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Spiritual Hibernating with God this Winter + Downloads and Giveaway!

Spiritual Hibernation

I’m a hibernator by nature. I love all things cozy, flickering, warm, and quiet. How ’bout you?

Like flowers that take flight in spring after a time of gathering up God’s goodness beneath a dormant ground, we too have similar opportunities.

You may remember my post, “Hibernate in Prayer to Awaken Your Soul”. Today, we’ll consider four more small, specific ways to hunker down, quiet our souls, and draw near to God in preparation for blooming wherever He plants us.

 

Immersing ourselves in God’s Word.

Merriam Webster defines the word “immersion” like this: to plunge into something that surrounds or covers especially. One way to immerse ourselves in scripture is to practice Lectio Divina, which simply means divine reading. There’s nothing mystical or new age-y about it (or else you wouldn’t find it here). And it’s no longer seen as belonging to a particular sect. It’s for every Christ-follower who longs to slow down to a savoring pace. Here’s a PDF sample I created if you’d like to give it a try!

 

Sing!

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 63:7 NIV) This place, beneath the shadow of God’s wings, is one of comfort and protection. As we stay close to Christ, how can we not sing? Put this verse to your own melody or sing another song/hymn that resonates way down deep. Or quietly hum. Look up to the sky or close your eyes ⏤ whatever helps you stay focused on the One you’re praising. What a sweet, sweet sound in the ears of our Heavenly Father.

 

Silence.

For God alone my heart waits in silence and quietly submits to him, for my hope is from him. (Psalm 62.5 AMP) What might seem like a simple act can quickly turn into a rodeo as we lasso distractions into submission. It’s why I created a system to help me remain still and silent despite the dodging of a noose. When a random thought or chore (supposedly in need of immediate attention) darts out while practicing the art of silence, I whisper the words not receiving. Maybe it’s just the way my quirky brain works but it helps me to differentiate the thoughts I want to set aside or discard and those I want to keep.

 

Confession.

Talk about freedom! If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV) Sometimes, when words are a struggle, I pull out my journal and spill out every thought, sin, or question onto paper. Then, I draw a line beneath the confession and write what I know to be true despite those times I don’t feel forgiven. Whew! Thank goodness our faith is never dependent on emotions, only God’s Word. These quiet moments of cleansing ⏤ they’re sacred, life-giving, and refreshing. I’d love to share this journaling practice with you.

 

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

 

A series of small things brought together, like soaking in God’s Word, worship, silence, and confession, bring forth great things for God’s glory.

 

Where do you “hibernate” with God in your home? We’d love to know! Share your answer in the comment section and you’ll be entered into a giveaway for a cup of your favorite Starbucks drink. Winter + a favorite warm beverage = pure delight! 

Heads up! The January theme in our Creative Pauses Facebook group is “Hibernating in the Holy”. Each weekday, we’ll focus on a different spiritual “hibernation” practice. We’d love for you to join us!

 

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Maybe you spotted our current gift for new subscribers, What to Pray for Room-by-Room? Together, we’ll walk through the rooms of your home as I share ideas on ways to pray for you, your family, guests, and even strangers. You’ll find the new subscriber box at the top of the sidebar. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time, but we hope you’ll feel right at home here in The Tiny House on the Hill.

 

Two Simple Ways to Create a Meaningful Pause this Christmas Season

Meaningful Christmas Pauses

How would it feel to catch your breath and have it turn into praise this Christmas season?

Because a pause is exactly that ⏤ seeing minutes for what they really are ⏤ moments pregnant with opportunities to draw closer to Jesus.

There are many ways to hit the pause button in December but today, I’m sharing two simple ideas that can be experienced either alone with the Lord, or with others. But first, let’s pray.

 

King Jesus, our hearts bow before You in reverence and awe of Your choice to come down so that we could one day be lifted up to live with You forever. Cement within our hearts a desire to meet with You, not for the sake of checking off a box, but for the sake of our souls. Awaken within us what has fallen asleep. Revive our hearts. Cultivate a robust faith that hums throughout our days with a fervency that refuses to be snuffed out by the temporal happenings of the world. You are our world. As the old hymn says, let this also be true in our hearts today and forevermore: Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above. Amen.

