The spiritual life of a busy mom: Carving out time with God when there’s no time to be had
Written by Julie Vaughan
It’s morning. I sit at my kitchen table, sipping a mug of coffee and smiling as the sun glints across my immaculate countertops. The only sounds I hear are the chirping birds outside my window and the flipping pages of my Bible. I breathe deeply and settle in for my daily devotions with God . . .
The truth is, my mornings look nothing like this.
I usually start my day to the sound of a toddler belting out “Mommy! Mommy!” while impatiently rattling the bars of her crib. Before I can clear my sleep-bleary eyes, I’m tripping over toys, changing diapers, prepping food, laundering clothes, wiping chins and stacking dirty dishes. I’m lucky if I get a shower before 10 a.m., much less spend a quiet, meaningful hour in prayer and Bible study.
Increasingly I recognize that I need to be more purposeful about my devotions. After all, how can I expect to be an example of Christlikeness to my child (and others) when I’m hardly spending any one-on-one time with my Saviour? And yet, given how jam-packed my life is at this stage of early parenthood, it’s difficult to know how to improve my devotional times with God.
A common challenge
I recently took an informal poll of other young, believing moms to see if they had any tips to offer on this topic. I very quickly realized that we could all relate. We sincerely want to make time for devotions, and yet the realities of parenting young children, tending our marriages, taking care of our homes and, for some, juggling careers outside the home, seem to completely fill our day.
One young mother told me, “I often find myself longing for ‘the good old days’ when I had all the time I needed to curl up in a chair with my coffee and enjoy one-on-one time with the Lord. Now I’m lucky if I get 10 minutes to myself, and even luckier if I remember to spend any of those precious moments in prayer!”
Another mom said, “I think when I allow life to get in the way, God is the first thing to go. I always feel He’ll understand, or that skipping one or two days of Bible reading won’t hurt. But it does. I find myself more easily distressed when I haven’t spent time with Him, and my marriage is strained as well. Everything points to Him being our source, yet it’s so easy to push Him away and try to do things on our own.”
The truth is, whether we’re a parent struggling with the challenges of raising young children or a CEO trying to wring every last second out of the day, most of us are busy. It’s easy to push our spiritual life to the bottom of the priority list when our daily to-dos seem out of control. But we can do it! In fact, making devotional time a priority can help everything else in our day fall more smoothly into place – or at least give us the spiritual and mental resources we need to face whatever comes our way!
Spending quality time with God may not always “look” the way you imagine it should, but it can happen. Even small chunks of time with the Lord here and there can add up to meaningful spiritual growth. Here are some practical solutions from other real-life moms:
- One mother recently started spending devotional time with God during the first 20-30 minutes of her twin daughters’ nap time. She views this time as a spiritual act of worship in which she can literally trust God to help her accomplish everything she still needs to do that day. “I find that time alone with God is especially crucial to re-set my priorities and refresh my heart on the days when it feels like I don’t have time to be alone with God today. Those are the days when devotional time with God is most life-giving for me, my husband and my children.”
- Another mom said, “I love to listen to the local Christian station or to Christian CDs in the car. Right now, my favourite is the CD my church’s choir put together last year. It’s full of the praise music we sing every Sunday, so I feel like I’m sitting in my regular worship service every time I listen to it.”
- “I try to make time for Christian books occasionally. And, whenever possible, I look for a women’s Bible study at my church to join. That has always been a blessing, as I’m able to fellowship with other Christian women and moms while finding a quiet hour away from the kids and the constant needs at home.”
- “I keep a weekly prayer journal that’s divided into three parts: thanks, confession and requests.”
- “Surprisingly, I find that moments when I am simply sitting, watching and enjoying my daughter, are moments when I am more aware of God’s presence than ever. That’s when, in my heart, I thank Him for her, recognize how blessed I am and utter quick prayers (two-sentence pleas) to Him for her, for me as her mom, and for my husband.”
- Pray while in the shower or when you’re getting ready for the day.
- Write reminders and memory verses on sticky notes around the house.
- Set a reminder on your phone or computer to remind you each day to fit in some quality time with God.
- Read the Bible with your kids, even if they’re playing on the floor and don’t seem to really be listening. By doing so, you’re setting a good example – and they might even surprise you by how much they absorb!
- Purchase an audio version of the Bible (some websites also offer these). Listen while you cook dinner, fold laundry or do other household tasks. Also great while in the carpool lane!
- Set your children up with a craft project (something that needs minimal supervision) or institute an “alone time” each day when everyone plays or relaxes in their own room. Use this time to study Scripture, read a devotional book or simply pray.
