taking care :: fill me up, pour me out

Last week we invited you to come alongside of us as Rachel chats about anything and everything *taking care* over the next few weeks. Pour yourself a cup of something and pull up a chair. So happy you are here.  When I think of taking care, my mind drifts from dreamy sleep to eating well, exercise routines and skincare products. Those are all important and you can bet your cookie I'm going to bring 'em up. Eventually. For today, though, it's only fitting that I start with the most beautiful, wonderful, important, crucial, special thing I can do to care for myself.

And that is to nurture my relationship with God.

 

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It's in Jesus that I find true-blue and lasting comfort and forgiveness, rest and peace, joy and love, contentment and energy. All of the good stuff. His love inspires and motivates. Jesus is the balm to my hurts. The joy to my day. The calm for my fears. The friend who is always there.

He is my greatest gift, my most precious treasure.

If knowing God more isn't taking care, then I don't know what is.

To list every way I can grow closer to Him would have me here all the live long day, so I'll share a few simple but powerful avenues the Lord has provided for me (for all of us!) to know Him more. Please know that I'm not perfect at all of this. Not even close! God is forever working on my heart, showing me the importance of time focused on Him. 

*His Word My Bible reading has not always been very consistent in my adult life. Far from it! I have wondered at times where to start, which chapters to focus on, how much to read each day. All this seemed silly to me last year after printing out a read-the-Bible-in-one-year plan. That plan told me exactly what to read, how much to read, when to read it. Starting with Genesis and going straight through to Revelation seemed the best choice for me, while other plans mix things up a bit. It was a wonderful guide and gave me much needed structure. This year I'm following along with the one year plan again, but have the Bible App on my phone and ipad that mixes things up with readings from both the Old and New Testament every day. One of my favorite features of the Bible app is that I can listen to the readings. While I try to be consistent with when I read my section for the day, sometimes I'll listen to it when I'm in bed for the night or folding a stack of laundry. I've always loved to be read to and this is no different!

*Prayer I have something to confess. I am officially the worst bedtime prayer person of.all.time. I do say them with my little darling when he is being tucked in for the night, but since I am out like a light the very second my head hits the pillow, prayers at that time are usually not happening. Instead, I have my chats with God during the mundane, still moments of my day - when I'm washing my hair, stirring the pot, pulling wet clothes from the washing machine, spreading peanut butter on bread. The more I pray during these times, the more it happens and pours out and becomes a wonderful habit.

*Devotions While they are oodles of devotion books available, Jesus Calling is one of my favorites that I open up nearly every morning. It's short and sweet and somehow, someway, the words are always fitting, like they were written oh so perfectly just for that moment, just for me. I also try to pop over to the WELS website to the read or listen to the daily devotion each day!

*Memorizing Scripture Knowing verses by heart is such a beautiful, comforting gift I can give to myself! I've chosen to focus on one passage each week to give me time to understand the meaning and allow the words to soak in. Have you heard of French Press Mornings? It is a lovely site that offers the prettiest, most encouraging scripture cards. I print out one of the free printables, stick it on the fridge, and use it as a tool to help me memorize a passage every week.

*Books I have a list that's nearly fourteen miles long of amazing, though-provoking, life-changing, heart-poking Godly books I must.read.today. My Preacher Man hubs just brought home a 400 pager today for me to add to my stack. I'm continually inspired by others who are inspired by Him. And so I read. And read. And read. Even if it's just for a handful of minutes each day.

*Community Taking care of my relationship with God includes surrounding myself with those who encourage me in my faith! Whether I'm asking my husband questions as we relax in the evening, sitting in the pew on Sunday morning with my church family, or chatting in an online space like Holy Hen House or across the table from friends, there are opportunities for conversations that build me up, challenge me, and draw me closer to them and to Him.

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I fill myself up with my Jesus and pray that He spills out into every part of my life. Jesus is where taking care begins.

Nothing else matters without Him.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ~Matthew 6:33

 A Taking Care Challenge For You :: Take a close look at your daily walk with Jesus. What are two ways you can draw closer to your Lord?? What are the steps you can take to commit to those two things so they become a regular, wonderful part of your day? Write them down, pray over them, and do them. I'm cheering you on, friend! 

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