“Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).
A daily time in God’s Word was my lifeline while our children were young.
I know that even fifteen minutes of Bible reading and prayer can be incredibly challenging when the house is brimming with energetic children and sweet babies that interrupt normal nighttime sleep schedules. But it is worth fighting for! Mothering is a demanding job, and it is easy for life to get out of focus if all we see is the diapers and sticky floors and laundry hampers. It is easy to forget Who we are doing this for, and why we are doing it.
It’s very easy to become busy, busy Marthas, “distracted with much serving,” as we devote our time to the many needs of others. We can become so preoccupied with all the demands on our time that we neglect to sit at Jesus’ feet with Mary. In doing this, we are in effect saying that we can manage without Him. We can’t handle this life and its demands all by ourselves. We will spiritually starve if we do not feed on God’s Word.
- A time of prayer and Bible reading acknowledges our dependence on God for all we do.
- Steeping ourselves in the Word feeds us and equips us for teaching and training our children.
- It gives us an underlying peace in the midst of the chaos and noise that often accompanies a house full of children.
- It strengthens and encourages us and keeps our perspective right.
Our bodies are refreshed by sleep. Our souls are refreshed by the Holy Spirit as we feed on God’s Word. But it’s a challenge to make the time for regular reading and studying of the Bible. A mother’s life is full of interruptions. If you’re having trouble getting into the Word, evaluate your day.
What keeps you from spending this time with the Lord each day? List the reasons that come to mind. Are you not getting enough sleep? Are there too many interruptions? Can you not think two coherent thoughts in a row because of children and household activity? Are you just too busy to make the time? Do you lack direction, simply not knowing what to do when you do have a moment to read?
What can you do to prioritize a time for prayer and reading each day?
- It may sound horrible, and it may feel even more horrible when you do it, but one way to make time is to get up earlier. Morning is not the only time to commune with God, but getting up even fifteen minutes earlier can purchase you fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time with the Lord. For me, this has always been easier than seizing this time later in the day when everything and everyone is already bustling.
- Find someone else to encourage you and hold you accountable. Do you have a friend who would also like to commit to a regular time of prayer and reading? Hold each other accountable. Set your alarms and call each other to make sure you’re awake and moving. Read Nicole Whitacre’s description of a “5 a.m. Club” here, or visit www.goodmorninggirls.org, an organization of ladies who are encouraging each other to be consistent and accountable in their Bible reading. Would your mother or an older woman from church be willing to minister to you by calling and checking in with you each morning? Could your husband ask how you did each evening?
- Even if you get up earlier than you usually have, you may very well not end up alone. How do children know when we get up early, even when we’re tiptoeing and not flushing the toilet or turning the coffee pot on? Design a plan. What will you do with children who wake up before you have spent your time in the Word? Here are some ideas:
- If the child can read, ask him to read aloud with you, or for you if a younger child needs your attention.
- Read aloud with the children who are awake. Ask them to sit quietly or at least not talk as they busy themselves around the room.
- Encourage your children to have their own Bible time while you have yours. Tiny ones can look at Bible story board books (rotate several different books in a basket near your reading station), and older children can look at or read Bible story books such as The Picture Bible or The Jesus Storybook Bible. Set a timer, and ask the children to quietly read or look at their own books until the time goes off.
- Involve the children in your study. Use a Bible with wide margins (such as the Inductive Study Bible), or print out the passage you are studying and put it in a notebook. Encourage your children to help you look for and mark key or repeated words, let them draw tiny pictures in the margins to illustrate the passage, give them a word to listen for while you read aloud, or simply ask them to quietly hold your pen or colored pencils while you read to them.
- Assign an older child to play with younger children while you finish your reading.
For mothers who are caring for tiny ones during the night, an early rising may not be practical. Next Thursday we’ll think creatively of other ways to spend time in the Word during the day or in the middle of the night!