First, an explanation for this new category of blog posts on my site...
I know this is not my usual topic of writing tips, etc., but lately I've been doing morning Bible reading combined with journaling. I started in Genesis, and I've simply been reading though at least one chapter each morning, then intentionally going to my computer and typing out anything that stood out to me, as a form of processing what I read.
Starting my morning this way was one of my goals for 2023, and though I haven't been 100% consistent with it, I've definitely felt the impact of the mornings I have done it. Often, I find that something new will jump out at me, even from passages I've read countless times before. Some of these have been quite eye-opening and revolutionary for me this year, to be honest. Juggling all the many responsibilities and facets of my life these days is sometimes difficult, and I've felt God speaking directly into my fears, blind spots, and hurting places this year as I've been doing this little morning practice. Sometimes, it's like a deep realization, and other times, it's more like questions to ponder... but either way, I feel like it's growing me and deepening my focus on my priorities, which is always a good thing.
But then it occurred to me that I could share some of these thoughts... that some of you might be encouraged or helped by them as well. So while some of my reflections are personal, and I won't share all of them here, I'm planning to occasionally share some of my notes here on the blog. I'll label these as "Bible Reflection" posts and create a category for them on my blog, too, so you'll be able to easily find them...or avoid them, if you prefer not to read them. (Though I hope you'll read them and find them helpful!)
The reflections I'm sharing will be pulled from my morning journals/thoughts, and adapted from those notes... so I won't necessarily be posting live what I've reflected on that day, and I won't be posting these every day. But I do plan to share them a few times a month, and they will all be relatively recent, since this morning Bible study/journaling is a new practice for me!
In any case, I hope that some of you find these encouraging or helpful in some way... and please, feel free to comment and share your own thoughts with me!
Bible Reflection: Let the Little Children Come
I read Genesis 1, then spent a few moments meditating on it while coloring in some of the designs in my illustration journal Bible. (It's a journaling Bible, with wide margins for notes/sketches, but some pages also have adult coloring book-style illustrations in the margins for people who process by tracing/coloring/drawing. I've found it really helpful to meditate on what I've just read while doing the coloring in the margins!)
Chunky (a nickname we still call my three year old, even though he's not at all "chunky" anymore) came outside partway through this, soon after I had prayed for God to help me better understand what it means to be made “in His image.”
Usually, I feel a bit disappointed (or even frustrated/irritated) when my quiet time gets interrupted by the kids because quiet time is so rare for me, but today I heard the words in my head, “Let the little children come to me.”
So instead of allowing myself to be irritated, I took a deep breath and welcomed his presence. I explained to Chunky what I was doing, and then asked if he wanted me to read to him what I’d been reading from the Bible.
It’s so obvious, really, that my kids need to SEE me studying the Bible (instead of just me reading it on my phone or when they aren't around), and yet I wanted this to be quiet alone time with God—but instead, I heard Him telling me to have HIS attitude. To not see the kids as an interruption, but as welcome. As desired there.
It makes me feel like a horrible mom to admit that this is something I really struggle with, but I do. I am a true introvert. I like my alone time to focus, and I need it to recharge. When I'm stressed or overwhelmed with a to-do list, my go-to is to go into my office/room/wherever the work needs to be done, shut myself away, and get things done. My husband works from home, so I now have the luxury that I can do that, occasionally. But if I'm being honest, I do it more than occasionally. And then the kids get shoved to the wayside for that hour/two hours/however long it takes, which I feel so guilty about. And yet, if they interrupt that time, I feel irritated, because after all, I'm trying to be efficient and get things done, so that I will have more time with them... so I ignore them in the "now" in favor of some elusive future where I will be calmer and have less to do.
Guess what? That time doesn't come often. And there's always more work close behind it, when it does. I'm deceiving myself, to think that if I just dive in and get stuff done temporarily, it will benefit my family life/work-life balance in the long run. There is no elusive future. The only thing I'm guaranteed is today.
This was a hard pill to swallow (and embarrassing to admit here, to be honest), but it's reality.
Part of my resolution for 2023 is to have better balance in my life, starting with shifting how I prioritize my time.
More family time was among these (along with restructuring my mornings so I can exercise and read the Bible without feeling rushed)---
But apparently today I needed to hear this, as well:
“Let the children come to me”
As the response to my question, “What does it mean to be made in your image?”
I hear you, God. You adore the children. You were not irritated by them, even when others perceived them as an interruption. You WELCOMED their presence.
This is what I truly WANT, too, to be that kind of person. But I’ve allowed an attitude of inconvenience and irritation to creep in, because I’ve allowed my “busy-ness” and all these other tasks to take priority over the PEOPLE, which I desperately want to change.
So here is my prayer for today:
Lord, help me to be a better, more connected, more open-hearted mom and wife. Help me to ALWAYS welcome the children (and my husband) and to show them they matter more than tasks. Help me to show a God-like love for them, for who they are, without judgment or inconvenience—especially the children, because I am shaping who they are, and how they see YOU. I am made in your image… and You said “Let the little children come to me.” Lord, help me to be more like You.