Monday, June 8, 2015

When Devotions Are Messy {Women In God's Word - Day 1}

Women in God's Word series - Day 1 #WomenInGodsWord #women #bible

Today is day 1 in our Women in God's Word series. I am so excited to have my friend Jenilee from Our Goodwin Journey with us. I first "met" Jenilee several years ago after stumbling across her blog. I instantly connected with her because we are both Jens, we are both married to Jeremys, our Jeremys are both so much fun, and we are both children's pastors. Please help me welcome Jenilee!

I remember when my girls were little and I felt like my devotions time was haphazard at best. I remember hoping that as my girls got older, I'd be able to have the beautiful devotion time that my heart longed for... or rather, my heart felt like it needed to make devotions "real."

I'd heard about these beautiful devotions... quite time with coffee and a myriad of colorful markers for journaling in a cutesy notebook while music played softly in the background and candles cast a soft flow on the scene. A Bible perfectly opened and the newest women's study book ready for 45 uninterrupted minutes of quiet time. Something so perfectly instagramable and blogable that I'd remember it for days to come.

Well, my girls are not toddlers anymore and devotion time is still messy.

If I try to take an Instagram picture, it has to be of just a verse or just my notebook page with my messy handwriting because literally the whole table before me is a crazy blur of toys, crafts, books, used kleenex and empty gum wrappers.
  When Devotions Are Messy

I try to play a worship song over the loud singing of Abby in her room or the obnoxious sound coming from whatever app my girls are playing at the time.

I try to quietly sit in the midst of #goodwingirls chaos... legos falling, crafts spilling, girls yelling, and all around silly noises of children enjoying our home together.

I even try to sneak around early in the morning before they wake up so that I can have some quiet time alone.

Nope. They wake up. By the time I sip my first taste of coffee and hit play on my youtube worship mix, they are up and ready for the day.

And I have to wonder...

Does this kind of beautiful devotion time really exist in the life of a busy, working, living, breathing woman?

Yes. Thankfully, yes. Those times, when they come your way, are sweet and precious and incredibly valuable. Women's retreats, rare afternoons at home when the kids are away, Saturday mornings when the kids are playing outside, a prayer night at church. When the beautiful devotion times happen, hold them close and cherish the moment.

But in the scope of real lives being lived every single day, that expectation is too much. The thought that for devotions to be "real" they must include all those beautiful elements is a weight we were never meant to carry. That if devotion time is sporadic and messy and interrupted and slightly chaotic that it doesn't "count" ...

Well, I'm here to say it does count.

The little moments of time laid at the altar of Jesus' feet are precious in His sight. He loves that in the scope of a busy, messy day, you would take a few minutes to regroup, recharge and refocus your heart.

One verse scribbled on a napkin, one little devotion read on your phone, one song played on the radio... little moments, that when spread throughout the day, create a beauty of its own. A beauty of time spent with Jesus.

Time that is just a valuable, just as fulfilling, just as memorable as the beautiful devotional times we long to have each day.

And, honestly, what is the deeper beauty and value that is found in having your devotional time in the midst of the messiness around you?

Your kids see it.

Your family sees it.

Your husband sees it.

God sees it.

They see the woman you are, the woman you are striving to be and the way you are allowing God into the messiness to mold you, shape you, correct you and love you. Letting God in and seeking Him through a moment spent at the table with your Bible... and spilled coffee next to a sadly unclothed Barbie doll with little tiny annoying lego pieces at your feet.

I remember one time specifically... me. Sitting in the kitchen right after breakfast, the dishes still dirty on the counters next to me. I was trying to do devotions before getting ready to go somewhere. I sat, reading the Word, letting God speak to me and I was crying. Tears rolling down my cheeks as God spoke... and my girls walked in. The inevitable "Mommy, why are you crying?" and the explanation that I was reading God's Word and He was speaking to me... a moment more valuable than if my girls had never interrupted my "beautiful" moment with Jesus. So much more beautiful than if I'd waited to be fully alone when the kitchen was clean and a candle was burning and music was playing.

You see, in devotions, the goal is not perfection... thinking that by perfect beauty, God is more welcome and you are more likely to meet with Him. Really, you are inviting Him to join you in the realness of your home, your life, your work, your space. You are welcoming Him at your table. You are showing your family how to usher in His presence, welcome His Holy Spirit and ask Him to be a part of your day. You are teaching your heart how to quiet itself before Him in the midst of the craziness around you.

You are inviting Him in because HE is what is perfect and beautiful about devotional time not the cute journal or the yummy smelling candle.

The journal and the candle are for us.

The moments set aside for God to talk to Him, read of Him and hear from Him are what is beautiful in God's sight.

Are those wonderfully created, super cherished, very valuable moments with music and candles wrong? Oh... no. They are refreshing and sweet and I love them just as much as you.

But in the everyday busyness of our lives, the realness of our lives... let God meet you right where you are.

Let your family see you worship at His feet with markers and stickers and gooey playdough pieces around your Bible and your pen as you pour your your heart to Him. Spend time with the One who can see through the mess right to your heart. The One who cherishes the moment and accepts your offering as a sweet aroma in the heavens. The One who loves that you set aside your busy schedule to spend time with His Word and in His presence.

Let the beauty of that time soak into your heart and refresh you throughout the day.

And don't be afraid to snap a picture of what God is teaching you to share with a friend even if the moment is messy and coffee is spilling on the counter next to you.

Jenilee Goodwin is a runner, writer, lover of books and a huge coffee fan. She is a mom to three rambunctious, super fun girls and wife to an adventurous, always interesting, outdoorsy guy. Her family works as missionaries in West Africa, although currently residing in France to learn French! She loves all things techy and you can always find her around instagram, her blog or facebook as she shares her faith, family travels, missionary journeys and other life lessons.

Okay friends! It's time for a fun giveaway! Enter to win a $25 Starbucks giftcard. Just complete each task in the rafflecopter below. Come back each day to tweet for more entries and to share your real life Bible time pics on Instagram for even more entries!


  1. Jenilee this was absolutely beautiful! This really touched my heart. Sometimes I feel like I have to have everything all picked up and clean before I can sit down to read, and that's not the case.
    ~ "You see, in devotions, the goal is not perfection... thinking that by perfect beauty, God is more welcome and you are more likely to meet with Him. Really, you are inviting Him to join you in the realness of your home, your life, your work, your space." This is so true! Thank you for this wonderful reminder and for sharing from your heart. Love you friend!

    1. I'm so glad! I really felt God speaking to ME about this same thing as I wrote... He is welcome in our home just as it is... I don't have to dress it all up for Him. <3

  2. "You see, in devotions, the goal is not perfection... thinking that by perfect beauty, God is more welcome and you are more likely to meet with Him. Really, you are inviting Him to join you in the realness of your home, your life, your work, your space." I love this statement! Jenilee, thank you for sharing, friend!!

    1. Thanks for asking me to join in... what a great topic for women to discuss together!


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