Welcome to Week 2, beautiful ladies! I sincerely hope I’m not doing this alone, but if I am and it’s bringing you some joy and I’m growing in the process, fantastic!

 

CHALLENGE 2

This week, we’re going to carry on working on our relationship with the Lord. Here is the first part of this week’s challenge in addition to reading a chapter of Proverbs a day and diarising time with the Lord.

 

“…but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Proverbs 31: 30b

 

Each day schedule in a time to pray. Write down your prayer requests – list people you want to pray for and their specific needs or items of thanks. Write down the names of your family and list their needs. Don’t forget to add items of praise and thanks. Kneel before the lord in repentance and write down your sins (we can’t only come to him with a wish list of things we want). And then record how the Lord answers prayer!!

 

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Ephesians 6:18

 

I must be honest, prayer is something I find difficult. I either pray for the same things every day and get stuck in a monotonous rut or I sit with a mouthful of teeth and struggle to come up with something different to pray for. I have a horrible habit of saying the exact same thing I said two seconds earlier because I’m lost in my own world or thinking about the 101 things I have to do. And I can be praying out loud and realise 10 minutes later that I have been dreaming and haven’t noticed the sound of my voice going silent. Please tell me this happens to some of you too? So this week, praying with focus and not only praying for my selfish desires will be challenging.

 

Here’s to a new and renewed prayer life…

 

Monday:

My quiet time each day is quite a variable each day at the moment. For a long time, at about 8am, I would put my toddler down for a nap, make one of two cups of normal tea a day and lounge on the bed with my Bible. I looked forward to drinking my tea in peace and just taking some time to relax and commune with the Lord. However…

Since my daughter is now only doing one nap a day, I’ve had to do quite a juggle. She wakes up at 5am! There is no ways I’m waking up before that! I would be knackered if I did. If I waited until 11:30am for her one and only nap, that means I’d go through the first half of the day with no more than a “God, please help me get through this…” or “Thanks for this lovely day!” This is part of the reason we get her to do independent play in her room if she wakes before 6am. It’s at least given me time to read a proverb and, if all goes well, at least start my Bible reading. I’ve had to realise that my quiet time will be split into parts throughout the day…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means I focus on the Lord the whole day at various times. But I don’t like “getting out of the zone” and by the time I hit midday, I’m ready to hit my pillow. So, having to engage my brain for some deep thinking isn’t always the greatest!

 

As I said, each day is a gamble on how much I’ll get through before my daughter wakes up or how diligent I am in concentrating. So, scheduling in prayer time is difficult. I basically know that it needs to happen during her nap time. So, when I sat down today, I wrote out a “Daily” list of people and things I want to bring before the Lord each 24-hour period. Then I listed the days and, as I think of people and items for prayer, I will slot them under a day so that I pray for everyone I’d like to at least once a week. Then I added a “Thanks” list and listed things I’m thankful for. I didn’t write down the things I needed to repent for. One strike against my Proverbs 31-woman attempt…oh well! Tomorrow is another day and…let’s not be legalistic here!

I find that it’s useful to pray throughout the day as well so even if I don’t have more than 15 minutes of focused prayer time, I’m at least connecting with the Lord all day – in the car, in the bathroom (yes, where I have thirty seconds of peace), while I wash dishes, etc. It all makes a difference. Another thought I had was to pray for my “dailys” while I do things that I do every day. For example, pray for my husband while I wash the dishes or pray for my daughter while I brush my teeth. That’s tomorrow’s goal. We’ll see if it happens…

 

Tuesday:

I have a confession…I lose my verse most days. And when I think about checking it, it is seldom on my person. It’s in the nappy bag or the car or lying lonely on some floor somewhere. So, I have probably on checked my verses twice daily…until I find it two days later! The bonus is that I do actually remember some of the content so at least something is going in!

 

I managed to write down things I am sorry for today. Does anyone else battle with this? I mean, being specific about sin? Am I the only one who battles to think about things that I’ve done wrong? (That sounds so horribly arrogant!) I know at the time if I’m up to no good but sitting and thinking about it…different story!

 

I also didn’t write down who I would pray for when. I managed to read my proverb and y Bible before my daughter woke up this morning but, when I sat down at midday to pray, I was falling asleep. So I slept. And then I prayed. But I feel like I rushed through it. And like I didn’t pray “enough”, whatever that is! Anyone else have that?

