Keeping God’s Word in our hearts can seem like an insurmountable challenge during the darker days of mommydom.
It seems, lately, that each time I sit down to read God’s Word, I’m thwarted. It’s like my kids have a radar that tells them when I open my Bible or shut the bathroom door. Yelling starts, fighting commences, or one decides at just that particular moment to tell he’s awfully sorry, but there’s been “an accident” and a small clean-up on aisle 5 is needed.
And I watch that precious flame of peace that flickered ever so slightly when I sat down on the couch suddenly get extinguished with a giant bucket of water.
When the bottom falls out and frustration sets in, it’s tempting to throw in the towel on ever having a quiet time. But missional motherhood cannot happen without spending regular time in God’s Word and prayer. It is through the Scriptures, after all, that God aligns our hearts with His heart and helps us to see others how He sees them – with gospel eyes.
Last year, I was able to wake for early devotions before our house sprung to life. I grew spiritually by leaps and bounds as I poured over the Psalms in prayer and praise almost every morning.
This year, however, my boys’ sleeping schedules changed (age 5) without explanation. I suddenly found myself propelled back to the newborn stage getting up 2-3 times a night with each child. And when I finally dragged myself out of bed in the morning, meaningful devotions suddenly became a herculean feat.
For most of this year, I struggled with my inability to maintain my 5 a.m. wake-up call. I felt discouraged, deflated, and extremely frustrated. Finally, I had to come to terms with the fact that quiet times are going to look different at different stages of motherhood. There will be some seasons I can wake to a quiet home and other times I will need to adjust to shorter devotions.
Missional motherhood is NOT about meeting an imaginary standard I’ve set for myself, but trusting my Savior in the midst of challenging days (and nights!).
Looking back, I realize the year I was able to wake at 5 a.m. was a gracious gift meant to prepare me for the difficult days ahead. Many of the truths I gleaned from my walk through the Psalms last year sustained me while our family journeyed over rockier roads and dry patches we never expected to navigate.
So, how did I have a quiet time during those challenging seasons? Here’s a few ideas for mothers are tempted to thrown in towel on ever having a quiet time again.
Read the Bible together (but separate!)
If a child woke early, I’d set them on the couch with their story Bible of choice while I read next to them in my Bible.
I found this worked best, when we had a special reading area already set up. We had our Bibles in a basket by the couch, and I’d give them a granola bar to tide them over until breakfast.
Read the Bible while they are occupied
And by occupied I mean watching TV. I know, I can hear you gasping, but on the difficult days I made this choice, I was renewed, strengthened, and able to finish the day with the right heart. The key is not making a habit of hiring technology to babysit your kids. Remember, this is just a season!
Rely on Scripture memory cards
This year, I positioned Scripture memory cards in prominent places in my home (like above my kitchen sink) to help me to keep God’s Word in my heart. In fact, I started the Abide Groups last Spring when I was desperately clinging to the truths of God’s promises.
On those days where 20-30 minutes of peace to read my Bible could not be found, I used the cards to help me dwell on the riches of God’s love as I scraped leftover casserole from my corning wear.
Sometimes moments of peace can only happen outside the home. If you work, take Scripture cards with you on your morning commute. If you work out, take the cards to the gym.
When I was younger, my mother memorized the entire book of Ephesians on her morning walks. She kept her verses on index cards, but now you can track your progress on your smart phone as you work out.
Remember down time
As missional mothers, we must be intentional with the few hours of quiet we’re given each day. Taking advantage of down time is one way to sneak in a quiet time.
When my children were smaller, I often napped when they napped. For mothers of newborns this can be essential! Today, I’m more tempted to catch up a season of Downtown Abby on Netflix when those rare and glorious afternoon naps roll around, but spending time in God’s Word is usually the better choice for me.
New moms know best what their bodies and souls need, and those needs might change daily. The key is to pay attention to our hearts during those seasons, whatever they might be, and seek our Savior above all else.
So, stay encouraged, Mom, in whatever season you find yourself in! Regardless of where or how you are able to squeeze in a quiet time, be intentional to allow God’s Word to fuel your mission as a missional mother.
Hey, busy Mom! What do you do to sneak in a quiet time?