By: Gene Markland, 1.cbn.com
Mother. Just the name evokes a flood of thoughts and memories. Childhood memories of a loving hand to bandage a skinned knee, and a magical kiss upon that bandage that made the pain fade away. The big smile and wild applause from the third row in the audience of a second-grade school play, acknowledging my dramatic interpretation of a tree, a tree that spoke not a word. The bedtime stories and prayers where I learned that the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Sometimes I look at her bloodstained Bible, which she took with her to dialysis treatments in her latter days. There she shared her faith and testimony with the other patients, being a blessing in her time of sickness. Though she is with the Lord, her life and love remain in my heart.
Mother. I am doubly blessed that my child has the best one, a Mother whose child is the center of her world. She’s a Mother who loves, teaches, corrects shares, prays, plays, and focuses herself completely on the health, welfare, and happiness of her child. She’s a Mother who cries every year on the first day of school after we put our daughter on the school bus. So to cheer her up and get her mind off of it, I take her to breakfast at IHOP. It’s hard to cry in your pancakes. She’s a role model our daughter will be hard-pressed to duplicate, though I know she will.
Mother. There are many wonderful Mothers in all our lives and though we honor them every year, it seems inadequate considering what they really deserve.
Mother. There once was a Mother so unique, so precious, that our heavenly Father chose her to be the Mother of His only begotten Son. She was so trusted that even though she was young, inexperienced, and poor, she was chosen to Mother our Lord Jesus. Difficult circumstances were her lot in life, and yet through unspeakable adversity, such as the death threat against her son by the King, she poured herself into her son, who became the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
It makes one wonder, what part of His determination; compassion, patience, longsuffering, and love came from her influence on Him. We assume that He received all of His attributes from His heavenly Father because He is the Son of God. But He is also the Son of man, so we must not forget to honor His Mother for being used of God the Father to instill many of those attributes.
Mother. She’s the one who pushed Jesus into His public ministry by making Him do His first public miracle. John 2:1-11 describes how He wasn’t prepared to turn the water into wine because He said that His time had not yet come.
“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11 NLT).
Like us, He experienced that wonderful force of nature, a Mama who knows best!
He acknowledged her and provided for her even during His torture on the cross.
“When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:26-27 NLT).
Their love and Devotion for each other didn’t end there. As she prayed with the others in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, He filled her with the Holy Spirit, and their relationship continues to this day. She is an example to Mothers, as He is an example to Sons and daughters.
Mother. Love her. Cherish her. Honor her. She deserves it!
A Tired Mom Can Be the Most Influential
By: September McCarthy, proverbs31.org
OCTOBER 25, 2017
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
Raising daughters afforded me many opportunities to train my girls to be brave, bold, independent, strong, responsible women. As I continue in this daily investment, I’ve realized that my early motherhood was missing a key ingredient:
I had forgotten to teach my girls the value of rest and the gift of help.
For two years, I struggled with a chronic illness that required weekly medical intervention. This affected my energy, strength and motherhood. I didn’t tell my children the truth about my physical trials. I preserved my brave exterior, but I was unable to do all the things I once did, and motherhood took a necessary backseat to rest and healing.
I was tired and weak, and everything I did for my family had to be put on hold. This wrecked me to the core. I felt like I was abandoning my post.
I experienced feelings of guilt and anger over the things that made me feel weary and incapable. My children deserved to know, because I needed their help, and God wanted to use this. I was getting in the way of receiving His Grace and their help and understanding.
When our kids see us put on brave faces and give more to everyone around us while barely holding on to our sanity and strength, they see women without boundaries, void of peace. Motherhood does not have to be drudgery or a source of pride, where we carry the banner of independence and espouse a false message of “doing it all.” When we’re honest and truthful about our circumstances, we allow an infusion of hope and help into our world.
The weakest moments in motherhood can be the catalyst for my children to seek God’s strength and see His power. When we keep our needs hidden from our children, how will they know our true source of strength? We need to introduce them to the true Redeemer in all our pain and weakness. I came to realize these questions deserved answers:
- If our children can’t see God at work in their own homes, how will they learn to lean on Him when they leave our safe spaces?
- If our children don’t serve one another and bear burdens of those closest to them, how will they live out this biblical principle later in life?
- If our children haven’t seen our reliance on God, will they grow up to be overwhelmed adults, forgetting Who can rescue them from their lowest moments?
- If we pretend to have it all together, how will our children know Who really holds us together?
If there’s one thing I would have changed in my motherhood, it would be this — I would have shared my weaknesses and asked for help. I would have been honest with my kids when I was worn thin and could barely hang on.
Just as the Lord instructed the Apostle Paul, He reminds us in today’s key verse how God’s power comes alive in our weakness: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
We never want our children to see us as “strong women” who don’t need anyone or anything, while we fall apart at the seams in our private spaces. A truly strong, grace-filled woman loves Jesus more than her pride and invites others to be a part of her journey. Everyday motherhood requires daily prayer and an urgency to know God more. This is the gift you will pass on to your children daily.
Mothers, let your children see you need Jesus!