As July slowly ticks to an end, I'm thinking about the emails I want to send. A practical approach would be best: a series of weekly emails about the spiritual disciplines which aid us as we draw near to God! Here's what to expect:
Inside my bible study routine (week one)
Creating a consistent prayer life (week two)
How to start fasting (week three)
Silence and solitude for busy Christians (week four)
Creating a rich reading life (week five)
I hope these practical emails will help you rediscover the spiritual disciplines so many Christians have lost - or were never taught!
As most of you know, I am currently leading two cohorts of Bible in a Year Club, our accountability group and plan to read the Bible chronologically in a year. That means I'm reading it too! In this busy season of three small kids, home education, leading Every Woman a Theologian and the Club, reading the way I used to just doesn't work. And the way I used to read was long, involved study times with commentaries and interlinear. Those resources are great and I encourage using them, but NOT if they prevent long term consistency. Here is what I mean…
Shorter, regular Bible study is better than occasional, inconsistent, involved bible study. Said another way: It would be better to be in the Word daily in short spurts, with prayer, than to go weeks without study because you don't have the perfect hour and a half to break down Scripture. My own model mimics one that Jen Wilkin recommended: lots of short reading time, listening on audio and prayer with two or three days a week digging deeper into the Word (This is my personal quiet time. My research time is separate from this).
What this might look like is an “ideal” day with a back-up option that is my “plan-B day”.
Ideal Bible study day:
6 AM wake up, get dressed and workout
7 AM grab my bible study basket; read the day's passage,
Prop Bible in the cookbook stand to read while I cook lunch
Pray the Lord's Prayer or a Psalm out loud
6:30 PM listen to the day's passage again or catch up on missed reading on audio while I walk.
9:30 PM write out a prayer over the day. Make a plan for deeper study later in the week.
In both systems I am coming to God in His Word. In both I am seeking His face through prayer. One is just consolidated into a smaller time frame while the other is spread out over the day.
I WILL say that getting up early has worked best for consistency in every season of my life. It takes a lot of willpower to make sure you're still showing up to the Word later in the day and many people end up putting it off. I prefer morning, but if that doesn't work out for some reason, I have a clear plan for what I'll do next.
There will never be a perfect day, time, location or space to seek God and His Word. When we seek circumstances over intimacy I have to think about our foremothers in the faith: how they would laugh at us, or perhaps cringe in disappointment at our need for perfect quiet, perfect lighting, coffee, candles, blankets, etc. They studied Scripture by candlelight because it was all they had. Susanna Wesley put an apron over her head to pray so her fifteen children would know she was in a sacred space!
We are very privileged to seek God in such comfort, but we do not need such comforts to seek Him.
I ask myself: Who, or what, has continually come before the God in whom I live and move and have my being? And how can my pursuit of Him be a light to those who see it?
Some days seeking Him looks like coffee on the patio with a full hour of study and notes. And I love it. But He is just as present and available when I'm praying the Psalms over Mac n' cheese. What matters is the continual, consistent come and see.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." (Psalm 34:8)
All my favorite bible study resources here and more to come in August.
Daisy Jones and the Six:Finished. A few thoughts: After reading War and Peace, I would be hard pressed to call this good writing. I think a 5th grader could write it but that's partially due to the style: it's written like an interview transcript. That said it was quick and interesting (you want to find out how the relationships end); I read it in 3 days. It would be more intriguing to people in the music industry or with a passion for the topic (rock genre specifically).
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers: Call me morbid but this topic has always fascinated me! There is a mortician's assistant on IG/TIK TOK who talks about this topic and I found his transparency so kind. Cadavers play a vital role in scientific discovery. I'm excited to learn!
Circe: I've seen this novel everywhere so when I spotted it at Goodwill for $4.99, I grabbed it. I enjoy Greek mythology and this is a fictionalized adaptation of Circe's myth. Will let you know my thoughts!
Pastors and Their Critics: Still working through this and I second what I said before: everyone should read it, in ministry or not! (Double that if you're writing online)
Ask Anything Q/A
My homeschool curriculum is Mormon. Do I keep using it?
What's the intent of the curriculum: to teach English or to teach Christian spirituality? There's a difference. Not every educational source has to be, or SHOULD be, “Christian”. Sometimes the better curricula (academically) is the secular one in which case you should choose the secular option and disciple through it. That would be as simple as leaving out any spiritual content or, when they are older, explaining the worldview differences. You'll have to do this with movies, magazines, books at the library, speakers and extracurricular activities, so get used to it! Homeschooling is not a way to evade the world. It's a method to prepare our kids for it.
This bra alternative: I wasn't sure I would like these but I do! They are perfect for under fitted tops, strapless dresses and shirts with thin straps. They are also great for under your bra if you have a coverage issue :)
Nespresso Hazelnut coffee pods: I've tried quite a few Nespresso pods (mostly decaf, which is more limiting) but this is by far my fave - it's caffeinated, so I have one cup in the morning!
Our summer school routine has stabilized to a few sources: We do reading and phonics practice 3x a week (with great results!) and attempt our bird curriculum (Gather Round North American Birds) 2-3x a week as well. We have taken a small break from math with plans to pick it back up in August and fully transition back to it in September when school begins.
Our current devotional routine includes the Kingdom of God Bible (New Testament), our Kids Theology Handbook, our memory verse cards (coming to the shop soon!) and we will begin the Child's Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos when we complete the KOG.
If you haven't downloaded the 1000 Hours Outside app, do it! This app has been so helpful in encouraging me to be outside and reminding me to get the kids outside too. The latter 9 months of the year are the bulk of our outside time, and we've already logged 107 hours outside in July alone (and it's not over yet!).