Hello Ladies, I have been reading a book that really blessed me! As I was reading the first chapter, I thought to myself- I love this woman! I can totally relate to her! So I went looking for her online because I knew you would want to know her too! I found her and asked her if she would put together an article about the book so I could tell you all about it. She is an absolute doll and agreed to do so! I have felt that the Lord has been speaking to me about the importance and impact of my ministry here at home. This book spoke directly to my heart about how huge our ministry at home is. Working or stay at home Mom… we will impact a generation and generations to come!
Ok, enough of me. here is Janell….
“This is your home, whether you own it, rent it, or were born into it. Home is where you go to refuel – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You no more need to own the house for this personal refueling than you need to own the service station to get gas. When your soul claims an address as its own, it doesn’t matter if you stay there six months or the rest of your life. While you occupy the space, it is undeniably yours.”
Proverbs 24: 3-4 instructs, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”
God desires our homes to be full of pleasant and precious riches. Riches, as spoken of here, refer to “an abundance of spiritual blessings.”
On my morning walk, I pass many homes, praying for the families as I go. As my walk comes to a close and I am standing in front of my own home, I stop for a second and transform Proverbs 24:3-5 into a personal prayer.
It goes something like this: “Dear Lord Jesus, this is my home. Within the walls of this precious place are my husband and three children. And, Abraham, my dog, too. I pray that each and every room will be filled with the riches of Your presence, Your grace, Your love, Your power and Your serenity. May wisdom, knowledge and understanding guide us through this day. Help me, today, to be a drink of fresh water for my family. Thank you, Lord, for such a wonderful family.” Serenity of soul is one of those rare and beautiful treasures spoken of in Proverbs 24. A person who removes tension from the air, who operates in serenity of soul, is like a fresh breeze blowing off the ocean. It only takes one person to change the atmosphere of a home. Don’t you agree?
While stealing some alone time in Bermuda, my husband and I spent eight days in a cabana that jetted over the crystal clear, sparkling blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. No air conditioning. No screens on the windows. Only the fresh ocean breezes to keep us cool. Upon arriving to this cabana, I thought to myself, “You have got to be kidding me. No way. Eight days without air conditioning? Rob didn’t say we were going camping in Bermuda. What in the world was he thinking?”
But, that night, when the negative ions of the Atlantic Ocean permeated our room, I slept more soundly than I had in a very long time. Now, I am not a scientist, but I do know that there is something pretty spectacular about ocean air. Denise Mann confirms:
“There’s something in the air and while it may not be love, some say it’s the next best thing—negative ions. Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. Think mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy. For a whopping one in three of us who are sensitive to their effects, negative ions can make us feel like we are walking on air.”
The negative ions that circulate in the mountains and the beach are said to “contain tens of thousands of negative ions—much more than the average home or office building, which contain dozens or hundreds, and many register at a flat zero.”
I wanted so desperately to be the one in my home who possessed serenity of soul, but found myself coming up short every time. Why can’t I master my emotions? What is wrong with me? I try to be patient, yet find myself angry once again. If only I could get it all together. Finally, after many long days of struggle, I came to the feet of Jesus. Help me change, Lord. Your word says that my weaknesses can be transformed by Your grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). This compelling scripture provoked me to ask some hard-hitting questions.
Let’s face them together:
Are our homes registering a flat zero in the serenity category? Serenity means, “quietness; calmness of mind; stillness; peace; evenness of temper; undisturbed state.” Is the spiritual air in our homes full of “negative ion” energy? Encouragement? Laughter? Joy? Love? Faith? Is the spiritual air in our homes full of “positive ion” energy? Contention? Strife? Anger? Impatience? Frustration? When we come home from a long day, open the door to our home, do we feel as if we’ve walked into a sanctuary? A place to be renewed and refreshed? Or, are we bombarded with chaos, confusion and clutter? Are we moving through life with more serenity than irritation? Not just on a good day. Every day. On a typical day, do you read the Bible? Have devotions? Talk to your children about God? Breathe in God’s powerful presence? Is your soul running on empty? With nothing left to give? Is it overloaded with care and concern for others?
These are necessary questions. How can we serve our families, churches, and communities if we are empty? I faced this question with great care and knew that I needed to withdraw for a season in order to find the answer. Responsibilities compound, obligations mound, and all of a sudden we find ourselves in the midst of the whirlwind, drained of any positive emotion. Why? Because in the midst of the whirlwind, we forget to take care of ourselves and our relationship to God.
Very often, our households become a whirlwind. A whirlwind of activity: music lessons, dance lessons, soccer games, birthday parties, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Youth Group, etc. The list goes on and on. While these are all good things, are they the best things?
Herein lays the challenge: Are we moving through life with more serenity than irritation? Are all these wonderful, exhilarating activities and opportunities robbing us of a quality life and enriched family time? Are they crowding an already busy household? Are they infusing our homes with deep satisfaction and rich relationships?
One way my husband and I combated this whirlwind was to inaugurate family devotions. We began this practice when our first born, Candace, was seven and our twins were three. Full of wiggle and giggle, they did their best to be still. Initially, we would say short sentence prayers and off to bed they went. As they grew, we graduated to “The Lord’s Prayer”—even as they were somersaulting across the floor or climbing on Daddy’s back—and added a short devotional thought or teaching.
We felt it crucial to create a quiet time at the end of a hectic day to recognize God and one another. It was a daily habit in our family for many, many years. Nothing extraordinary, no, it was rather ordinary, but absolutely vital to the spiritual climate of our home. Now, as they are leaving the home to enter college and build their own lives, we see the great fruit of this daily discipline.
In the visual, “Developing Devotionals Using the Q.U.I.E.T. Method,” I offer five simple principles for creating a devotional life in your family*: (disclaimer…I -Sue- scanned this picture from the book so that you would see how she laid it out, sorry I couldn’t get it bigger!)
1. Encourage the art of questioning. Questions are a terrific way to draw your child into vivid discussions about God throughout your daily routine (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
2. Unlock the mysteries of God. Openly discuss the profound mysteries of God’s amazing world (Mark 4:10-11).
3. Inspire at every opportunity! Always be on the lookout for the little lessons tucked away in life. Lessons that rouse the interest (Psalm 100, MSG).
4. Enlarge each child’s understanding of God through hands-on learning activities. Activate the five senses. One of the simplest, yet most rewarding, things we ever did was invest in a simple butterfly farm. What an amazing sight to behold. Watching little caterpillars spin their cocoons, hang upside for days and days, and then struggle to emerge as butterflies was money well spent. The process of metamorphosis engaged my children and fostered many questions and spiritual discussions: Why is the caterpillar hanging upside down? Is it dead? Why is there blood coming out of the cocoon? Enthralled by their observation and discovery, their little minds whirled with curiosity and inquiry.
They grasped the spiritual teachings of regeneration and conversion (Romans 12:1-2; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 92:1-5, to name a few!)
5. Testify to God’s working in your own quiet time. Talk about your private devotions. Make God very real to your children (1 John 4:13-15).
And, finally, plug into the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Overflow. That’s the beauty of living a devotional life.
When time is set apart for the infilling of God’s Spirit, on a consistent basis, the end result is overflow.
No longer deprived of necessary “spiritual ions”, which recharge and replenish, true spirituality will spill over and fill each and every room of your home with rare and beautiful treasures.
*For more information on the great resources available for family devotions, check out the store on my website: http://www.janellrardon.com/ (Check out her blog too!)