Preserving Quiet Times for Moms

Posted by  | Thursday, August 6, 2009  at 5:00 AM  
I'd like to take a different angle on how to preserve your pursuit of the Lord and share a few practical ways that could hopefully help you balance out and preserve the spiritual disciplines in your busy life. I know for me, when I get busy, I might continue with one, maybe two of the spiritual disciplines, but there are always a few that are easily replaced when I am busy.

Back in college while being discipled, being a woman of balance was a daily prayer of mine and having balance in my spiritual disciplines was vital. Visualize with me for a moment the effort put forth and necessary in having a strong grasp of something in your hand. In this instance, let's use our Bibles as the object and goal of which we need to talk hold. Better yet, if you have your Bible next to you, go ahead and pick it up in such a way that you wouldn't want someone to knock it out of your hand. Notice the strongest part of your hand's grasp is your thumb, which is probably on the bottom side of your Bible and all four of your fingers are needed on top making this the strongest one-handed hold possible, right? You can't hold the Word tightly with just four fingers and using just your thumb and your index finger would not create a strong enough grasp of the Word. In this illustration, your fingers represent hearing the Word, reading the Word, studying the Word, and memorizing the Word. Lastly, meditation is the thumb, for it is used in conjuction with each of the other four methods. Unless you meditate and chew on the Word in conjuction with reading, in conjuction with hearing, in conjuction with studying, and in conjuction with memorizing, wouldn't you agree it's difficult to say that you are truly saturating your life and grasping the Word in its entirety?

Scripture Memory: I've mentioned this in the past, but my most favorite way to hide the Word of God in my heart is through this scripture memory box. You can make one yourself very inexpensively. I need organization, as well as as system of repetition to keep past scriptures, that I've hidden in my heart, fresh on and at the forefront of my mind. As a mother of small children, a great place for this box is right beside the glider where I spend lots of my time. More great places to keep your box could be on your nightstand, in your car as you drive to work, on your desk at work or next to your stove where you'll be standing and spending lot of time cooking, cleaning, unloading the dishwasher, washing bottles, etc.. Love this method! (An easy way to make the tabs is to buy the index card dividers that are labeled A-Z, turn them around, and write the names of each of the scripture memory dividers. You will need to buy two packs. However, I do not use the "odd/even" tabs in my box, but you definitely could incorporate that in your box, if desired.)

Hearing the Word: This advice is a given, but I feel the need to mention it briefly. Please stay faithful to attending church on Sundays, and if available your small group, Sunday school, or classes of the like. It's so important to have this type of "hearing" of the Word in your life. If are a super sleepy Mama, glued to the glider and feeling like you have zero time and absolutely no self-control in keeping your eyes open for reading the Word, definitely take advantage of the resources you have online for "hearing" of the Word. If you have an ipod, shuffle, etc.. your options are endless. There are so many free sermons out there. If anything, tap into a great church's website and listen to its weekly sermons. On itunes, search for free sermons/messages from great pastors like, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, and John Piper.

Reading the Word: Margaret did a fantastic job emphasizing the importance of choosing YOUR time of day to stay persistent in seeking the Lord daily. My heart is always encouraged when I read about how other busy Moms fight for that time in the Word. Thank you Margaret. Some people like to read the Bible chronologically, pick books of the Bible and read them in their entirety before moving onto another book, read parts of the Old Testament and New Testament to gain an understanding of the big picture of the Word of God, etc.. There are superb reading plans out there for those of you who love to have a scheduled reading. The Discipleship Study called One on One with God is a great course to take if you know of anyone who is teaching it in your area. Their website has great free downloads to assist you in your walk, such as a wonderful reading calendar that I love, lined pages on which to take notes during your daily Bible reading times, lined pages for sermon notes, and a great prayer template to keep you accountable to a balanced prayer life. All of these resources are 5½” X 8½”, the size of a small, loose-leaf notebook and when you print them off, you get two of each, so put a packet together for another busy mom.

Studying the Scriptures: My husband just told me of a really good program called "Logos" for your computer containing language study tools, all kinds of commentaries, etc.. but it's pretty expensive. We do not have it on our computer, but I just thought I'd throw it out there for those of you who are interested.

