The Macs

Thursday, February 2, 2012

are you finding that quiet time?

I wish I could say, "Yes! I'm finding that quiet time everyday...time to spend alone in the Word and in prayer. An hour or two each day with the Lord when my babies are both clean, fed, happy, and sleeping." But that wouldn't be honest. The truth is, ever since Griffin was born, my quiet time has struggled. Finding a quiet hour, or any quiet time for that matter, during my day has sometimes seemed impossible. I remember last summer, when I invited you to participate in a 30 Day Challenge with me, I commented that what was working for my quiet time at that point would probably look different once there were two babies in this house. Boy was that true. I have still been in the Word, but I have lacked consistency. I keep telling myself that when Griffin starts sleeping through the night it will be better...things will be back to normal. I can have that time in the morning again before the boys are up. But I am beginning to wonder if sleeping through the night will ever become a reality for my sweet boy. Surely, he's got to start sleeping through the night before he is five, right!? :)

So I have been struggling with this consistency thing...knowing that I need more quiet time alone with God. I know this is just a stage of motherhood, but I get tired of people making excuses for me and I don't want to keep making excuses for myself...always saying, "I will find more time to pray and read my Bible, I just can't right now". The truth is I need time with the Lord desperately RIGHT NOW.

I was really encouraged by this blog post by Erin Davis at True Woman that I came across a few weeks ago. She talks about how quiet times often seem impossible for busy moms, especially when your children are small and require your constant attention. But she doesn't make excuses for us. (I love that!). The post was full of encouragement and practical advice to make daily time with the Lord happen, right now. Here is what she said...

God's Word never mandates that we spend an hour every day reading our Bible, praying, and journaling the Psalms. Here's what the Bible does say:

"Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

"But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night." (Psalm 1:2)

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

Be still...
Meditate on His law...
Seek God's Kingdom first...

These instructions are critical, even for busy moms. It will take effort, but it's so important that we find ways to be still and pursue God amidst the chaos of our day. 

She goes on to give seven tips for grabbing quiet moments with the Lord as you mother. All seven are so good, but I decided to just pick a few of her tips to focus on right now. So this month I am working on reading a Proverb a day, maximizing meal times, prayer walking, and making it happen. At my house that will look like...

Reading a Proverb a day--Every morning I will read the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to the date on the calendar. Depending on our schedule that day I will either read it on my own that morning, or I will read it out loud at breakfast with Levi. I have read through Proverbs this way many times before. It is a book full of instruction and a great way to start the day.

Maximize meal times--This one is hard for me. Sometimes those moments when Levi is eating seem like the only moments I can get anything done. I want to be intentional with this time and sit down with my kids. I have been bringing my Bible to the table at breakfast. Sometimes I read a little to myself while Levi is eating and sometimes I read out loud to Levi. This is when I would read the Proverb for the day out loud too. I have also started working on memorizing verses with Levi. Breakfast is a great time to work on them and talk about what the verse means. I am amazed by what his little mind can remember...and it is so good for me too!

Prayer walk--After Cora died I spent hours and hours walking on the dirt roads around our house. I would cry, talk to the Lord, and just listen to Him. It was so good. I can do the same thing with my kids now...especially with my double stroller! If everyone is content, it is nice to be away from distractions and have the quiet time to pray. But somedays Levi wants to talk, so on those days we sing or practice his verse or talk about all the things we see that God made. Davis suggests praying out loud with your kids as you walk, which is a great idea too.

Make it happen--I am always going to have things to do that could easily crowd out what is really important. I can always make excuses and there will always be others that make excuses for me. Davis says, "But they [your kids] need you to be connected to the Vine just as much as you do." So true. I need to be connected to Him before I can be the supporting wife my husband needs, train up my kids in the Lord, and still have energy left to serve and love those around me well. My daily time with the Lord
can happen, it just might look a little different at this season in my life. One of the ladies in my Bible study said she plans four different quiet times throughout the day. Little kids are so unpredictable, so she has a Plan A, B, C, and D. If Plan A doesn't work she still has three back ups. Isn't that great? Talk about making your time with the Lord a priority!!

