I never imagined I would be the kind of person that spends 1-2 hours in devotional time with God every morning; I get a lot of questions about how I have created my devotional time with God, and I want to give you all the details. My time with God has drastically changed over the past few years and this year especially. Every season is different, what works in one season of life may not work in another so make sure to really evaluate your season and give yourself grace…. lots and lots of grace. I am going to take you through:
- How I did it and what my 6 months looked like
- what my time with God looks like now
- the tools I use and LOVE
How I did it + what my 6 months looked like
It’s no secret that I love setting goals, but goal setting with a chronic illness can be so challenging and discouraging. Now that taking care of my body is a full time job for me and resting or being “chill” is how a majority of my day is spent, I wanted to grow closer to God. Now in 2018, I had set lofty goals for myself that were not attainable. I wanted to do my Write the Word journal, another devotional, read a christian book, read my bible, and intentionally pray for others (from a designated list.) Every day. *insert huge sigh* Needless to say that plan failed. When I was doing my 2019 power sheet prep, I realized I needed to break down my goal to grow in my faith and build up my time little by little.
Month 1: January 2019
I was already in the habit of doing my write the word journal (if you don’t know what that is I will explain all the tools I use at the end) every day so that was already set in stone. I labeled doing my WTW as “time with God” in my January tending list in the daily tasks, I also added a daily goal to pray for others. I did well for the first 11 days, but out of the other 20 days I only prayed for others 4 more times. Instead of getting discouraged, I kept the same spiritual goals for February.
Month 2: February 2019
February I continued my write the word along with praying for others. What we didn’t know was that I was going to have surgery. That changed the whole month. In order to at least do my time with God through the WTW journal, I had family members do the physical writing for me as I couldn’t write. Honestly it was really fun and special to share that part of my day and heart with them. I barely prayed for others so I decided to let myself heal, give myself grace, and try again next month.
Month 3: March 2019
March was a bit crazy. We had started home care and it was a huge adjustment. I literally wrote (as you can see below) grace upon grace.
Remember grace is critical when working to form new habits.
As the month ended, I had a chance to re-evaluate with my power sheets Spring Refresh. Out of 10, I rated my spiritual growth a 4 because I felt like I needed to show my faithfulness to Him as He has been SO faithful to me. To help me with this goal, I said yes to digging deeper and no to Netflix before 11 am.
Month 4: April 2019
By April, I decided to just go for it and add the third part- reading my Bible. I combined praying for others and my WTW together, then my second goal was to read my bible. In order to track the days that I prayed and journaled (rather than just journal) I marked with stars. I used the YouVersion Bible App and picked a reading plan on there for the month.
Month 5: May 2019
May was exciting, I was making good progress in April and was excited to continue. I had been looking to study God’s promises deeper as I had finished a Bible reading plan on God’s promises on the YouVersion App. I ended up getting a 100 day devotional on God’s promises, and I started that. So my two spiritual daily goals were: 100 Promises Devotional and my Time with God which now consisted of: WTW, bible reading, and intentionally praying for others.
This month Jared and I also wanted to get back to reading through the Bible together before bed so we started a goal to try to have quiet time every night and we picked the book of Psalms to go through together.
I also had a nasty dislocation in May so many of my daily goals were not focused on, but that’s okay. My life is going to have unpredictable pieces because that is what living the chronic illness life is like.
Month 6: June 2019
I kept the same goals for June but CRUSHED them! I was so excited. I made a breakthrough, I didn’t feel like I was just checking boxes- I woke up EXCITED to talk to God and explore His word and hear His voice. It was life changing. I noticed m y mood was better, and I was focused on being a joyful wife, a generous sister, a respectful daughter, and a compassionate + supportive friend.
Where am I now?
Well it’s July and I can say that I am doing well. I love my time with God and look forward to it daily. Some days I do not have the energy or hand strength to write so I am learning that just because I love to do all four devotional parts- doesn’t mean I have to do them all. God wants my best my all and my whole heart. If my best looks like placing my hand over my prayer this and asking God to meet all the needs listed- that’s okay. If my best looks like 2 hours of worship and devotional time- that’s okay. He doesn’t want me to check boxes or mindlessly show up; He wants me to check my heart and seek His face.
Tools I use and LOVE
My #1 and my FAVORITE tool:
These journals all have a different topic. I am currently on my fourth journal now and have been through Hope, Faith, Renewal, and am on Joy. I will be doing Contentment in the fall, and already have my next two journals planned out for after that! I literally wouldn’t have the relationship with God that I do have without these journals. Also you RUN to the shop because 3 new editions just came out!!!
Devotionals I love:
This is a 100 day journal that I am currently using (there are two other 100 day journals on other topics as well.) I love these and use them to dig deeper into knowing and understanding God’s promises.
Pro tip: Take it to staples or office max and get it coiled!
This is a fantastic devotional, I think I have been through this at least 3-4 times in my lifetime. It speaks so closely in times of desperation and disappointment.
Bibles and Bible Accessories I love
I love this app because I can use any translation and have tons of reading plans. You can even friend people on there and do bible studies virtually together. Jared and I use their plans for our quiet time together, Caitie and I have a short 5 minute devotional we are doing together, and I do my personal Bible reading plans on there.
My current Bible is not for sale anymore (it is so old, I got it almost 10-12 years ago) but I use NIV. I am going to be getting a NLT Journaling Bible before 2020.
These GORGEOUS tabs are by Find Wondrous Things which is a ministry run by Lindsee Walker.
This is also by Lindsee and it helps me weekly log the truths I learned about God and who He says I am. For more details on Declaring Truth click here
I use every Frixion product there is. I love having everything be erasable.
Yes you read that right, sticky notes. I have three of them in the back of my Bible separated into three categories: Family, Community, and Future. Each of the people/things listed are very specific. My goal is to intentionally pray for others.
For example family holds all the specific prayers for my family members and family relationships. Community holds friends, businesses, churches, ministries, and even social media audiences. For the final category, Future, I pray over our finances, marriage, my medical team, plants to grow strong, and much more.
In conclusion, if you made it to the end of this, this is how I have cultivated time with God that I not only enjoy but is manageable for me. How I do things might not work for you and that’s okay. Remember to choose grace over guilt when forming new habits. It is not easy, but it is so worth it!
One more things, write the word journals are more fun with friends!
Cassie Nolin is a married spoonie who lives the chronic illness life with EDS + Co. (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and it’s comorbid conditions.) She challenges others to choose grace over guilt in goal setting, and is in ministry part time serving the online community through The Spoonie Study. She loves planting, hand lettering, and sharing the hope she has found in Jesus. Her blog, Living the Chronic Illness Life, is in the top 100 chronic illness blogs and her podcast, Chronically Cultivating, is produced by Speaking to the Heart Network. Cassie encourages women to live authentic and intentional lives through their diagnosis’ not in spite of them. You can learn more about her at www.livingthechronicillnesslife.com
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