“A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it.” ~D.L. Moody
“Few things frighten me more than the beginnings of barrenness that come from frenzied activity with little spiritual food and meditation.” John Piper
Fall and the start of school means frenzied activity. So why do I forget this every year?
In those final, lazy days of summer break, when my kids get bored and restless, I start to long for the structure and schedule of school. Then I get what I wished for and wonder, “What was I thinking?!”
I’m running on cold coffee and stale brownies, struggling to keep up. The laundry is turning sour in the washing machine, we’re already a week behind our homeschool schedule, and yesterday I discovered that my son went into science class unprepared because I forgot to give him his homework. Let the mistakes begin!
Mornings are the frenziest (and the time that I’m most likely to make up words). Getting a family of six prepared for takeoff and launched into the day is a challenge. Doing it without sinning against anyone and everyone? Extreme challenge.
And so my Bible reading and prayer have been pushed off to later and later in the day—so late that it isn’t happening. I’m not being lazy and I really want to spend time with the Lord. It’s just that I can’t send my son to school without a lunch, or give up teaching my kindergartner how to read, can I?
But I’m starting to feel it. The beginnings of barrenness. I need God’s Word. I need His presence. More than anything. (John 15:5)
So where do we find the time? Finding the time to spend with God each morning often begins the night before. We have to get practical in order to prioritize the spiritual.
Here are some practical ideas that are helping me right now, along with some suggestions the other girltalkers threw in as well:
I’ve started making lunches before I go to bed at night. No matter how tired I am, or how late it is, I don’t go to sleep until my husband’s and son’s lunches are ready in the fridge.
Mom used to empty her dishwasher before she went to bed, that way it was ready for dirty dishes each morning.
Make your coffee the night before. Set out your Bible, reading material, and supplies (pen, blanket, tissues etc.).
Train your children to stay in bed each morning until you come and get them.
We’ve started work on a new book about emotions and we want to hear from you! Please send us any thoughts or questions you have, short or long.
What frustrates or confuses you most about your emotions?
When or with whom do you have the most difficult time controlling your emotions?
What is one question or concern about the topic of feelings that you most wish someone would address?
And yes, there is something in it for you…we just don’t know what yet. Hopefully some blog posts on this topic, and if your comment or story becomes part of our book, we look forward to sending you signed copy as a thank you gift.
In almost ten years of blogging, you have never let us down! Thank you for so generously sharing your thoughts, questions, and ideas.
“But you will imagine that it is best that He should at once enable you to see clearly. If it is, you may be sure He will do it. He never makes mistakes. But He often deals far differently with His disciples. He lets them grope their way in the dark until they fully learn how blind they are, how helpless, how absolutely in need of Him. What His methods will be with you I cannot foretell. But you may be sure that He never works in an arbitrary way. He has a reason for everything He does. You may not understand why He leads you now in this way and now in that, but you may, nay, you must believe that perfection is stamped on His every act.” ~Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward
2014 at 8:48 am | by Janelle Bradshaw
My husband, Mike, is a gift that I don’t deserve. My kids have yet to fully grasp what an incredible dad they’ve been given. For one, they would never be clean if it wasn’t for him.
True confessions: I really hate giving my kids baths. There, I said it. For some strange reason I prefer a clean bathroom and dirty children. But thankfully, the kids have Mike and whenever Dad is on duty, the kids get clean.
This is one of many ways that Mike and I are different. And when it comes to clean children, I appreciate those differences. Other times, not so much: particularly when those differences mean that Mike doesn’t help out in the way that I want him to with the kids.
For example, if Mike doesn’t seem to notice that I need help with the kids, or doesn’t help in the way I think he should, I can be tempted to judge his motives and assume he doesn’t care. I expect him to observe and understand the need that I have without my asking for help. But Mike doesn’t always realize that I need his help, or know what kind of help I’m expecting. This is not because he doesn’t want to be helpful, but because we are different.
Elisabeth Elliot diagnoses my problem:
“Strange how easy it seems to be for some women to expect their husbands to be women, to act like women, to do what is expected of women. Instead of that they are men, they act like men, they do what is expected of men and thus they do the unexpected….It’s another of those simple facts which are not always so simple to remember.”
