Over the years I faced a recurring struggle when it came to reading God's Word. I was taught how important it is to read Scripture on my own, and I knew this was true. I was shown numerous techniques and methods for studying the Word. But when it came time to sit down and read my Bible, I tried and failed.She goes on to describe how she would start out with a resolve to read her Bible daily. "This time I'm going to do it." And then within a week or two she'd fizzle out. The Bible seemed too big or even boring and her "sense of Christian duty" didn't seem big enough to maintain her desire to read. She'd feel guilt and frustration.
There have been multiple times in my life where these thoughts described me perfectly.
I've had periods where my quiet times were "good" and many more where they were done in the early morning while I was only half coherent and less than engaged. And then there were the times they were completely non-existent.
And what about setting an example for my kids? My "quiet time" pattern and struggle is not exactly one that I want my boys to be emulating...
Not too long ago, when Jen and I "spoke" at the Children's Ministry Websummit, I watched one of the speaker's seminars who described what he did when one of his children woke up early while he was having his quiet time. He would give them a children's Bible, a piece of paper and some crayons and encourage them to "read" a Bible story and draw what God taught them. He invited them in to his time with the Lord.
You know what I would do?
Shut my Bible, sigh on the inside and think, "Maybe tomorrow."
Though I really love this guy's idea, I don't attempt morning quiet times right now. I really hope to use his idea someday if I ever find myself making that part of my morning routine again. Right now, evening makes more sense for our schedule, after the boys are tucked in bed.
But the idea of "inviting my child in" to that part of my life continued to resonate in my heart.
Enter Carrie Ward's Together: Growing Appetites for God. In it she lays out a plan for doing just that. She describes how her and her children read through the ENTIRE Bible together, one chapter at a time. When she began, her oldest was four and her youngest was less than a year old. And it took 5 years.
Hmm... I wasn't sure...
BUT, she had invited them in.
I liked that. I just wasn't sure about the details. This seemed a little far-fetched and maybe overly ambitious to me.
As I read, I felt like I got a good picture of what this might look like. She doesn't candy coat reality. The stories she has to tell as a result are honest, funny and encouraging. It wasn't always pretty, but it wasn't always hard either. At the end of the book I found myself feeling realistic about what I would be getting myself into if I decided to try this out, but also optimistic that it could be done and with overwhelmingly wonderful results.
What I liked even more was it wasn't just for her kids and it was just for her. They were on the journey TOGETHER. I often plan Bible activities specifically for my kids. I choose books and studies for myself that are applicable to my circumstances or stage of life. Rarely do I just interact with the Word of God expecting it to speak to ALL of us.
I was so encouraged by her book, that I decided to take the plunge and join her. Now we have a not-so-quiet time together at lunch every day! :) Tomorrow I'm going to share a bit more encouragement from Carrie and a look at how the beginning of our journey through the Bible has looked.
In the meantime, Carrie has graciously donated 2 copies of her book for us to give away to 2 of you! If this book sounds like something that would help your family, just enter the giveaway below. You can also check out her website, An Everyday Mama, or "like" her on facebook to find out more! The giveaway will end Wednesday, June 6th at Midnight and we'll announce the winner sometime on Thursday, June 7th.