The spiritual life of a busy mom: Carving out time with God when there's no time to be hadWritten by Julie Vaughan
What's inside this article
It’s morning. I sit at my kitchen table, sipping a mug of coffee and smiling as the sun glints across my immaculate countertops. The only sounds I hear are the chirping birds outside my window and the flipping pages of my Bible. I breathe deeply and settle in for my daily devotions with God . . .
The truth is, my mornings look nothing like this.
I usually start my day to the sound of a toddler belting out "Mommy! Mommy!" while impatiently rattling the bars of her crib. Before I can clear my sleep-bleary eyes, I’m tripping over toys, changing diapers, prepping food, laundering clothes, wiping chins and stacking dirty dishes. I’m lucky if I get a shower before 10 a.m., much less spend a quiet, meaningful hour in prayer and Bible study.
Increasingly I recognize that I need to be more purposeful about my devotions. After all, how can I expect to be an example of Christlikeness to my child (and others) when I’m hardly spending any one-on-one time with my Saviour? And yet, given how jam-packed my life is at this stage of early parenthood, it’s difficult to know how to improve my devotional times with God.
A common challenge
I recently took an informal poll of other young, believing moms to see if they had any tips to offer on this topic. I very quickly realized that we could all relate. We sincerely want to make time for devotions, and yet the realities of parenting young children, tending our marriages, taking care of our homes and, for some, juggling careers outside the home, seem to completely fill our day.
One young mother told me, "I often find myself longing for ‘the good old days’ when I had all the time I needed to curl up in a chair with my coffee and enjoy one-on-one time with the Lord. Now I’m lucky if I get 10 minutes to myself, and even luckier if I remember to spend any of those precious moments in prayer!"
Another mom said, "I think when I allow life to get in the way, God is the first thing to go. I always feel He’ll understand, or that skipping one or two days of Bible reading won’t hurt. But it does. I find myself more easily distressed when I haven’t spent time with Him, and my marriage is strained as well. Everything points to Him being our source, yet it’s so easy to push Him away and try to do things on our own."
The truth is, whether we’re a parent struggling with the challenges of raising young children or a CEO trying to wring every last second out of the day, most of us are busy. It’s easy to push our spiritual life to the bottom of the priority list when our daily to-dos seem out of control. But we can do it! In fact, making devotional time a priority can help everything else in our day fall more smoothly into place – or at least give us the spiritual and mental resources we need to face whatever comes our way!
Spending quality time with God may not always "look" the way you imagine it should, but it can happen. Even small chunks of time with the Lord here and there can add up to meaningful spiritual growth. Here are some practical solutions from other real-life moms:
- One mother recently started spending devotional time with God during the first 20-30 minutes of her twin daughters’ nap time. She views this time as a spiritual act of worship in which she can literally trust God to help her accomplish everything she still needs to do that day. "I find that time alone with God is especially crucial to re-set my priorities and refresh my heart on the days when it feels like I don't have time to be alone with God today. Those are the days when devotional time with God is most life-giving for me, my husband and my children."
- Another mom said, "I love to listen to the local Christian station or to Christian CDs in the car. Right now, my favourite is the CD my church's choir put together last year. It's full of the praise music we sing every Sunday, so I feel like I'm sitting in my regular worship service every time I listen to it."
- "I try to make time for Christian books occasionally. And, whenever possible, I look for a women's Bible study at my church to join. That has always been a blessing, as I'm able to fellowship with other Christian women and moms while finding a quiet hour away from the kids and the constant needs at home."
- "I keep a weekly prayer journal that's divided into three parts: thanks, confession and requests."
- "Surprisingly, I find that moments when I am simply sitting, watching and enjoying my daughter, are moments when I am more aware of God’s presence than ever. That’s when, in my heart, I thank Him for her, recognize how blessed I am and utter quick prayers (two-sentence pleas) to Him for her, for me as her mom, and for my husband."
- Pray while in the shower or when you’re getting ready for the day.
- Write reminders and memory verses on sticky notes around the house.
- Set a reminder on your phone or computer to remind you each day to fit in some quality time with God.
- Read the Bible with your kids, even if they’re playing on the floor and don’t seem to really be listening. By doing so, you’re setting a good example – and they might even surprise you by how much they absorb!
- Purchase an audio version of the Bible (some websites also offer these). Listen while you cook dinner, fold laundry or do other household tasks. Also great while in the carpool lane!
- Set your children up with a craft project (something that needs minimal supervision) or institute an "alone time" each day when everyone plays or relaxes in their own room. Use this time to study Scripture, read a devotional book or simply pray.
Julie Vaughan was the editorial director at Focus on the Family Canada at the time of publication.
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