Friday, March 18, 2016

First thing.

That first sip of hot tea in the morning.
It is ceremony.
It is sacrament.
It is where I, with bedhead & foul breath, settle back in expectancy.
It is the commencement of a daily ritual, where my restless disposition encounters Your holy stillness.
I take another sip, drink slowly.

Our dialogue is the same:
Me: Oh, holy God, only You can satisfy.
You: Take me, take all of me.
Always You extend your hand.
Always You manifest yourself as tender.

In ragged hoodie & worn-out socks, I am filled.
Me: Oh, powerful & compassionate God, only You can carry this heavy load.
You: Let me take it, all of it.
I am saturated, awash with choice gifts.
I am disencumbered, free of grievous constraints.
Your generosity swirls about me as I sip...& sip...& sip...

-Nikki Mans


 I once dreaded "having" to pray—my list of needs was becoming so long, I was boring myself. 
Blah, blah, blah... Is anyone even listening to this?
I once groaned at the thought of "having" to read the Bible—it was too difficult to understand. I didn't have time for all that confusion. 
But I knew that spending quality time with God every day was something I should value. I was disappointed that my heart wasn't in it. I was definitely missing something. 
So I went on an exploration.
Isn't that what you do when you've lost something— you search until you find it?

To give it to you simply, do you know what I found?
I found that I was doing it wrong.
Dreading & groaning was okay as long as I just showed up.
But I continued to dread & groan, even as I continued the morning routine. 
So here came my next step: Do it differently, girlfriend.

I began keeping a Thankful Journal. (After reading Anne Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts".) This journal is life-changing for me. It forces me to acknowledge the things that make my heart happy, which are, ultimately, gifts from God. And, in case you didn't know it, being thankful on a regular basis makes for a joyful heart. True story. My list grows daily. I started 5 1/2 months ago & am at #388. When I get to #1000 I will keep going. How can one stop being thankful??
#244: My 2 dads meeting for the first time
#380: Breakfast cereal that tastes like birthday cake
#108: Street artists who make balloon animals
#112: The snooze button
#176: God's love–especially on those days when I feel tiny & unimportant in this world
#227: Chilling at a coffee shop
#47: Taking a bath in a mansion

I started writing. I found an AMAZING book entitled "Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying With My Pen" by Rachel G. Hackenberg. The daily prayer prompts in the book have launched my morning quiet time into a different dimension. The book combines a brief daily scripture with praying to God in a way I never thought of: using my written words, prayer writing.
(P.S. She has a version for kids, too!)

I started reading inspirational books. One chapter every morning. Every month I choose a new book. My journal is filled with quotes I want to keep. And the words I read often spur new ideas in my heart, which is exciting.

The Mr. initiated us reading one chapter of scripture every day, & then discussing it together. I like the wisdom he has when I have questions. He likes my random thoughts & perspectives. 

I realized that this morning routine didn't have to be a chore. It SHOULDN'T be a chore.  I could integrate the things I love, the things I enjoy doing, into my daily worship time with Him. 
How fun & cool is that????

And if I ever feel so inclined, I will leave my usual cozy spot on the couch & spend my quiet time in new surroundings: In the backyard under the vine-covered gazebo, at the river by my trees, in my cool, dark basement bedroom. 
Getting a new perspective every once in a while is really a breath of healthy, much-needed, life-giving air. (One morning, I sat at the piano for an hour & just sang. That was my quiet time that day. That was it. Another time I just sat in silence. *That was so hard to do!* But it was so fulfilling. My heart let it all out. He heard, I know He did. And I waited & listened & it was perfect.)

 I now anticipate this morning ritual every day. It has become a spiritual adventure. One day I may sketch while listening to worship music, another day I might pull out my ukulele & present a song in adoration to Him. 
Combine scripture & prayer in a way that fuses with the things you're passionate about in your daily quiet time with God.
And I promise you won't dread it anymore.


  1. Thank you. I never thought about doing it like that before. Your ideas inspire me and I will share them with my kids and husband. Bet you're doing the happy dance right now!

  2. Thank you, I so enjoyed this!!

  3. Interesting and inspiring. :-)


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