Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Days and Devotionals

It's 3pm on a Tuesday and I'm writing this post from the comfort of my cozy bed. Emily is napping and I'm still in my pjs!  We are experiencing a glorious and needed snow day! Work and day care are closed but sadly, no snow yet.  We've had great day playing, including building a blanket fort and making paper snowflakes to display on Emily's bedroom window (hoping it will bring on the flurries faster!). I've been able to catch up on some cleaning and not-for-work reading. Ahhhhh, the life!

I've been wanting to write about what I'm currently reading for some time now and I'm taking my chance in the quiet time of this afternoon. I decided earlier this month I was going to try a daily devotional. I wanted more than the 30 second sound bite devotional. I wanted something more meaty, with accompanying scripture I could dig into. Something I could read, reflect and write on. Yet something that was quick and easy enough for me to do every day. I also wanted something by a woman. Something that would allow me to connect my busy mommy/wife life with the word of God. I know, lots of requirements!

After browsing the shelves at our local Christian bookstore, I finally found something that peaked my interest.

Beth Moore's Whispers of Hope is a daily 10 week devotional prayer book. Each day has a one page devotional followed by a P.R.A.I.S.E format which gives space on the following page to write out our prayers, everything from our praise to request to repentance.

The first day I sat down to do the devotional, I had woken up earlier than usual with a lot on my mind. Randy's travel schedule, my work demands, friends and co-workers struggling with loss and illness.  That morning I got out of bed, made myself a cup of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table. It was still early so it took a few re-reads to understand how exactly the devotionals are laid out. I begin collecting my thoughts and filling in the blank spaces to form my daily prayer. When I finished, I closed my eyes and bowed my head and begin to actually pray what I had written down. I was completely overcome with such sadness and defeat but yet relief at the unburdening of everything I had been carrying around. I begin to cry and I felt God's presence and comfort at my overwhelmed-ness (I don't think that is actually a word but it accurately describes how I felt in that moment).

Needless to say, that was a very powerful and affirming moment to me. The realization that this is was meeting a need in my spiritual growth.  I do pray-constantly, daily-but these devotions have taken those prayers to a whole other level. I feel like I'm finally getting to something of substance in my conversations with God. That I can move past the "superficial" asks and thanksgiving to the underlying real struggles.

I just heard  Emily waking up, so it's back to "work" for me. Fingers crossed we have snow outside! I hope you will consider looking into buying this book. I would love to hear your thoughts and how it's changed your approach to prayer time. Or maybe you have another devotional book you would recommend. Please share in the comments below!