If there is one thing I have learned and had to relearn and will probably have to learn a thousand more times before I die, it is this:
I need God.
I need Him every moment of everyday, whether I think I do or not. Those times when I think (only in my head, because we gotta look righteous, right? *kidding*) “I got this today.” God usually shows me in difficult ways that I do not “got this.”
I need God more than I need my cup of coffee in the morning and a good pre-natal vitamin. And it isn’t so much that my day itself will turn into a hot mess without God, but I turn into a hot mess without God.
So if I need God so badly everyday, yet am sparse on time, what am I going to do? I mean, five kids don’t raise themselves. Dishes, laundry, teaching, helping the kids… They can, I guess, but have you read Lord of the Flies? Not recommended.
And when I talk about spending time with God everyday, I’m not going to belay you into a guilt trip of how much time it must take, or how it is your duty, or you are living in sin if you miss a day. Because the real truth is if we view this time as something to check off a list, or as a cosmic appointment that, if missed, sends us into condemnation, then we are looking at it all wrong.
God loves us. He knows time in His Word is good for us. He loves to hear us come to Him in prayer. He created us for a relationship with Himself. So when we don’t have that time with Him, we wilt like a plant not getting water and sun. And we really are. We are missing out on the Living Water, the Light of the World and the Bread of Life.
When I gained that perspective about Bible study, my motive changed. It is no longer a check off the list. It is a desire and delight. The days that are missed? I miss that time and want to make it up asap. God wants to feed me and I want to be fed.
But the matter at hand is this: how do I have time with God with “all these kids?”
I’d be lying if I said that I’m as consistent as the sun rising everyday. I miss sometimes. But here’s the non-earth-shattering thing I do to carve time for devotions:
I just do it.
I stop what I am doing and go to my room. Sometimes I lock the door because kids have a radar about them when it comes to mom taking some time to herself. I read and study and pray. Sometimes it is long and sometimes not. I pray Jacob’s words to the angel of the Lord when they were wrestling, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” I want God to give me something to dwell on for the day.
I know not all of you have flexibility to carve that time out. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out. God has given you things to do and He knows how much time you have available because He is ultimately in charge of your itinerary everyday.
I wish it was more systematic than that. Maybe you like a routine or schedule. Make one that works for you.
I know some of you are asking, “What about the kids being left to themselves?”
My kids know mom needs this time with God. If an emergency arises, they know I’ll be there when they call. There are times when they decide to have a popcorn fight or my toddler has decided to reprogram the tv. I’m better able to handle those little things (and they are little) when I have had time with God. And usually I wait until they have started seat work or are eating breakfast to step away.
I will say, Moms of Littles, it gets easier the older they get to step away so do not get discouraged because your time slips away so quickly everyday. While the babes nap, I know you want to do a load of laundry or catch a nap. Do it. If nuggets of time are all you have, then use one of those nuggets to feed your soul. Laundry and dishes and vacuuming are not as important as your soul.
What about accountability and studies and such? I will post some things that have been useful to me…. next time. (Yes, I just did a “What’s in the Bible” closer. I don’t think Phil Vischer copyrighted it.)