Do you remember last week’s interview with Kelly Collier? Today’s interview is with Kelly’s sweet mom-in-law, Mardi. Talk about a lot of spiritual wisdom in one extended family! 🙂
One of the things I so appreciate about Mardi is that she has a deep commitment to God and His Word while also being very real. She readily shares not only life struggles, but the way God is working in her through those difficulties. An excellent example of this is in Mardi’s book, What Do I Know About My God? If you want to find out how knowing God can impact your everyday life, I heartily recommend this one (currently $6.99 for kindle!).
I know you will glean a lot from today’s interview and be blessed by both the graciousness + relatability of Mardi’s testimony.
When the alarm goes off at 6am, my husband, Ken and I, do something that we read in a book -“Begin our day with God.” We each tumble out of bed to our knees and begin our day by telling God that we need Him and talking to Him about the day.
After our normal morning routine, I spend whatever time I have reviewing Scripture memory and studying my Bible. If something comes up and I get interrupted, I try to have a “plan B,” some other time during the day or evening.
To be honest, it took a lot of years to become consistent and to actually look forward to my time in God’s Word. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home and didn’t even realize that I was supposed to have devotions until I was in college. Since it wasn’t an established habit in my life, I was up and down (as far as consistency was concerned) for a number of years. I knew that spending time in God’s Word was important, but the busyness of ministry and being a Mom with young children, plus my own tendency toward being distracted and not making priority choices would often win out and I would constantly feel guilty because of my failure. I think that some of the problem was I had been taught to look for principles from God’s Word to help me grow spiritually. This is definitely part of it, but eventually I realized that the purpose of having devotions was to show my “devotion” to God and to grow in my relationship with Him. That realization changed everything! When I began to look for Jesus and God in the pages of Scripture, I had a hard time putting my Bible down.
Something that has really encouraged me is the thought that because I am God’s child He will always love me. I don’t have to live in constant fear and guilt over my performance. He knows my heart and knows that I desire to know and please Him. If I have a growing relationship with God, I will love Him and will want to know Him and keep His commandments, and that increases my desire and commitment to spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word.
I don’t know that I can give a specific time, but I have found that when I get out of my normal routine I can tend to get off track. Some examples would be: During the holidays or when we have company; on vacation when visiting relatives or on a busy “doing” vacation; or during a “crunch” time at The Wilds. It’s strange, (or is it?) but those are often the times when I need my time with God even more because of the stress and interaction with more people. And, I miss it!
When I don’t consistently spend time in prayer I feel dry and distant from God.
I love my hot tea and a cozy fire in the fireplace (when it’s cold.)
I have also found that having all my study books and notebooks in a basket near my chair is very helpful and keeps me from hopping up and down and wasting time. I also have a drawer and a little chest right by my rocking chair that contain the pens, pencils, colored pencils, etc. that I might need.
- Power Bible and Blue Letter Bible
- John MacArthur study Bible and commentaries
- Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg
I personally like variety – I don’t think you should ever be bored with God’s Word!
If I had to choose, I would have to say that my all-time favorites are studies that help me to know God and Jesus more. I love using simple loose-leaf notebooks to record specific Scripture verses about Who God is. Also, I will often go through the gospels looking for answers to a question about Jesus – for instance:
- How did Jesus spend His time?
- How did Jesus treat people?
- Who is Jesus?
I also participate in our monthly ladies’ Bible study at our church, and spend time doing my lessons for that. I’ve been “stretched” and have grown a lot through those in-depth studies that our pastors’ wife so kindly and diligently prepares for us. They can be “plow” studies (topical or a general study) or “trowel” studies (in-depth digging into a verse or passage).
YES! I am more and more convinced that Bible memorization is a super important part of walking in the Spirit. My husband, Ken, has this little phrase that has really impacted me. He says that it should be our goal to: “Think Bible.” Whenever anything happens to us, we should know enough Scripture to be able to respond biblically to the situation or person. Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.”
When we have God’s Word in our brains, the Holy Spirit can use that truth to convict us of our sin, to give us wisdom to know how to act or respond to any given situation in life, and to be able to help and encourage others. It’s like carrying around a Bible at all times.
We have found that what works best for us is to memorize passages or chapters of the Bible instead of individual verses. That way, the verses are in context, and it’s also easier to know where to find them when you need them.
Years ago, a friend told us about a “painless” way to memorize Scripture. As a family, we would read a passage out loud together once a day. Surprisingly, it only takes a few weeks to memorize the passage. Once you have memorized it, you start on a new passage and review the old passage. Each day, you are reading two passages, a new one and one of the old ones. It only takes 3 to 5 minutes, and if faithful, you can memorize a good many passages.
We tried to make the Bible a major focal point of our home. We used the Bible as our “How-to” Book for life and tried to live by it. Instead of just giving our opinions, our goal was to find out: “What does God say about _______?” (whatever topic we were discussing.)
Mardi Collier has been active in ladies miinistries for many years, both in her church and at THE WILDS Christian Camp and Conference Center in Brevard, NC, where her husband, Ken, serves as president. The Colliers have 4 children & 15 grandchildren.
Find the rest of the Dwelling Richly interviews here!