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When the Mountains Fall into the Sea - Episode 3
Episode 3. When the Mountains Fall into the Sea. Psalm 46.
We live in a scary world. Today, Nicole and Sharon look at a psalm written for times of crisis. Step aside from the busy and enjoy a Sweet Selah Moment as we look at God's instructions on what to do in a crisis.
Show Notes: Correction from Sharon: When speaking of the planes crashing on 9/11, I said the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was headed for the Pentagon. No. The Pentagon was hit that day. The plane that crashed in that field was headed for the White House. Note to Readers: Please follow and subscribe and review for us. We'd love for more people to learn of our podcast. And comment below. We'd love that, too!! 🙂
Speaker 0 00:00 We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast including show notes can be email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for joining us.
Nicole 00:22 Well hello and welcome to Sweet Selah Moments podcast. Today is episode three “When the mountains fall into the sea”. We started looking at Psalm 46 on our first episode and only dissected verse 10. Today we’re going to go back and look at the whole Psalm. Here’s Sharon to read it to us.
Sharon Hey friends, as I read you this beautiful Psalm again today, would you listen carefully for the word Selah and when you hear it just stop and think about what I just read. I’ll pause and think with you. Then we’ll go onto the next stanza of the Psalm, which would have been sung in ancient days. This is a Psalm to hold you steady in the very hardest of times. Psalm 46 to the chief musician, a song of the sons of Korah, a song for Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Sharon 01:20 Therefore we will not fear. Even though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the Holy place of the tabernacle of the most high God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved. God shall help her. Just at the break of dawn, the nations raged, the kingdoms were moved. He uttered his voice. The earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah Come behold the works of the Lord who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth. He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two. He burns the chariot in the fire.
Sharon 02:26 Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah You know this Psalm has huge significance to me, Nicole, because of 9-11 way back in the day, September 11th I think everybody that was living then age five years old or above remembers that day. I was praying in my house with a Mom’s in Prayer group for the Christian school where my husband teaches, Portsmouth Christian Academy. We were a Moms in Prayer group and we were in the middle of prayer. And the rule in Moms in Prayer is when you’re praying you just stay praying. The phone rang and I cannot tell you to this day why I answered that phone because the phone had rung before and I’ve never picked it up.
Sharon 03:21 We were praying, I picked it up and it was my Aunt Nancy and she said, ‘Turn on the TV now’. And so I did and all of us crowded around the TV and we saw the second plane go into the tower. We’d missed the first plane and immediately, because we were mothers, we wanted to go to the school and be with our kids. And thankfully it was a Christian school so we could, so we went to the school, we talked to the principal of the high school and said, how can we serve you? How can we help? And that’s when they told us that Tom McGuinness, the father of two of the students at our school had been in that second plane and that their mom was on the way over to tell her children that their daddy had died. Yeah, it was unbelievable. So classes were suspended and we had the freedom to go and pray with these kids.
Sharon 04:18 And so we were there when the news was broken. And of course the whole school was torn up doubly because we knew somebody involved, you know, and I didn’t have all the words, you know what I mean? I mean, what do you say to a teenager whose best friend’s daddy just died in that way? So I turned to Psalm 46, and I will forever associate this Psalm with that event because it was perfect for it. It says though the mountains fall into the sea, though everything is chaos, God is still with us even then. And it wasn’t any personal word I said that helped. It was God’s word that helped because he was still with us. And that Psalm has come to mean the world because of that. And I’ve loved it ever since. And I think it’s a great Psalm in times of crisis.
Sharon 05:17 How about you? Where were you on 9-11?
Nicole Well, let’s see. I was a freshman in high school. We were also at a Christian school as well and I didn’t think about it until you had mentioned today about going and praying at this school and what a blessing that was at the time to be in a place where our first reaction was to pray and to gather and support each other. So that was really neat. We all went up to the lounge and turned the big TV on and just kinda sat there and watched.
Sharon So they let you watch the TV too?
Nicole But it was just terrifying as a young person. You hear of news but you don’t really think it’s going to happen. Right. And then it happens in your own country and it’s just heartbreaking.
Sharon 05:55 And it happened repeatedly cause then you had those two and then you had the Pentagon one (and the one) where the plane crashed in Pennsylvania and you wonder what’s going to be next.
Nicole Right. And your friends are worried if their family works, you know. So there was a couple people that had family members they were concerned about but we didn’t have anyone that lost anyone. So yeah, it was very difficult to have to go through this. So hard.
Sharon And our two daughters, Ray had just gotten out of the military and was now teaching at Portsmouth Christian. Their first response was, ’Mama, is Daddy going to have to go to war?’ Because they’d already seen their daddy in a war, the Persian Gulf War. And so they were thinking he’d have to go back. So this is a Psalm for times when things go nuts and on the news, any day of the week, you can get yourself in a place where you need to read it because things don’t stay stable like you want them to.
Sharon 06:48 Earthquakes happen, you know, illness happens. You’re just going along fine and all of a sudden you’ve got pancreatic cancer and you’re given two months to live. A car accident happens. We think we have control, but we do not. Life is full of the unexpected. And a Psalm that was written by whoever the sons of Korah are millennia ago still speaks because the human condition has not changed. It’s still there. So I just have a few things that I wanted to share from this first section of this Psalm that I learned from it. Number one, when calamity hits God is the refuge and strength. God, no one else. Tall buildings can fall down. The ground can literally swallow you like those sinkholes. That always freaks me out. I do not want to go places with sink holes. It’s really awful to me.
Sharon 07:44 But you know, anything can happen. But wherever we end up, God is there and he’s the only one that is. Nothing else is solid. Even the ground beneath our feet is not. So when calamity hits, God is the refuge. God is the strength. And that’s why this Psalm was what calmed us that day because it reminded us of the truth that no matter what happens, he’s there. So that’s number one. And number two, I liked the word present. He is a very present help. He’s there with you in the midst. It’s not like God watches from a distance and catches up with us later. He’s there. And we’ve heard testimony after testimony of people in concentration camps that sensed God’s presence there. And I’ve had times when I felt so lost and alone, but when I’ve cried out to him, I knew he was there and I needed that.
Sharon 08:39 In fact, I can remember one time when I pictured myself as a two year old because they’re pretty helpless and I felt pretty helpless. And I pictured that I was in this strange city and everything was crazy. And I just lifted my little hand up and pictured my strong father God’s hand holding me and thinking you’re present. And I had my hand up saying ‘just hold me, take me through this. I don’t know what to do, but if you’re present with me I can handle it. You know, so when calamity hits God’s the only refuge and strength and he’s a present help, he’s there in it. I just love verses two and three, therefore we will not fear even though the earth be removed. Okay. So if the whole earth is removed, like we’re in really deep trouble unless we know Christ and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
Sharon 09:35 And I think the Psalmist chose mountains because mountains, I mean they stay mountains, right? Right. For centuries. They’re just there. Right. So if they ever went into the sea, whoa, that would be crazy. Although its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling and then Selah. It’s like the sons of Korah needed to give super bad examples of the worst things that could happen to drive home the point that God will always be there. So, but what an odd place to put a Selah, Nicole after that section. Why do you think that was where they wanted us to stop?
Nicole I know I wouldn’t want to stop there. That’s terrifying. I want to move onto the good part after reading that.is Maybe to just ponder all of those end of the road circumstances and see, Oh yeah, bad things could really get really bad.
Nicole 10:26 And then you say, ‘now what?’ You’re holding your breath. Like, okay, what now? Right, right. I think that’s it. And it starts, it’s introduced with God as the refuge and strength, but then it goes on to all these terrible things and then stops us right there. I like that. It’s that we know God is. Right? And then life comes and bad things come. And do we remember afterward, okay, now what? I know he’s good, but life is bad. So how does that work?
