The goal of this blog is to encourage each of us to learn ways that we can Whisper the Word to children that enter our lives, because they live with us, because we teach them, because we are in their lives regularly, or even in passing moments. But I haven't had the time to regularly share the ways I whisper the Word to others, and I've ended up doing a lot of book launches/reviews.
I'd like to share today- how we need to be whispering the Word to ourselves and taking care of our own hearts and souls before we can share it with another. The principle of putting your oxygen maks on in a crisis so you can help your children get their masks on. The older I've gotten, the more I've recognized that I am a broken, sinful, vulnerable person. Parenting pointed out to me just how big a sinner I am, and how selfish my heart can be. It's been the most sanctifying dimension of my walk with the Lord. I've needed to be sure I make time daily, hourly, sometimes minute by minute, or second by second to seek the Lord, ask the Holy Spirit to rule my heart, words, and decisions. As on my own, I fall apart, I yell or even scream in frustration (I know it surprised me too, how calm I've been as a professional educator in many settings, yet how different it is in your own home.) So I need heart checks. I need wisdom. I need hope. I need joy. I need faith. I need to live with power only made possible by God's grace, in salvation through His Son, dying for us, rising again, and delivering to us the power through the Holy Spirit, to turn away from sin and darkness, and walk in the Word of God. And as Ann Voskamp says often, how quickly we all get soul amnesia.
This is one tip that is already reflected on the blog- in part.... I read-- I read nonfiction christian books, often what I consider a testimony of another woman (or man) who loves God and has shared her own discoveries, strategies, and scriptures to walk through in her day to day life, and draw close to Him. Other times it's books directed at kids or at a specific population that needs touches of knowledge blended with prayers, struggles, and a fierce example of seeing God at work in the struggles or challenges of life in family, community, or with special needs. Often the authors share their thinking and what's in their heads as they seek the Lord, and how to make it work in mundane days of mothering or ministering to those around them.
I've always known that reading is self-care, and self-care is really important. But I've had to learn to make time for it in life, no matter what tasks or aspects of the do list, don't get down. If you are going to help others, that takes your tank being full enough to have something to give. That's where I'm living, finding a balance in caring for my 4 amazing, yet needy and vulnerable children, my husband, my parents, a grandparent, and myself, while being prepared for the chaos, flexibility, and unpredictability that our family situation brings.
But when I find moments in the day- to seek the Word in my Bible, in a devotional (my current favorite is Paul Tripps New Morning Mercies), $2.99 on kindle at the moment, or in a non fiction book or testimony of someone I can identify with, I think, I pray, and I process so much better in those stressful moments of life. In other words, my brokenness and sin, when I have heard God's voice, His Word, or a testimony of hope, fades a little bit, and I might not be as embarrassed about my parenting moments in the next few moments.
So how do I do it? Some tips that I'm using now:
Keep a devotional in the bathroom. This one is my current favorite, really short blurbs, but scripture, truth, and great impact are there every day! Corrie Ten Boom's 365 days
Keep the Word on my Phone. I use YouVersion app. I love to compare translations and it's really easy on this app.
Start each day with a verse from the Word. Often I read the SOAP verses from Love God Greatly, and less and less these days, share thoughts in a facebook group. I often try to look at something before I'm even out of bed. More often these days it's been learning the habit of adoration by looking at Who God is- through the lens of scripture. Sara Hagerty teaches adults how she does this, and shares how she teaches her children adoration as well. Her instagram is easily checked each day for today's adoration.
Teach Sunday School, or mentor those who are teaching Sunday School, and think about the lesson, it's applications, what key vocabulary words need to be taught, and how you'd share it with a preschooler or elementary student at their level. This is one of my biggest connection opportunities, trying to make it something a 5 or 11 year old will grasp and be able to apply. Children Desiring God curriculum, my friend considers like a theology class for the teacher preparing- one focused on Who God is and how His character, worth, and greatness guide our lives. For me the repetition of truths, still amazes me that I have so much more to understand myself so I can help others teach, or teach myself.
Women's Bible Study- either an in person regular group, an online group (did you know how many free online options there are? I'm still learning!)
Lifeway Online Studies
a live group study is almost always going on. But they have some posted for anytime, and they have archives as well of recent studies, of the videos that go along with books and study guides of many great authors.
Faith Gateway runs one study at a time with a facebook group, free access to the videos, you can purchase a book and/or study guide often to go alongside.
Shereadstruth is one I want to try sometime. They study book by book the Bible with an app, and a bible study book to purchase. I've head great things about these studies.
Audiobooks- I've found recently that in mundane tasks I have time and energy to listen to a book or sermons as I'm driving around, or folding laundry, dishes, etc.
A journal- I put in scriptures that encouraged me or challenged me. I add quotes from books that I'm reading- often a mindset or mantra that is worth repeating in my heart regularly. I do word and scripture study notes. Sermon notes, create graphic representations in my notes, etc.
Scripture coloring books- meditate as you color an image of a scripture text.
Books- like The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, Daring to Hope by Katie Major, Unseen by Sara Hagerty, also are my soul self care. Women sharing their passion to be in the the Word and how they wonder about who God is in the busyness of life, ministry, and children. These authors work for me as Moms who've adopted, have large families (all have larger families than me), and have found ways to see who God is second by second, so that they can be growing better each day as a person. There are many great authors out there- these are my three favorite at the moment. They are my kindred spirits who have similar struggles, sorrows, and joys that I can identify with, and they are well versed and submerge themselves in the Word, and encourage me that I can too.