about the challenges of the busy fall season. As a mom with young kids, I feel like I’m always in a busy season—spring, summer, winter, or fall! However, I did start Andrew’s homeschooling year a couple of weeks ago. And Liam recently began weekly tutoring for a slight learning disability.
These new responsibilities only add to the constant feeling of “being overwhelmed” and “having no time.” And they only increase the temptation I already face to rationalize away my quiet times, to try to do it all in my own strength. That’s why I need to cultivate our second indispensable quality: dependence upon God.
Even though I might not be able to have extended times each and every day, I must not neglect my relationship with the Lord simply because I have young children. Because the truth is, I need His strength and wisdom now more than I ever have! Whether it means getting up early or taking time over the boys’ rest-time, I must make every effort to seek God’s face and receive His grace.
Recently, I’ve begun “tracking” my times with the Lord again. I write down how much time I spend with the Lord each day, or a “0” for none at all. This is not a legalistic attempt to earn God’s approval. Rather, it is to help remind me of the importance of seeking God and to help keep me from neglecting my relationship with Him. Janelle has made a cute little chart that you are welcome to download for your own personal use.
On this topic, I want to encourage you to read an article by Donald Whitney, author of Simplify Your Spiritual Life. He both empathizes with the unique challenges a young mom faces, and yet encourages us not to neglect our pursuit of the spiritual disciplines. But even if you don’t have young children, this is a timely article for all of us who are crazy busy: “Do What You Can.” And do it all in the shadow of the cross.
Whew! After devotions, exercise, grocery store run, beds made, dishes done, house straightened, laundry underway, Chad homeschooled, soccer carpool completed, editing project for my husband finished—I can finally attempt to write a post
Life is busy!
And it’s not just me. Whether you are a student, holding down a job, or caring for a family—the fall season unfailingly fills our lives with lots to do.
So what does it look like to glorify God in the midst of a busy season? My girls and I felt a need for fresh perspective, and so, we figured, maybe you do too. Drawing from thoughts we’ve posted previously, we want to consider three indispensable qualities for busy, even hectic times like these.
The first must-have to survive—and even thrive—during busy seasons: humility.
I still remember the wise and helpful counsel my husband CJ shared with me many years ago when I was having one of those “I just can’t get it all done” breakdown crying sessions. When he finally got the chance to speak, he said: “Carolyn, only God completes His to-do list. We are not God. We are finite creatures with serious limitations. Therefore we need to humble ourselves by accepting our limitations and draw upon God’s strength to simply do what we can.” CJ’s advice not only helped me then, but continues to benefit me to this day.
Here are 3 simple ways we can be mindful of our limitations as we make our to-do lists these days:
1. Separate the-really-do-matter items from the really-don’t-matter items—of course doing the really-do-matter items first. 2. Simplify the really-do-matter items where possible. (e.g. pizza for dinner or store-bought cookies for entertaining.) 3. Trust God for all the things on the list that don’t get done.
Let’s honor God by responding to our “endless” list of to-dos with humility—joyfully accepting our limitations and simply doing what we can.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
No, Janelle, I am not off on a trip with your father. I’m home teaching Physical Science, Algebra, Grammar and more to your little brother. You remember. It’s all the same stuff I tried to teach you twelve years ago. Actually, I doubt you do remember – at least the Algebra you sure don’t! As we always tell you when you attempt to answer a question that requires math: “Please, don’t tell anyone that you were homeschooled!” Honey, though you never really got the math, you did succeed at making me laugh every day. In fact, you still do. Thank you for that!
I hope these three testimonies fill you with fresh faith for evangelizing members of other religions. Most of all, I pray you are filled with fresh wonder and gratitude for God’s divine rescue of your own life.
Finally, we are not going to ask a question this week. That’s because we have a friend we want you to hear from instead. She will share her story of learning, like Mary, to sit at Jesus’ feet. May we all do the same!