Last week I was reading this post at a friend's blog, In This Small House, and I left the following comment:
Thanks for the prayer reminder! I have really been struggling lately with feeling lousy with my pregnancy and just feeling like life is one big juggling act and in my desperate attempts to keep all the balls in the air I end up dropping them all instead! The one nagging feeling I've had is, "Duh, you aren't PRAYING, girl!" But for some reason there has just been this block for me- my brain goes a million miles an hour trying to keep track of everything I need to get done and my personal prayer and scripture study just get squeezed out by everything else. (gee, I don't suppose that could be the adversary, could it? nah...) My goal for this week is to make my personal morning devotional the priority- it will be the first thing I do once I am up and dressed. No computer until prayer and scripture study are done! It's time to put first things first!!
Thanks for the kick in the butt and the extra motivation!
So this week I stuck to my word, and do you know what? It actually worked. All those problems I mentioned- feeling lousy, not getting things done, etc.- well, it's like they were just lifted. Every morning I sat down at my desk in my office with my notebook and my scriptures, and I started with a heartfelt prayer. Then I began to read. I'm working on the New Testament- one chapter a day, and as I read I've been jotting down notes with any thoughts, insights, or questions I might have. It is truly amazing how much the words in the scriptures can help you if only you read. I had been feeling frustrated with some people in my life, and I read the words of Matthew 7:1-2:
"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."
Wow, God sure is smart, and He sure knows how to get His point across to me! And to remind me how important my example is to my children, and how much my scatter-brained frustration affected them, He gave me Matthew 5:19:
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
And this one pretty much addressed the struggle in the comment I made on my friend's post about trying to juggle it all- Matthew 6:24 and 33-34:
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon...But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself..."
Each day I couldn't help smiling as I read these verses that the Lord had so thoughtfully placed before me. He knows me and the daily struggles I face, and here He is telling me it's okay, don't worry. Just put first things first and everything else will fall into place.
But of course, I am a hardhead, so I needed to test that theory. My husband had to work yesterday morning, so I decided to get some much-needed extra cleaning done around the house. Somehow my personal morning devotional got pushed aside as I enjoyed the slower pace of a Saturday morning, and before I knew it, it was 11am, the kids had been fighting nonstop so I had sent them to their rooms, and I was downstairs in an angry funk madly vacuuming. That irritating little voice in my head kept saying, "Morning devotional, morning devotional, first things first, did you think to pray?" Well, I was annoyed.
Finally though, my inner light broke through my dark clouds and got the best of me. I put away the vacuum, went upstairs to check on the kids, and asked them each for 15 minutes for Mommy to do her morning devotional. When I was done, I brought the kids downstairs and we had our family morning devotional. Then we played games and read stories until Daddy got home. The change in atmosphere was remarkable.
Coincidence? I think not.
I won't say I've learned my lesson, because as we all know, the Lord usually has to teach us the same lesson over and over again- sometimes for our entire lives- before it finally clicks. But I have definitely received a boost to my testimony of the power of personal prayer and scripture study, and I know that the more I continue this good habit, the more I will be blessed by His guidance and care.
Can I give you one more quotation?
In the March Ensign, there is a reprint of a talk by President Marion G. Romney in which he states,
"Oh, for the glorious day when these things all come naturally because of the purity of our hearts. In that day there will be no need for a commandment, because we will have experienced for ourselves that we are truly happy only when we are engaged in unselfish service." (or in my case, unselfish devotion to God)
I would challenge each of you to take on this experiment for yourselves, if you haven't already. Start your day with an invitation to the Lord to have Him by your side, and I promise you- I know this from personal experience- He won't let you down.