Woman wearing a green jacket sitting on wooden dock overlooking a lake

I learned to go to God when I was lonely in 2008 when our marriage was very cold and there was a huge wall between Greg and me.

Instead of expecting Greg to meet the deepest needs of my soul and heart, as I had done for over 14 years in our marriage, I discovered that Jesus can do that in ways that no husband or human ever could.

Greg was working full-time and working on renovating our house with his dad another 40 hours per week for about 2 years. And then the next few years, they worked 30-35 hours per week on the house until midnight most nights. So I had a lot of time to myself once our young kids were asleep and during naps.

I Took Serious Steps to Draw Near to God

I thought I knew what salvation meant. I had admitted I was a sinner at the age of five. I repented of my sins and turned to Jesus in faith, receiving His gift of His death on the cross and His payment for my sins to make me right with God. But I didn’t understand the Lordship of Christ. Until December 2008.

First, I asked God if there was anything I was doing that contributed to the problems in our marriage. And boy, did He ever show me! Turns out, there was a big beam in my own eye that I needed to remove that I hadn’t even noticed before.Stuff like pride, a critical spirit, trying to control Greg, disrespect, self-righteousness, and even some idolatry (of myself, happiness, Greg, marriage, kids, and lots of stuff that I really desired more than I desired Jesus for a long time).

Then I really saw the depth of my sin because God graciously opened my eyes when I asked Him to show me any sin in my life for the first time. And I realized I was trusting myself and living for my will and my sinful desires and in the power of my old sinful nature. That was not going to work at all.

I wanted God’s Spirit to fill me and I wanted to live in my new nature in Christ from that moment on.

If I really belonged to Jesus, I had to live for Him as Lord. I had to be willing to allow Him into everything in my life and let Him call the shots and make any changes He wanted to make.

I began to spend 3-5 hours per day 7 days per week reading the Bible, praying, journalling, and studying about sound doctrine to correct my thinking about who God is, who I am, what marriage is, what it means to be a godly wife, what godly femininity and masculinity are, and God’s design for family and individual believers.

Prayer and Time with God and His Word

I learned to go be still before the Lord and wait… a LOT. Which was REALLY hard to do at first. I HATED waiting!

Digging deeply into God’s Word, I decided that anything in my life that didn’t align with God’s Word had to go. No matter what God may want me to do, I wanted to obey. That is how Jesus says I can know that I love Him. Because I obey (with the power of the Holy Spirit He provides, definitely not in my own strength.)

His Word became the lamp for my feet and the light for my path. No more rushing ahead on to my agenda. I wanted to follow Him. Not try to lead.

I decided I wanted everything He wanted for me no matter the cost. No matter how hard it may be. Because I finally grasped the depth of His love and wisdom and that He knows infinitely better than I do about what is best.

After all, He is sovereign, omniscient, perfect, holy, omnipresent, outside of time and space… so how could I possibly know what is best when I only have a fraction of His knowledge?

Prayer had been something I had always done a lot, but now, I began to ask God to change me and to teach me His ways instead of trying to tell Him what I thought He should do.

I focused on not complaining and trying to control God like I had been doing before and humbled myself, begging Him to teach me and make me holy and purify me so I could be pleasing to Him.

Praise and Gratitude

I began to write down praises to Him. I started writing long lists of things I was thankful for. I sang praises to God. I confessed any sin immediately as soon as I saw it and turned from it, seeking to do things God’s way. In time, I began to pray God’s promises and truth over my life and my husband and children.

Journaling and Taking My Thoughts Captive for Christ

In journalling my thoughts and feelings to God, I found I could lay everything out honestly before Him and then compare my thoughts with the Bible and weed out wrong thinking, lies, and toxic stuff before I attempted to address my concerns with Greg or others. It was a great way for me to learn to take my thoughts captive for Christ.

And I could tear up the pages after I wrote all the awful thoughts out and then replaced them with God-honoring thoughts so no one would ever have to see them. (Although, sometimes I wish I had kept them because they would make great blog post fodder now! Ha!)

I Got to Know Who God Really Is

I studied verses about God and who He claims to be all throughout the Bible. I listened to Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology Podcasts about the Attributes of God and the Providence of God.

I began to understand that God is truly the Greatest Treasure in the universe. That nothing matters as much as knowing and loving Him and living for His purposes and His will.

I found out that He is more than enough. Christ is sufficient. If I have Him, I have absolutely everything that matters most.

I let Him into the darkest corners of my mind, inviting Him to shine the blazing light of His Word into my deepest motives so He could help me tear out everything that dishonored Him and grieved His heart.

I Learned to Recognize His Voice and Resist the Enemy’s Voice

I began to learn to recognize God’s still small whisper and prompting once I stopped giving the enemy of my soul an audience and authority to speak into my life by repenting of sin and getting rid of grudges, bitterness, and resentment.