When I remember this simple fact, I can resist the temptation to judge Mike, and graciously ask for his help instead. And you know what? Whenever I ask Mike for help, he says “yes!” He actually does care. A lot. He is always so eager to jump in and do whatever I need. So, instead of expecting Mike to be like me, I can choose to appreciate the fact that he’s not like me (and that our children get regularly bathed!). And the next time he doesn’t help the way I think he should help, I can stop and thank the Lord that he’s different from me. Then I can open my mouth, ask for help, and be grateful for a husband who so willingly says “yes!”
What do you recommend to younger woman about getting an older woman to mentor her? I have a very broken relationship with my own mother, and feel like I have been starving my whole life for an older woman to come alongside me and mentor me.
This woman echoes a cry we have heard from countless young women through the years, and I pray this cry reaches the ears of many godly, older women in our churches.
For all of the young women who are so desperate for a spiritual mother, what can you do? What if you don’t know any godly, older, women? Or what if none of them seem to have the time or inclination to mentor you? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Pray and Trust. Ask God to fulfill this desire of your heart. After all, he put it there in the first place! Given remaining pride in our hearts, the fact that we are desperate for wisdom, discipleship, and exhortation is only the fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts. And God promises to fulfill all our desires for wisdom and righteousness (James 1:5, Matt. 5:6). He will generously provide.
2. Learn a little from a lot (of older women). While it would be wonderful to have a designated mentor, there aren’t always enough godly, older women to go around these days. So make all of the godly older women you know your mentors! Observe their strengths and ask each one if she would be willing to give you counsel at least one time in one area. Ask the prayer warrior to coffee so she can teach you how she prays. Ask the organized woman to come to your home one afternoon and give you some advice. See if the experienced babysitter, or the mother of disciplined school-age children, can come to the park with you and your unruly toddler and offer her counsel. Ask the woman with a strong marriage if she and her husband can spend an evening with you and your fiancé. Create your own personalized discipleship course by drawing on the godly character and experience of many women. Just imagine the wealth of wisdom you could amass in a short time!
3. Don’t waste an “older woman moment.” In other words, don’t despise or overlook even the smallest opportunity to learn from a godly, older woman. Maybe you are seated next to her at a friend’s house for dinner or you run into her in the hallway at church. You can learn life-changing truth in five minutes with a godly woman, so come prepared. Have a list of questions and whenever you have the chance ask a godly woman for a quick word of advice or encouragement. Or send her a short email or message her on Facebook or Twitter. For example, ask a godly woman what she is studying in her daily times in God’s Word, or how she would handle a parenting situation you are dealing with. Like paparazzi chasing a movie star, we should hound the older women in our churches for godly counsel.
4. Go secondhand shopping. Learn vicariously if you can’t learn directly. Ask the godly teenage girl what she appreciates about her mother. Ask your friend who has a godly mentor to share what she has learned from her about walking with God through suffering. Get parenting counsel from another mom who is getting godly counsel from an older woman. Ask any younger woman who has access to an older woman: What have you learned from so and so? What would so and so do in this situation? Like sheaves left in a field after harvest, there is much wisdom to be gleaned secondhand.
5. Be a bookworm. Even if there is a shortage of godly, older women in your church, we also live in an age with unprecedented access to the written word, and thus some of the greatest “older women” of all time. Every one of us can learn from Susannah Spurgeon or Sarah Edwards, Elisabeth Elliot or Nancy Wilson. And you can return to books again and again for wise counsel on godly womanhood. There is much more I could say here, but my friend Jodi Ware has already written a wonderful post on this topic, which I would encourage you to read.
6. Come to learn. Show an older woman that you value her time and her godly wisdom by asking genuine, thoughtful, open-ended questions. Come to her eager to learn and receive instruction, even course-correction at times, not merely validation or affirmation. It helps to plan your questions ahead of time, and avoid questions that are not really questions at all, but make it awkward for an older woman to share a different perspective. Remember, older women have a unique calling to teach us how to be godly women. Let’s make it easy for them to do just that.
7. Become an older woman. Take what you learn from godly, older woman and apply it. Be faithful in the small things, today. Sit at the Savior’s feet and serve others in the humble place God has called you. Sow now, so you can reap later. If you take to heart the wise counsel and biblical wisdom of women who fear the Lord, and apply what they teach, you will become a woman with proven character and a fruitful lifestyle. And God-willing, some day in the near future, a young woman won’t have to look too far for a godly older woman to mentor her, for you will be the mother who raised her or the spiritual mother who is right beside her all the way. May God raise up a generation of godly women to teach the younger women “what is good” (Titus 2:3).