Welcome to Week Six of our Hidden Joy on-line study. This week we study Chapter Eight, “Quiet Time.”
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This week we have another special guest post written by my dear friend and sister in Christ, Noelle. Noelle and I met through my on-line studies. She has been one of our greatest encouragers, supporters, and prayer warriors. I asked her what she would like for me to share about her and have copied her words below. These few sentences reveal the passion of her heart more than any introduction I could ever write.
God has taken me down some crazy paths in my life, including surviving heart failure when I was 28 and losing both of my parents in the span of 62 days. Through the twists and turns, God has completely transformed my heart, mind and body by His truth. My heart’s desire is to walk alongside others as they uncover their own heart, mind and body transformations.
Noelle has journeyed through very difficult trials in her life, and God has brought her through them in some powerful ways. I invited her to share bits and pieces of her journey with you today. She has written a beautiful message straight from her heart.. I am praying that her words encourage you and motivate you to go deeper still in your personal time with God.
If her words speak to you today, please leave her a comment in the comment section of my web site. Noelle has graciously offered to do a giveaway with her guest post. She will give away three copies of Hidden Joy and will select the winners from the comments you leave this week. If you already have a copy, we would love for you to give the copy you win away.
At the end of Noelle’s message you will find the video for the week as well as this week’s memory verse and homework assignment. The prayer for the week is Noelle’s prayer.
I asked my doctor what went through his mind 13 years ago when he was called into the emergency room. His eyes filled with tears as he explained, “I couldn’t sleep a wink that night because I knew you would be dead by the morning.” We had a special patient-physician bond since I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in my early twenties. Knowing my kidneys were my weakness, we were both completely blindsided when the fight for my life ended up being unexpected heart failure when I was 28 years old.
It was nearly impossible to reconcile. Within the span of hours, I went from being an athlete to needing emergency open heart surgery. After my operation, I was on life support. The physical pain was excruciating. Fear and anxiety filled my days. Oddly enough, though, I grew accustomed to this new way of life. I’m not saying any of it was enjoyable… or even tolerable… but I got used to it. There was only one thing I couldn’t endure. My thirst. All of the adjectives in our language cannot begin to describe how thirsty I was.
When I came out of my coma-like state, I used my best sign language to ask for a glass of water. I was still in critical condition, so my fluids had to be significantly limited. Instead of water, my nurse would put a couple of ice chips in my mouth. Those ice chips did nothing for me, so I’d try to sleep as much as possible to escape my torment. In my dreams, I’d fantasize about drinking glass after glass of pure water until my thirst was quenched. It was heaven… until I woke up to… another ice chip. As you can imagine, when I graduated from life support in the ICU to a regular hospital room and the nurse brought me a pitcher of water, I almost broke down in tears.
Did you know that we are all born with that same kind of thirst?
As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42:1-2 NLT)
This psalmist knows his deep thirst and he knows that only time with God can satisfy his need. Your soul is thirsty. Are you quenching your thirst with springs of “Living Water” (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13) by having a daily quiet time?
What does your quiet time look like? If you asked me ten years ago, I would have answered you this way (use your best robotic voice as you read), “First I go to my kitchen table, then I read one chapter from the Old Testament, one chapter from the New Testament, one Psalm, one Proverb and then I pray for ten minutes.” Now, I know God honored my discipline, but I was trying to quench my thirst with ice chips. I was still thirsty for more!
How about you? Do you have your quiet times scheduled in your calendar as irrevocable appointments? Think of it this way. If Wendy Blight said she was coming to your town and really wanted to meet you (probably at Chick-fil-A for some sweet tea), you know darn well that you would be there with bells on! You would want to know all about her and you would be so excited to share what’s on your heart. Admittedly, it can be hard to have that same excitement with God since He’s invisible to our eyes. But Jesus said, “…Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20:29 NLT)
Once you have your Father-daughter date scheduled in your calendar, what are you going to do? Consider the newfound victory you are living in: you are finding forgiveness and releasing strongholds. You have the freedom of a new life! God is holding your face in His hands and He excitedly says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19 NIV84) He is making a way in the desert! Streams in the wasteland! In other words, He is offering Living Water, not ice chips!
There are two tactics that have helped me transition from ice chips to water. I have personalized my quiet times with God, and I have personalized His tone of voice so I can hear Him deep in my heart.
I’ve traded my robotic quiet times for tailor made dates with my Heavenly Father. Before I begin my quiet time, I take a moment to see where my heart pulls me. Most early mornings I spend my time in my home office with a cup of coffee. But there are instances when I feel drawn to get cozy on the couch, or maybe the kitchen table seems more fitting. On the weekends, I drive out to my favorite bench which overlooks the beach. Sometimes I let God lead me through the Bible. Other mornings, I might be in the mood to sing praise music (I’m convinced my parrot-squawking voice sounds more like Carrie Underwood to God’s ears). There are times when I’m involved in Bible studies and other times when I just want to write God a love letter or a thank you note.
I’ve also learned to personalize God’s voice. Matthew 11:28 is Jesus’ call to us when we are tired and burned out, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” I’ll tell you… when I was drinking ice chips, I couldn’t relate to that verse since I heard a Harlequin-romance-meets-Old-English voice in my mind. But just as we use different tones of voices when we speak to different people, God’s voice is personalized to each of us. I’m a playful and quirky girl. In faith, I picture Jesus running a few strides in front of me turning to me with a big smile and calling me with a strong voice, “Come to me Noelle!” Now, I can relate to that. I have a friend who is more of a romantic, and she hears that verse whispered in her ear. That resonates in her heart.
What about you? How can you go from ice chips to Living Water? Are your daily Father-daughter dates scheduled in your calendar? What can you do to personalize them? Do you hear God’s voice in a tone that touches your heart? Drink up girlfriends! God is pouring out Living Water for you and me… Cheers!
Noelle, thank you for sharing this beautiful message with us! And, yes, I do LOVE me some sweet tea.
Below is this week’s video lesson, assignment, and prayer.
Assignment: Read Chapter Eight in Hidden Joy, “Quiet Time.” Complete the Guide for Reflection and Study questions for Chapter 8 located in the back of the book.
Memory Verse: “Be still and know that I am God..” Psalm 46:10
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for this amazing “small” group. You perfectly called each one here because Jesus has set her free… free indeed! As the heavy chains of unforgiveness are broken and as each stronghold is rendered powerless, You are calling us to an exciting new life! Give us ears to hear You as You call us to our special Father-daughter date each day. Help us to personalize our quiet times so we can fall madly in love with You. Help us to recognize that our thirst can be quenched by You alone. In our lives today, we can get deceived and think that busyness is a badge of honor. Our cell phones buzz, Facebook draws us in, even serving at church can take us away from the intimate times You want to have with us. Let us not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but let us be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our quiet times help us to renew our minds. Abba, bring us from ice chips to Living Water. We love You so much. We lift our prayers and sing Your praises in Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Noelle and I will be praying for God to speak personally and powerfully to each one of you as you become intentional in your time alone with God. Please share with us what you experience throughout the week in your quiet time. And don’t forget when you leave a comment, your name will be included for a chance to win a copy of Hidden Joy.