When I was in high school I thought I was busy. There was band practice, JROTC (yes, I know…you can stop laughing now), youth group, homework, after school clubs, football games, chores, and the list goes on. My schedule was full. Fast forward to college. There were papers to write, organizations to join, friends to see, road trips to take, churches to serve, and money to be made through part time employment. I slowly eased out of childhood into the world of adulthood. Busy-ness took on a new form of responsibility.
I graduated college and went to seminary realizing that I had never really been busy before. I studied music and theology, so I had to write a lot of papers, read a lot of books, and spend a lot of hours in the practice room. I worked part time at a local church, waited tables, babysat, and taught guitar. My days were full. I was never so tired in all of my life.
After seminary, I taught music at a K-12 private school. People expected me to show up every day for a job. So I would wake up by 5:30 a.m every morning, drive the Palmetto Expressway (Miami residents can empathize), and be bright eyed and perky by 8:00 a.m. to teach my students. There were papers to grade, parent-teacher meetings to make, faculty meetings to attend, rehearsals to plan, concerts to perform, and there was no rest until my head hit the pillow at night.
I married a pastor. We moved to a new city. There was a positive pregnancy test nine months into matrimony. There were ministry demands, a difficult pregnancy, and our daughter’s early arrival. We were unprepared. A year and a half later, our second daughter was born. Sleeping was but a memory. There were messes to clean, meals to cook, pediatricians to visit, games to play, books to read, playdates to attend, and broken things to fix. There was laughter, and sometimes there were tears, but then there was a healthy baby boy on the way. Three littles under the age of five, and busyness took on a whole new meaning for me.
Busyness comes with the territory of motherhood, I guess. A lot of people are busy, and one does not have to be a mom to be busy. In fact, there are a lot of people who are busier than moms, but just in different ways. The thing with the busy-ness of motherhood, though, is that it is unpredictable. There are sick kids, unexpected falls, tantrums, middle of the night wakings, early risings, and a lot of messes. We have to hold our plans loosely and expect interruptions.
What about the Christian mother, then? How can she tend to her relationship with her Lord while tending to her children?
When I talk to moms I hear a lot of guilt talk. “I really should read my Bible more.” “I feel bad that I didn’t attend that Bible study. It’s just…my kids…my job…my limited time.” “I use to get up and have a quiet time in the mornings. I don’t know how to do that anymore, or where it could fit into my day.”
When we approach reading God’s Word and prayer as something else that needs to be checked off of our to-do list we are missing the whole point.
Our relationship with God is in a category all by itself, and yet it is where all of the other categories of our life find their place and purpose. It is not something to be completed or mastered in our day, but rather the very thing that holds us together and enables us to have a Kingdom view in our earthy, messy, busy day.
Where to begin?
Start small. Instead of carving out an ambitious load or time commitment, spend a few minutes at the beginning, middle, or end of your day. Let God start the conversation: Read a Psalm, find a good devotional (try shereadstruth.com – they even have an app), and/or read through one of the gospels a few verses a day.
How to stay consistent?
Sometimes we fail to start something because we know we won’t finish or remain committed. We cannot be perfectionistic with our faith. Only Jesus is the perfect one. Only Jesus always knew when to pull away from the crowds to go by himself to a mountainside to pray. My biggest problem in my spiritual walk is not knowing when to pull away from the crowds. And yes, sometimes those “crowds” are my kids. Or my friends. Or my ministry. Or my writing. Or my leisure.
Trust that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6). Anticipate an ebb and flow in your faith, but surrender even this to the Lord. We are vulnerable to Satan’s attacks when we are out of fellowship with the Lord. Anxiety, temptations, uncontrolled temper or tongue, and a host of other troubles meet us when we are disconnected from God’s Word and prayer.
The only way to remain consistent in our walks with God is to first begin. And when we withdraw, begin again. And again. And again. The Holy Spirit is not a visitor, he is a resident in our very souls. We can never lose Him. Our faith is not about our faithfulness in the spiritual disciplines, it is about God’s faithfulness. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it…” Our hearts our sealed. Let’s delight in the One who seals it.
A Few Final Thoughts…
- Expect God to speak. Believe that He can be found if we seek Him with all of our hearts.
- Don’t try and replicate a mountaintop experience from that college retreat, or mission trip. Walking with God occurs not only on the mountain, but also in the valleys. Some of the greatest growth happens during the hardest trials. Let’s not put God in a box thinking that He can only speak to us through emotion and experience. The only way to be sure that it is God’s voice we hear and not our own is to be continually in His Word.
- Taste test. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him” Psalm 34:8. In order to make God our refuge, we must first taste and see His goodness. We cannot hide in Him unless His Word is hidden in us.
Mom, you’re busy. There’s no denying it. If there is any time that we need the Lord, it is now. So many depend on us- need our time, attention, and even our bodies. Let’s give them more than ourselves. Let’s give them Jesus. And the only way for us to give them Jesus is to know Jesus ourselves. Seek Him. Know Him. Find Him.
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” Jeremiah 29:13).