Prayer: Again, here is a great printable prayer template that will fit nicely in your Bible and help you truly remember to pray for many areas in your life, in our Nation, on the mission field, etc.. I've shared this before, but I love making my own calendar in Microsoft Word and having several things allotted to each day to pray for. Each week could be the same or you can alternate every other week with the same prayer requests. You need a good, quiet thirty minutes to an hour on the computer as you take time to think through all that you want prayer for in your life, as well as in others' lives, but it's well worth the time invested.

I feel so much conviction, as I type these resources out, because I know that I struggle with balancing these areas in my life just as much as anyone else. I DO NOT have all of these mastered and actually, this post really has encouraged me to pull out some of these resources as I get ready to go through a big change in our family. But I LOVE it when I actually am faithful to be that woman of balance seeking the Lord with all my heart in the areas above. Knowing that there are useful and most importantly practical ways to help me preserve my time with the Lord amongst such a wonderfully busy life as a Mother is helping me pave the way to seizing and being a good steward of the time the Lord has given me in my day.

What are some of the practical ways you stay abreast and fresh in your pursuit of the Lord?


KC said...

About going to church:
Do any of you have babies whose normal nap time is smack in the middle of church? Will your babies nap away from home? Mine won't. If he misses a nap, he is impossible for the rest of the day and will get up several times that night.

For me, it is just not worth the heartache, but I really miss church. Any suggestions?

Margaret said...

KC, that happened for a while with my kids and honestly, I'd attend church and dread the rest of the day. But, this will pass! Eventually, you can eliminate the morning nap and work his afternoon nap to start right after church. My kids still don't eat lunch after church. We come straight home and get them in bed! Great word Hollie! I love the scripture memory box idea.

Leah said...

We attend church 30 minutes away from our house, and neither of my children (aged 2.5 years and 10 months) nap at church. When they were small, both of my children would nap on the way to or from church, and then not nap at home. With my first child especially, Sundays just seemed unbearable! However, my husband and I decided years ago that gathering with fellow believers for corporate worship was of highest priority, a priority we wanted to pass to our children, so we have made it work.

It meant that for several months I sat in the back seat of the car talking to my daughter (the only child at that point), playing with her, feeding her, and keeping her awake so she could go to bed the moment we got home. As she got older, we have allowed her to watch part of a DVD on the way home from church--it holds her interest and then she can nap. My younger child will still fall asleep in the van and then be 'off' for the rest of the day, so we just plan for an early bedtime (if possible), and use Mondays to recuperate. I don't run errands on Monday, or do much more than laundry and give my kids good naps that day! I know that my youngest will eventually drop his morning nap, and Sundays will be easier. It is a season of inconvenience (with much more than just Sundays:-), but also a season of teaching, learning and growing as a family. Blessings as you seek the best way to adapt your son to church!

Jaime said...

KC, we just came through that phase. My daughter is now 18 months and just went to 1 nap a day. Most Sundays I would get her up early (6 to 7 am) and then she'd nap once before we left for church (at 10 am) and once we got home.

It is an incredibly difficult juggling act that takes sacrifice and planning.

Good luck finding what works for your family. Eventually, they will grow up!

Terra Jones said...

My youngest son, his nap time falls about 30 mins before church starts. We fight to keep him awake and then I let him sleep in the sling during church - worship always puts him right to sleep. If it doesn't, then I try a bottle (when he was still nursing, I'd try that), and then if that doesn't work, we go play in the nursery.

It's so hard, but, I wouldn't miss that worship & fellowship time for anything (except sickness, lol)

Mark'sMeg said...

My baby is 7 months old and absolutely LOVES the ergo carrier. I bounce her to sleep during the singing and then she sleeps through the entire service all snuggled up next to me.

KC said...

When he was younger, we knew he wouldn't sleep even if we stayed home. He never slept until he was about 5 months old, so we just went anyway. Now that he sleeps (though STILL not on any real schedule), my husband and I have been taking turns. One stays home while he naps and one goes to church.

I know it is just a season and hopefully something will change soon to allow us to go as a family. Thanks for all your encouragement!

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