Practicing Early Time With GodWritten by Demetria Zinga
“Spending time with God is something every Christian woman should set aside time for.” Perhaps this is a fairly common statement that we’ve heard all too often. We all know this to be true, and yet it still seems to be a most incredible struggle to obtain that blessed time with God each and every day of our lives. So, how do we wear all hats and still have time to be still and quiet in God’s presence? How do we make time to sit quietly before our Savior when our toddlers are stampeding through our living rooms with permanent markers only inches away from our furniture and walls? When do we find time to say a prayer long enough to our Savior before we are interrupted with “MOM! She hit me!”, or “Honey, I can’t find my keys!” True, we all wear different hats—some of us are mothers, some of us are married, many of us work from home or have full time jobs outside of home…but one thing we all have in common is our need for peace of God in our lives. We ALL need Lord!
With that said, let’s talk for a minute about some practical things we can do each day to allow Lord first place in our lives. We are not only discussing our time in general with God each day, but fact that we can also give God first of our day. “Impossible!” you might exclaim…but it’s true. We can do this! I am a living witness that despite busy-ness of each morning, it is VERY possible for me and anyone else to give God very first few minutes of each of my day. Try following steps for 21 days and see if you’ll notice a difference in your outlook on life. Also note any changes in your relationship with God (you’ll most definitely feel more aware of how close Lord really is to you, especially during many of your stressful times)! In addition, take note of your relationships to your family and friends, and to people around you. As you spend time, and EARLY time with Lord, you will find your relationships with others changing as YOUR heart changes. Your heart will change because you start to become more like Christ as you draw closer to Him in fellowship each and every morning when you first awake. Here’s how I do it:
1.)Upon awaking each morning, thank God for a brand new day. Believe it or not, this very small act of gratitude takes you a long way during your stress throughout day. 2.)Look out your window. Appreciate nature. Thank God for what you see. Observe weather. Whether it be raining or sunny, thank God for weather. If it’s raining, don’t complain, but thank God for rain. Thank Him for sun. Thank Him for birds in air, and trees. Thank God for His handiwork. 3.)If your children and husband are still asleep, that means you still have time to spend with God! So get started! Open your bible and read some scripture, then MEDITATE on it. Think about what it means to you. Consider how you might apply scriptures to your life that day.
Imagining the Life of Mary, Mother of JesusWritten by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
So little is said about Mary, mother of Jesus, in Gospels. We can only imagine her thoughts and feelings as she went from being a simple Jewish girl to mother of Son of God. In "Shalom, Mary: Letters Blessed Virgin Might have Written", Kathleen Culligan Techler has done just that. This is indeed a work of fiction. Obviously, no one but Mary herself (and God above) know what experience was like for her. Yet, in reading "Shalom, Mary", one gets sense that it might have been this way. This is a human Mary struggling to make sense of unusual set of circumstances she has found herself in.
Techler has Mary share her intimate thoughts with Rebekah, a girlhood friend who has since moved away. The letters begin with news of Annunciation. Here we find Mary not sure how to tell her parents or her betrothed she is pregnant: "Whatever future brings, I want to do God's will. My son Son of God! How can I tell my parents? . . . And what of Joseph? . . . How could he possibly accept this news as truth?" Yes, you can almost see scared teenager confiding her secret to her dearest friend. Through years, Mary shares her perspective on her trip to visit Elizabeth, Jesus' birth and strangers that came to visit them in Bethlehem, their hurried journey to Egypt, and Jesus growing up. She tells of everyday occurrences such as meals made and joy of watching Joseph and Jesus work together in workshop. Techler's Mary speaks with a mother's pride: "I know you are smiling, Rebekah, at my pride in Jesus and his accomplishments. We mothers are all alike, aren't we?"