Update: Squeaky Clean Soul

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A few days ago I wrote a post called “Squeaky Clean Soul” where I discussed how a little house cleaning led me to start praying every day for fifteen minutes when I get my boys down for their naps.

And, well, I just wanted to say that I have now prayed for 15 minutes every afternoon (except for yesterday when I ran an errand… bad idea… and prayed yesterday evening instead. It would have been worth it to stay home fifteen extra minutes instead of trying on clothes like I discussed in my post from yesterday). And it has already been awe.some. Why didn’t I do this before?!?!?!

And it’s not been super complicated or anything. I just set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes to make sure I don’t allow myself to get distracted for at least 15 minutes and then I get out this cute green journal that my mom gave me…

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… and then I pray. It’s sorta in letter form, but it helps to keep me focused so my thoughts don’t drift off. I figure King David did it, why not me too? Ha!

But I have already seen the difference just in these past six days. No, I’m not saying that all of my prayers were instantly answered (although one of them was!) but I am saying that I have already been spoken to by God in several of my prayer-letters. He has revealed His Answers to me over things I have been mulling over by myself for weeks.

Key words: by. myself.

It was almost as if the mere act of setting aside a measly 15 minutes to dedicate to communication with God… well, shocking, I know, but it is like it allows Him to COMMUNICATE with me. This is probably old news to you veterans out there, but I honestly feel as if I have discovered something wholly new and wonderful.

And I have.

A closer relationship with my Lord.

And that deserves a big ol’ hearty AMEN!

Day 178: You Complete Me

So, I’m having to backtrack a bit here since I have fallen behind quite a bit. Like I mentioned on day 171, summer is a bit of a routine killer for me, and I think most of my blogging was really routined during the school year.

Plus, yes, I have been sorta “meh” about the whole covenant in general lately.

Now, allow me to clarify what I mean by that.

I believe in God. I believe in His Power to change me. I believe that this covenant is a powerful agreement with God based on my love for Him and His Love for me. I believe that He knows my failings and my successes are going to come and go. I believe that He will love and adore me no matter what the outcome of today or tomorrow or the next day.

And there is the crux. I believe all of these things… I know them in my heart of hearts. But there are just some times when believing doesn’t… work. Remember this verse in James?

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. James 2:19

Now, I don’t want to get into a theological discussion about this verse (as I know there could be a deep theological discussion about it) because that is for another time… another blog. But my point is that James is punking these guys out… listen to his sass: “Good for you!” Haha… love that! What he is telling us though is that sometimes our human-version of faith isn’t enough, we HAVE to have what we often call “works”… referred to in this verse as “actions”:

You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. James 2:22

And I have definitely seen that in action lately. I have had zeroooooooooooooooo personal motivation to eat fruit and veggies. All I have wanted was pantry junk… stuff that is “on” the covenant but is not necessarily beneficial. And I have had quite a bit of that pantry junk over the past two weeks (see day 170). I have had bread again, which I said I wouldn’t have. I have even been sneaky about foods and allowed my old-self to resurface a few times and could hear a battle inside of me about eating something when I was not hungry but just wanted the taste… or the escape… or the experience.

But time and time again, even though I was heinously close to breaking the covenant, I have held the line. I have remembered that covenant and forced myself to act according to that covenant.

My actions have made my faith complete.

They have not made my faith easy.

But complete.

And so as I work through this time of difficulty and lack of motivation and struggle… I will do my best to make my actions fall in line and follow the covenant that I have made with the Almighty God.

And He will complete me.

Day 171: Honor God Tomorrow

First of all, a note: Sorry for dropping off the planet for a while there. I think I’m about a week behind on my posts, and if you’re new… this happens every once in a while to me. I lose all motivation to share, discuss, write, etc. Annnnnnd that was this past week. Like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been struggling with the covenant as a whole the past week (I’ll write about my getting past it on day 174). So, anyway… I’m going to try to catch up over the next few days, but we’ll see how that goes!

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I know that I keep on talking about how going to sleep is a huge thing for me, and so… well, I’m going to talk about it again! Summer time is the most difficult time for me to go to bed on time because my ironclad routine that I have during the school year just goes out the window. I mean… I keep some of the same schedule like lunch time and nap times are almost always the same, but pretty much the rest of the stuff goes out the window. Soooo, the boys might wake up at 7:30 (instead of 7:00 that it is during the 180 days of school), and if we go to the mall or something to play then nap time might be around12:30 or 1:00 instead of 12:00, and the worst… if we are outside playing in the sprinkler late in the evening, then I might be too content to let a bed time interrupt us and the boys will stay up until 8:30 or even 9:00 if I’m being really risky.

