How do you find the time for spiritual growth with babies at home?
Are you struggling in your times with God? Are you missing those hours spent in deep study of the Word or in the solitude of prayer from your single or BC (before children) days? Do you never have more than a few minutes of quiet when no one is clamoring for you? I understand and have Been There/Done That!
But take heart: you can still be growing in the Lord, even when you have young children!
If anything in our lives should be dropped for a season, our time with God should NOT be it!
Of course there are seasons; seasons that change and come and go. We need to learn to adapt and adjust to these seasons of our lives. In these seasons it is vital that we seek first and foremost for ways to keep our walk with Christ alive and growing.
This season may be:
- young motherhood with an infant, a toddler or two and perhaps we are pregnant as well
- filled with sleeplessness, diapers, more exhaustion, crying babies needing to be rocked, tiredness, cranky or sick babies, nausea and more sleepiness.
- perpetual dishes, laundry, vacuuming and grocery shopping, etc.
With these seasons, we may need to drop some things. Sometimes it is having an immaculate house. Sometimes it is church ministry. Sometimes it is even being in bible studies. But the one thing we shouldn’t drop is our private intimate time with the Lord. This is what fills and fuels us, it is what keeps our sanity in times of exhaustion and trials.
Getting up before your children.
I remember hearing a story, years ago, about Martin Luther. He used to rise very early in the morning and spend several hours in prayer daily. When asked what he would change in his schedule if he found himself loaded down with more responsibilities, he replied, “I would get up an hour earlier to spend that extra time in prayer.” When my first couple of children were babies, I had a woman tell me I needed to do this – get up BEFORE my children!
When you are a young mom, it is easy to listen to every Tom, Dick and Harry with an opinion (and BOY, do they all have opinions!) So, out of guilt, I tried this. My little ones normally got up at 7:30 so I set my alarm for 7:00. And wouldn’t you know it, the baby woke up at 6:45!! So the next day I set my alarm for 6:15… and what do you think? Yep, the baby woke up at 6:05. But I was determined that I was going to have my quiet time in the morning before the children got up. When it got to my having to get up at 4:30 to spend time in the Word (having been up several times during the night), I knew I had to come up with another way!
Quiet time! What is that?
This is a hard time to find an hour (or even 20 minutes) to sit down and read the bible. Every time you actually stop and sit with no one on your lap but the bible, you fall asleep. You cannot imagine the possibility (and can barely remember the times) of sitting for an hour and just reading and praying… let alone actually studying the Word. These are the times when we MUST continue to be in the Word. We are very needy for the Lord to be filling us up with His strength and power and love. But don’t be afraid to be creative! Your time with God will not look like it used to.
Use your technology:
- print out passages you are reading, put these up on the walls where you find yourself most of the day:
- above the changing table
- above the sink where you do dishes
- above the washing machine or dryer where you fold laundry
- next to the bathroom mirror where you brush your teeth
- listen to the scriptures on your computer or phone, biblegateway has an app that reads the bible to you
- listen to worship music while you are folding clothes or making lunch and worship while you work
- have a bible, laptop, smartphone or tablet right next to you when nursing your babies and read aloud
- pray aloud while nursing your little ones (aloud was important for me so I could stay awake!)
As you stand their doing your daily tasks, you can still be in the Word and with the Lord.
Granted, it is not a two hour bible study, but you will still be giving an opportunity for the Spirit to build these words into your heart to encourage and strengthen you. Be sure to changes these passages regularly, if not daily, to keep your heart fresh as you look at these scriptures.
Take heart, this season does not last forever. But remember, if you are not actively cultivating your faith walk with God now, it will not become easier when the children get older. You will struggle more and more in your daily life to find joy and strength to raise the children you’ve been blessed with.
Always remember, spending time with God is not a duty, it is a NEED in our lives, it becomes the very breath we breathe!
Yes, there is great joy in being with the Father, but we also desperately need to have Him teach and guide us step-by-step in this journey of motherhood.
(images courtesy of hin255/freedigitalphotos.net and Melissa J/flickr.com/creativecommons)
Hey Kate…another good post.
Now Luther would NOT have told a young mother to get up an hour early for prayer, were her day to be extra busy. I believe that phrase is attached to him(like many things)only apocryphally.
Luther held a very strong view of vocation. That young mom is serving God by her work with her children, which she can hardly do well if she tries to follow a pastor’s schedule of prayer and study.
Luther had a very nice regimen of morning and evening family prayer, which I think is really the solution to this dilemma. A concrete and structured time, both morning and evening. Short but powerful, lead by the father(freeing mom to hold and nurse those babies while she listens).
This is a beautiful thing, for sure. And our good tech sure does help those young moms stay in the word during the day via the radio, when hands are busy, praying as we go.
But most of all, trust your kind Father in heaven to see to your needs, go to church and have your husband help you with these things and rest there.
God’s blessings to you and yours!
Thanks for sharing that insight, Elizabeth! And for stopping by for a visit. Have a blessed day, dear!
Oops, hit post too quickly. I’m sure you are right about Luther, but when you are a young mom in the throes of exhaustion, you don’t always quite make rational decisions! 😀 Glad you brought the reality in!
Love this! I have two little ones right now and I just launched a new site, so life is SUPER busy and chaotic right now. It’s really easy to get so focused on my massive to-do list that I neglect to make time for God. But that time is SO essential. And I really can tell a difference since I’ve made it more of a priority. Pinning 🙂
Thanks for this post Kate! I have to say that my Women’s Bible Study has always been a lifeline and accountability for me when I have young ones. I attended one for years where most of the ladies were grandmothers themselves, but there were some other young moms. Babies were welcomed in small groups until they were ready to be in childcare and I remember hating to miss even one weeks discussion around that table when my son was born.
Now that my youngest is nearly 2 years, I’ve been able to arrange hosting a Bible Study group myself. I’ve actually found that the accountability of a study group is what I need to help me stay in the Word during these busy busy days. I mop my floors about twice a year (yes I do spot clean) and many other household cleaning tasks will just have to wait. There are more important things than sparkling floors and windows. 🙂
Also, I purchased a set of Steve Green’s “Hide ’em In Your Heart” CDs which are full of lovely children’s songs that are all scriptures. I play them in the car and in the house while working and my kids and I hum Bible verses to each other frequently. It’s just one more way I can bask in the Word when my hands are full and my house is bustling.
Oh scripture songs are a REAL TREASURE! We used to be in a church that used scripture for most of their songs. It was great because I memorized so much and could meditate anytime anywhere on the Word!
What a special thing for you to be able to get to your study each week. I’m excited, Tara, that you have found such a place of growth and challenge, even while having babies! Blessings to you, dear friend.