Sharon Right, right, exactly. And this is one reason I just am so thankful for the word of God. The way it’s written, it’s written truthfully, God’s our present strength. But mountains fall into the sea, right? Daddy’s die. You know horrible things happen but God is still a refuge and strength. And I think that first Selah is just a sort of simmer in that place for a minute of receiving the fact that bad things can happen, you know?
Sharon 11:18 So I don’t know. When we get to heaven, perhaps we’ll meet up with the sons of Korah, right? Why is this here? I actually think of all the things I want to ask that great cloud of witnesses that have gone before me.
Nicole Oh I know with my notebook with me.
Sharon Exactly. So the Selah thing, what is this? You know, so, okay, so we’ve got this calamity going on and then we’ve got the break, we’ve got the pause, the stop, and then we’re totally removed from the chaos for a minute. And verse four. So let me read this next section. It says there is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God. Okay, so we’ve gone from chaos to yay, happy river city, the Holy place of the tabernacle of the most high God is in the midst of her.
Sharon 12:05 She shall not be moved. That city of God, unlike any earthly city or tall towers, she will not be moved. God shall help her. Just at the break of dawn, the nations raged, the kingdoms were moved. He uttered his voice. The earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. So that’s a fun little passage. Nicole, does anything strike you from the middle section?
Nicole Oh my goodness. I love the verse that says ‘God is in the midst of her and she shall not be moved’. Just that’s a good place to sit and kind of marinate for a while. Wow, God is within the city of Jerusalem too. We could have said God is within us and we will not be moved because God is within us. And that just gives you goosebumps.
Sharon 12:58 It does because you’ve just heard about all these catastrophes and yet there is a place that cannot be touched. If the earth moves underneath my feet, God is my foundation. He is my solid place.
Nicole I don’t have to fear. Exactly.
Sharon So exactly. So and there is a place to come where there’s some river that runs through the city of God that makes everybody glad.
Nicole You’re right. I kind of needed gladness after all that doom, you know and sort of the encouragement that as bad as it gets here, that’s not the end of the story.
Sharon It’s the middle. The ending is good, the ending is beautiful. In fact, I often picture that river because you see it in Daniel, you see it in Revelation. There’s some kind of stream coming out from the throne room and on either side there’s trees that don’t lose their leaves and have fruits and stuff. Sharon 13:51 And I just kind of imagine it and think why the Grand Canyon is beautiful. The ocean is beautiful. All the things that God has made now are beautiful. But Daniel saw and John saw something even beautiful-er. I am well aware that is not a word, but it just fits. And when you see that, every hard thing will sort of melt away. And the gladness of the finality of living with God when he dwells among us, you know, it’s just so happy that God is able to do that. And so we’re comforted because even though he is strong enough to make the earth melt, which does say he uttered his voice, the earth melted. Okay. So that’s strong. That’s pretty strong. I feel it’s strong. Yes. And that would eliminate all of us in this world. So there is a city of God whose rivers make the city glad.
Sharon 14:46 We’re really glad that if the earth melts there’s somewhere else to go. Right. And he’ll be with us there. He’s with us now. He’s with us there.
Nicole To have that hope in the middle of the earth being melted and the nations raging is such a beautiful gift from him.
Sharon Yes. And I think sometimes when you’re in a dark place, you have to remember that this isn’t the end. Because despair is when you turn your back on everything because you’re just in this pit and you forget that it’s not the end of the story. Right. And we know the end, we know to remember the end and not lose heart. And also have this fun thing with the God of Jacob because it’s so personal. It’s not just a general God. Jacob’s God, you know? He’s also the God of Nicole. He’s the God of Sharon. Sharon 15:35 And I love that it’s not just this general Lord of hosts, but also a specific man’s God that you worship. A personal God. Isn’t that neat? And so you go from the Lord of hosts and a host of angels. He’s in charge of angelic beings. So BIG God, to Jacob’s God. And they’re both true about him. So I kind of like thinking of both those things. And angels are always, I don’t know, fascinating to me because whenever anybody sees an angel, they fall down as though dead.
Nicole Yes. And the first thing they have to say is ‘don’t be afraid’.
Sharon 16:18 Yes, and this is good thing. This is not a bad thing, right? So, if he’s Lord of all of them, he’s big. He actually is big. So I love that. Okay, last the last section in the Psalm is, let me find it here. Okay, ‘come behold the works of the Lord who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth. He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two. He burns the chariot in the fire. Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.’ And then that refrain again, ‘the Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge’. Selah. So now we’ve gone from the trauma of the first stanza to the ‘Hey, but that’s not the end of the story’.
Sharon 17:21 We have a city of God. We have a God who is with us no matter what. And now we’re sort of seeing the end of the world there. When he’s stopping wars and ceasing and Jesus is going to reign I think. What do you think as you read that?
Nicole Yeah, I thought he’s making desolation on the earth and he’s making the wars cease. I just love that part because ‘be still and know that I am God’ is a fairly common verse that we all love and I just love that it’s right in the middle of all of this though. Like he’s in the middle of breaking the bows and cutting the spears and chariots are burning and, ‘be still’ like that’s him doing all of that. He is God. Oh, I just love that. I love where it’s put in the Psalm.
Sharon 18:01 Yeah, he is doing it so we can be still. Yeah, huh. Yes, exactly. We’re seeing all this happening. You don’t have to be afraid, it’s from God. It’s almost like it’s the apex of the whole thing. All these things are happening around us, out of our control. Just be still,
Nicole Right, and let him do his work. Let him do it.
Sharon That’s right.
Nicole And trust that the ending will be good even if the middle is breaking your heart.
Sharon Exactly. And he’s breaking his heart right along with you in the sense that God weeps with those that weep. I know. I love that verse. It brings such comfort. It does, doesn’t it? He’s there with us. I mean, he knew when he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead that Lazarus was going to walk out of the grave. Yeah, but first he wept. I’ve always thought thank you for that, Lord.
Sharon 18:47 Thank you for showing us that. Even though you knew the answer was going to be good, that didn’t mean you were happy about everybody’s misery. You cried. So hurt. It’s still hurt and you got it and you grieved with these dear sisters that wanted their brother alive. You pause to hurt with us and I think that is the kindest thing for God to do. I really do. So we can be still, we can trust him and know that he is God. So now how about this knowing thing? How do we know that he is God? What are the things we do in our lives that solidify that knowing?
Nicole Hmm. I think that’s an interesting thought. That is because we say it, but do we really understand? I think for me, it’s been in the hard times and then the trouble seeing God in it.
Nicole 19:42 Sometimes. Not in the moment always, but looking back, if you look back and see where God has brought us, you go, Oh, I see God through this. Oh, he was there. I knew he was there, and I see his hand working through even the bad, and he uses the bad. He turns it into something good. He does. He redeemed so many hard things. He never wastes our pain, and I just think that is such a beautiful thing that he does.
Sharon Yeah. Going back to the McGuinness’s story, Cheryl McGuinness, when she came in to tell her children that their daddy had died, she said it so beautifully and simply, God just gave her the words. She just said, ‘Kids, Jesus chose to take daddy home today’. Wow. And that was just the sweetest, a beautiful little way to say it.
Nicole So even in her incredible grief, she was speaking truth about who God was.
