I really enjoyed reading and studying my Bible in my single years. As a school teacher, I had summers free and I have fond memories of early morning hours with my Bible and notebook in our sun-filled “dining room” (a generous term for the eating space in our little hovel). The Word was “alive and powerful” to me in those days.
Something happened when I got married. In my newlywed excitement, I naively viewed my husband as the “spiritual leader” who would take care of all my spiritual needs. Why would I need to spend my own time in the Word? We were also weathering a season of church homelessness as we wandered about trying to find the right church home. And married life was filled with a whole new array of distractions and time-and-energy consumers, especially as babies started joining us.
My Bible sat on the shelf until it was time to grab it for church on Sunday, and then when our firstborn came along, I was too busy walking him back and forth in the foyer to even sit down, let alone open my Bible and follow the sermon for more than a minute or two at a time.
Of course, my perspective on life, without the nourishment of daily feeding on God’s Word, became distorted. Marriage was harder than I expected it to be, and I was discouraged. The baby was fussy – really fussy – and I wavered between anger and despair much of the time. We lived in the city, a huge adjustment after my small-town single life, and I was lonely – no friends nearby and, without a commitment to a church, very little encouragement and support from my brothers and sisters in Christ.
When our second little guy joined the family, with his own set of health challenges, I spiraled down into one of the most discouraging seasons of my life. My days held the many joys that come with early motherhood, but also the frustrations, the cluelessness, the isolation, and the exhaustion that can be a real part of mothering as well.
When our second-born faced some feeding issues that threw us into an almost never-ending, sleepless cycle of just trying to keep him nourished and alive, I eventually looked into the mirror of our circumstances and realized that they reflected my own spiritual condition. I was starving. I was trying to function on my own in a state of constant spiritual low blood sugar, unable to see the goodness of God because I barely saw Him at all. The strength I so desperately needed from His Word was not there.
So, out of desperation, I took my Bible off the shelf and opened it to the Psalms.
And that’s when God started breathing life back into my spirit. My circumstances certainly weren’t as dire as David’s, but his words comforted me, and helped me voice my discouragement and need to God, my Father, who had been waiting for me to turn to Him for help. I was reminded anew of His active, loving, sovereign presence in my life.
I took my colored pencils out and started marking words in the psalms that told me who God is and what He is able to do. My study was in little snatches, and it was definitely not a quiet time, but I was finding nourishment and strength for the job God had given me to do. I had a renewed joy and a new perspective on my role as a mother and wife, serving my Lord.
Eventually God led me to what is now called The New Inductive Study Bible, and I found that, even with two needy little boys, I could study the Bible, and that studying it was actually easier than just reading it. I had something to look for, something to keep my overwhelmed mind from wandering, and something that made me want to come back to the Word over and over.
I know I’m not the only mother who has experienced this sort of struggle. While we give of ourselves twenty-four hours a day, it’s easy to think we’re too busy to even eat breakfast, let alone feed on God’s Word. Even if we want to spend time in the Word, we can’t read more than a sentence or two before we get interrupted, or before we start thinking about what’s in the fridge for dinner, or before we just plain fall asleep from exhaustion.
That’s why the Busy Mamas Bible studies exist. Mothers need help. They need help with laundry, with cooking, with child-training, with cleaning. And they need help finding the time to be fed and strengthened from God’s Word.
The study of John 15 that we are about to begin is about abiding and about our inability to bear fruit in life unless we’re abiding in Christ. Just as the branches are completely unable to produce fruit unless they abide in the vine, we will certainly wither and become fruitless if we’re not abiding in Jesus, the true vine.
Come and join me. Let’s draw close to God through His Word and learn from Him. Let’s gain a renewed perspective on the life that only He can give. We’ll be reminded of why we need to abide in Him, why He does His pruning work in our lives, and why we should expect the world to treat us the same way it treated His Son.
We start this Saturday, July 1! If you subscribe to this blog, you’ll receive a new 5-15 minute lesson in your email inbox every morning. If you don’t think you can manage that much time, be sure to read this and this for helpful ideas. You don’t need an official, uninterrupted quiet time.” You just need a desire to be in the Word, the determination to grab the snatches of time you can and make them count, a Bible, a handful of colored pencils, a notebook (if you want), and a heart that is ready to hear and obey. <3
I’ll give you a few more details tomorrow!