41 Days Later

So here I am .. 41 days since my last post.  Lent is over and today is Good Friday.  

Every day for the last 40 days I immersed myself in the New Testament.  Starting in Matthew and making it through Jude stopping with just Revelations left.  Most mornings up before the sun, hot cup of coffee in hand,  either at the kitchen table with the sounds of morning and sunlight beginning to peak through the window or curled up on the couch with a blanket and a fire.  Me and my God. His holy word.  My full attention.  Wouldn't you know He met me there each morning?  Opening my eyes, revealing new truths and passages.  Making my heart race as the story of Jesus's life unfolded.  

Can you image?? 

"Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were everyone of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the book that would be written" John 21:25 

Breaking my heart and bringing tears to my eyes through his great sacrifice.  The humanity of his suffering.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? that is "My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Matthew 27:46

Filling me with joy over the Good News!  And convicting me by looking at the life of the apostles, spreading of the gospel, and start of the early church.

So much in fact that I listened to the Holy Spirit more than ever in my life and shared the gospel multiple times with people I encountered over the last 40 days. 

For the first few days I truly "missed" Facebook an Instagram.  I wondered what my friends were doing.  I wondered if I missed anything.  And then I began creating new habits.  I began taking my Bible everywhere so I could stay current which meant it was all over the house.  I would often find the boys looking at the maps in the back and asking questions.. such sweet time.  I "rediscovered" my love for reading.  I have always been a reader but seriously since the boys were born have only found time on vacations, at the gym or just occasionally because "I'm too busy right?"  Well, apparently I was just too busy with social media!  I began keeping books in my purse, in my car.  I loved this one! 

I also had time to watch tv.. what???  Well, Netflix on my ipad anyway.  You know when you are super tired but just not sleepy.  But over reading for the day and anything else that requires your brain?  Well, I used to surf Facebook, IG, or Pinterest while laying in bed late at night but without it.. yep.  Started watching series on my Ipads.  And nothing Disney!  I love Parenthood. Yep.  Love it.

oh yeah.  this show is awesome while washing dishes
And music! I discovered so much that I love to listen to while I am reading.  The Rend Collective Campfire collection.  THE BEST.  The station on Pandora. Tops. 

Ellie Holcomb.  Cannot get enough of her sweet voice. 

After a week I discovered, not only did I NOT miss Facebook, I felt totally free!  At peace and with all this time.  And without feeling the need to Instagram pictures "instantly" I was able to just walk away from my phone and BE PRESENT.  (It also made me keenly aware of how much my spouse was on his phone.. hm. but that's another blog post!)

One Tuesday night I was exhausted.  The boys hadn't slept well the night before and I still got up at 5:30 for my quiet time.  It was 8 at night, Justin was out of town and I was just plain over it.  As I hurried through bed time, I read each of their book choices as quickly as possible and turned out the lights intending to just "skip" Bible story time for them.  As I was turning out the light, it was so clearly impressed upon me from the Holy Spirit this thought "of all the things you did today, is Bible time with your kids really what you want to skip?" And I sighed and thought "you are right. I have to set the example with them" and turned on the light and settled back down between them with our new book I bought for them for Lent.  Which I love by the way because it has great questions that you ask after each story. 

We read the story of Joseph and we talked about how Joseph forgave his brothers even though they had wronged him.  I asked them the question about had anyone every hurt them or said something that hurt their feelings and did they forgive them?  As we talked through it I said something like "we forgive because Jesus forgave us.  We have love for others in our hearts because Jesus is there"  Eli looks at me and says "But how does He get into your heart?  Does he go down your throat and through your stomach?"  I talked to both of them about what it means to have a heart inside you that beats and keeps you alive and I heart that holds yours feelings. Like love.  Beckett said "But I have never seen God or Jesus" and we talked about that and he said " I bet I could see them with my night vision spy goggles :-).  We settled in to say our prayers and Eli said again "Mommy.  How does Jesus get into my heart" and I looked at him and said "You ask him baby." And Eli said "oh".  And I looked at both of them and said "Eli, do you want to ask Jesus into your heart?" and he said yes.  So I looked at Beckett and said "Beckett do you want to ask Jesus into your heart?" And he said yes.  So we got down on our knees beside their bed.  Me in the middle and them each on one side.  The closed their little eyes and folded their hands.  I led them through confessing their "mistakes" and sins. Thanking Jesus for dying on the cross.  And asking Jesus into their hearts.  As tears rolled down my face I kept looking at them and they were so serious. So intent.  Repeated every word with no silliness, laughter or giggling.  When we were done, Eli opened his eyes and looked at me and said "Mommy! I still don't feel Him. Are you sure He's in there??" Ha!  I assured him He was and the both hugged me and said the sweetest night time prayers.  

I laid awake for hours thinking about it.  Knowing it was such a sweet moment.. God honored my obedience in being faithful in my discipline even when I was exhausted.  He refreshed me and renewed me and gave me the biggest blessing as a mom to hear those sweet voices professing their faith in the one who loves them the most. 

I started this fast for Lent with reading A Hunger for God.  This passage.. 

“Desires for other things”—there’s the enemy. And the only weapon that will triumph is a deeper hunger for God. The weak- ness of our hunger for God is not because he is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with “other things.” Perhaps, then, the denial of our stomach’s appetite for food might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God.
What is at stake here is not just the good of our souls, but also the glory of God. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. The fight of faith is a fight to feast on all that God is for us in Christ. What we hunger for most, we worship.

This morning I slept in.  I didn't set my alarm.  I woke up when the boys did which was just enough time to grab a shower, give them breakfast,  brush their teeth, and hop in the car.  As we were walking out the door I saw my Bible on the table.  My heart pained and I realized.. I longed to sit and read it.  My soul was unsettled by the change in the start of my day.  I truly did feel hungry for God's word.  To sit with Him.  Especially on today of all days this Good Friday.  To cry with Him and be broken with Him. To read His promises and be still and know Him.

It's early in the evening on the day that I am "allowed" to return to social media.  When I started this I thought that I would rush right back and check all the things I missed.  Instead, I feel hesitant to go back.  Cautious of sliding back into old habits.  So as we enter this season of renewing... and new beginnings life will look different  I'm reminded of Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

More of God, more of my family, more ministry, less of everything else.   What a beautiful rich season this has been!  

The Riley's 

The Riley FamilyComment