Sharon 20:32 Right. God numbered her husband’s days. The Bible says all our days are numbered. Some babies, like some of my grand babies who were miscarried and they had a very short number of days, but God had numbered them too. And God had numbered everybody in 9-11’s days. And we could trust that Jesus had brought him home. So I think living in that reality of that was what she needed to do for the kids’ sake. I really do. And then the knowing of God, she knew him well enough to know he had her husband. Right. Right. I remember when Ray was in the Persian Gulf War, we were in Germany and Kathryn was six and Mary was four. And one day Kathryn looked at me and said, mama, is daddy gonna die?
Nicole Oh wow that’s a big question.
Sharon I know, for a six year old, with a four year old, with her little thumb in her mouth listening in, I’m like, Oh my goodness, what do I say?
Sharon 21:30 So I chose the truth because what if he did die? And I said, Oh no, daddy won’t die. And he did. Furthermore it would’ve been a lie. So I said, yeah, he might die, honey. But if he dies, he’ll be home with Jesus. And we can trust that if that happens, God will give us strength to keep going. So, but you have to know God well enough that you can say that and believe it. And how do we know God? We spend time with him. I think that’s the thing. We study the names of God who he says he is, that he’s a Shepherd, that he’s a Light, that he guides our paths, that he’s gentle, that he’s trustworthy. All these things help us know him.
Nicole And the more we know him, the more we can trust when hard things happen, I think. Well God brought that Psalm to your mind in the middle of 9-11.
Nicole 22:18 So I think if you don’t have that foundation beforehand, when trouble does come, you’re kind of left floundering. Like when you’re in an intense situation, you don’t always grab for your Bible, but it’s the words that he’s put into your heart. It’s the words you’ve memorized that he brings up and you’re like, Oh, I remember reading that and now I understand it.
Sharon You know what? That’s true. He brings them back to you. Yeah. When Ray was in the Persian Gulf War, we had just moved to Germany. So I didn’t know the language. I hadn’t even got my driver’s license when they told him that he was going from Germany to Kuwait, I’m like, Oh my goodness, I better learn the German signs, you know? Oh wow. Words like umleitung. Which means either One Way or Detour or something. But at the time I needed to know what those signs were.
Sharon 23:03 It was my German driving test. Otherwise I’d be going down one way streets the wrong way. So it was a really scary time for me, and I was in a new place. I had never lived overseas before, and I was in these really ugly, concrete, huge apartments, not that pretty at all. And every night there were soldiers walking with guns guarding us. When I’d go out to walk my dogs from nowhere, these guys would come and stand beside me.
Nicole Oh wow.
Sharon To protect me. And I’m like this is comforting and frightening all at the same time that they’re needed out here. And when we entered the base, they’d put mirrors on sticks underneath the car to make sure a bomb had not been planted in my car while I was off base.
Nicole Oh my goodness.
Sharon So, a scary time. Yeah. In conclusion, a scary time with my husband sitting where Scud missiles were falling near him and soldiers protecting me because of terrorism, even back then.
Sharon 24:02 So yeah, no fun. But there was one thing that didn’t change and that was actually the quiet time and it was my salvation because God is my salvation. Everything else had changed. But I still sat on the corner of the couch and I still had my cup of tea and I still did that thing every morning. And it made all the difference in the world. Because I didn’t get wrapped up in watching the news and every two seconds trying to see if the missile had fallen right on his base or near his base. I had friends that never went to bed. Nicole, they just sat on the couch and watched TV; that can drive you to insanity waiting for this horrible thing to happen. Yeah, the nerves. So, to start the day with him and just believe that whether Ray died or lived, I’d be okay because of God meant that I could cope and I could be a mama to those two little girls at a hard time.
Sharon 25:02 But if I hadn’t had that discipline established, I don’t think I would have said, Oh, I think I’ll start my quiet time discipline. You know, it would have been harder because there were already so many frightening, strange things going on. So I’m just so thankful that I had that. And I’m really thankful Ray came back from the Persian Gulf Wars, but that was kind of my mountain falling into the sea; to lose my husband to war and to not know what the end results would be. So it’s really a hard time, but grateful, grateful for the word of God.
Nicole God carried you through that and that you had that habit built in so it was there. Your rock as your place to go to was already established.
Sharon Right. It wasn’t the news, it was God’s word. Yes. Which was way more stabilizing.
Nicole Oh yeah. The news can be terrible to watch.
Nicole 25:52 Oh my goodness.
Sharon Well you who are listening today, I suspect you have had a few mountains fall into the sea too. We all do, and I am sorry for whatever your particular grief has been. And I’m so happy to tell you that if you know Jesus, he’s weeping with you. He is the kind, good God who hurts when you hurt and who loves you so much. And I’m glad to tell you that you’re in the middle of your story and not the end. The end, if you’ve asked him to be your Lord and Savior is good and you will be glad and perhaps we’ll meet up there, if we haven’t met down here, by that stream that evidently is a really happy one, and enjoy being together there again. So don’t lose hope friend. Just sit at his feet. Tell him when you’re upset with him, tell him when you’re unhappy, but go to him.
Sharon 26:54 Go to him in the crises and know that he is a very present help there. Let me pray for you. Oh heavenly Father, I thank you that you are not just here in the good times, but you are with us in trauma. God, we don’t understand why things are allowed, but we do know you are good. We do know that you are comforter and we do know that you have prepared something beautiful for us in the future. So Father, give hope and strength to whoever’s listening today, comfort them, wrap them in your big Abba father arms. Draw them ever closer to yourself, please. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Nicole Amen. Oh, we’re so glad you joined us today. We would love to hear from you. We hope something from this show today has spurred you to meet with God, the God who loves you. Write us on our show notes and be sure to follow us and share us with your friends. Next time we’re going to talk about the busy-ness addiction and how to break it. Join us for episode four ‘How to stop the busy’. I cannot wait for next time because I need this one.
Announcer 28:11 We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes, can be email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for joining us.
You can download and print the transcript here.
Finding the Time for the Quiet Time - Episode 2
Episode 2. Finding Time for the Quiet Time. Matthew 6:30-34
What if we thought about a quiet time with God differently? What if we kept it simple and manageable? What if ... instead of "having" to do a quiet time ... we start to be amazed that we "get" to have one. Let's marvel at the fact that God the Creator, Maker of Heaven and earth and you, wants to spend time with you and help you with your daily tasks. That incredible truth changes everything. Join us as we talk about finding the time so you get to be with God.
Show Notes: Want to join our Sweet Selah Family and receive helpful encouragements on meeting with God? Here's what you do. 1) Write us at email@example.com and ask to join the once-a-week email list. 2) Check out our Musings and be encouraged. 3) Try a Sweet Selah Day. 4) Join us on your favorite social media platform by clicking on the appropriate icon below. 5) Definitely follow and subscribe to this podcast on your favorite platform and write a review. Help us get more followers. Let's start a #sweetselahmovement toward rest with God!
Nicole 00:22 Well hello and welcome to Sweet Selah Moments podcast. This is episode two. Finding the time for the quiet time. If you were here last time we talked about our journey to stillness. That was episode one. Today we’re going to be reading from Matthew 6:25 through 34. “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life. Whether you have enough food and drink or enough clothes to wear, isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds, they do not plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly father feeds them and aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And don’t worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the fields and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.
Nicole 01:12 And if God cares so wonderfully for wild flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things. Saying, what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the minds of the unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously and He will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” So Sharon, I’ve assumed that as you get older and the kids aren’t waking up early in the morning, poking you in the forehead for breakfast that having a quiet time gets easier. Please tell me that it is.