I hope you don't misunderstand me. I don't think we can just throw up prayers throughout our day because we are busy moms. We need to stay connected and that means seeking talking to Him (prayer), studying His Word, and listening for His guidance. We have to be intentional and purposeful with our time to make that happen. It takes discipline, and I will be the first to admit that discipline is hard work! My Plan A is to start my day alone with the Lord studying His Word and in prayer. But, when one of my kids (usually Griffin!) needs me before my alarm even goes off, I need to find ways to make my daily time with the Lord happen throughout the rest of my day.

What about you? How do you find moments with the Lord throughout your busy day?

Make sure you read the rest of Davis' blog post
here. You will find a few more ideas for grabbing quiet moments with the Lord. It is definitely worth your go check it out! 

For more encouragement on keeping your time with the Lord the priority of your day, here are a few more links...
30 Day Challenge here and here
Nancy Leigh Demoss' session on our devotional lives here


Blogger Stef said...

AHH! Thank you for this post and for these good ideas of finding and making time with the Lord.
I'm definitely finding it, but my struggle these days is not feeling that desire or joy in it. Its like I go to my Bible with this attitude of "I need to get this done so I can move on with my day and not feel guilty about putting other things before God."
SO its almost like this lame check-off list I'm doing and I hate that :(
I've been praying that the Lord would bring conviction and joy and also change my grumpy attitude when I have to do something that's gonna take actual time and effort on my part. I feel like even though I'm a busy mom to almost 4 kids, I still show such laziness in so many areas of my life :(
Anyway, thank you for this reminder and you openness and honesty.

February 2, 2012 at 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Shawna said...

I have two boys as well -- 23 months and 3 months -- so I completely understand what you are talking about! I am in a Beth Moore study, and even though I long to do the next day's study, sometimes it seems that I just don't have time! I usually try to go to bed earlier and do it then. Thanks for your input on this. I think all of us mothers have a hard time doing this!

February 3, 2012 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just shared this on facebook as I know many mant new moms are having a hard time finding TIME to be still and just hang on God's words throughout the day.. Thanks for writing it with your heart!

February 3, 2012 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

wonderful post jes! As you know I am in the EXACT same stage of life as you and I too have had my heart prompted the past few weeks to make more time for the Lord. I started staying up after Ally's four or five o clock feeding to read my Bible and spend time in prayer before I start my day, because if I waited until they were both napping it wouldnt happen, the naps that is.
I am amazed how it totally changes the dynamic of my day and encourages my heart when struggles arise.
Granted I dont do this everyday, but God cares and if I need rest more a morning or two, he provides a time later, I think He honors our sacrifices.
I am so thankful you shared other ways you are incorporating scripture into your day. Weston isnt talking as much as Levi yet...he isnt quite there for memory, but I cant wait to start teaching him. I want to teach him some verses too with things that he may struggle with, Like sharing, hitting and unwholesome talk.
I would love for you to share the verses you are teaching Levi if you get a chance!
Thanks again for sharing, so encouraging!

"therefore encourage one another, and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. " 1Thes 5:11


February 3, 2012 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

What a great, honest post! It can be so hard! I think as soon as you realize it can still happen as long as you change your mind about what it will look like, it won't seem so hard. I love that you are reading to your boys and working on memorization with him already! It's a beautiful thing to what your children grow in the Lord (3 John 1:4) My oldest boy, who is 9, decided on his own to read through the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs this year. I can't even tell you what it does to my heart to see him reading the Word every morning!
Thanks for sharing your heart on this!

February 3, 2012 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Miss Harriet. said...

Great post! What an encouragement it was to read. I don't have a family to look after and yet I still find it hard to set aside time to read God's word. There are always so many excuses that we can come up with. I think the Lord directed me to your post today because it was just what I needed to hear! Thank you for your honestly and for being so real. Your blog is a blessing and a daily encouragement! x

February 3, 2012 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger Aaron and Shannon said...

Thanks for posting this Jess!! I needed this lately! :) You are such an inspiration!

February 3, 2012 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Cristin said...

