There’s something about school starting – even if you don’t have kids in school yet – that feels like a built-in fresh start.  So this month’s column is going to be about you and small ways you can take your spiritual walk to a new level.

Admittedly, some of these ideas are going to be totally basic, but some might be brand new ideas to you.  So, just take what feels right to you and walk away from the rest, with no guilt at all.

Buy a Bible.  I highly recommend the New International Version for easy reading and understanding.

Read your Bible.  A great way to dig in is to read a Psalm or Proverb each day, along with several verses of one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John).

Get yourself a journal.  Even if you’re not a huge fan of writing, keeping a journal can help to keep your mind focused and sane in the middle of the toddler years.  Write anything you want in there… cute things your kids say, prayer requests and answers, Scripture verses that mean a lot to you, anything.

Plan. Pick a time and place to spend with God.  I don’t want you to be rigid but if you don’t have some kind of plan, you’ll more than likely never get around to it.  Ideas for the tired mommy: get up ten minutes before anyone else in your family does, get in the carpool line a few minutes early, ask your husband to watch the kids right after dinner so you can sneak off, even ask a friend to trade babysitting for an extended time of solitude with God.  Do what you have to do.

Companions.  Get yourself in a small group or ask a friend, and start studying the Bible together, encouraging each other to let it change you.

Church.  If you’re not already going to a church that you and your family love and are involved in, now is the perfect time. 

For those of you who feel like I’ve just added a huge burden on your shoulders and another six things to your never-ending to-do list, listen to these sweet words from Scripture:

Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me; show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.

God isn’t waiting for you so he can shame you for not coming to him more often… he just wants to shower you with his love and compassion because he loves the sound of our voice and the sight of our face.  How amazing is that?

And for those of you might be thinking, I do all that and still it feels flat, let me encourage you as well.  Isaiah says:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; You are mine.  You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you.”

God wants to redeem you and your life, every part of it, and he is calling you by name because he literally knows your name.  He knows you.  He wants you to know him and to experience his great love for you.

Take time this fall to go deeper with the God who created you.  Let him lead you, guide you, and fill you with his love.

(c) Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2011

lisabeth is the author of He Is Just That Into You: Stories of a Faithful God who Pursues, Engages, and Has No Fear of Commitment (WinePress), In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother’s Heart (Xulon), and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom’s Weary Soul (Kregel).  Here newest book, One Girl, Third World: One Woman’s Journey into Social Justice is available on Kindle only at Amazon.com.

Visit her blog here or watch Elisabeth and her friends spread hope through Africa with Samaritan’s Purse.