Sharon 01:55 I wish I could, but no, I have so many friends that still struggle with it, Nicole, because until it becomes that disciplined habit, stuff happens. You get up and you’ve got to walk the dog, or you remember that you didn’t call your mother about her doctor’s appointment today or you just want to get dressed first and you just want to do this first and oh look at the bathroom. It’s a mess. Now it’s time for Bible study. You know, it seems to not matter what stage of life you’re at. It’s always hard. And I’ve wondered about that. Why is it so hard? And I actually think part of it is from the devil, really, from Satan because what does he want if he can’t keep us from accepting Christ, which of course he would like? He can keep us ineffective and so distracted doing the mundane. There’s nothing wrong with doing the mundane.
Sharon 02:56 Your children do need breakfast. It is true. My dog does need walking and appreciates it when I walk her, but I’m doing the mundane till it crowds out everything else. And part of this passage that you just read, that I love so much, is that verse 33: “seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously and he will give you everything you need” and it’s that seeking it above all else that has to be in place in order to find the time to have the quiet time. It just does. And at different stages in my life, it was at different times. Did you do a quiet time in college? I don’t know if you did at that point.
(Nicole) Yeah. I had my little daily devotion book. I’d read first thing in the morning and thought, oh good job. You did it. A devotion a day for a year. And I went through the whole book.
Sharon 03:43 Wow. And you did it in the morning. See? Yes. I couldn’t do it in the morning. In college I would come home. I was a waitress. That’s how I made money to go to college. So I would come home after waitressing at 11:00 at night and, see, I have this energy problem. I was just so pumped that there was no way I could sleep, and so that’s when I had my quiet time in college. I had it in the evening and I was faithful. I did it, which I feel like is the most important thing is that you do it. Since college days. I’ve never been faithful during my quiet time unless I do it in the morning. I don’t know what happened after college. If I don’t do it in the morning, the day just gallops away with me on it and I don’t get back to it.
Sharon 04:26 So we touched on some of the ways to find time to have a quiet time last episode, but I want to kind of repeat and expand on them. One thing you said that I loved was, you find your place to have it. Yes. That’s, it’s such a weird thing. It’s like, well, you can talk to God anywhere. Why do you need a place? But it’s part of the building of a habit. I always go to my brown couch on the right hand side and turn on the lamp and have my tea in my little mug and I do it there. That’s my place. Where’s your place? Mine is the end of my brown couch.
Nicole Brown couches aren’t holier but, my brown couch too, right by the window. I’m by it with a natural light coming in. I have my little pretty coaster somebody made me, I can put my cup of tea there in the morning and I have my little basket now with my Bible and my notebook right there.
Nicole 05:22 My favorite pen. And then I have a nice fuzzy blanket right next to me. So if it’s cold I can just shuffle downstairs, sit there, wrap up and be ready. Be excited to, to start my day earlier than I would like.
Sharon Doesn’t it make it easier when you’re half asleep? If you have to find your Bible, find your devotional or journal or whatever’s. If you have no pen, I’m never getting out of bed. No kidding. Or by the time you get it all together, it’s too late. You know? So to have it all in one place is so good. So not only do we have to have a place, but we have to have the stuff we’re going to be with in a place and mindset. There’s a coffee table right in front of the couch that has a door and I just have to open the door and pull it out.
Sharon 06:05 So I used to have it in a bag, but now it’s in my coffee table. But it’s in its place and it’s always there and that makes it easier. And I’ve talked to people that have said ‘I couldn’t do it in the morning. I’m too tired’. And I say, that is what the tea is for. You bring the tea, you take a few sips, and your eyes actually open a bit. Then you pray and say, Jesus, you know how tired I am but wake me up. I’m so glad you’re here with me. And then you kind of go on assignment. You’re like, okay, I could do this day by myself and I’ve done days on my own before. It hasn’t gone well for me or I could do days with you. So today I choose to do the day with you. I’ve got a really funny story about a day I didn’t do quiet time.
Sharon 06:51 I was teaching, it was a long time ago before BC, before children. So Whoa, we’re not going to talk about how many years ago that was. But I was teaching in a Christian school and I had talked about quiet times to my students and how important they were. And I had offhandedly joked, you don’t want to see me on a day. I haven’t had my quiet time. So I went to school one day and I hadn’t had my quiet time. I forget what happened, but I didn’t have it. And I was in a mood, I mean a mood. And evidently everyone in the classroom sensed the mood. And one seventh grade boy raised his hand, Nicole, I don’t know how he got the courage because I was in a mood. And he said, ‘Mrs. Gamble, we would all like to know if you had your quiet time?’
Sharon 07:39 He was a brave little soul, wasn’t he? And I’m like, no, I did not. Let that be a lesson to you. But I’ve never forgotten it because it was like an object lesson that I didn’t expect. I mean I was kind of joking, look out for me if I don’t have my quiet time. Evidently you really do need to look out if I haven’t in my quiet time. So, that kind of reinforced for me the value of sitting with God first and saying please don’t leave me today. Which he won’t. You know, I don’t want to do the day without you because that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, I don’t find it easily on my own. I really don’t.
Nicole And I like that it’s for me, I was doing it at night for a while when we were first early married cause you just have long days; you sit there and I’m a night owl too so reading it before bed was nice but you read it and then you sleep and then you wake up and it’s gone. And crazy starts.
Nicole 08:33 So having it first thing, that peace, patience, joy, love carries with you. So you are a better person throughout the day. Yes, I am not a nice person away from God. It’s so true and so scary. Yeah.
Sharon And it’s funny how you can grow up knowing God and knowing the Bible, but you still need refreshers all the time about how you should behave and what things are right and wrong. I need to be reminded not to be bitter. I need to be reminded to forgive. I need to be reminded to respect Ray even when I want to roll my eyes, because I’m like, what are you talking about? You know? And if I’m not in the word, I forget that stuff. And I just, I, it’s like I’m not, I’m not making a column left and deciding to rob a bank, but I’m veering from the best.
Sharon 09:22 Right. And I don’t want to veer from the best. So, okay. So the best way to have a quiet time is your first available moment. And I loved how you said it’s for you. You get the children off to school because you’ve got to get them up. You’ve got to do all that stuff. So have you found with your little ones that you’re still able to do a quiet time with the two that are home?
Nicole Yes. If I don’t get up before them, then once half my crew leaves, there’s just the three of us at home. I’ve been finding that some days I have to, okay, I need my Jesus time, be quiet, leave me alone. Like grumpy mom saying I need you Jesus. This isn’t the best example. So I was trying to change that into something to lead more by example.
Nicole 10:04 So they have their little children’s Bible. So I sit them down. I’m like, okay, you can do your quiet time with Jesus and mommy will do her quiet time. And I mean, sometimes it is only five minutes, but it’s enough. I’m not expecting, Oh, I’ve got to do this. You have to be quiet and leave me alone so I can absorb this. It’s more like, okay, join me as much as you can join with me and we’ll do this together.
Sharon Yeah, I love that. It’s been kind of fun. And they’re seeing you do it right? Yeah. My little grandson, Erik is an early riser. Erik needs no sleep. I do not understand this child. When he was two Nicole, he would be dancing in the best mood at 11 at night. Oh my I am not kidding you.
Sharon 10:45 And Kathryn, my daughter, would look at me and say, do you see this? This is every day. And I’d say, but he’s not grumpy. And he wasn’t. But anyways, I digress. He, goes to bed late. He gets up early. So when I’m visiting their house, no matter how early I get up, Erik is waiting for me. So I actually, from Word radio, got a Bible. I forget if it was an adventure Bible or an action Bible they gave to me and I gave it to Erik and he uses it when I visit. That’s his quiet time Bible. Yeah. He can read; he’s eight. So he sits and he reads and I read. And then sometimes we pray together and it’s the same thing. Instead of excluding, you’re welcoming them in, but you’re also not, not doing it.
