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Posts Tagged ‘quiet time’

 A friend recently told me I was trying too hard to be the perfect Christian mother.  We REALLY need to get to know each other on a deeper level.  She would never have made such a misguided comment if she had witnessed some of my more recent failings and faux pas.  Consider the challenge of spiritual growth.

As a mother of four children it can be difficult to establish a regular devotional time.  First, there is the concentration issue.  All mothers know a nursing baby can be demanding.  In fact, I’m awake so much at night I could hold my own candlelight service!  Unfortunately, because my eyes cross at any attempt to read Psalm 23 (you know, the one that soothes frayed nerves with the verse “He market me to lie down in green pastures”) and drool leaves a permanent wet spot on the Bopp pillow during our nightly nursing sessions—not from the baby, but her mother—I have recognized that 3 a.m. is not the best time for me to memorize Old Testament genealogies.

Another problem is that reading the Baby Bible Book to my two-year old after bath time probably doesn’t qualify as an in-depth Bible study.  It’s true I can deftly perform a perky finger play about most of the major Bible heroes, but I haven’t yet learned about the transfiguration or the implications of free-will versus predestination.

One of the greatest challenges is finding a few solitary moments to thoughtfully meditate on God’s word.  Many times, I will have managed to tuck the two little ones snuggly in their cribs for naps.  I surreptitiously grab my Bible and sneak off to a quiet spot (usually the bathtub where I slink down and draw the curtain in hopes I won’t be discovered) when I hear the tell-tale sounds of my two older boys scuffling and rolling about the living room floor.  I vault from the confines of my hide-away to discover that Ben, my first-born, has his younger brother in a scissors lock rivaled only by the best of the best in WWF wrestling.  Yes, I may have just read about “a gentle and quiet spirit”, but surely God didn’t expect for me to exemplify that sweet demeanor when my children have turned the sofa over on its side as their ring-side boundary.

At face value, this glimpse into my family life may not seem to offer much.    Like many other women, I am just a busy mom who loves her Lord.  But, there are three spiritual survival skills imbedded within this story.

 Matters of the Heart

God commanded Israel in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”   This passage sets a pattern that helps believers relate the Word of God to our daily lives.  We are to love God, think constantly about his commandments, teach his commandments to our children, and live each day by the guidelines in His Word.  God emphasized the importance of parents’ teaching the Bible to their children because eternal truths are most effectively learned in the loving environment of a God-fearing home.’ Life Application Bible, 291

 Hide and Seek

              While it is possible other women don’t resort to hiding in the bathtub in order to study the scripture, the concept of hiding away is an important one.  It can be a challenge to make time for God when your day is full of diapering, disinfecting, and various other pressing duties.    But, in order to develop the heart relationship just mentioned, it’s a necessity.  As one fellow Christian put it, “Every believer may and must have his time when he is indeed alone with God.  Oh, the thought to have God all alone to myself and to know that God has me all alone to Himself!”

Super steward vs. Supermom

Society promotes the idea that a mom should have it all together.  She should, in fact, be Supermom.   Assuming such a role is prideful because it removes Christ from the position He should maintain in our lives. He is to be a mother’s strength.   Children belong to Christ while a parent is only a steward—meant to tend and guard God’s precious treasure.  There will be times in mothering that we are overwhelmed, unsure, or even frightened. But, remember the Lord is the Abba Father. He will calm our hearts as we claim the verses from Philippians that counsel with the words, “The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

So find your quiet place, friends—bathtub, closet, or coffee shop.  Your Strength and Wisdom waits for you there.

Recommended Books for Busy Moms

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Moms-Real-Jesus-Friend-Understands/dp/0802483615/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345775204&sr=1-3&keywords=devotionals+for+moms

http://www.amazon.com/Mom-After-Gods-Heart-Devotional/dp/0736947590/ref=sr_1_21?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345775347&sr=1-21&keywords=devotionals+for+moms

http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Care-Me-Mommy-Becoming/dp/B000O3S39S/ref=sr_1_35?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345775395&sr=1-35&keywords=devotionals+for+moms

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Pencil marks spill across nearly every space on the calendar.  Notes about track meets, school programs, doctor’s appointments, and other obligations are tell-tale reminders of a busy life spent managing the schedules of four kids and a hard-working, people-oriented husband.  I look ahead a few months and sigh with relief–July, August, and September are still blank.  Ahhhh…

Are you as busy as I am?  Unless I intentionally create moments for reflection and refreshment, I tend to hurry through my days without pausing.   I miss the important things.

So…each morning when I open my eyes I try to lie still for just a minute.  Thank you, God, for this day.  Reflecting on his goodness and the gifts in my life helps me keep things in perspective–at least for a while.

Yes, I will still need to grocery shop, put the laundry away, practice subtraction facts with my son, and answer the email at work.  But that can wait…first things first.

Scripture for Reflection

30-33“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  (Matthew 6:30-33 MSG)

Intentional Moments with God

 

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I always imagined our family gathered around the table reciting poetry or engaging in meaningful conversations.  Our dinnertime dialouge, though, has much less to do with poetry than with lines learned on the playground or reminders to chew with mouths closed.  All the same, I treasure the regularity of sharing meals together.  Our oldest two children–now teens–are away from home regularly.  Extracurricular activities and friends are far more interesting than trips to the zoo with their younger siblings or hours spent in the company of two out-of-touch parents.  But dinners spent together are an established part of our family tradition.  It’s when we connect and build relationships.

Like my children, I find  my own schedule is crowded.  Job requirements and family needs quickly crowd out moments spent with the my heavenly Father.  There are times I come to His table full of complaints or with a reluctant heart.  Other times, I’m animated and full of excitement.  But, I always leave His presence nourished.  Refreshed.  Sated.

Just like the children I see around the dinner table each night.

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