It’s hard to have a quiet time when you’re a mom.
I’m not talking about actual moments of quiet when there are two very talkative and busy preschoolers singing and dancing their way through life, although those are rare – and much appreciated when they happen.
For about four years – roughly from the time of my eldest daughter’s birth – until earlier this year when my youngest started preschool, I struggled to have the kind of devotional time that I was used to. My youngest daughter is not a great sleeper, so I spent most of the last two years in a permanent state of sleep-deprivation. Faced with the choice of 15 minutes of extra sleep or getting up earlier to have a quiet time, I chose sleep, figuring I’d fit my devotion in later in the day. Sometimes I did, but too often, I didn’t.
I felt guilty about it. How could I be teaching my children to love Jesus when I couldn’t manage a “proper” quiet time every day? It took me a while to get over this feeling, to understand that God knew exactly where I was at that point, and that I wasn’t a failure as a Christ-follower or mother because I wasn’t having a daily, sit-down quiet time.
When you are a parent, particularly if you’re at home with your children all day, you need that time with God. On the days when I didn’t have a quiet time, when I hadn’t been filled with God’s Word, when I didn’t feel his Spirit, I was irritable and short-tempered and felt empty. But when I had prayed, and read his Word, and asked for his strength, I was more patient and felt less overwhelmed. That’s still the case. I can’t do this parenting thing in my own strength.
I learned eventually to find moments throughout the day where I could connect with God. Reading a devotional during the girls’ naptime. Singing along to a worship CD in the car. Sticking up Scripture verses around the house. Praying whenever I felt nudged to do so.
I also found that as I prepared memory verses and activities for my daughters, I was being reminded of lessons or pointed to new ideas. I’ve made a concerted effort to try to bring Scripture into every activity I do with the girls because I want them to see God in everything.
I still struggle to get up earlier for a devotion, but these days I’m able to have a sit-down quiet time when I return home from dropping the girls at school. I treasure this time, but I am actually glad that I was forced to find other ways of connecting with God when I couldn’t always have a quiet time.
You can follow Mel’s writing at her blog ‘Wind in a Letterbox‘