Sharon 11:34 You’re saying this is important, right? It’s a priority and my mommy needs to do this. This is so important to me, but it’s not so important that I’m going to like push you to the side and you need to not be here for that. Right. Don’t interrupt me kind of thing. You’ve included them. Yeah. Now I did it a little differently because I had Mr. Rogers Show as my best friend. Oh Mr. Rogers. And so for my quiet time there was Mr. Rogers so it was okay. I would put on Mr. Rogers and they would know that was mama’s half hour with Jesus and that worked really well because I trusted that show, you know, I figured it was fine and I was just in the next room anyways if they really needed me. But it gave me that time. But I think the theme song here is children should see their parents doing a quiet time, whether they’re watching Mr. Rogers to be quiet cause mom was just dying to be with Jesus or whether they’re sitting alongside, if we give them the gift of seeing that it is part of the rhythm of life.
Sharon 12:35 This is what we do. We brush our teeth, we eat our breakfast, we meet with Jesus. Yes. And trust me darling mama’s going to be kinder if you let her have her time with Jesus all the time. Yes. You want me to have this quiet time? Trust me, you’ll benefit from it too. So much. So do you find, cause I did, but tell me if you do, that holidays and vacations and visiting other people are the hardest times to maintain a quiet time.
Nicole Oh wow. Yes. I’m so glad you said that. Cause I always feel like I would have more time during the vacations to do that. And I, I’m a very scattered high energy person too. And I need schedule and routine or I fall apart. It’s like, oh, vacation, this is fine. And then wait, what day is it? I don’t think I read my Bible.
Nicole 13:24 Three days have gone by, what happened? God, I’m so sorry.
Sharon Isn’t it wild? When your routine has gone, it’s the hardest time to maintain. It really is. That sort of progressed in layers of really wanting to do it daily as almost a time sacrifice to God. Even if it didn’t feel fun every day. We don’t sacrifice animals anymore. We don’t bring the best lamb. Thank goodness. I can’t imagine. But how do we say we love him? You know, part of how we say we love him is to offer time. It’s a time sacrifice. So I want that every day, you know, a joyful sacrifice, not a forced one, but just ‘here Jesus, here’s my time again’. So my last horizon was vacation and then visiting other people. How do you have a quiet time when you’re in someone else’s house?
Sharon 14:14 And so vacations I just managed because I did it first. So if I did it first, that then became my pattern again. I just had to say, if I’m getting up at nine instead of 5:30 AM I still do it first. And if I have something to do at nine on vacation, then I get up at eight you know, and just back it off. But in someone else’s house you have to be super proactive. And I always will say ‘I do a quiet time in the morning and I don’t want to disturb the household. Is there a place where I could just be tucked away for a little bit alone’? Hint, please don’t talk to me. Sharon 14:53 Oh, thank you so much. So then the hostess provides this little place for me and I’ve, I’ve done two things. I’ve found my place, but I’ve also established that I want that quiet and so, and it’s not a mean way to say it. And if it’s in advance, if you ask it in the morning when they’re talking to you and you’re like, I have to go do my quiet time. You know? And they’re in the middle of telling you a story and then you feel rude. Yes, you do. They think that I’m bored with their story and I want to run away from it, but that’s not the point. So if I do it the night before, then I know where I’m going. I have my materials there and then there I am and they leave me alone.
Nicole 15:33 This is the key to all of these: it’s thinking ahead, before, like pre planning, being proactive about it, whether you’re traveling, on vacation or daily. It’s like stopping to think the night before, the day before, and planning it. So planning is huge. It’s super huge.
Sharon It is. It’s got to be intentional and I think that’s any good habit. If you’re going to be a runner, you don’t just go, well, I wonder if I’ll feel like it. Right? Right. You have a running schedule. Or, if you’re going on a diet, you eat these foods. And these foods I can’t eat. There’s always a planning that goes into it because that’s how we’re wired, to have a plan and a rhythm. So we need that for quiet times too. So. Well, let’s look at the scripture again. Unless was there anything else you wanted to say about this part?
Nicole 16:19 Hmm, no, I think you covered it. I love the planning stuff. I need to incorporate that in some more aspects of my life because I’m not a very good planner. I was like, let’s try this right now. Let’s try that. I know it doesn’t always work. It has to be that verse: “seek the kingdom of God above all else” until it becomes above all else. You don’t do it.
Sharon And that’s, and that’s the thing, you know, for some people it’s the physical exercise that is above all else. They’ll never miss it, you know? Or if they’re super lean, which would not be me, because of what they’re eating, above all else, they’ll never have sugar. Right? But if I’m going to have an above all else thing, and I can’t have too many of those because it would be too exhausting, my above all else is going to be Jesus.
Sharon 17:02 Right? And then the other things come in and they’re important. Nothing is more important than that above all else. So that’s where I start. And the other things that are less important are things that we think are still important. They fit in better after God is above all else.
If you find time for God first, everything else just seems to fall into place the rest of the day. I don’t know how he uses the extra time but he just fits it all in and I’m like, Oh thank you God, I was stressed about this whole big thing. But you spend that time, that sacrifice of time with him first and it does. It works. Gifts. He’s generous with the little bit we give him, he just dump loads us back with it flowing. Yeah, that’s really good. Well I’m going to go back to part of the passage again cause I want to look at verse 32. I’m going to start at verse 31 in Matthew 6 “so don’t worry about these things.”
Sharon 17:56 And you went through that list of clothing and all this stuff. Don’t worry about these things. Saying, what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly father already knows all your needs.
Nicole And I was thinking that that’s another thing that can distract you from a quiet time. Things that dominate. The worry, the panic, the, you know, I’ve got to grocery shop, I’ve got to… what are the kids going to wear today? There are no clothes that are clean, you know, that kind of thing. And it’s very easy to have the less important dominate the most important because God waits. You know what I mean? If you don’t have a quiet time with him, no lightning bolt falls from the sky. Although you might get questioned on your crabbiness, that’s the worst that happens.
Nicole 18:50 But if you don’t feed your family because there’s no groceries, there’s a lot of loud noise, so much loud noise about it. Right? So I heard someone call it ‘the tyranny of the urgent’ and I love that phrase because this describes those things that are so loud and right in front of you. It’s so hard to step back and just be still in the middle of the daily, the feeding and the clothing, the child care.
Sharon Wow. Right? Yeah. And they can dominate. They can easily, for me in my life stage. What can actually dominate sadly is Sweet Selah Ministries, which is all about rest, right? Because I’m like, oh, I have to prepare for a podcast and this book has a deadline and it needs to be done by such and such a day. And you know, I guess for anybody that’s in the working world, you’ve got all these work assignments to do.
Sharon 19:38 And fortunately I know that it would not honor God in Sweet Selah Ministries where I’m all about stopping to be with God. If I don’t stop to be with God because I’m busy teaching people how to stop and be with God that keeps me on the straight and narrow. But in terms of where I am in my life, that’s what could dominate me. Even a good ministry. But that does not take the place of sitting at his feet. It doesn’t, and not sitting at his feet to prepare a podcast, sitting at his feet to be Sharon, just his kid, you know? And hearing how I should be nice to Ray or hearing that I need to call a friend. The things that he brings to your mind when you’re sitting there, you know, so what dominates for you? What are the things that could rob you of that quiet space?
