My kids have magical powers. I've tested it. Every morning, I tiptoe downstairs while they are sleeping (unless they've already woken us up at 5 am, of course) and the second that I sit down and take my first sip of coffee, THEY KNOW.
They are also currently on a sleep strike from napping. So soul rest for me today took the form of strapping my two kids in the car at 3 pm after over an hour of not sleeping and driving up into the mountains so they could nap. It took them about 5 minutes until they were out.
God knew I needed that time alone in the car. In the quiet, he reminded me of some things.
When traveling to another country, good practice is to alter your attitude when you encounter strange aspects of that culture and think, This isn't better or worse than my culture, it's just different.
I'm finding that in encountering new seasons of life, it is helpful to take the same attitude:
This isn't better or worse, just different.
But instead of accepting that this season of life is just different, I have been fighting it. I often think I just need to hold on until more ideal circumstances for Bible Study and prayer return. But just as it is unrealistic to wish for snow in the middle of summer or tulips in the fall, it is immature for me to wish for an hour-long quiet time in the morning in this season where my kids wake up at 5:30 am. Instead of fighting it like a toddler, I need to find out how I can grow not in spite of, but in the midst of this season.
"In acceptance lieth peace," Amy Carmichael writes.
Today, I feel like I surrendered my toddler-like attitude about my life and accepted that God wants to meet me where I am--in slivers of time, tired attempts to read His Word, mundane moments and scrambled prayers for patience and strength.
I love how my friend with 9 children said she is "giving herself freedom to enjoy this season of walking with Christ."
Am I enjoying my season? Are you enjoying yours? Are you giving yourself freedom?
We are not meant to "get through" the seasons God brings us through, we are meant to thrive and grow closer to Jesus in EACH one.
Fortunately I have some pretty awesome friends that contributed some ways to meet God during their season of busy motherhood. These ideas are not intended to add burdens or "shoulds," but to provide some new ideas for running this spiritual sprint when we have been used to running marathons.
Here are some ideas for connecting with God throughout your busy day. Most do not require more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time.
- Keep Bibles in every room in your house (and car)--open or bookmarked--to be able to pick up if you have a random moment or two
- Listen to the audio version of the Bible or a sermon while you are cooking dinner or in your car
- Tape 3 X 5 cards or post-it notes with Bible verses anywhere you spend a lot of time
- Download a Bible reading plan using the YouVersion App on your Smartphone
- Read your Bible in front of your kids
- Have your kids begin 5 minute "quiet times" in the morning where they can listen to a Bible story on CD (like The Jesus Storybook Bible) while you read yours
- Visit Hobby Lobby and get a few wall hangings with Scripture verses to hang in strategic spots
- Concentrate on a verse or paragraph a week, then move on to the next verse or paragraph once you feel like you've soaked in what you can of that one
- Read your Bible while you are brushing your teeth or blow-drying your hair
- Pick something repetitive in your day that will prompt you to pray (I once read that someone prayed every time their child laughed!)
- Write out prayers in a journal
- Set a timer for 10 minutes and pray during the first few minutes of nap time if your kids nap
- Keep a prayer journal in your kitchen and pray for the next item on the list when you have a moment (a friend of mine puts names on tongue compressors and the kids pick one before a meal to pray for)
- Say 3 word prayers--make each word count!
- Pray while exercising or aloud while taking your kids for a walk in the stroller (if you put your headphones on, people will just think you're talking on your phone)
- Download an app to keep track of prayer requests and send you reminders to pray
- Prioritize meeting up with a friend to go on a walk, to coffee or run early in the morning (without kids) on a regular basis
- Call one spiritually encouraging friend a week
- Join a weekly women's Bible study. Many like BSF, CBS and Precepts have childcare and some have wonderful programs for your children to learn the Bible as well
- Join a mom's group like MOPS
- Go to church consistently (even if you are standing in the back with a baby in a baby wrap) and talk to at least one person afterwards (even if your kids are melting down)
- Join an online Bible study
- Read books on your phone through Kindle or Play Books--while you are brushing your teeth, before bed, or whenever else you have a spare minute (a friend of mine only uses a separate Kindle because she finds she ends up getting distracted if she reads on her phone)
- Read through a daily devotional like My Utmost for His Highest, or find one using the YouVersion app on your phone
Spiritual Disciplines While Nursing
Ok, to be honest, I spent my fair share of time nursing while watching TV or going on Facebook on my phone, but here are a few ideas that I did occasionally that I wish I had done more often in the almost three years total I have spent nursing a baby:
- Think of your loss of sleep as "sleep fasting"--and just like fasting, resist the urge to announce to everyone you meet how little sleep you got! God will reward to your sacrifice, sister.
- Read spiritual books or your Bible on your phone (dangerous for me because I get distracted)
- Pray for your children (one friend would pray prayers connected to the five senses of her children) and for anything else that is on your heart for the duration of your nursing
When Your Kids Stop Napping
Have them start a "quiet time" in their rooms. Check out this article.
- Songs are usually only 3 to 5 minutes: sit down to listen and mediate on a song
- Read, then sing through songs in a hymnal (they usually have really rich spiritual messages)
- Listen to worship music in your house or car (I like to listen while I'm in the shower or cooking dinner)
- Sing worship songs with your children and before praying for meals
- Have family dance parties to worship music
Write It Out
- Post-it Notes for: prayer requests, quotes, Bible verses, words for meditation, people to pray for and anything else you need to jot down
- Journal: one of my friends writes just one sentence every night just so she can keep track of the days. Personally, journaling for me has saved us thousands of dollars in counseling. I mostly write prayers, what I'm learning and anything that happened that is out of the ordinary.
During some time when your kids are sleeping or being watched by someone else, set a timer and sit quietly with your eyes closed for five minutes. Try to breathe evenly and if you think of anything at all, maybe mediate on one verse, phrase or name of God until the timer goes off.
We talked about this yesterday, but here are some practical ways to be intentional about these:
- Point out cool, interesting or beautiful details to your children and give praise to God with them for them
- Take a picture and tag it #distractedbybeauty on Facebook or Instagram (a friend of mine has been doing this and I love what she finds)
- Drive, walk, or run slower than you usually do and look for something to marvel at
- Keep an on-going list of things that you are thankful for, either on a piece of paper or on a chalkboard at home and pray over the list whenever you see it
I hope that you are able to use some of these ideas to grow in your relationship with the Lord during this busy season of life. If you are new to the series, be sure to start from the beginning and read the previous posts listed below.
Which of these would you like to implement in your daily life?
What do you think God is trying to teach you in the season of life that you are in?
Check out all the other posts in this series:
Introduction to the Series
Day 1: Three Secrets of Soul Rest
Day 2: Moms Are Not Monks
Day 3: Permission for Self Care
Day 4: Ordinary Moments
Day 5: Creative Spirituality for Busy Times
Day 6: Planning a Personal Retreat
Day 7: Sabbath Rhythms
How to Make Time for a Consistent Prayer Life
Spiritual Circle Journal, described in this article, Morning Quiet Time for Busy Moms
Linking up with Mommy Moments and Momma Moments Mondays and Velvet Ashes
Labels: 7 Days of Soul Rest, busyness, Soul Rest, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Lessons