Written By: Karen Sweeney-Ryall
I have known and loved God all my life and have been blessed to realize that He loves me too, even through all the years that I was part of a church that emphasized rules more than a relationship with Him. My deeper level of love for God and my more intimate relationship with Him grew out of a Bible study for weight loss in the late 1990s. One of the scriptures we studied was Mark 12:30 which states:
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
These words went deep into my heart and led me to ask myself if I was loving God with every part of me and was I putting Him first in my life. I took inventory of how I started and ended my day, what I read, what I listened to, what I watched on TV, what I focused on and my priorities. My desire was, and still is, that He would be first in all these aspects of my life and glorified through my choices and actions.
As many others have, I fell so in love with God and spent hours each day worshipping Him, reading His Word and devotionals and Christian books and praying to Him. This was not a requirement; it was a joy! I discovered the wonderful gift of His Word coming alive to me. I became born again, aware of all that Jesus did for us and Spirit-filled. I am so grateful ever since. I basked in His awesome presence and love. I hungered and thirsted for more of Him and His Word. And I came to realize that what the world offers is not all bad but certainly not as rich and wonderful as the things of God.
A few years later, our family finances led me to go back to work full time. And the demands of my time and energy in my job and family have impacted the time spent in glorious fellowship with God. I have grown in knowledge and understanding and ministry but have not had the same intimate abiding on a regular basis that I had the first years. I know that I need it. I recognize that Jesus’ level of anointing and power came from His time in prayer and seeking the Father’s will. But all sorts of responsibilities and distractions in life have interfered . . . and I have allowed that.
So I am trying now . . . to make time with God a top priority in my day, more than it has been. As my pastor said today in the sermon “if we make time for Him, He will help us get the other things done”. I want to wake up earlier and start my day with a time of worship and prayer. I am attending a corporate prayer time at my church. I want to spend less time on my laptop and more time in His Word. Most of all I want to simply sit at His feet and be in His presence and allow Him to feed and mature me as I am connected to Him. I want to be more like Mary and choose the “better thing”.
If you read this, I hope you will pray for me to follow through and also decide to do the same. There is no higher calling, no greater use of our time.
Until Next Time,
I am Karen, married to Roger, mother of Christina, Laura, Tim and Natalie, “Gigi” to 3 wonderful grandchildren and blessed to be a young great-grandma to Sophia, age 1. I am thankful to have many precious, wonderful friends.
I am a devoted follower of Jesus and my prayer is that His light shines through me and His love flows through me to others. He has carried me through the many ups and downs of life and proven to be so faithful. My desire is to share what I have learned, wisdom gained and deeper knowledge of who God is with others, allowing God to make “Beauty from Ashes” of the difficult times of my life. I am a hospice bereavement coordinator and hope to help those who have suffered loss mourn, regroup and find joy and meaning in their life again. I love to read and am writing my first book “Revealing Your Treasure Hidden in Darkness” about finding your identity, calling and purpose for the next season of your life. I was thrilled to attend the She Speaks conference in July 2015 with Proverbs 31 Ministries. I am becoming healthier by following the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan. I love to travel to see family and friends and especially enjoy beach vacations.