I am not good at sticking with routines and I fail at most habits. But there is a habit I couldn't live without.
I spent some time this morning skimming my journal from the year and thinking about what I have learned, how the Lord has led and mostly about His goodness and faithfulness . . .answered prayer, grace, forgiveness, His daily presence and peace.
It is enlightening to look back and remember prayers I had prayed, and to realize how God answered.
I can see the ways in which I am a broken record (oh let me count the ways!) . . . and how good and gracious God is with my weaknesses when I bring them to Him . . . again and again and again.
The places I feared, uncertain whether we were making the right decisions, begging God for direction . . . Jim started a new job this year, we made the decision to stick with homeschool longterm, we bought a house . . . it is a great comfort to remember that I had laid these all at God's feet; to remember that the prayers I prayed then continue now, under His care.
The very earliest spiritual discipline I learned was to have a morning quiet time. Pray, read my Bible and a book or devotional, journal or write-out scripture.
Yes, it is a cliche, and yes, we can turn it into legalism. For a short time I gave it up altogether; I can pray all day long, I reasoned.
When I was younger I think I idolized my morning quiet time like a good luck charm; if I missed I was sure to have a bad day. Or like a genie in a bottle, a way for all my wishes to come true.
For a year or so I decided mornings weren't the best time because it was my only time to write. But most days I didn't find time later to quiet myself and pray and read my Bible. I found myself spiritually dry.
I returned to mornings. It is when my mind is clear and my spirit is fresh, when I am least likely to be interrupted. Sometimes it is an hour, sometimes it is ten minutes. There are days I miss. But it is my favorite habit, the best way to begin the day.
I have always kept a journal. There are so many reasons why I need to journal. I begin each year with a fresh one- my favorite is moleskin- large, soft cover, plain pages.
I write out scripture. I don't usually try to memorize, but something about the act of writing out God's Word sinks the words deeper into my spirit.
I copy quotations from books I am reading. I've tried keeping a separate notebook for this, but what I read ties so directly to what I am learning about the Lord that I hate to separate them.
I write out my prayers. This is my favorite thing to go back and read later- when I am feeling anxious, or doubtful, I can read and remember, Oh yes, I have committed this to Him. What am I worried about?
I record the days. Not always, not even every week. But as often as I can I will record what is happening in our family, what I love or hate about right now. Similar to The Examen, this is also a good way to reflect on God's presence in the events of daily life.
Looking back over the year I am so thankful for what the Lord has done. I think I will blog about some of the successes and failures of 2014, what I learned, and God's faithfulness and care through the year.