One day turned into several days strung together into weeks. Then those weeks turned into months. Months! It’s been almost three months since I enjoyed a typical quiet time, or even gotten a few minutes of quiet before my son would be nose-to-nose whispering, “Mommy…” It has been months since I sipped a cup of coffee without corralling a toddler and dog out of the kitchen and making sure the toddler didn’t eat markers while Daddy got breakfast together. It has been months since I felt the nearness of God and the sweetness of an uninterrupted conversation with my Maker, my first love. Circumstances and seasons have made quiet commune with God virtually impossible.
And it’s been hard.
It’s been one of the hardest, lowest seasons of my Christian life. As if that isn’t bad enough, I stayed silent. I told no one my inner battle, my lack of strength to care, or that I needed help. Sure I hinted here and there, but even my dearest friends were kept in the dark.
What was I supposed to say? “Hey, I know you love me and all, but I totally suck at life right now.” YES! That’s exactly what I was supposed to do! But I didn’t. I kept it all inside. I wallowed in self pity. I blamed it on first trimester. I blamed it on my husband’s travels. I blamed it on my toddler not sleeping in his own bed. I blamed it on teething. I blamed it on the snow and lack of exercise. Anything and everything was to blame except my sinful heart.
This past week in utter despair, I wrote a message to seven of my dearest friends (go big or go home, right?) and said, “I’m a mess right now.” I took a few lines to tell them exactly what has been going on. I got raw and honest. And then I asked them for help. It was the hardest message I have ever written.
Want to know what happened next? Grace. Well, after I got reamed by one friend who told me I should have said something because what are friends for if we can’t help each other in the bad times. Friends are worthless if we only keep them around for the good stuff. Then she extended grace, but she needed extend the hand discipline first. And she was totally right.
So grace. Grace has flowed from each and every angle since my first confession. I went on to confess to my husband, my son, and another six friends. I’m telling you because you’re my friends too, and you come here for the raw, honest truth. Intentional By Grace is built on vulnerable and grace. What good am I if I don’t live my life on those same principals?
So what do we do when quiet times are pointless?
Because that’s part of this problem. What do we do in those seasons when it’s down right hard to get in the Word of God? I tried to implement creative quiet times, but to no avail it seemed. I couldn’t string two thoughts together, let alone pull anything from the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. The words of Paul fell on deaf ears. And no matter how much I prayed I felt like God was light years away. Granted I see now I was praying according to my own sinful desires instead of the Lord’s, but regardless, what do I do, what do you do when quiet times feel pointless?
We preach the Gospel to ourselves every single day, every single moment if necessary. We choose to believe the truth that we are free in Christ, redeemed by The Blood shed for us, and have a future in Him. We choose the Gospel of grace. And when we wonder if we disappoint, we choose to believe that God is not ashamed to be called our God; we rest in our imperfections knowing His power is made perfect in our weakness.
We don’t need to read our Bibles to remember the passion story. It’s what we had to know and believe in order to enter into God’s rest in the first place. If we can do nothing else each day, we need to do this most important thing…we need to preach the Gospel to ourselves. The Gospel changes lives! It’s not left back at the point of justification. It’s for right now. Now, more than ever, we need a Savior and the truth of what has been done on our behalf. We never lose our need for a Savior, and it would do me well to remind myself of this fundamental truth each and every day.
So when quiet times are pointless, don’t neglect to speak truth into your heart. Every day you need The Gospel of Jesus Christ.