 

Pause to Light a Candle

 

Place one un-lit candle on a table and turn out all the lights in the room. As you sit alone or with others, consider the ways our world would be different had Jesus not chosen to leave His throne to be born in a manger. Take a few moments to share your thoughts with God or with each other. Consider the depth of darkness our world would contain. It would invade our homes and hearts. There would be no hope of salvation or receiving God’s relentless mercy, or forgiveness. We would never know the goodness of our God, or the willingness of our Savior to die on our behalf so that we could live in the light of His grace in the here and now, and for eternity. Let these thoughts settle in your soul for a few moments.

After a time of sharing in the dark, light the candle. As you do, read John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Notice how one candle disperses the darkness around you. As you light candles throughout the Christmas season, remember your moments in the dark and rejoice for your King has come. Jesus is the Light of the World!

Close your time by singing Silent Night, Holy Night by candlelight.

 

Pause to Step Outside One Night

 

While indoors, read Luke 2:8-14 out loud and then step outside. Look up! Depending on the weather, you may see a chalkboard sky with shimmering stars or one curtained by clouds. Either way, imagine for a moment you are a shepherd going about your business when suddenly, an angel of the Lord appears, and the radiance of God’s glory lights up the darkness around you. (I imagine we’d all be startled and afraid as the shepherds were that holy night.) And then, just as you catch your breath, a host of angels illuminate the sky praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased”.

As you look to the sky, marvel at the wonder of God and how he chose to announce His Son’s birth to the simple, hard-working, shepherds.

When you step back inside your home, read Luke 2:15-16 out loud. Talk with God or with others about your own salvation story. Did God use a particular person to lead you to Jesus? Who might He be putting on your heart to share the Good News of the gospel?

Close your time by singing Joy to the World.

 

I pray these ideas will bless you and yours this Christmas season. I’m very thankful for each of you. God bless!

Searching for additional ideas? 20 Simple Ways to Offer the Love of Christ this Christmas.

 

Pauses for the Vacationing Soul Mountain Devotional Guide

God’s Provision ⏤ Even Before We Know We Need It // Guest Post by Edie Melson

Who would choose to write a book on grief—and how could that be God’s provision?

The third book in my Soul Care series is on grieving. I signed the contract for this series of books in 2018 and the publication of the books was the order set up then. The series idea was born out of a stressful time of caregiving and loss while my dad was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s.

The first two books—Soul Care When You’re Weary and Soul Care for Writers, came out in 2018 and 2019, respectively. I began writing Soul Care When You’re Grieving in late 2019. As I continued to work on the book, the pandemic hit.

I learned many valuable things during that writing journey. I discovered that the five stages of grief that everyone talks about—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance— aren’t really a set process. They’re a list of things that are common to most grieving events. For me personally, I found myself often skipping one stage, like anger, and then waking up months later immersed in a rage that lingered. These stages can be helpful only when we realize what we’re going through isn’t unique, it’s a shared experience. What is not helpful is comparing my process to anyone else’s.

Another thing I learned was the fact that we all grieve differently. As an introvert, I do a lot of my grieving in private. I’m not hiding my pain or purposely pushing anyone away, I’m also not trying to be perceived as strong or something I’m not. I’m simply processing my loss in a way that is natural to how God created me. An extrovert often grieves the opposite way. They usually need to process their grief by sharing it with others. Neither way is wrong or even better, just different. Beyond our personality type, I’ve found we grieve differently every time we’re faced with loss.

 

But what about God’s provision?

 

That came to light beginning November 23, 2020. That day our precious daughter-in-law was killed in a tragic accident, leaving behind our son and their 3-month-old baby. Our family immediately drew together, supporting each other as we began to walk out our intense grief.

In this journey, I found an unexpected foundation of strength from the year of writing this book.

 

These are the things that helped me most.

 

  1. I turned to God. I had learned I could safely take all my feelings (even the ugly ones) to God and He would embrace me. He is faithful to walk through the darkest valley with us—even when we’re angry with Him.
  2. I practiced grace. Giving grace to myself and to those around me and not judging the process of grieving. For so many years I had thought I was doing it wrong. This time, I just took the waves of emotion as they came—without condemnation.
  3. I read the Bible every day—first thing in the morning. I wasn’t in any kind of a formal Bible study, I just picked up the book and read. There is something incredibly healing about the word of God. By immersing myself in His healing words, I found the strength I needed.
  4. I accepted help from others. I consider myself a strong person, so accepting help isn’t natural. But by letting others take care of us, we were better able to cope.
  5. Accept the joy when it begins to appear. One of the hardest parts of grief for me, was when the enjoyment of life began to break through. It felt like experiencing joy was somehow a betrayal of the loss I’d had.

