Ok, friends – let me be completely real with you today. I read Kathy’s quiet time post and thought, “oh, I want that!” But… let me tell you what it really looks like for me! :)
I have a four year old, a two year old, and I am pregnant with our 3rd – I needed Julie’s encouraging “how do I fit it in?” posts as much as anyone! When I can get up before my family, that is when I have been the most consistent with having a real routine for my time with the Lord – this pregnancy [and a bent toward being a night-owl] has thrown me out of whack and I’m still reestablishing that morning routine. If I don’t have my time in the morning I make sure I have time during my kids’ nap and rest time. My two year old still takes a two hour nap, and I have made having a long “rest time” of quiet play in her room a normal part of my 4 year old’s life – both because she needs the time by herself and mom needs some time to decompress!
A sidebar of encouragement to my fellow young moms – let your kids know that your time with the Lord is a priority. It’s ok to tell them that they need to stay in their rooms for quiet play while you have time in the Word! Once when my daughter was not yet three years old I was joking with her over lunch that I was tired and should take a nap while she did. She got so animated and said, “NO! That’s your special time with God!” It is a normal thing to see my Bible and study materials laying around or for her to come downstairs and find me studying. My dad used to have his quiet time during breakfast while we were all busily getting ready for school and work – those times seeing him bent over the Word and finding his prayer list around the house left an impression on my heart and taught me that this was a priority, even in times of busyness!
Just as the time of day differs, how I fill this time differs, as well. My ideal is to start in quiet prayer – I need time to sit in His presence, to come to Him in my weariness and bask in the rest He alone can provide! [My most common prayer as a parent seems to be, “Lord, you said that if anyone lacks wisdom you would give it – I have no idea what I’m doing and I certainly need your wisdom!!”] Right now I am participating in the Bible in 90 Days challenge, so the rest of my time is mostly reading. Other times I dive right into study. I am a studier by nature and I love to dig into the Scriptures.
I am trying to establish routines to make the Scriptures and prayer part of our daily routine as a family. [Ann Voskamp‘s example constantly challenges and encourages me in this!] Lately I have been pulling out our chronological daily Bible during lunch and sharing portions of each day’s reading with my kids. We have had wonderful discussions about sections of Isaiah, Chronicles, and other books that I wouldn’t normally think to read with my preschoolers! It is also a great time to refocus in the middle of the day when I am starting to lose both my mind and my patience. :)
The best way I have found for me to memorize is to write verses on index cards and keep them with me during the day. I have fabric and a pattern waiting for me in the basement to make an apron with pockets – I want to keep verse memory cards as well as cards with prayer lists on them in my pockets during the day so I can pull them out when I find myself alone for a few minutes!
On a practical note, I have found that when we are too busy, my quiet time suffers. Time in the Word gets squeezed when we have had “too much fun” away from home and I am struggling to keep up with my other responsibilities. The more we are at home, the more we have a consistent daily routine, the more time I have to intentionally disciple my children, listen to the Lord, and open the Word.
In my ideal world, I would consistently have an hour or two of focused time with the Lord each day. Perhaps someday I will. Until then, God is teaching me to come to Him in my weariness, to offer Him whatever time I have, to make Him part of my daily life. Honestly, I am not always a good student – I get distracted, my priorities get out of line, I fall asleep when I finally sit down with the Word! But He is patiently teaching me, and I am finding that this time of my life is a great sanctifier as I learn to recognize my selfishness and how often I place my wants over what I really need – time with the Savior.
Every day is a new time to consider – do I truly believe that one day in the courts of my God is better than thousands elsewhere? If so, I will find time in my day to sit in His presence and open His Word.