Nicole Right now the biggest thing I think is homeschooling; that takes a lot of my energy and then the guilt of ‘well I should be spending more time with reading with her or math.’ There’s no off switch when you’re teaching them at home, when they’re home. So two of them are in school now, so some of that has gotten better.
Nicole 20:48 But that is really hard for me to struggle to balance that. Oh, I could be doing more, I should be doing multiplication tables while I’m doing the dishes. So just the daily getting ahead so Josh can come home to a not-crazy-messy house, not a perfect house, but not like tornadoes went through. Because they do go through every day, frequently. Oh my goodness. Do you want to create that calm in the house? And not realizing that sometimes that chaos comes from me not having that time with God or just being so frazzled that he can come home and the house can look great. But I’ve spent the whole day whirling around not stopping with God. So I’m completely exhausted and I think he would rather have a peaceful wife with true peace then, ‘Oh look, the tables perfectly set’. ‘Yes, and don’t touch anything. Don’t sit there, go right to bed. No one move.’
Sharon 21:36 Exactly, And over and over, God has proved to me that if I set aside that time I get it back anyways, like you said, because he’s just overly generous with us and he can fit things into the tiniest spaces when we’ve given him the best part of our day, not the left over part of our days. So, I guess our encouragement to you today, Oh, podcast listener, is to find that space to offer that time sacrifice to have that quiet time with God. We have some resources on Sweet Selah’s Ministry’s website. You can look at the show notes on those. We actually have a little method of quiet time called the Four R Method that teaches you step by step how to have a 10 minute time with God that’s rich in meaning. And we’ll have to do a podcast on that, Nicole. Because that’s a really fun method. And then occasionally we have on our Facebook page and on our website an online Bible study. And when we do that, we all study the same passages together and we find a verse that means a lot to us and we write about the verse and the response and then we share them. And those are some times over vacations, which is good. We need accountability.
Nicole 22:55 Oh yeah, that’s right. The Christmas one. You did an Easter one. Yeah, those are great. Those can actually help keep me on track during holiday drifting. Yeah.
Sharon 23:03 Yeah. And I want to do one in June this year. Yeah, it’s almost summer, but that can help you generate a habit too because then you’re doing it with other people. So we do invite you to check out the show notes on that. But let me pray for you. You, who if you are a normal human being, have struggled with quiet times like Nicole and I have, let me pray for you before we close. Oh, heavenly Father, would you please bless every single podcast listener today with increased hunger for you because there there’s no greater blessing, Lord than to pant and thirst for you. I pray that in each unique situation and you know, Lord, I don’t, you would help them make a way that they’d find their brown couch equivalent; that they would find the right devotional or a just sit and study your word. Oh Father, help us to be faithful to come to you. Help us to trust you enough that we know that when we give you the first fruits of our day, you will help us so much with the rest of it. Even with that little bit of less time. Forgive us, Lord, when we don’t notice how great and awesome and kind and good you are and how we praise you that you are always there when we call on you ready to teach and guide and love us in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Nicole 24:35 Oh, we’re so glad you joined us today. We’d love to hear how you fit in your quiet time too. We hope a tip or two from this show today has spurred you to meet with God who loves you, right? It’s on our show notes and be sure to follow us and share us on your favorite podcast. We are newbies here and we need your help to spread the word, so next time we’re going to be going back to Psalm 46 and we’re going to study the first few verses and talk about fear and anxiety in this crazy scary world. There were earthquakes and wars in David’s time too. How do we cope and not, as David says, in Psalm 46 give way to fear? If you are in need of some comfort and help in the area of dealing with the daily news join us for Episode three “When the mountains fall into the sea”.
Announcer 25:17 We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a cooperative production of WORD Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes, can be firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com. Thank you for joining us.
You can download and print the transcript here.
Journey to Stillness - Episode 1
Episode 1. Journey to Stillness. Psalm 46:10
The episode in which we introduce ourselves and our own personal journeys to stillness. If you have a desire, like we do, to know God better and love Him more and more ... but life just feels like it's getting in the way ... you'll want to join us today as we talk practically about cultivating stillness in busy lives. Love, Sharon and Nicole
Announcer 00:01 Well. Hello, tired one. Are you feeling a bit frazzled and worn out? Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. We hope lessons from God’s word and encouragement from us will lead you to soul rest. Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by Word radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Nicole 00:22 Well, hello there friend. I’m Nicole Olstad of Sweet Selah Ministries and it’s my joy to welcome you to the first ever podcast of Sweet Selah Moments. Our goal is to encourage you to invest in what we call Sweet Selah Moments each and every day. And for that you are going to need some definitions, aren’t you? Exactly. What is a Sweet Selah Moment anyway? Well hang on because we’re going to unpack that for you in just a few minutes. First though, introductions are in order, so hi, I’m Nicole. My husband Josh and I have been married for 12 years and have been blessed with four beautiful and adventurous girls, ages three, five, seven and nine. I am a full time mom and a very part time dental assistant working about once a month per diem. I have two girls in school and I am homeschooling my first grader all while attempting to answer all 238 questions my three year old asks me every hour.
Nicole 01:13 And now I’d like to introduce you to the director of our ministry and the lady who literally wrote the book on Sweet Selah Moments. Sharon Gamble.
Sharon Well hi and welcome to this podcast. I’m Sharon. I’ve been married to Ray, my high school sweetheart for 40 years. We have an incredibly cute and incredibly annoying dog named Bella Grace, who is 13 pounds of spunk and cuddly. I’m mom to two daughters and their husbands and Nina to six beautiful grandchildren, none of whom live near us unfortunately. I started Sweet Selah Ministries in 2017. It was born out of my yearning over the years to be less hurried and more intentional about rest, specifically rest with God. So that’s me. Nicole, I am so glad you’re sitting here with me. It would not be nearly so much fun alone and it’s wonderful to have two different perspectives on life.
Sharon 02:14 You the young mom with the 357 questions a day and me with the too quiet household sometimes after all the noise that my children generated, so well, I think it’s time for definitions. What is a Sweet Selah Moment? Selah is the key word here. It’s a Hebrew word found in the Old Testament. You see it often in the Psalms and also in the book of Habakkuk, but no one actually knows for certain what it means or how it’s pronounced. However, most scholars think it represents a pause or a stop in the Psalm or song being sung. So for our purposes, a Selah is a stop and we pronounce it Selah because it sounds nicest with sweet and it seemed more intuitive, but people pronounce it lots of different ways. But because it’s a biblical word, what I wanted to incorporate into the meaning of it for Sweet Selah Moments is that it is a stop with God.
Sharon 03:14 It’s not just a stop to check your phone or to do your nails or stare at the sky. It’s a God stop with the purpose of intentionally focusing on him. And that’s a hard stop in a busy world, no matter what your age is. It doesn’t actually get better, Nicole, when the kids are gone, you’re still busy and you can still kind of put off God because other things crowd in. So we’re going to talk about a God stop. A Selah stop. So Nicole, when did you first hear the name of this ministry? And did you know what Selah meant?
Nicole No, I had heard about it from my friend Jenny, who is also on the ministry team. Um, she had encouraged me to take a Sweet Selah day and I wasn’t quite sure what that was. But after seeing the material you would put out to do it, I had gone and done a day and it was just lovely.
Nicole 04:08 I’d seen the word in Psalms but not really known what it meant, and I definitely was not pronouncing it the same way you did.
Sharon It’s pronounced so many different ways and it doesn’t really matter because the Hebrew doesn’t have vowels in it. So Saylah is correct. Sila is correct. You could go Salaah. So, but for our purposes it’s Selah and if you say Saylah, it’s whatever. It’s really, okay. So, okay, well what’s the sweet then? Well, what makes this stop sweet is when you spend it with God. When you intentionally turn your eyes away from all the stuff that can make you crazy and you go to the one that gives peace. So that’s why we call it sweet. And you know, even this morning, Nicole, right before getting here to do the podcast, I was a little bit unsettled about why are we doing this?
