How NOT to write a Devotional Blog post, in 10 easy steps

alarm clock 4Step 1: Set your clock for a bit earlier than usual, so that you can write your first draft before the two-year-old wakes up.  Then hit snooze until the German Shepherd sticks his cold nose in your face and wills you to let-him-out-for-pete’s-sake-what’s-wrong-with-you.

Step 2: Brew a large cup of coffee and decide to check your email while the coffee is brewing. 30 minutes later …when you’ve answered three emails, deleted 12 others, caught up on Facebook (including taking your turn in Words with Friends) and checked the weather… your coffee is cold, and the toddler is stirring.

Step 3: Hurriedly read a daily on-line devotional, mutter the verse to yourself, and head upstairs to get the little girl, who is now loudly demanding your presence. She has soaked through her PJs overnight and her crib sheet is wet, too, so you spend some time cleaning up and getting her dressed. Bring her back downstairs, catch sight of the computer and wonder, “What was that verse I just read?”

cup-of-coffee-clip-art_Step 4: Figure out something that the girl will eat, put it in front of her at the kitchen island, along with juice and a continuous playlist of “Kipper the Dog” YouTube videos on your laptop. Microwave the coffee, and return to the other PC to collect your thoughts. See that you have a response to one of your emails which needs another immediate reply.

Step 5: Stop to wipe up spilled juice (we know how to take our sippy cup lid off now…isn’t that special?). Pick up bits of string cheese, raisins and goldfish crackers off the floor (don’t judge me)… get out crayons and paper, return to coffee, which is cold again. Microwave it.

Step 6: Begin to write blog post, ignoring for the moment that you have no title and don’t know where the thread of thought is going. Attempt to also ignore that the girl is feeding goldfish to the dog and coloring on the tabletop. Complete one paragraph. Realize you’ve just woven together Mark 7:27-28 and the “Kipper The Dog” theme song. As you contemplate whether that’s something you can work with, stop because girl has fallen off the stool at the kitchen island where she prefers to eat.

Step 7: Having given kisses and hugs, and refilled the juice cup, return to desk. Sip cold coffee and decide that it’s not worth another trip to the microwave. Look for more quotes to support your main idea, and get distracted looking at the bargain book page on Amazon. Stop yourself before buying your third copy of  The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh, even though it IS on sale.

Step 8: Wake up to the fact that the child is no longer in the kitchen, but is creating mayhem in the living room with multiple DVD cases, all the couch cushions, and a box of Kleenex. Stop her. Rationalize that paying attention to the toddler trumps trying to write something profound for the moment. Swill the rest of the cold coffee, put on jackets (yours and hers) and shoes (ditto) and head out to “take a walk in the sunshine” (her request), …all while you struggle to jettison “They call him Kipper…”, which seems to be auto-looped in your brain.

Step 9: Hours later, after rock and stick collecting, swinging, sliding, one scraped knee (which was kissed-&-made-better), and some more miscellaneous food items (half a banana, two bites of yogurt, a cracker with peanut butter, AND two jelly beans because you promised), it’s nap time… for her, not you. Make some grown-up lunch. Sit at computer and stare at what you wrote earlier. Re-read it several times. Eventually realize that it makes considerably less sense than if the now-sleeping child had written it. Brew more coffee. Stare at screen some more.

Step 10: Hear little girl awaken from her nap. Surrender. Hit “Move to trash”. Decide to serve goldfish crackers and string cheese for dinner.



There are times in all our lives when we beat ourselves up for all the things that we “should be doing”…but as the late Brennan Manning was fond of saying: “Don’t should on yourself.”

Here’s another quote of his, a little longer:

“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God… It is a strange fact that Christians and even ministers frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they will allow nothing to disturb them. They think they are doing God a service in this but actually they are disdaining God’s “crooked but straight path”. It is part of the discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can perform service and that we do not assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow it to be arranged by God.” 
― The Wisdom of Tenderness: What Happens When God’s Fierce Mercy Transforms Our Lives

Brennan died last Friday. I had the pleasure and privilege of hearing him speak once, and I’ve been nourished by several of his books. I’m pretty sure I know what he’d have to say about my attempts to do something ‘profound’…

I bet he’d say to eat the goldfish, kiss the child, and thank the Father.