Your post inspired me to buy a daily devotional to start my day off with the Lord. I am the mother of a 3 year old special needs child and I often feel so overwhelmed. In fact, after he went to sleep last night, I sat outside and cried. Some days seem unbearable. Some days I feel like giving it all up. Some days I realize these hard times are a gift from God and there are great lessons in all of this. Anyway, thank you for sharing your wisdom and I look forward to my book, "Daily Wisdom for Mothers Devotional Journal," to arrive!

February 3, 2012 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Mrs. H said...

Thank you for this encouragement! I needed it this morning!

February 3, 2012 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

i am struggling lately, too. my youngest (2) is finally(!!!) sleeping through the night most nights and for some stinkin' reason i am finding it even more impossible to get up earlier even though i'm sleeping all night now. i'm tired of making excuses and i just need to make it happen. thank you for the encouraging words this morning!

i noticed almost every one of those verses talks about being still ... have you heard kari jobe's song called Be Still ... so good!

February 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM  
Anonymous LauraD said...

Jess, thank you so much for this post. I have a 23 month old, plus I work full time away from the house. I'm away from my daughter for 10 hours a day, so I, too, struggle with finding the time I need with God. I've started getting up earlier every morning and spending some alone time in prayer and devotion before I need to start getting ready for work. It's so easy just to hit snooze on my alarm, but I'm finding that I now crave waking up earlier and spending that quiet time in His Word. I also make it a point to read my daily devotion to my daughter every morning. She doesn't understand all of the words, but I just love how she sits there with me as I read to her. It's really the only time she's still!
Thank you, as always, for your encouragement.

February 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

Thanks for sharing and being so authentic Jess! I think so many mommies struggle with this...myself's always good to find that we're not alone in our struggles and our desire to seek the Lord. :) Holla!! :)

February 3, 2012 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger Meggie said...

This is so, so encouraging to me. Thanks so much sharing! I have 2 boys... 3 and 5 months and attempted doing a bible study once my baby started sleeping through the night. It has been so hard making the time for it and I'm loving these new ideas and tips for finding time and making time. I participated in your 30 day challenge and got off track after having my baby... but he's 5 months old now, so time to make some adjustments and get back in gear. Thanks again for sharing what's working for you.

February 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger Aja said...

What a great post and reminder.. And I love those tips! Thanks for sharing - I needed this.

February 3, 2012 at 6:25 PM  
Blogger Auntie EM said...

Thank you for you wise words. In my life, I have prayed while digging in the dirt, prayed in my car, prayed in the bathroom at the hospital, prayed in my room, prayed in the shower......well, you get the idea. The Lord hears and answers our prayers no matter what we are doing and where we are as long as we pray in faith and trust in Him. Your blog is inspiring and uplifting as always.

February 3, 2012 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger Happiness Is... said...

I love this - great tips. It's so hard to know when you can "be still" as the Bible suggests when you have a little one pulling on your leg :)

I love incorporating it to other daily routines like walks, etc

Great post!

February 3, 2012 at 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Kate@SongsKateSang said...

Thank you, Jess. I love your encouragement.

February 3, 2012 at 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Tina said...

Yes, he WILL at some point sleep through the night. Or eventually get old enough you can use a star system or something to encourage him to stay in bed and not wake you up. (I found myself telling my 2nd son "We don't snuggle Mommy at night, only during the day"--I still feel a bit bad about that but was tired of being woken up to his request to snuggle. Now he crawls in bed with his brother and they snuggle together. Its quite sweet. And I snuggle him in the day hours and am a happier Mommy)

February 3, 2012 at 10:25 PM  
Anonymous May said...

I have 3 boys. Ages 7, 6 and 1. They are all so cute and special. I have been following your blog and I admire how you and your husband have stood together in the face of such difficulty as losing ones child, your darling Cora (may she rest in peace). I am not Christian, im Muslim, I believe in the same God. We call Him Allah. Before my kids sleep I recite "Ayat Al Kursi" it protects my babies from Evil and i also open Utube "Soorat Al Baqara" (which wards off all evil= Human and the unseen, sends an angel to protect our home from dusk till dawn)I listen to it while i finsih cleaning the kitchen in the evening,,,, its nearly 1.5 hours. But the Ayat Al Kursi is here as follows (you dont have to be Muslim to recite it, it is Gods Words and i just wanted to share it ).

