The Macs

Monday, May 30, 2011

on my heart {devotions or devotion?}

I love showing you pictures of my sweet babies.
I love talking baby names and nursery ideas.
I love decorating and showing you glimpses around my house.
I love all the details of planning a party.
I love crafting with my friends.
And I love getting so many ideas from all of you talented and creative ladies.

But there is something else that the Lord seems to keep bringing back to the forefront of my thoughts.
Something that I constantly battle to keep a priority.
Something that I am learning and growing in.
Something that is sometimes easier not to talk about...
because I'm guessing, if you are like me,
it is an area that tends to be a daily struggle...
and it is an area that we often tend to feel guilty about.
But something that is far too important to keep to myself.

It has to do with my daily devotional life.
Not so much about whether I am checking my "devotions" off of my daily to-do list, but do I have "devotion" for my Lord? Am I daily cultivating an intimate love relationship with Him?

I'm sure you would agree with me that we are all busy. No matter what stage of life you are in, whether you are married or not, whether you are working outside the home or working from the home, no matter how many kids you have, whether your kids are babies or grown...we are BUSY. And I feel like far too often as I've shared this long time struggle of setting aside meaningful time with the Lord and others have shared their similar struggles with me, we make excuses for each other. We sympathize in each others busyness. Especially as young moms. We remind each other that we have small kids at home and it is just about impossible to find time to squeeze in a shower or a meal, let alone time alone with the Lord. I leave those conversations feeling a little better about myself and a little less guilty. I leave continuing to run through the excuses in my head. And yet a few days later I find myself in the same place again. Knowing that I desperately NEED alone time with the Lord every day. I NEED Him to fill that hole in my life that only He can fill. I NEED His strength and wisdom to make it through each day.

Losing Cora has opened my eyes to my desperate need to be connected to my Heavenly Father EVERY DAY. Death and grief challenged me to really get to know this God that I was putting all my hope in through my darkest hours. For me, those times of desperation, drove me to my knees. It wasn't hard for me to spend time with the Lord because I knew that His strength was the only thing that would get me out of bed and through those days without Cora. Now, more than two years later, God has done and continues to do an incredible healing work in my life. The grief and heartache are still there. I don't know if I will ever feel completely "normal" again, but my life looks much more "normal" than it did in those initial weeks and months after Cora's death. As my life returns to a little more of a "normal" stay-at-home mom routine, I find myself slipping back into the same struggles of giving the Lord priority of my time.

A friend sent me a link to a breakout session from the True Woman conference. It is Nancy Leigh DeMoss speaking about our devotional lives. I loved it because I felt like it summarized so many of the things that the Lord has been teaching me over the past several months. If you have a chance today or in the next few days to listen, it is SO worth your time.

In this session Nancy challenges the ladies to a 30-day challenge. So, as summer begins and my schedule changes, I am feeling like this is the perfect time to do my own 30-day challenge. If there are any of you that are needing a little accountability in your own personal devotional life I would love for you to join me.


You will get a much better idea of where I am coming from if you listen to the link above. I am starting my challenge on June 1...I wanted to give you all a few days to listen to the link and consider joining me before I started. There are thirty days in June, so the challenge will be June 1-30. Basically, the challenge is this:

So, what do you think? Anyone want to join me? It will definitely take a little planning and discipline, but it is going to be so worth it. We can do it! I'll post a little more about the challenge tomorrow...

55 Comments:

Blogger KAPeterson said...

Jess - i'm in :)

May 30, 2011 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Blueangels said...

Wow! So the Lord must have put my blog feed up this morning with your post for a purpose. I was JUST talking to my husband about this this morning! We are transitioning out of the military life, and traveling all but 8 days in June for work, weddings, and preparing for our move. We will miss our regular couples small group, women's Bible study, and all but one Sunday of church :( I was just saying how I will need to find discipline to be in devotion because I know I will be needing the Lord SO much during this transition times in our lives.
I will be joining you and am excited for this sense of accountability.
Thanks for such a wonderful place for fellowship.

May 30, 2011 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

can't wait to hear more about it! i'm totally in though.

May 30, 2011 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

count me in! thanks for being you!
:) linda

May 30, 2011 at 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to join the challenge! I have been having a hard time spending time with my Lord as well. Thanks for doing this and posting about it!
Christie

May 30, 2011 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 30, 2011 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Katie B said...

Count me in!! Thanks for sharing this :)

May 30, 2011 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

This is something that I definitely need, too. My first baby is almost 6 weeks old, so my life has been completely consumed with the transition to being a Momma. I love it, but I need some time with the Lord, and I haven't gotten that almost at all since Isaiah was born. Even church is hard, because I typically am in the nursing room feeding him during half of the service every week. I will definitely be joining you in this.

Thanks for sharing your heart and story and for being such an inspiration!

May 30, 2011 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Kelly Ford said...