That sounds like a good plan.

28 responses to “How NOT to write a Devotional Blog post, in 10 easy steps

  1. Amen and Amen! Some days are like this… That would be why I haven’t written in months. My brain refuses to work in a way that creates cohesive thoughts that make sense to anyone. So I cuddle my kids instead.


    • And you have a few extra “steps” in your list which would aggravate that refusal. Right, my friend? Thanks for reading! Cuddle away!

  2. You might have stumbled onto the formula some preachers use for sermons.

    • Fortunately, NOT the preachers at my church. And I will resist the urge to say something feminists would hate. 🙂

  3. I say thank you! We are doing God’s work and if we can just read a quick devotional and think of it that day, we’re getting close to him. At times, I’m so tired that I could cry and I just can’t find time to sit and meditate for any time or I’m falling asleep. Thanks for your inspiration.

    • I remember the frustration of not having energy to read and pray, when we were raising our boys. Now with our resident granddaughter, I don’t sweat it so much. I know how quickly it passes! For now, this IS my most important job…God bless and strengthen you as you do His work today.

  4. “eat the goldfish, kiss the child, and thank the Father.” Love it!

  5. GBL…you made me smile, laugh, and reflect. How often, are we so “set” in OUR plans? Ours and His…..trying to make them the same. Just a few “thoughts” from the Scriptures:

    Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

    James 4:13-15 (NIV)
    “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

    And perhaps my favorite. From the latter part of Luke 22:42 (NIV)
    “….yet not my will, but yours be done.”

    PS: I will miss Mr. Manning, and wonder what other gems he could have written. For me, The Ragamuffin Gospel was such a treasure.

    • Thanks, PGH, I always appreciate your encouragement! Have you read “Ruthless Trust”? That was a formative book for me. Also an early one of his (which he signed for me), “Lion and Lamb.”

  6. Cute! and profound 😀 I remember those days, when I had little ones… *sigh*.
    Now, I’ll get distracted by other things of course, but I just wanted to say, one day… you will long for those days, which are true blessings in the disguise of distraction. (heehee… for me, I would go to the potty and it was there, on the toilet, that I would be able to be still and know that He was God.)
    I miss the days of caring for my precious children… and I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

    • Thank you, Teach! Actually, this is our second go-round. After enjoying an empty nest for awhile (along with much better devotional time!)…we are raising our granddaughter. I appreciate all these moments much more this time around, I’m finding. Benefit of mature perspective–which compensates for having less energy than I did 20+ years ago! I’m glad you enjoyed this post.

      • Your GrandBaby? WOW, much respect to you girl… don’t think I could muster up that energy! LOL I could tell by your post that you are aware and appreciative of the blessing, even though it interfered with your plan 😉

  7. How lovely! I laughed. And then saw the truths in your post.

  8. Reblogged this on Winnowing…sorting the wheat and chaff of my thoughts and commented:

    This is a pretty fair description of my blogging life right now. Explains my silence here, anyway!

  9. Well! Didn’t you hit it on the head! It began like any other busy mother’s bemused account of desires thwarted but took me where I wasn’t expecting to go. Thanks for posting.

  10. Just lovely and truthful GBL 🙂

  11. As I told you earlier, Sis: great message…, great post.

  12. Fun post on how disruptions lead us astray from our intended or planned tasks. Keep the goldfish, little girl, cold coffee and hands on the keyboard.

    Wow, you and I both love Brennan Manning……..such a gifted man. I/we will miss his provoking insight on what God wants us to do. I’ve read all of his books, attended several of his amazing spiritual retreats, and am amazed at how God used his brokenness to bring many into the kingdom.

    Keep on keeping on, in Jesus.


    • godsbooklover

      Thanks for reading, and for commenting, Denny. You sound like a kindred spirit! Hope you visit again…
      In His grip, GBL

  13. As an aspiring devotional blogger and mom to a 19-month-old, I can completely relate to this! Especially the goldfish on the floor!

    • Thank you, Joy! I appreciate your commenting. God’s best to you as you begin your blogging adventure. I’ve certainly had ups and downs over the years, but I have found the blogging community to be very supportive and encouraging. Hope you visit us again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s