Thursday, May 3, 2012

Learning (and Teaching) How to Abide

I am thankful for a church and pastor who calls me out and holds me accountable. But sometimes it makes me mad, too. Something like, "Dang it, what on earth possessed me to suggest we try out my little brother's best friend's church?" Last Saturday was no exception. We were in the second half of John 8 and right away I was called to the carpet.

For far too long now, I've given myself a pass as far a daily devotions go. "I've got little kids; it's difficult to be consistent when they wake up at inconsistent times." "I'm just too exhausted to get up before they do and  get them done without interruption." And many fellow moms were right there beside me telling me the same thing. "You're a mom to little kids, don't beat yourself up too badly if you aren't able to read the Word," I was told. And to some extent, this is true.

There are days when the two year old is going to start puking at 4  in the morning and you'll spend the rest of your day mopping up, doing laundry double-time, and wiping hot little cheeks with cool cloths. There's nothing that can be done on days like that and it's in those days that all those Bible verses you've memorized are useful. Calling to mind His Word is a good standby in these times. I cannot beat myself up on these days when circumstances call me into constant ministry mode.

It's when calling to mind the verses I have memorized becomes my only source on a regular basis. If the Word is accessible, then I should take every opportunity to abide in it. "Better to be sleep deprived than God deprived," I read on Domestic Kingdom the day before I heard Chad's sermon. Ouch! that stung! But it's true. When I'm giving myself the extra sleep I think I need or deserve instead of getting my not-so-little hiney out of bed, I'm depriving myself of my greatest source of strength. The One who knows all my needs, knows just how my day is going to go before it ever happens, and can give me the strength to live it in a manner full of grace, IF I will abide in His Word.

Abide Wrist truth

On the way home that evening, I told Jesse that I feel like I need to make the word Abide my theme word for the rest of the year. I really need to focus on Abiding in God's Word. Then I told him how I felt convicted for not being more steadfast in the study of His Word but also not teaching the kids to abide either.

If I am going to teach my kids the true meaning of the Gospel; if I want by children to learn to rely on Christ and His work. I can't just teach them to follow a bunch of rules that God's Word lays out, rather, I need to teach them to abide in the Word so they can know His truth and then their lifestyle will be a product of knowing the Truth.

Too often our Bible time with the kids has taken a similar route as my own personal study time. If it's late, the Bible story is skipped. If Mami or papi has had a rough day and we're exhausted, we decide to skip the Word, say a short prayer and get them to bed as quickly as possible. If the kids ask why we're skipping the Bible, I'll explain I'm tired and if they remind me in the morning, I'll read it then. They never do. Why would they? They've just seen by my example that the Word is not a priority in my life... why would they make it one in theirs?

So, I'm learning to abide this week. And wouldn't you know it? God is helping me! The past two mornings I've been up in the five o'clock hour... one morning a bug bite was bothering me and I couldn't sleep and today I woke up hungry. (This is me--the woman who regularly rolls out of bed between the times of 7:15 and 8). It is definitely a God thing! The kids have been in His Word consistently this week too... even the night that we didn't get ready for bed until 10! And, you know what? Even on less sleep, my reactions to the rest of the day's events have been more grace filled as I learn to Abide in His Word throughout the day. Thank you, God, for your grace and teaching me to Abide!

Better to be sleep-deprived than God-deprived.”


Jessica said...

I have been in a similar thought process lately & this is written better than anything that I could say to that effect. Thank you for being a constant encouragement! I may have to look back at this post a few times this next week!

Emily B. said...

Amen. Beautifully shared Bethany. Thank you.