Time with God {Over a Lifetime}

Monday, March 23, 2015

My relationship with God has changed over time as it should. So has the way I spend time with Him. I have been a Christian for over thirty-six years, and over that time God has traveled with me. As a child, I moved all over the country because of my dad's military career. I went through college. I married. I traveled internationally. I had a career outside of the home. I had two boys whom I have homeschooled. I have ran an in-home business. I have gone through loss (deaths in the family, relationships gone awry, abuse, and choosing to move on in my church life). With these changes have come change in how I have spent time with God. I am so thankful that He is a God of grace and meets us where we are in that moment. So here is a look at how my quiet time with God has looked over the past three decades. It is my hope that it will inspire you to find a method to spend time with God that will fit into you life in the here and now...

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As a young child and teen (I was seven when I gave my life to the Lord), I have to admit that my time with God was hit or miss. Personal quiet time didn't become a regular part of my life until my late teen or early adulthood years. For many of those years I did devotionals, not in depth Bible study. While I haven't given up on devotionals entirely I have found that I have for the most part moved on from them except for some by Paul David Trip like New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional and Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy

Sometime in my thirties I started to move from devotionals to Bible studies. I spent about a decade of doing intense Bible study (think: Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer). I learned so much during that time about God's Word. I am indebted to all those women who wrote the studies I did as they helped me to grow in my walk with God. If you are looking for a study to do here is my list of recommendations. During this time in life I was soaking in as much knowledge and practical application as I could. I came to realize also along the way that Bible study in and of itself does nothing for you unless you are willing to change and apply it to your life. Head knowledge doesn't make you spiritually mature, but heart change does.

In my late thirties, I read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are and began to keep a gratitude journal. Little did I know that God was instilling in me the practice of gratitude so that I would be able to make it through an extremely tough season of life (one that I am still working through). While I don't write in my gratitude journal every day I make an effort to once a week. It is a sweet time with God as I look back over what He has done for me. So many times we miss His graces if we aren't looking for them. I have found that focusing on what He has done for me and counting "griefs as graces" has helped me move forward through difficult circumstances.

These days I am taking life slow with God. Sounds strange, I know. It has been almost two years since we had to leave our church of twenty years. For me, it has been devastating. I have tried to work through the pain as best as possible. I have worked on forgiving and getting myself emotionally healthy again. It has been quite the process. During this time, I have slowed down with God. That doesn't mean that I spend less time with Him. It just means that I am not going through a ton of Bible studies. Instead I am camping out on a verse or chapter a day. I started doing this with Thom Gardner's book, The Healing Journey. I needed reassurance that God still loved me even though I had been through severe rejection from fellow Christians. I would only do a verse or two a day and journal about them. His book taught me to focus on what God was really saying about me and His love for me. That idea led to getting a...

Single Column Journaling Bible. I now am in a season of life where I am slowing down to really listen to what God is saying. I tend to journal in the margins of my Bible as ideas come to me...

I do use devotionals or reading guides to keep me on track. I have been using Wait Only Upon God which is a wonderful look at how God changes us in the waiting. Check out the author's (Candace Crabtree) website, His Mercy is New as she has other resources. I will be starting a book by Lyn Smith called WORD-Psalm 119: A Study in 22 Meditations. I have never really gone through the longest chapter in the Bible so I am looking forward to it!

I am sure in the future my time with God will change again, but for now I am taking the time to slow down and meditate and journal about His Word. 

So how do you spend time with God? Has it changed over the years?

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