Instead, I embraced forgiveness, mercy, and grace because I finally experienced the depth of God’s incredible forgiveness, mercy, and grace that He offered so generously to me.

Once we see the depths of our own sin and the extreme price that Jesus paid to cleanse us of our sin on the cross and just how massive our debt to Him is, we discover the power of God to share His love with others, too.

The more time I spent with God just seeking Him and wanting to be closer to Him, the more I loved that time. And the more He changed my desires to match His own and my thinking to match more of His thinking. And He continues to do this.

My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand

John 10:27-28

I Focused on God’s Promises and Claimed Them for Myself

I saw the Bible as God’s incredible love letter to me and decided to build my life on His Word, His truth, and His promises. I made lists of His unconditional promises and then His conditional promises.

I decided I wanted absolutely everything God had for me. I didn’t want to miss out on one good gift He wanted to give or any part of Himself He wanted to share.

What a blessing to get to stand on God’s promises like:

  • He will never leave me or forsake me.
  • He is my mighty fortress and strong tower.
  • Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ.
  • I am created in the image of God and dearly loved by Him so I have worth because of this.
  • Jesus is preparing a place for me in heaven.
  • God has good purposes for me and will use all that happens in my life, the good and the bad, for my ultimate good and His glory so I can’t lose.
  • God’s perfect love melts away all my fear.
  • He will be with me through every trial and my Good Shepherd knows how to provide for me, lead me, and protect me to take me safely home with Him.
  • God has a good plan for me and good purposes for my life.
  • The Lord is completely good, there is no evil or shadow in Him at all so I can totally trust Him.

It is incredible that the God of the universe could love us with such a deep love and that He wants to be close to us. He wants to fellowship with us. He longs to have all of us and to make something beautiful of our lives and families for His glory.

I am still learning. Still growing. I still have an infinite number of things I can’t wait to learn and so many things I am excited for God to show me. Nope… I have not arrived at some level of total holiness. And I won’t arrive at perfection until I step into the gates of heaven by His grace. But I am not who I was.

In this season of my life, I don’t always have 3-5 hours per day to devote to time with God, but I do set aside 60-90 minutes in the morning and then as many hours as I can spare on Saturday mornings. Being with Him is the best part of my day!

When I Allow God to Work: Miracles Can Happen

And when God’s Spirit is in control, His love, blessing, and healing pour through me and my life — spilling over into all of my relationships. He gives me the wisdom, power, and help I need to treat others with His divine agape love, honor, and respect. Including my husband!

God has done so much healing and changing in my life and in my marriage and family. I long for everyone to get to taste how good He is.

God is faithful so I am confident that He who began a good work in me will complete it. And He will do the same for all who seek Him wholeheartedly.

Much love, dear sisters! ❤

Share

Have you learned to make the Lord your all-in-all?

Tell us a bit about your journey. What baby steps did you take to get there?

Any lightbulb moments you’d like to share?

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11 thoughts on “How I Began to Grow Close to the Lord

  1. I used to pick up the phone and call my husband when things were going awry in our homeschool day. I started praying to God instead. Homeschooling is meant to change me as well so if I don’t partner with God I will not see the fruits of that (or know what to do!). Letting God lead our day is always so wonderful…many little love notes from God pop up. I don’t have as much time to be in the Word but I can pray anytime, anywhere.

    1. Such a great detailed synopsis of growing in Christ. I am part of the way there in the journey, but I have a long ways to go in wanting everything that the Lord wants for me. Thank you for this post!

      1. Hyun Min,

        I pray this will be an encouragement to us all to seek the Lord first and to remember that His will and His plans are infinitely greater than anything we could come up with on our own.

        Blessings!

  2. Thank you for this encouraging post, April! I love hearing the steps you took to grow closer to God. And this post shows how much peace and contentment we can find when we are intentional about putting God first.

  3. Thank you April. This fits in right where God has been speaking to me. I think I get so lost in all that’s around me and I forget to ** stop, listen to His voice, discern and move forward** Thank you for sharing your journey.

    1. Dee,

      It is very easy to get distracted or to charge ahead doing what I think I should do to make an impact on the world. But there is a whole lot of wisdom in being still and listening then following.

      Blessings, dear sister!

  4. Thank you so much for this post! It is definitely timely and much needed. Thank you for being open and vulnerable in sharing and helping us to grow spiritually. My husband bought me your book, The Peaceful Wife, and then I found your blog. I am working on taking my thoughts captive and listening to hear Gods voice. I like to type out my thoughts and prayers. It can be so ugly but it is nice to get it all out and God knows my heart anyway. But I love that you said you take that and compare it to Gods word. That is such an obvious thing, ha, but I do not do that. I will start doing that. I normally type out all my ugly and then end change it around to praising and thanking God. Thanks again, April!

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