Sharon 05:00 What’s its purpose, Lord, is this what you want for us? And so I had my Selah time, I had my Bible open and I read in Luke 4, where Jesus announced himself and said, I’ve come to set captives free. I’ve come to open the eyes of the blind. I’ve come to share the gospel. And in my little commentary I read it said, that’s what Jesus came to do. That was his mission and now it’s our mission. And there it was. And all my achiness went away because I had focused on the Word and God said to me, this is what we’re doing here. We’re sharing who he is and we’re breaking free from the busy-ness and the scariness and the anxiety and worry that can absolutely kill us because we’re stopping to have a Sweet Selah moment. So that’s that. So now we’re going to talk about the moment’s part.
Sharon 06:00 Tell you what, let’s have a Sweet Selah moment. Right now. What we’re going to do every single podcast is have an episode Bible passage, because I don’t want it to all be just talking. I want the Word to be spoken because really that’s where the power is. So I’m going to read today from Psalm 46 and the New King James version, because it still has our beautiful word Selah in it. Some of the other versions say interlude, and it’s rather annoying to me because our ministry is called Selah, so we need that word. So wherever you are, podcast listener, would you just settle back in your chair or the driver’s seat of the car in the pickup line or lean against the counter and stop washing those dishes just for a moment and listen to this beautiful Psalm? Psalm 46 to the chief musician, a Psalm of the Sons of Korah, a song for Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Sharon 07:04 Therefore we will not fear. Even though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the Holy place of the tabernacle of the most high. God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved. God shall help her just at the break of Dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved. He uttered his voice. The earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord who has made desolations in the earth. He makes Wars cease to the end of the earth. He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two. He burns the chariot in the fire.
Sharon 08:05 Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. I love this Psalm. We’re actually going to take another episode and go through the whole Psalm because it’s just too good. But today because we’re going to be talking about moments, I just want to read those last two verses again where it says, be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge. And then that Selah. So there’s kind of a command. He says, be still. Yikes. It’s a hard command to follow, no matter how old you are. We get so I think, wrapped up, especially as Americans in productivity, defining our successfulness as who we are, you know? And if we’re busy and we can say we’re busy, somehow that sounds more important. And so taking time to be still is really, really hard and it can even be viewed as sort of self-indulgence and laziness, you know? And you’re like, wait a second, I should be doing something productive. So, um, why don’t you share a little bit first about your journey to stillness in your life and then I’ll share mine.
Nicole 09:39 All right. So after having our fourth kiddo and trying to juggle work and childcare and home life, it was just too much. So Josh and I decided that I needed to be home with the littles and we adjusted our lifestyle to accomplish this decision. I started homeschooling and thought that I was on this path to become a more calm mom and enjoy, be able to enjoy life and have more time with my family and have more peace in our home. The problem was I was saying yes to too many things and ultimately saying no to my family. I had assumed that now that I was a stay at home mom, that I had to say yes and I didn’t really have a good excuse to say no because I was home and able to do all the good things I wasn’t able to do before.
Nicole 10:24 Well my days had become a series of good things that kept me running and in survival mode trying to keep up and still, I was not still at all. It took me a while to realize that multitasking is a lie. I can’t truly give my full attention to more than one thing. And I just ended up giving a small scattered part that really isn’t all that helpful. And sadly, my family always got my tired leftovers. So I sat with God, I really sat with him and did the hard work of, of evaluating my time and how I spent it and learned to start to say no to all the busy and stop saying no to God and my family and even myself. Busyness is exhausting. And my health and eating habits showed that I think I was afraid of not being busy. That’s such a normal cry.
Nicole 11:09 It’s almost a badge of honor. And I didn’t know what life would look like without it. And it’s kind of scary. So there I sat saying no. Quiet(er). I still had four kids! Finding stillness, practicing Selah moments. Reading your book and any book”…, practicing Selah moments. I’m reading your book and any book on stillness I could find and wondering how long I was going to have to be still like, God, can I move yet? What do I do now? And then I got a message from you asking me kind of out of the blue to join your team for a ministry on rest. I was like, God, is this a test? I’m always so struck by his sense of humor, but I prayed about it and didn’t say yes right away, even though I was pretty sure that this was a solid yes, this was God’s way of showing me. I can say yes, just not to everything.
Nicole 11:55 And now he brought me to you and to a whole team of people who treasure rest and daily time with God, who have a God that really does just want to be with me and it’s just so amazing. So God had shown me that when I say no to the crazy, just because busy, I’m free to say yes to the meaningful and he brings yeses that give back. I mean a ministry that helps me to rest and spend time with God. I may have also joined selfishly for the accountability factor, but here I am and I’m still learning how to truly be still with him. But he’s so gracious with me.
Sharon 12:26 Oh well I remember that same thing when I had my two daughters and the church needed something. Of course I can do it. If somebody needs a casserole, well I should bring a casserole. My husband was in the military, so there was all these military functions to go to and I wanted to represent him. So I went to way too many little wives gatherings, things like that. And the same thing my children were there watching me on the phone, you know, and the time wasn’t completely given to them. And my, I had quiet times, but they were pretty rushed because they were almost like on my to do list. Right. I need to do this and get it done instead of I’m savoring it. And I, I think, I think that’s one of the keys to a Sweet Selah. It’s not stopping because you have to, because if you are a good Christian, you would stop and be with God.
Sharon 13:24 It’s stopping because you get to, because actually God wants you quiet because actually he wants to sit with you and tell you he loves you. So when it’s seen as I, I get to talk to the King of Kings instead of I need to check this off my checklist, it has a whole different flavor to it. So, so I have a couple of sort of big triggers on my way to stillness. One was when I turned 40, I just stopped sleeping. It was really awful. I mean, I didn’t plan on stopping sleeping. It just sort of happened. I, um, I would go to bed and I called it the little Chihuahua in my brain and would lie down and it would go, yip, yip, yip, yip, yip. And everything that I had to do, would run through my brain and I would try to still it. I tried to pray and I tried all these things and I could not rest.
Sharon 14:19 And it was like two or three hours sleep a night for a couple of weeks until Ray brought me to the hospital. I was like crazy with lack of sleep. And until then I had sort of been able to run all the time. I kind of prided myself on being able to run on my high energy level. So that shut me right down. And so I went on a little Ambien for two weeks and reset my clock. I didn’t even have any sense of days and nights at that point. and started new rhythms and realized that what I had done was planned my day and squish in God. And what I needed to do was plan my God times and trust that everything else would fit. So there was like a change in perspective and how I did it. And then I also didn’t just take that time in that morning, I took a time at night and away from electronics. I know most people don’t like this Nicole, but I happen to love warm milk. I know weird, so weird.
Sharon 15:31 My little mug of milk at night and I read a real book like with pages and I have an afghan over my knee if it’s, you know, nighttime and I find another time of stillness and I found I needed that. And so then, I added a quiet day a week from sundown, Saturday to sundown Sunday and just refused to work. My family was a little offended by that at first, but I kind of prepared them for it. I would say, now I’m resting starting at sundown tonight, so if you guys need me to help you with your homework or if Ray needed me to wash the car, we needed to do it Saturday afternoon, not, Sunday afternoon. And so there was a, like a reversal in priority. The priorities were, well, I’m not working from sundown Saturday to sundown on Sunday and I’m not working for that first little bit of the day cause it’s my quiet time and I’m quitting at night to have my warm milk and then let’s see what I can fit in with what’s left.