I don’t think there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t experienced some kind of major loss in the eighteen months. But it’s important to lean into God and let the healing begin. When I was ready, God began to once again flood my life with the warmth of His love. He has introduced us to a new rhythm for life—not one we’d have ever chosen—but still filled with beauty and a little more joy every day.

Cathy here! Edie, thank you for being our guest today.

Soul Care When You're GrievingIf you’d like to win a Kindle copy of Soul Care When You’re Grieving (release date is November 2nd!), leave a comment below. 

 

 

 

Edie Melson

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. She’s a writer who feels lost without her camera and a reluctant speaker who loves to encourage an audience. And she embraces the ultimate contradiction of being an organized creative. She knows the necessity of Soul Care and leads workshops around the country on staying connected to God. Her numerous books, including the award-winning Soul Care series and Unruffled, Thriving in Chaos reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. Connect with her on social media & thru EdieMelson.com.

Creative Ways to Serve, Play and Pray this Fall (Downloadable PDF)

Creative Ways to Serve, Play and Pray this Fall

Searching for ways to make the most of this season?

Let’s set aside the TV, phones, and other devices ⏤ Fall is here! Crisp winds, punkin’ patches, football, and fur-lined boots. Yes, please.

Gather the family—whether that’s two or twenty—and choose a favorite activity to boost your time together, and especially with the Lord. After all, a family that serves, plays, and prays together, stays together.

 

Serve Together

🍁 Host a yard sale and give the proceeds to a church fund, missionary, or charity.

🍁 Donate to a local missions store. If you prefer to skip the yard sale, you can still spend time together as a family gathering clothes, housewares, and toys to donate. Make plans to stop by for a treat on the way home.

🍁 Treat an elderly or disabled friend to a yard cleanup day. Rake leaves, trim shrubs or pull weeds. Yard work offers service opportunities for all ages. Want to go a step further? Leave a bucket of mums or another fall floral arrangement to brighten their porch.

🍁 Bake pumpkin bread together. Wrap up the loaf and attach a small note with Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good,” written on it. Brighten the day of a lonely neighbor or friend by hand-delivering it with a smile.

 

Play Together

As a family, brainstorm twelve activities that won’t require a great deal of prep or money. Write each one on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. Draw one slip (or more!) every week and decide the best day to carry it out. Some ideas might be:

🍁 Take a nature walk to engage your senses. What catches your eyes? How does a particular leaf feel? (Steer clear of poison ivy, of course!) How does the air smell in a forest? What do you hear? (Silence counts!) As you walk, gather color-coated leaves, rocks, acorns, and evergreen branches to decorate your mantle or tabletop when you return home.

🍁 Go on a picnic. Choose a lovely location. Maybe it’s beside a creek, on a mountain, in a park, or your own backyard. Let the children help plan the menu and prepare it for the picnic. Or plan to pick up a bucket of chicken. Don’t forget a blanket/tablecloth, utensils, napkins, and bug spray.

🍁 Game night! Whoever chooses this slip of paper gets to choose which game the family plays. Turn off the TV and turn on the laughter.

🍁 Popcorn & Puzzles. Create a designated table to work on a puzzle throughout the fall season. On the nights this slip of paper is drawn, plan to serve popcorn and lemonade or any family favorite food/drink.

 

Pray Together

Teaching our children that meaningful prayer can be both simple and enjoyable is a gift they will carry throughout their adulthood. Here are a few ways to get the creative juices flowing when praying as a family:

🍁 Walk & Pray. Before you set out, as a family, discuss various ways to pray for your neighbors, such as God’s blessings, God’s healing, for them to draw closer to God, for wisdom as a family, etc. Perhaps there are neighbors who need specific prayer. Share how God is the only One who truly knows what each person or family needs but that He honors our desire to pray for them. Then take a walk around your neighborhood. You can either pray quietly as you pass by neighbors’ homes or silently while keeping your eyes open. This helps children to learn that while closing our eyes during prayer helps us to concentrate it’s also okay and biblical to pray with our eyes open too.

