Please note that the hero of this story is God, and if it ever doesn’t sound like that, it’s a mistake in my wording…
What are some words that come to mind when you think of having a quiet time?
I’ll do it later
Hit or miss (mostly miss)
Don’t understand why
Don’t understand the Bible
Don’t know what to do
Best time of my day
Persevering – want to be faithful
Late at night
There are a lot of varied feelings associated with having a quiet time. If we have one to begin with, and are fairly regular with it, we may have mostly positive feelings about it. But if we are very busy and never seem to have a quality experience in our quiet time, that can make us feel frustrated or even guilty.
I felt that way for a good part of my Christian life. But a few years back, God began to make a change that turned this area of my life around, and it’s borne such fruit that I’d like to share it with you.
I believe this message is for anyone, any age, no matter where we are in our walk with the Lord. I’m sure we’d all like to know God better. Be encouraged! It’s never too late! If you’re young and just getting to know Him, what a future you have before you! And if you’re older, even if you’ve walked with the Lord for many years, we can always know Him deeper, right? There’s still so much to learn!
In the Beginning…
To give you a little background, I was saved in 1977 when I was 20 years old. I was single, lived alone, and after a dear friend from high school shared the Lord with me (Hey, Steph!), I fell in love. My life became all about Jesus. I read the Bible for the first time, devoured Christian books, listened to worship music (Debbie and Ernie anyone?), and just lived all day long with Jesus. My life was all about Him. I had such an awareness of His presence. Some people call it the honeymoon period, and that’s how I felt – swept off my feet.
There’s Got to Be More to Life Than This
Somewhere, though, when I was just about a year or two old in the Lord, my focus kind of shifted from walking personally and intimately with Jesus to “being a Christian.” I don’t know if you can relate, but instead of the Lord himself being the focus of my day, living a good life became the focus and the Lord was fit into it. It was a subtle change, but I knew things were different, and I lived with an underlying feeling of guilt.
Devotions (my own personal devotional time with the Lord) became erratic, irregular. As time went on, reading the Word became a chore, another item to check off my to-do list (that hardly ever got checked off). I rarely prayed. I looked at devotions as something I was supposed to be doing, not necessarily something I wanted to do or looked forward to doing. So I rarely did it.
All the while, deep down, I knew there had to be more to the Christian life than I was experiencing.
Here’s the thing. From the outside, you would never know I was having this internal struggle. I enjoyed worship in church and was actively serving. We were small group leaders. I raised my kids in the Lord, taught them the Word, taught in a Christian school, supported my husband. My life was all about being a Christian wife and mother, which I loved, but my foundation was shaky. I didn’t really think about it too much. I was busy, and I just figured this was what the Christian life was like. Kinda…empty. Sigh.
Aslan is On the Move
Eventually, around 15 years ago, God started doing a work. He began to answer the cry of my heart when I didn’t even know what I was asking for. He began to place a hunger in me to really know Him.
It actually started in a negative way. Before the Sandy Hook school shooting. Before the World Trade Center fell. It was around the time of the Columbine shootings in 1999, and our Wednesday night service was studying through Psalms. I remember being taught about God’s faithful protection. I actually had to get up and leave the room. She said, “Yes, I believe in God,” and You let her be shot? God, where were You?
Combine that with our own financial and other challenges (on a foundation of “being good Christians” but having no idea how to walk in the Spirit or really relate to God on the basis of the gospel), and I was ripe for a fall.
But instead of letting me fall, He rescued me! Sometimes things change in a person’s life because of a great trauma – thank God He spared me that. All I know is that God, in his gentle love and great grace, allowed me to come to the end of myself. He pursued me. He saw my lost, despairing, empty heart and had mercy. He began to give me a hunger for more and faith to believe He could provide it.
I always enjoyed reading, so one of the things He used to stir up a hunger was solid Christian fiction. The most unsettling book for me was a classic by Elizabeth Prentiss called Stepping Heavenward. The main character had a difficult situation, yet (eventually) an uncompromised walk with God that inspired me. This along with other books gave me hope that I could be different.
Also, my kids were in high school and college at that time and were sharing some great Christian worship music with us – Shane & Shane, Mercy Me. Driving to and from work, I’d listen and worship. I’d also discovered a wonderful Bible teacher I could listen to on the radio – my mind was being saturated with God’s word.
And I began searching for women’s devotional web sites.
Enter the Blogger
At this time (around 2002), blogging had just come on the scene for regular people. There was one blog in particular that caught and kept my attention, and God used this sweet blogger’s ministry to change.my.life. Her name is Laine. I don’t believe she has the blog any more – I haven’t been able to find her, just archived messages from her blog, Laine’s Letters. But God used her ministry powerfully in my life.
Note: If you are a blogger in the Christian living genre and you are reading this – please don’t take your blogging ministry lightly. You truly can be used as an instrument to change somebody’s life.