And so when one of those late bedtimes gets factored into the equation or if I just did a bad job of keeping up with my chores during the day hours (and yes… I call them chores still because cleaning house, doing laundry, cooking, etc… all of that is a chore to me) then I go to bed later. Necessary for me to go to bed later? No, of course not. It’s just that when the boys are both down by 8:00 or 8:15 then I get a good two hours of “me” time before hitting the sack at 10:00. If they go to bed closer to 9:00 then that means I only have one hour left, but my mind and heart and soul still want a full two hours, sooooo I stay up until 11:00. And of course those nights that I stay up until 11:00 are guaranteed to have one of the boys either teething or having growing pains, or one of them will decide that a 6:00 or 6:30 wake up time is more in order throwing off my entire morning “me” time.

Yes. I’m rambling.

But a few nights ago I was really into reading this book for my book club (One Amazing Thing) and I just did not want to put it down. And then I had the good ol spiritual battle conversation:

I should really go to bed.

Nahhhhhhhh… no reason. It’s just sleep. You can get some more tomorrow night, or take a nap tomorrow.

But that never works. And I need to go to bed early enough so that I can honor God.

You can honor God tomorrow… this is “YOU” time!

But that’s it… if I go to bed on time and get enough rest then I will be able to honor God… tomorrow. If I don’t go to sleep now, then I will be too exhausted to properly honor God tomorrow. I’ll be cranky and I’ll want to eat everything.

So, in not-so-typical January form, I put the book down and went to bed at 10:00.

And ya know what? I woke up well rested (despite having to wake up twice in the night for my teething toddler who is still getting in his vampire teeth). I wasn’t cranky. I wasn’t hungry. I actually only needed one cup of coffee (that is a big deal for your non-coffee addicts). It was a good day.

And it was easy to honor God.

Because I chose the night before to honor Him.

And look… we even get a promise about going to bed!

When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

But we have to take action first… we have to lie down (and I don’t think this means lie down in your bed with your iPhone on…).

And although this is “all about” going to bed in order to honor God (because you’ll be less hungry if you do), there are a gillion ways for us to think of how to honor God tomorrow: if it’s food related then get out your covenant-friendly breakfast tonight so that it is ready for you tomorrow. if it’s bible related then get your bible and journal out tonight (and if you’re like me, prep the coffee pot… or even better… program it) so that you can sit down right to reading the Word and sippin on a cup of joe. if it’s child related, then get their clothes out and ready or their breakfasts or plan out the days activities.

But figure out how you’ll honor Him tomorrow and then do it tonight (if you need motivation… my husband taught me this… picture yourself tomorrow going through the steps of easily honoring God… picture yourself walking out of your room into the kitchen and seeing that banana and some granola in a bowl ready for you. picture walking over to the coffee pot and switching it on and then sitting down at your pre-prepared bible spot. picture yourself busting out a June Cleaver moment walking into your children’s bedrooms and effortlessly switching out their PJs for their day clothes.

But try to honor Him tonight for tomorrow (if that makes any sense). Just try it for one time. Maybe just once a week try to honor Him this way. And maybe, just maybe, when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Day Sixty-Six: This One’s For You

Well, this week has been Spring Break and it is always during times of vacation (or at least my husband’s vacation) that I realize how much I am a creature that loves (and needs) routine.

It’s funny how just adding one more person to the mix of family life will throw off a routine in no time. We don’t have to wake up early, we don’t have to eat breakfast by a certain time or make lunches by 7:45am, we don’t have to cart the entire family up to my husband’s work to drop him off or take my preschooler up to church for school. The days are wide open… and subsequently a bit chaotic!

I have had little or no “extra” time to blog these past few days. And while I find it a bit freeing to not have done my writing for a bit, at the same time I feel a bit of a tug for anyone who might be reading.

As in… I feel their silent accountability. No, I don’t feel like I owe anyone anything. I don’t “owe” the blog’s readers a post, but I know that there are a few people that desire to get a Word of God that deals with these addictions or strongholds as much as I. And I know that there are some that are “rooting” for me and/or praying for me.

And although I know that God is now my support and my constant companion through all of this, the power of those around me is still strong. Perhaps it is the power of the Holy Spirit that flows through us that supports each other… yep. Even through something as “impersonal” as the internet!

And I am reminded of one of my favorite verses that encourages having friendship of those in the faith…

For I long to [blog to you] so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. Romans 1:11-12

And this is what brings me back to my blog today. After I caught up a bit on my bible reading (which as much as I wanted to post before, I knew that the posting on my blog was secondary to reading The Word), I have managed to squeeze in a few minutes of posting on my phone… and as I write these words my two year old has started to call me from his crib. I want to tell you that I am encouraged by you and your faith. Even if I don’t see you and just see your email address listed on my blog followers page… just your clicking on that follow link has encouraged me. And encourages me even at this very minute.

I am encouraged to know that there are other believers out there. That there are other strugglers out there. That there are people of prayer. of faith. of Jesus.

So, friends… brothers and sisters… this one’s for you!