Guest post—by Katie Metts
Editor’s note: Abby lived with us before she got married, and Katie recently made these comments at her baby shower. This is a guest post by the much admired (by me, anyway) Katie Metts.
You lived with us for almost 3 years, and your creativity and delight in the world God made was a source of joy. Now, as you expect your first child, the pace of your life will be different, adjusting to a schedule with your baby while making time for Duane and for the Lord.
A huge question for all moms is how you practice or continue to practice spiritual disciplines. Worship, prayer, rest, Bible reading are well-known spiritual disciplines, and when we started our family, all I understood was prayer and Bible reading. These were the disciplines I practiced. I had a lot to learn about rest and worship.
But Bible study was also lacking for me. So I encourage you to continue reading your Bible, but to make sure you also study it. This may not be difficult for you right now. You have an excellent study Bible that you use and enjoy. You were taught in high school to mark your Bible as you read to gain more understanding of passages and words.
But taking the time to be nourished from God’s Word may take more effort when there is a baby demanding your attention. You may be too weary to have the same focus or energy. But I still challenge you to study your Bible rather than just read it.
with a purpose and a plan
This means to read God’s word with a purpose and a plan. If you let your Bible reading remain a study, it will not become a chore that is endured and no longer enjoyed. Make a plan so that opportunities for your spiritual growth will not be missed or overlooked, so that intimate times with the Creator, who sustains our lives and who perfects our faith, will not be missed.
Yes, with babies, plans need to be flexible. Adjust your plans as needed, but do not get away from study. Continue to seek God. You may not have the blocks of time and the energy you had before the baby came, so a pencil may be all that you can manage. But mark, underline and make notes in the margin of your Bible as you are nursing your baby. Involve yourself with the text you are reading.
Bible study leads to intimacy with God—not just knowing about Him but loving Him. Because He is our life. As you continue to learn, even from just a few verses each day that you read and interact with, His Word becomes your life too.
As you learn, share those truths with your new child and with Duane. Your child should find comfort in your own intimacy with God. In this way, the truths of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 can be very real in your home:
Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all might. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise.
God continues to use my mothering to teach me about Himself and the work He is doing. I am learning to love Him more, with all my heart, soul and might. As I talk with my adult children and become more vulnerable, I want them to see my heart as the Lord works in my life. This only come as I seek Him through the sure knowledge of His Word.
with your whole heart
Here is an example. As you know, I met Wally while we were both in school in Tennessee. When I first moved there, I fell in love with the area: the smell of the honey suckle and the lovely blooms of the dog wood trees. We married and stayed there even though he was born and reared in south Florida and I was from Michigan. It became the home we shared.
After 16 years in Tennessee, the Lord moved us to Michigan because Wally was going to pursue his Ph.D. at Michigan State. As we talked about his plans to go back to school, one of my first questions was, “How long will we be in Michigan?” I was not looking forward to coming here; I had learned to love the climate and people of Tennessee.
Wally said four years, five tops. OK, I said. And so we came. Right away we found our church, Countryside. But it took Wally a year to find a job and even longer to begin his program at MSU. Every year in March I imagined the 16 dogwoods blooming in our back yard in Tennessee. Here in Michigan I had to wait until mid-May to even see leaves on the trees.
Every hard winter I continued to long for Tennessee. But this past year, after 29 years, the Lord caused me to see the reason He brought us to Michigan was not for Wally to get a degree at all, but for us to be at Countryside.
As I studied His Word this past year, the Lord gently showed me why we were here. He had and still has work for us to do. More importantly, I realized He wanted my heart. He did not have it; it was still in Tennessee. Humbly, I asked Him to forgive me. I gave Him my whole heart so He can do His work more effectively in me and through me.
There was no specific verse He gave me; this was not a proof text experience. But I can tell you it did not come from a casual reading of Scripture, more chore than joy. It came out of a sustained study, through which I saw His heart in every story or passage. And seeing His heart, I gave him mine more fully.
So Abby, learn to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your might.
And don’t neglect the study of His Word.
He is your life.
[Katie Metts is the administrative assistant at Countryside Bible Church and an independent Shaklee distributor. She has four adult children (seven counting spouses) and ten grandchildren. She is currently leading a women’s Bible study on Exodus. Her post here was prompted, in part, by an essay by Pete De Lacy with Precept Ministries.]