Laine had shared about how at a crucial time in her life (her premature baby’s life was in danger), she promised God that if He healed her baby, she would spend time with Him in the Word every day and share what she learned with other women. Well, her baby survived, and she kept her promise and started getting up early to be with the Lord. Reading her testimony and how God changed her entire life gave me hope that there was more to this Christian life than I was experiencing.
This faithful woman, a diligent homemaker and mom of four on a tight budget, introduced me to the idea of an early morning quiet time. She described how the only way she could be faithful to her promise to God to seek him every day was to get up in the morning before anyone else in the family got up. Before babies and homeschooling and household responsibilities took over. For her, that meant 4 a.m.
What, is she crazy?! But this is what she had to do with three children and a nursing newborn.
Sigh. Well, I figured if she could do it…
And God gave grace. I just started getting up early and didn’t look back. Didn’t allow myself to even think of any other option.
I would brew coffee, then go silently to the corner of my dining room where I had set up a cozy area for this visit. Rocking chair, reading lamp, electric cup warmer, my Bible, warm blanket for cold winter mornings. And I would sit there, sip my coffee, read the Word, and finally get to know my God.
Undeserved, overflowing grace.
My prayers were all about knowing Him, welling up from the bottom of my heart. My need was so great. “God, please let me know you. Help me to understand Your Word, to see You in Your Word. I want to know you, God, not just know about You, but know You.” I’d sometimes pray the night before, “Please help me to wake up early. Help me to look forward to being with You in the morning.” I knew that God was helping me get up.
There were some mornings when I would actually wake up smiling. I couldn’t wait to get to my corner. But there were many mornings where I would draaag myself out of bed. Yet I couldn’t stop. I was hooked! What I was discovering was too precious to not continue. I was finally realizing who Jesus was, what He did for me, and who I was in Him because of his completed work on the cross. During this precious season, He was in my thoughts all day long. I saw Him behind everything in my life. My early mornings with Him became the joy of my days.
God did such an awesome work in transforming how I thought about my quiet time. Instead of guilt and thinking of it as a discipline, I thought of it with feelings like anticipation, wonder, and awe. And an overwhelming sense of grace. That He would allow me, this very ordinary woman, to come into His presence like that, so simply.
Fast forward 15 years to today – Mr. B’s alarm goes off at 4:30. I still get up shortly after that to spend time with the Lord before I get all busy-minded because I need to! It’s what works for me. And please understand, this is by no means a noble or honorable act – it’s one of desperate need! I know who and what I can slip into if I’m not putting myself at Jesus’ feet in the morning and asking Him to change me and fill me with His Spirit.
My spiritual life is not as intensely emotional as it was – it’s more like a settled knowing. An assurance. A focus on who God is and what He’s done for me, not on what I do or how I feel.
I never, ever thought my life would change so much from that one simple practice of getting up early to meet with the Lord. This has affected pretty much every aspect of my life in one way or another.
Because of my times in the morning with God, He has become my Counselor as I open His Word and learn about life. The wisdom He reveals as I read has made a direct impact on my decision making and on my relationships. The comfort I receive as I sit there, Bible open on my lap while his love pours over me through the message of the gospel, slays negative thoughts that can assault me. Deliverance has come gradually as I’ve learned to recognize lies of the enemy and am given faith to believe the truth of God as it washes me and renews my mind.
I do need to clarify something – when I have my quiet time, I do not often experience intimate communion with God, I do not hear His voice speak, and I do not have my prayers immediately answered! I show up as an act of faith, an affirmation of belief, by grace. Whether I “feel” it or not, God is there because the Word of Truth tells me He is. Sometimes it’s warm and fuzzy, but many times there’s struggle to concentrate, or wrong thinking, or sin and unbelief that need to be placed at the foot of the cross. It’s not pretty. But it’s all part of being real with God and, well, now with you. My confidence is not in a continual experience but in who God is as revealed through his character and his Word.
Could it be that you are in a place of need right now? We all are, to different degrees, so you’re not alone. By far, you’re not alone! Maybe you’ve had enough of lacking confidence in your relationship with God through Jesus. I hope, as time goes on, to encourage you, but only God can give you what you truly need. Find a regular time every day that would work for you and give it a try! 🙂 He will listen as you call out to Him. Ps 91:15
Next time we’ll continue to explore some ways that we can enrich this sweet time with God every day! If you want to make sure not to miss the next post in our series, join our email list below!
Also, if anything in this article has helped you today— would you share it with someone else?
Can you relate to this story of God’s overwhelming grace? Isn’t it awesome the way that God meets our need with Himself? Have you seen God change you as you’ve grown in Him? Feel free to share…
I’ve included affiliate links in this post. Your cost through these links is the same while it allows me to earn a small commission to help offset the costs of this blog. Thank you!