When I was a young adult, it did not even occur to me to spend quiet time with God each day. The focus of the church that I grew up in and then the ones my family worshiped with after I married focused on faithfully being present each time the church building doors opened for a gathering of some sort, worship and Bible class included and, really, that was enough for me. The saying is true, “you don’t miss something you have never had.”
About the time Tara was 5 years old, I attended a ladies’ day in Marietta, OH, with Kay Gross as the main speaker. The message touched my heart. I bought the cassette tapes and listened to them over and over again. All these years later one specific point that I remember from Kay’s talks is “Jealously guard a quiet time with Jesus.”
After Kay’s message caught me, I began trying to carve out a time that I would be able to sit down each day with God. I found carving out that daily time each day extraordinarily difficult and cumbersome at first. I had two little girls, ages 5 and 3 in addition to my husband being a novice minister and me a novice minister’s wife. However, little by little and over time I began to make that self-set appointment more times than I missed.
As a novice at spending quiet time with God, I experienced many frustrating times. For one, there is so much in the Bible, and I wondered, where do I start? I am a morning person, so for me, in the end, morning was an easy choice. I did have to begin getting up a little earlier, but when I did I would sit with the Bible in my lap wondering where to begin. Keep in mind this was in the mid 1980’s – no cell phone, no computer, no internet. Another challenge was that my mind was not used to focusing for that length of time on any one thing (those of you with small children can relate). Since I did not seem to be accomplishing anything else, I decided to simply begin a habit. I would arise, get my coffee and Bible, and sit there with the Bible in my lap continually drawing my mind back to God.
“Do I have all the ingredients on hand to fix spaghetti for supper tonight?” Back to Jesus.
“I need to try white bar soap and Mox on that stain on Tara’s favorite jogging suit.” Back to the Word.
“Was there something else I could have said or done to have seen a better outcome from that argument with my husband last night? I wish we would not argue in front of the kids; it is important for us to present a united front.” Back to God.
Little bit, by little bit, God rewarded my efforts. The time spent became more enjoyable and less frustrating. Over time, through baby steps, I developed a habit that has deeply impacted my family.
When Tara and Amber grew up and left home, one of them wrote me a letter, the other wrote me a poem. What they mentioned was the consistency and stabilizing impact that my daily quiet time had on them. As they awoke and came through the house, most mornings I would be sitting with my Bible and coffee in quiet time with God. This was a sobering realization for me. What they mentioned were not the wonderful speeches I made to them (and I believe I made some wonderful speeches!). It was a daily habit I had developed as I tried to hang onto God’s coat tail while our family was living in chaos. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for redeeming my family and rewarding my efforts to stay close to you!