Shortly after we were married, my husband and I [love being able to say that!] found we were not spending the time we should with God - in prayer and in the word. Together and separately. I'm sure this was partially due to being caught up in newly-married life, but for me, I'd reached that point where it felt like a chore and I found myself pushing it aside and thinking my small prayers throughout the day were enough to feed my faith for the time being. I feel horrible saying this, but I was ignoring God. I was not glorifying Him in my life. I would do what I wanted instead of spending time in His word. And after ALL He has done for me! How could I let myself fall into that pit of negligence? I wandered and got distracted from the most important thing in my life. Sadly, this was not the first time, and it probably won't be my last - I am still growing. As humans, are all too often prone to wander.
We made a change. Now Tim and I do devotionals every night we can together when he isn't away working. We take turns reading a passage then we break it down and discuss it. Tim does a lot of the talking, but I like that. I have so much to learn from him and I love how he leads me in our times of Bible study. We always end our time in prayer. There is something so powerful about praying with your spouse. It builds you up, strengthens your faith, encourages you, fills you with joy and the love you have for your husband grows even more.
I recently heard a good analogy; it was one we could really relate to having just bought a house that needed some cleaning up of the previous owner's junk and garbage left on the property [I am thrilled that my husband doesn't mind dirty jobs]. A pastor bought a house in B.C. There was one shed in the yard and a huge mound of vines. He discovered, under that pile of vines, a whole other shed. Kind of exciting, right? What could be inside? Some sweet treasure like old vintage furniture or tools? Nope. It was full of garbage. At first, the pastor was frustrated that the prior occupants had left a mass of junk and he was about to get them to come deal with it, but then he realized the papers had been signed so now this mess was his responsibility to remove. Jesus bought us, just like the pastor bought that house with the hidden shed full of junk. And just like it was now the pastor's job to remove the mess, it is Jesus' responsibility to clean our garbage, our sin, our discontent, our wandering hearts; it's not something we can do on our own strength or by our own efforts. We need Him. Everyday and in everything.
Even when our hearts are wandering, we don't feel like it, are not in the mood and it seems like a chore, that's when we need it most. Spend time in the word and in prayer. Commit the time to God and just tell Him exactly how you feel, even if you're kind of crabby about it. He accepts us just as we are, in all of our moods. Don't focus on feeling His presence - that's a gift and if we focus too much on that or the lack of it, we are not focusing on what is important - God. It is all about Him and not us. This is something I am working on putting into practice, and yeah, I still struggle with my own personal wants, but deep down, I know what I should be doing with that time. I am still growing, but I'm telling you, spending time with God makes such a difference.
Some verses from one of my favorite hymns, Come Thou Fount, sum up these thoughts pretty well:
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
bought me with his precious blood.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee:
prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it;
seal it for thy courts above.
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above.