I am SO in! My walk with the Lord has been so shamefully absent lately. And we are expecting our 2nd child NEXT WEEK! I remember with our 1st feeling this sense of urgency to get my walk with the Lord "on track" (this is the perfectionist in me) b/c after all, our daughter deserves 2 parents who are head over heels in love with the Lord. Who do more than wear a mask. Who are genuine.
I dont feel that sense of urgency this time, yet my walk with Him is much further than it was at that point in my life, 2 years ago. I often wonder why, but i think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm more laid back in general this go around. I'm grateful for that in some ways... but not feeling desperate for Him in some ways IS desperation. My head and heart are not in the same place. But if i've learned anything in the last 30ish years of life, its that my heart deceives and that i must follow what i KNOW to be true.
So, yes. I'm in. And praying that God will renew a desire for time with Him in my life over this next 30 days.
ps. i'm reading "crazy love" by Francis Chan right now and this is just such an appropriate challenge! Love the book and would recommend it to anyone who's interested!

May 30, 2011 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Stef said...

I love this! I'm in. I feel like this post was meant for me. I've been going through the same EXACT thoughts/feelings as you have. I don't want to say I had the same experience as you, because mine didn't even come close, but I miscarried at 12 weeks back in April and my experience with being drawn closer to the Lord has been the same. I am filled with awe and wonder at the God of the universe creating my body to carry, to lose, to grieve, to even be joyful in Christ during such a horrible time.
I want to use this time wisely and really grow from it and have all that God would teach me. So thank you for this. It was such a timely reminder for me!

May 30, 2011 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Im intrigued and going to give it a shot! Thanks.

May 30, 2011 at 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jess for this post! I also struggle with daily devotions. I find that I'm trying to fit it in right before bed and the time is always hurried because I have to finish a ton of things before going to bed. I finished a little earlier the other day and felt like I had "crossed it off my list" and then it struck me as to what I was thinking. I was ashamed - I don't know if it was conviction or condemnation but either way, I got the point. I'm in too for the June challenge and I am hoping (and I should really be praying) that at the end of the 30 days, a habit will have been formed and I will continue to put this as top priority (it should be anyway).

Looking forward to this challenge and thank you again for caring about your readers to encourage us in this area too. Blessings to you and your family. And that little Levi - what a beautiful child (dirty fingernails and all).

Karen in MD

May 30, 2011 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I nee to do this - I have been telling myself that I need to spend more time with Jesus soI am definitely in! Thank for you for sharing!

May 30, 2011 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger LibraryGirl62 said...

I am in! This is such an area of lack in my life and I need it more than ever~thanks for the "kick in the pants"

May 30, 2011 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger Miss Harriet. said...

This is something that has been heavy on my heart for the last week so when I read your post this morning I knew that the Lord was directing me. I'm in and excited for the challenge! x

May 30, 2011 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I'm in! Looking forward to reading more about it tomorrow!

May 30, 2011 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger a perfect treasure said...

Love it :) Thanks for the invite!

May 30, 2011 at 7:00 PM  
Blogger January said...

Just what I needed today! I AM IN!!!!

May 30, 2011 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Jess...I LOVE THIS IDEA!! So in and can't wait to hear more!

May 30, 2011 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger k and c's mom said...

YES! I am a teacher and school is out in two days. Yesterday the sermon was on listening to God. The disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus said, "Didn't our hearts burn within us as He talked?" I want to learn to listen to God and hear Him in a way that makes my heart burn even more brightly for Him. I, too, learned to hear God most clearly on a road of loss and grief. I am in, Jess. I am in.

May 30, 2011 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

I'm in like flynn! :)

May 30, 2011 at 8:38 PM  
Anonymous EricaG said...

I am in as well. My third baby is due on June 30, and your challenge feels like a little "training camp" as I prepare for life to get *very* interesting. Thanks!

May 30, 2011 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger chapinamom said...

I'm there!

May 30, 2011 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I'm in.
I just found your blog a week or so ago and have spent quite a bit of time reading it and crying over it. You are so right. We need to make time with our Lord first priority and everything else will follow. Thanks for the challenge!

www.talesfromahalfstreet.blogspot.com

May 30, 2011 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

I want to do this, I NEED to do this. Count me in!

May 31, 2011 at 5:45 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

Sounds great! I sent it to the ladies in my care group. I am looking forward to the extra grace from God as we start out summer break. I want to have a great time with my children and be unselfish with my time and energy. Intentional communion with the Lord will definitely fuel it! I need His grace!

May 31, 2011 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger Chrissy @ Boerman Ramblings said...

I'm in!

May 31, 2011 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm so encouraged by your desire to follow God, and your persistence to humble yourself before the Lord. I'm in on your challenge:)

May 31, 2011 at 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need this! Thank you

May 31, 2011 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Can't wait, I need an incentive and knowing that everyone is working to the same goal is exciting...so I would love to join the challenge!

May 31, 2011 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger amy said...

love it.
need it.
count me in too!

May 31, 2011 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Wow...this is just perfect timing! I'd love to take the challenge with you.