🍁 Journal as a family. Purchase or create journals for every person in the family. Set aside a few minutes each night to journal together. Consider lighting gas logs or candles while you write. Younger children will enjoy coloring during their time. Setting aside fifteen minutes each night (or weeknights/weekends only) will help to develop a pattern that is sure to bless your children for many years to come.

🍁 Create a prayer board. Hang a designated “Prayer Request Chalkboard” in an accessible place in your home. When prayer requests arise, write them on the board and pray for them after dinner.

In a world that currently thrives on division, it’s refreshing to intentionally create togetherness.

What would you add to the above list and/or which one will you try first? We’d love to know! 

Keep this list handy! Download your PDF copy here.

(If you received a copy of “31 Ways to Pray for Your Children” or “Praying Throughout Your Home”, you’re in the right place. Welcome!)

[This post was shared first on the In The Quiver site.]

 

Pauses for the Vacationing Soul Mountain Devotional Guide

God is Still Speaking Through This Devotional (And How to Win a Copy!)

Awaken by Priscilla Shirer

 

It’s the only devotional I’ve read four (soon to be five) consecutive times.

Priscilla Shirer’s Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks welcomes my soul like an old familiar friend. It settles in smoothly but never grows weary of speaking truth and timely words of advice. Who wouldn’t want to welcome this kind of friend over and over again?

 

One benefit of reading a devotional multiple times, especially when jotting down notes along the way, is to see how God is moving and stretching us over a span of time.

 

For instance, on the second read-through, these questions were posed: What are you waiting on God for right now? What does faith and confidence look like, knowing He’s undoubtedly working for you in the distance? I answered, “I’m waiting to see God’s plans for my book.” The next time I read it, a few months later, I answered, “Thank you for Cynthia Ruchti — my dream agent — and thank You for confirming Your work in my life.” I paused to consider God’s goodness in bringing this dream to fruition.

You may remember my first post on this devotional, but I’m here to testify that the joy discovered under Shirer’s tutelage continues to build. Pour a cup of tea and savor these excerpts from Awaken:

 

Day 70

“Storms will do that to you sometimes–wash you ashore in unfamiliar places, around unfamiliar people. But if not for the storm (Acts 28:7-9), Paul wouldn’t have been in this location to meet these people and help them. God’s sovereignty had not been shipwrecked by the storm. His plans were not derailed just because the sailors’ plans had been thrown off course. God’s hand had steered them to the exact place where revival was primed to break out. And the storm was the instrument He used to do it. Are you in a fierce storm right now? Are you watchful and mindful of the various places it’s unexpectedly taking you and all the various people it’s unexpectedly introducing you to? Next time you’re frustrated or perplexed by where your latest storm has dumped you, pray for the joy of discovering that God is using this storm to intersect your life with someone else’s life, becoming part of answering their prayer, even as He’s answering yours.”

A fierce wind called the “northeaster” rushed down from the island. Since the ship was caught and unable to head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. Acts 27:14-15

Day 78

“From your current vantage point, you may not be able to see how God is working out His purposes in your life. You’ve gotten your feet wet. You’ve tried to believe. But life just seems to roll on like always before, oblivious to your prayers and to the faith you’ve placed in God’s ability to change things. But be convinced that even though God may be working a great distance away, He is working. He hasn’t forgotten you or His promises to you. He has not run into a snag that may prevent Him from following through.”

The vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

Day 88

“The tumor is still there. Your family is still in crisis. The church is still without a pastor. Your son or daughter still can’t find work. It’s one thing to believe that God is able to do anything He wants. He is God. You know that. But it is quite another thing to believe that He is willing and able to do it for you.”

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is compassionate. Psalm 116:5

Day 90

“An encounter with God is meant to change us. To stagger us. To blind us to old pursuits, interests, ambitions, and fleshly desires, while miraculously opening our internal vision to eternal pursuits. What a waste to simply get up and go back to our normal habits after being in His presence and sensing the exhilaration of His nearness–after powerful moments in His Word, in prayer, in places where He’s made His way so plain to us.”

The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130

 

Does a particular sentence or excerpt stand out? We’d love to know! Comment below, and you’ll automatically be entered into a random giveaway for a copy of Awaken! 

(And if you received a copy of “31 Ways to Pray for Your Children” or “Praying Throughout Your Home”, you’re in the right place. Welcome!)

 

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