 

Night, everyone! Off to bed…

 

Wednesday:

In all honesty, I don’t even know what my verse was for today, never mind where it is. Oh, wait, it was something along the lines of ‘God never lets the righteous go hungry’, something about ‘When words are many, sin is not absent’ and ‘a wise man holds his tongue’. Well, I’m impressed I managed to remember that considering I only looked at it twice.

Today has been manic! I have kind of felt as productive as one feels a Proverbs 31 woman should be. I made eats for two Bible studies and a meal for 9 people. But I don’t have a euphoric feeling. I am done! I haven’t flopped into my bed tired but happy and feeling productive. Rather, I feel drained and exhausted today.

 

Needless to say, I did have the best start to the day! My daughter slept an hour and a half (!!!) longer than normal this morning which meant I could finish my quiet time!!! I wrote stuff down in my prayer journal and I prayed for people as a I drove around this morning. So, praise the Lord for that! Maybe He knew I needed the extra “oomph” today!

 

MIDWEEK CHALLENGE

Now that we’ve made changes to our Bible reading and our prayer lives, we need the motivation to keep it up! And, guess what, we don’t need to do it alone. Think of someone who is more spiritually mature than you, someone you admire and look up to. Pray about it. Think of someone who could help you along, encourage you in the faith and mentor you. Make a list of things you’d like a mentor to do for you and hold you accountable to. Pray some more! By Sunday, make sure you’ve given them a call.

Then, ask the Lord to bring into your life someone He wants you to mentor. We can just get, we need to give too! Give that person a call by Monday.

 

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

Titus 2:3-5

 

Thursday:

My prayer time. That was not a good part of my day today. My “scheduled” (because how scheduled can your life be with a toddler?!?) time didn’t go according to plan. My daughter did not take her two hour nap today. No, she caught a twenty-minute shut-eye in the car and then did not go back to sleep! Although she stayed in her room for two hours, I waited with bated breath in the constant fear that she would howl or suddenly become disinterested in lying on her bed. I strained each time I heard a noise, wondering whether I’d need to go in and get angry that she was out of her bed. In short, I don’t focus well during prayer time on a good day. On a day like today, let’s say I can’t form a sentence other than a monotonous one because I’m so distracted by her being awake. As a general practice, I don’t have prayer time when she is awake. The Lord hears the same prayer about 5 times if I do!

I got through my list but it felt like I wasn’t engaged. I dozed halfway through. I didn’t add anything to my repentance section and I thanked the Lord for little. Good one, aspiring Proverbs 31 woman! But hey, she was human too. They just didn’t list her fails. So, tomorrow is another day, and we’ll see how it goes.

 

As for my mentor, I can kind of cheat because I already have an amazing, involved mentor who looks after me spiritually, emotionally and physically. But, I do need to sit down and think of ways I want her to encourage me and how she can keep me accountable.

As for someone I can mentor, I think there are a lot of people that could use mentoring in my life but I am kind of hoping and praying that the Lord directs me to someone specific. Will keep you posted there.

 

But here is my good prayer story for the day…

I make biscotti to earn a little income on the side. And, by the time I hit the evening, I’m exhausted. My feet feel like jelly and my stomach is rock-hard. The baby in my womb is clearly trying to tell me something! I am doing my best to finish off the ingredients before this little one arrives. The evenings are the time I least feel like this labour-intensive task. But I set tonight aside and actually prayed that we’d have no power outages.

We had 3. No jokes! I nearly cried the first time the power went off. I had a batch in the oven and a new batch of mixture on the counter. Our power can take anything from two hours to two days to come back on. I stood in the dark pleading with the Lord and saying how I had even asked Him ahead of time to keep the power on. Well, no kidding, I was nearing the end of my prayer when everything lit up again. Never in the history of this little village have we had power back so quickly! It happened twice more but each time it wasn’t at a crucial stage in the process. Needless to say, each outage lasted less than 5 minutes. Praise the Lord! My biscotti is done and the power is still on. Maybe God was just trying to remind me who is actually in control…

 

Friday:

Sorry I didn’t do an update last night (Friday night)! I was busy having an early Valentine’s/babymoon/early anniversary celebration with my husband which was a bit of a fail (I didn’t feel that well and the episode of the Netflix series we were watching was too scary for me so we ended up falling asleep early). And I now cannot for the life of me remember how things went yesterday. I do know that I had to pray later in the day that I had hoped. I also didn’t carry my verse around with me although I checked it at various points during the day – at least I knew where it was this time! Wait, I do remember…

I woke up to no power which was irritating on so many levels! And my daughter thought independent play was for the birds and woke up at 5. I can’t pray when I can’t concentrate. So with no power and a wide-awake toddler, I was grumpy, ratty and frustrated. So, if I recall correctly, I didn’t do much more than plead with the Lord to make me less grumpy about no power and read my proverb for the day.

