Five Ways To Grow Closer To God In The New Year
by Cindi McMenamin
Would you like to be a better mom in 2019? Would you like your life to be less drama-filled and more spirit-filled? Then here are some simple ways you can grow closer to God in the new year and bring more of a spiritual emphasis to your home.
- 1. Meet with God before anyone else. Do you have a plan, first thing in the morning, to meet with God before anyone else? I remember the days I had to tell my 4-year-old “Mommy needs to be with Jesus so she can be a better mommy?” She must’ve known that, too, because she let me have that quiet time and reaped the results later. J Meeting with God early every day before meeting with anyone else – to pray, lay out your day and concerns, and thank Him (which puts you into perspective) – is one way of prioritizing God above anything and anyone. It’s also a way of making sure you’re at your best, emotionally, by the time you start interacting with your family. My devotional book, God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, is designed to help you meet with God for a few moments every day and get into His Word at the same time.
- 2. Get into God’s Word every day. If you’ve owned a Bible for years but have never read the entire book, this is a great time to start. There are several good resources available to help you read through the Bible in a year. Try it in a different translation than you usually read. Or, ask yourself where you want to be in your relationship with the Lord by the end of the year and then set tangible goals for getting there through study. For instance, if you want to know God better, consider a study of His names in the Old Testament and Jesus’ “I am” statements in the New Testament. If you need to slow down and learn to listen for His voice, study all the Word says about “rest” or “hearing” or His “voice.” If there are character traits you know you need to work on, consider an in-depth study of some or all of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
- Participate in a weekly small-group Bible study or lead one among your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or other moms who also want to grow in their faith. We can grow at a faster rate in a community because we are able to share our experiences with one another and hold each other accountable. Find a small group study in your local church or be the catalyst to start one among friends or neighbors or even co-workers during your lunch hour.
- Record your family’s blessings and answered prayers. Keep a “blessing book” in which you record every blessing that comes your way throughout the year, adding a prayer of thanks or praise. Or, make this something your whole family can become involved in by writing on a sticky note those God rescues, extra blessings and “small miracles” that God does throughout the day and putting them in a jar or a box your children help you make. Monthly or even quarterly, take turns picking one of those notes out of the box and reading them around a special dinner or family time – as a way to thank God together for all He’s done and incorporate a spirit of gratitude in your home. By recording – and revisiting – the ways God has blessed you and your children through the year, your family will not only be more keenly aware of how God is working in and around your lives, but you will become people who are able to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (First Thessalonians 5:18).
- Pick a ‘theme verse’ for the year. Say it aloud every day. Have your children say it, too. I guarantee if you do this, by the end of the year — and probably a lot sooner — you (and your children) will have memorized one more verse of Scripture. Choose from Psalm 90:12, Psalm 119:32, Psalm 119:133, Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 4:6-7, Philippians 4:13 or encourage each of your children to find one of their own.
Make some of these action points priority in your life and home this next year and hopefully, by the end of 2019, you’ll be not only another year older in your body, but another year older in your faith and walk with Christ.
Cindi McMenamin is a pastor’s wife, mom, Bible teacher, and national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their relationships with God and others. She has authored more than a dozen books including, When Women Walk Alone, (more than 130,000 copies sold), Drama Free, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, and her newest release, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband. For more on her ministry and free resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.