I seek refuge in Allah from the outcast Satan.

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

"Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous."


My boys love it when i recite this to them, they feel so safe. God bless you and your family. By the way, your boys are super adorable.

February 3, 2012 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger Brittny said...

Thank you thank you thank you for giving me the slap across the face I have needed!!! My kids are 4 and 5 and both are in school every day or part of the week so I have no excuse! But for years I have been making excuses and I will tell you it is HARD to get out of them when you've been making them this long. And now my husband is gone for a year (due to work situation) and I thought that would give me even more free time to spend with God, since he isn't here to hang out with at night, but it hasn't always worked. I found a great study and would do it at night, but I felt like it ended too quickly. Now I'm trying to find something else and feel like I'm starting out as a new Christian. I grew up in church, so this feeling hurts worse! I'm tired of excuses and you just helped me in ways I can't express. So thank you!!!!!!

February 4, 2012 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

Thank you so much for sharing this!

One of my 2012 goals is to stay in the Word and some sort of devotional all year. I was given Jesus Calling (a one page devotional for each day of the year) for Christmas and it has been wonderful. I also wanted to read through the Bible this year, so I'm reading my Chronological Bible that breaks the Bible down with readings for each day of the year.

We're expecting our second child in March and I know things will change drastically when she arrives, but I'm determined to have that time with my Heavenly Father every day...even if it's at 1am while feeding Sydney. When I had Amelia, I remember thinking there was no way to have quiet time and I think I was picturing it just as you said - sitting down for an hour...reading...studying...praying...all in silence. God doesn't specify how/when we must come to Him. He just wants that time with us and it looks different for everyone. Took me a long time to learn that.

I'll pray you're able to stick with your goal of having quiet time and you pray for me, k? :)

February 4, 2012 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger the zipfs said...

Hi, Jess! I love how you share your heart so genuinely and honest. I LOVE some of your ideas...if you don't mind, I think I will steal a couple of them from you. ;) Thanks for keeping these desires that are on my heart so fresh.
I can totally relate to the struggles of finding quiet time with little ones. I used to say that our kids had a Mommy radar that they just knew when I was awake and trying to have my quiet time. It didn't matter what time I would be up...4am, 5am, 6am...any one of our kids would sense I was up and would cry. A pastor's wife friend of ours offered her advice that she used to have Sesame Street devotions where her 4 kids would watch Sesame Street and she would have her devotions. Somedays, if I didn't have my own quiet time, I would read a story from one of the kids' bibles to the kids at breakfast time and then take a short time to reflect myself to go a little deeper with that story. I must say it was quite challenging and refreshing! I learned so much from my own mini-sermons to the kids! :)

Now that Letty is getting older, I feel that I am able to structure my day a little better.
As you may know, we live in such a hard spiritual area. It can be quite discouraging not having spiritual encouragement surrounding us to turn to! Something that has been on my heart for quite a while is starting a ladies' Bible study as there really isn't one even around here (but of course there are the excuses)! Just recently, the Lord has orchestrated this really cool thing - a BLOG accountability group! I can't tell you enough how encouraging it has been to me (and the other ladies) and how accountable you feel to be in the Word. If interested, I would love to share how this blog accountability group came together! I will be praying for you through this time. (my apologies for the long commment...oops!) Thanks again for the encouragement, Jess! Miss you guys!

February 4, 2012 at 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only say as the mother of a 17, 14 and 9 year old that life just gets busier the older they get! What great ideas for moms of young children and older children to get in the word and make time to be still and know that HE IS GOD.

February 6, 2012 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Ranee Brokaw said...

thank you for this is so true that while it can be a challenge to find the quiet times, it is so necessary. I needed to hear this!

February 8, 2012 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger Alyssa Hollis said...

you are such an ispriation to my life. Thank you for sharing all you do.

February 8, 2012 at 2:54 PM  
Anonymous EricaG said...

Thank you. Thank you. This topic has been on my heart. I needed this reminder that "quiet time" isn't a mandate from God...connecting with Him IS. The perfectionism monster was stealing my joy in this area!

February 12, 2012 at 4:29 PM  

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