The verse that stuck out to me was,

“A fool shows his annoyance at once…”

Proverbs 12:16

And that was the first thing I had done. I had the heck in with the Lord, the municipality, my husband and my daughter before 7am! Hence the need to pray for my state of mind. I was bummed that I didn’t get to my actual quiet time yesterday morning. When my daughter napped, I had some pressing blog work to do and didn’t feel like spending time with the Lord during those “precious” two hours. Some Proverbs 31 woman I am! I am supposed to be working on “fearing the Lord”. Good work! And does anyone else ever feel like you plough through the list of requests, repentance and thanks so that you can get on with something else? That was me on Friday.

 

Saturday:

Okay, this week I haven’t exactly implemented the challenges as I should have. It’s probably wise to reread them each day so I am reminded of them. Not a good idea to read through them at the end of the week! Anyway, I realised that I haven’t listed specific prayer requests for my family, although I did on occasion pray for specific issues I knew they were facing. I also haven’t recorded answered prayer. Some of the requests are long-term so I won’t know how God will answer them any time soon. Still, I haven’t done that part of the challenge well!

 

As for thinking about what I want in a mentor, I still need to do that! And, I may have someone I could mentor in my life but it definitely needs some more prayer! Which I haven’t prayed about today yet…

 

That all being said, I just have to say that my mentor is the most amazing woman! I won’t be able to chat to her this week because her life is really hectic right now.

She is a doctor in ER. She worked two nights last weekend into the wee hours. She then played the piano at church after a mere 4 or so hours of sleep. On Monday, two of her daughters were home with gastro. Bearing in mind that she’s just had two sleepless nights, she spent the third night in a row up all night at one daughter’s bedside and finally admitted her to hospital. The next night, she was up with the second daughter and admitted her. Her daughters were both in different hospitals. Their gastro was insane! I have never heard of such bad gastro in all my life! Neither are better although one has been discharged. And she is still praising the Lord!! How?!? I lost my sense of humour when I had a 72 hour bug! This is madness! She completely credits the Lord for her sanity. But, wow! A true Proverbs 31 woman! She fears the Lord, serves her family and praises the Lord when things are falling apart! She is the right sort of person one needs as a mentor. Someone who fixes her eyes on the Lord and completely relies on and trusts Him in all circumstances.

Find a gem like her!

 

Sunday:

I have not yet contacted my mentor (she is in the midst of dealing with two sick children) nor made a list of what I want in a mentor! Fail again! But I know I’m going to have a look in Titus and see how older women mentor younger women. In all honesty, she has been the perfect mentor and I don’t know what I could add that she isn’t already doing. She prays for me every day. She asks me about my quiet times. She meets up with me and checks in on me. She regularly sends me essays over Whatsapp with verses and encouragement. She gives me advice on how to be a better wife. She has challenged me to be a better house keeper. Hence, I don’t really know what more to ask of her…

 

As for my prayer time…I hate leaving my prayer time late in the day for multiple reasons. Especially on a Sunday! I don’t like connecting properly with the Lord so late in the day when half the day is already over. I suppose it just means praying all day until I get my focused time. I also find that when I sit down during my daughter’s nap time, to use any brain power is exhausting and I generally doze off or rush the time. And, on a weekend, if I leave praying until the evening, my husband is free to spend time with me. This means my mind is on what I’d rather be doing so I really don’t engage with the Lord and I rush my prayer time.

But… last night, I didn’t. I took my prayer book to the new baby’s room, had a cup of tea and prayed by the light of a side lamp. It was lovely, unrushed and needed! So glad I made the time to pray. (It did help that my hubby was also busy.)

 

In terms of someone to mentor, I have three possible people in mind. I will contact two and see if either are keen. The other I might see if I can read the Bible with her…ambitious, much??  We’ll see where the Lord takes it…

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