My daughter in love showed me your blog recently.

I'm so glad she did.

I'll look forward to getting to know you better and walking along side you now.

Thanks so much!

May 31, 2011 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger katenicole said...

I have been reading your blog regularly since the time when Cora first got sick but I have never left a comment. I just had a baby girl 5 months ago and I too have been really struggling to find time to spend with the Lord. I appreciate you sharing this challenge with us and inviting us to all grow closer to God together. I don't have much accountability even though all my friends and family are christians because like you said everyone is busy and that just seems like an ok excuse to not spend time daily with Him. So I am in and excited to see what God is going to do in the next 30 days! Thank you again! =) ~Katie

May 31, 2011 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

Count me in, Jess!

May 31, 2011 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger k said...

I've followed your blog (through Meg's) since the start of your second pregnancy.

You are a beautiful light for Jesus.

I just wrote on my blog about a month or so ago that I NEED to do this...my goal was 5 minutes a day everyday in the Word.

Haven't done so well.

So, I'm in and will do this with you. 100%
Kristine (www.babyweiss.blogspot.com)

May 31, 2011 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Taylor said...

Sounds like a great idea I'll try the challenge!
Also wanted to post my baby name ideas :)
1. Something cute and different like "Briggs"
2. Something that has Cora's name in it like "Corban" (it has all the letters of Cora in order)
3. A family name with a spin...not sure if Joel's name is acutally Joseph but I like the idea of naming a baby Joseph but calling him "Seph" (the last 4 letters of Joseph or soemthing equally as creative).
Taylor

May 31, 2011 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Count me in! I do an ok job about half the week but then my husband's day off and the weekend comes and my diligence goes out the window. Looking forward to the challenge this month!

May 31, 2011 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Andy and Cari said...

a challenge you say? well,i've never been one to turn down a challenge. :)

it is funny... just this morning as i was changing diapers, i thought how although my life is full of such blessings and comfort and joys... i was much closer to, and faithful to my walk with Christ then i have been lately. when caden died, when andy had his tumor,i had to cling to HIM. i had to just to breathe.
now i am struggling to find the same intimacy, i am finishing too many days without time in the word and time with Christ.
and with BSF over for the summer my daily work and accountability just flew out the window!
i am ready to work at it... i am ready to feel the closeness again. i am ready for the peace and the joy and the CONTENTMENT that come only from HIM....

bring it!
Cari

May 31, 2011 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Brett and Katherine said...

I'd love to join you in this challenge! Thanks!

May 31, 2011 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Jen Bowers said...

I'm not a mom yet, but still struggle so much with getting up early enough to have quiet time. I know my relationship with the Lord suffers because of this. I read your post and still debated joining. I need the accountability, so I'm in! What an awesome way to use your blog to bring glory to the kingdom.

May 31, 2011 at 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Angie said...

I would love to be part of this challenge. My problem in this area is consistency. I used to spend a half hour every morning with the Lord but my schedule changed and now it is sometimes only 10-15 minutes. While that is still okay, I can feel the difference. My soul misses that extended time with my God. :) I need to get back into getting up on time to make this happen. Thanks for creating this challenge. What could be more important?

May 31, 2011 at 5:40 PM  
OpenID songskatesang said...

I'm in.

May 31, 2011 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

oh jess I would love to join you! I only read this today and its already midday on the 1st june but I will start tomorrow.
thank you for listening to God's call to challenge us in this way!

May 31, 2011 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger TimandCeri said...

Wow, we just had our summer launch at church this weekend. They sent us home with 3 months of reading in a handy book. It was not on the for front of my mind already.... I am going to get up and grab it and put it with my purse. I take a 30 min bus ride every day to work. Challenge accepted, I have no excuse now with something to guide me, and your challenge! Thanks Jess for the even further inspiration.

May 31, 2011 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Amy Tiemeier said...

I'm in!

May 31, 2011 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger Joy of the Day said...

I'm with you! Thank you for this challenge... I've needed this.

May 31, 2011 at 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for encouraging us to grow with you.
Looking forward to what June holds for all of us.
I'm in!
Katie T

June 1, 2011 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Nicoolmama said...

I am in! Starting today! Wahoo!!

June 1, 2011 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Josi said...

My sister and I are in too.
I can relate to so much of your experience with devotions

June 1, 2011 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

I'm in too!

June 2, 2011 at 7:03 AM  
Blogger mommyof2sons said...

Count me in!!

June 2, 2011 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Michellesayshi said...

i'm starting a few days late, but count me in, too. Thank you for doing this!

June 3, 2011 at 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this post. I am in! Carrie M.

June 6, 2011 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Faith said...

its never too late when it involves moments with the Lord! 22 days in, i'm game!

June 22, 2011 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Meghan said...

I am sooo late to be jumping on board. But I am beginning today. This post is exactly what's been on my heart! Thank you for the motivation Jess. I'm in.
meghan
http://www.mrshein.blogspot.com/

July 8, 2011 at 10:34 AM  

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