Sharon 16:33 I love that it’s super changed everything. And the amazing thing is that the stopping on those times meant that the other times were more productive, which is kind of funny that I’d be amazed by it because God did set that up right. I mean he said work for six days and stop on the seventh, you know, that is in there. And I have found it proven to be true over and over again, that when I sit and really sit and just get to be with God, sit, the rest of the day just goes better because I’ve had a chance to listen and hear and it’s, it’s sweet. So now I can do my morning time first thing. But can you, you’ve got like that three-year-old that’s probably asking questions first thing when she wakes up. So how do you fit in yours? Nicole Well, I’ve been trying for years to do it first thing in the morning, but I am not an early riser.
Nicole 17:32 So that’s been my, my sacrifice and that God helped me get up in the morning to spend time with him. So the days I don’t get up before my children, I tried to do it first thing. You’ve talked about that before too. Giving him your first free moment, even if it’s not the first few hours of the day. So my husband and children go off to school. I get the little ones playing with something and I sit down and I do those first five free moments. But you want you to said earlier was so good about being intentional about your time. So not just saying like, Oh, I’m going to sit and have this wonderful sweet moment with God, but setting it up ahead of time. Finding your favorite chair, finding your favorite blanket, getting your book and your pen and your favorite hot beverage ready.
Nicole 18:15 You take away all the excuses and it’s almost like something you look forward to like a, like a date with a friend that you’re going to talk to and it’s not like, Oh, I forgot to do my quiet time. Oh, I didn’t do it. I’m a bad Christian today. Right? So I love the joy that comes from the expectation of a meeting with God now as opposed to, Oh, I got to get this, then I gotta do this deep Bible study. It’s like, no, he wants to sit with me and he wants to fill me with love and encouragement for the day and not just, oh, okay, you did your duty. Good job. You read your Bible today. Right? So that has really changed how I view my quiet time with him. I think it does make a difference. Sharon And sometimes we set ourselves up for failure because we think we have to not have a moment, but like five hours with God to be truly holy.
Sharon 18:57 You know? And one reason this is called Sweet Selah Moments is because sometimes they’re brief, but there’s even the difference in how you do a brief time with God, whether it’s a settle down and, oh, teach me Jesus time, or if it’s a read fast and put it aside time. You know what, there’s just a huge difference between the two. And it all comes, it stems from attitude. Uh, and, and also motive I think. I think you and I both grew up in Christian homes, so we know our duty to read the Bible. That’s a duty. And if I see it that way as a duty, it’s different than remembering I’m talking to the King and the Shepherd and the Lord and Father, you know, just saying his names helps me kind of sit in awe that I get to talk to him.
Sharon 19:51 Wow. You know, so, my first thing was I’m getting slammed so hard with insomnia that I had to make changes. I have a thick head I guess. God really had to do that to me. Well, about the same time, this all kind of coalesced together. I don’t remember how old I was, but I was working for Moms in Prayer and it was time for me to go out to California to the annual state coordinator getaway. I was state coordinator for New Hampshire. I took my position seriously. I knew that people had donated money to put me on a plane so that I could learn marvelous things in California. So off I go feeling very sort of important. Sadly, that’s the truth though. I did. And I get to the conference and we’re fine Sunday night, until about three in the morning, Monday when I woke up with the worst case of the flu ever, like the kind you’re like, I know why people die from the flu kind of flu.
Sharon 20:55 It was awful. And they took me to the hospital so everybody else was learning all these truths and I’m, you know, sick. And so I stayed in a sort of a segregated room where people brought me food, gingerly passing it to me from a distance and then turning their heads away. Pretty isolating. You know, I’ve been stuck in this room, Nicole and the windows are open cause it’s California. It’s warm in February and California, amazingly not here in New Hampshire. And I’m hearing them sing worship songs. I love singing worship songs. I couldn’t even talk. I was croaking because my voice was gone. And so I was pretty sad about it, but I figured I’m with prayer warriors, right? They’re praying for my healing. I will pray for my healing and within a day LA LA, I will have conquered the flu and I will be back there learning lessons and, I, I almost felt like God had to do it, which is always a dangerous thing to think because God doesn’t have to do anything that I think he does.
Sharon 22:00 But in my mind, all this money had been donated. Right. And it’s not fair for me to be sick and not learning all these wonderful things. Well. I did not get better. I did not get better Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and we were leaving on Friday. So Thursday afternoon I kind of shuffled out of bed because you can only stay in bed so long. And I sat on this like porch overlooking a mountain. It was beautiful with sun shining on my face, but I was kind of, no, no, I was definitely crabby. I was just mad. I mean, what a waste of a week. And so I kind of randomly flipped open my Bible and I came to the passage where some teacher of the law says to Jesus, what is the greatest commandment? And Jesus answers the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.
Sharon 22:59 That’s the greatest thing you can ever do. And honestly, Nicole, he whispered to me and he said, Sharon, do you love me? And I said, yes, I do. He said, that’s all I want from you this week. And I spent the whole afternoon. I had never spent an afternoon telling God I loved him ever. And that’s the greatest commandment; I just never had. I’d never even thought of doing it all those years. I just sorta did for God. And went to church and read my Bible and, and taught Bible studies, but I never sat and just said, I love you. And it was, absolutely one of the most life changing moments of my life– just sitting there telling him I loved him. And that actually back then was formed the seeds for Sweet Selah Ministries and Sweet Selah Moments because all of a sudden all this doing, you know, I have to do, I have to do, got stripped away from me.
Sharon 24:06 I couldn’t do anything except sit there and cough and tell God I loved him. And suddenly I realized that’s the greatest thing I can do. I mean that’s the greatest. And so it changed my perspective there too. So first I got stopped physically and have the insomnia or maybe I can’t remember the order, but anyways, and then I got stopped spiritually and God just woke me up and said, stop and man, did I stop! So that’s sort of the genesis for what we’re doing here in this podcast is helping women stop and not to stop with the guilt that comes with it. And the, the feeling that you’re being self-indulgent. Cause if it’s a Selah stop the way we’re defining it, it’s a stop with God. It’s a stop to get to know the One that loves us. It’s a declaring of our love for him.
Sharon 25:08 So for those of you that have joined us today, I’m just so glad you are here. And I hope that every podcast is a little moment in your life where you learn a tiny bit more with us. Cause Nicole and I are still learning and we shall confess our sins to you as we go along when we fail. But we so want you to stop and be with the God who loves you. So important. So let me pray and close us out. And then Nicole will have the last word. Oh Father God, how I thank you that what you want most is something that we can do from a sick bed that we don’t have to be the strongest or the prettiest or the most efficient at all. We just have to stop and love the One that loved us so much. He died for us. Oh, Father, forgive me for every time I make other things more important than loving and knowing you and help us in this podcast every single time to look to you, acknowledge you and adore you. In Jesus name. Amen.
Nicole Amen. Oh friend, there’s a lot to talk about, isn’t there? We would love to hear your unique journey to stillness and knowing God too in the days and months ahead. Make sure you check out our show notes and feel free to share comments they can be firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole 26:44 email@example.com search for podcasts to find them on our tabs and please would you follow us on your favorite podcast app? We are brand new as you know and we want others to find out about us. Share us with your friends and tune in next time for our next episode, finding the time for the quiet time. Until then, may you find rest in Jesus who tells us to come to him when we are weary and heavy laden. God bless you.
Speaker 0 27:11 We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a cooperative production of Word radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes, can be firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com. Thank you for joining us.