As a young mother I also faced this dilemma. I have always loved to read the Word of God. Before children came along I spent three hours reading the Word and praying before I started each day. I wrote pages and pages of the revelation I received as God showed me wondrous things in His precious word. I still have these hard-covered notebooks. But when I entered the new adventure of motherhood, I could no longer find that time. I had to find a different way. And where there’s a will there’s a way!
Grab the Moments
At first I lamented that I couldn’t spend hours alone with God, but grumbling over what I couldn’t do didn’t help. I came to realize that God was not limited to my quiet hours with Him, but He wanted to be very much part of my life as a mother. He wanted me to abide in Him and live in His presence as I cooked meals, changed nappies (diapers) and cleaned toilets etc. I found that I could still get desperately needed nourishment from God’s living Word by grabbing little bits here and there throughout the day. I could read when I nursed the baby (if I wasn’t reading stories to the other children). I could snatch a verse from Psalms when visiting the bathroom.
I put one of my Bibles on my windowsill above my kitchen sink, where I spent many hours preparing meals and doing dishes. I would turn the Bible to the Psalms or the Proverbs where I could look up from my work for a moment, read a verse and meditate upon it.
I remember one moment in my mothering days in New Zealand. As I washed the dishes at the kitchen sink, I sunk into a self-pity trip. I felt so sorry for myself that the tears rolled down my cheeks! Suddenly, I looked up. My Bible was open to Psalm 103 and I read, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies…”
I was convicted and immediately confessed my sin. “I’m sorry, Lord. I repent of these deceptive self-pitying thoughts. I resist them in the name of Jesus. I thank you for all my blessings. Thank you for my salvation. Thank you for my home. Thank you for my husband. Thank you for these wonderful children you have given me. I am a blessed woman.” As I praised and thanked the Lord my negativity disappeared. It wasn’t my circumstances after all! It was my deceptive thoughts! What delivered me? The powerful Word of God!
A few years ago I was back in Palmerston North, New Zealand where I started the ministry ofAbove Rubies. Some of our friends put on a Celebration Dinner to commemorate the 25th anniversary of starting Above Rubies. As different ones spoke about their memories of the early days of Above Rubies, I was amazed that quite a number shared that their memories of me as a young mother were with my Bible at my kitchen windowsill. It impacted their life and they commenced doing the same thing. I was surprised that such a little thing would have such a big impact and would be one of their foremost memories so many years later.
If you hunger to be filled with God’s life-giving Word, you will also find creative ways to read it, even in the midst of your great task of mothering and running your home. There will always be special moments that you can grab. I remember one time feeling such a need to spend specific time with the Lord. I took a few toys and the little ones with me into my bedroom and knelt by my bed with the Bible. I was having a wonderful time with the Lord. I was hardly aware of the children climbing all over me when I got a loud knock on my bedroom door with the words, “Can you keep those children quiet?” Our boarder was home from work as he was sick. He couldn’t sleep because of the noise of the children in the bedroom and yet I wasn’t even aware of it! Your “Quiet Time” may not always be quiet, but we, as mothers, can learn to hear from God even in the midst of children and noise all around us.
I love the story of Susannah Wesley who would throw her apron over her head when she needed to talk to the Lord. When her children saw her do this they knew she was in her sanctuary!
Write it Down!
When I read the Word, I read it in faith. I read it, believing that God is going to speak to me. I look eagerly for God to speak to me in every verse I read. In my teen years I took note of the words of God to Jeremiah, “Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you.” (Jeremiah 30:2) I received that personally and from that time began to write down everything God revealed to me and that I learned from the Word of God.
As the children came along, I found it hard to find the time to do this. But where’s there’s a will there’s a way. How could I remedy this? I started an idea, which I now continue to this day. Each new year I purchase a diary that has one page for every day. In my busy mothering days I would use diaries that had two or three days for a page as I didn’t have time to write much more than the Scripture). You need enough space to write at least one Scripture.
I do not use this diary to write my schedules, but to write Scripture from the Word of God. In fact, I only have a tiny soft-covered planner to write my appointments and dates and a larger hard-covered dairy for the most important–to write what God says to me personally each day. As I read, I look for the Scripture that speaks to me the most and I write it in the space. If there is room and time, I write a few sentences of what it says to me personally and a prayer of response to the Lord.
Dear busy mothers, this doesn’t take long. You can find time to write ONE VERSE! And you will be very blessed. It will help you to remember what you read. If you were to ask me at the end of the day what God told me in the morning, I have to confess that I have usually forgotten. The day is filled with work and challenges and the morning word can flee from my mind. But, because I have written it down I can go back to it. I can never forget it. At the end of the year I have a full year of Scriptures that God has given to me personally! I love to go back and re-read these Scriptures from previous years. They are life and rhema to me.
A Meditation Basket
Here’s another great idea. What about a Meditation Basket? Place in a suitable basket all the things that will inspire you when you have your Quiet Time (or not so quiet if the children are around you). Put in one of your Bibles, a Daily Devotional of your choice (I’m currently writing one for mothers which you’ll love to have when it is printed), perhaps a different version of the Bible than you usually read, an old hymn book (it is wonderful to read some of the wonderful old hymns to inspire you in your walk with the Lord), and, of course, your hard-covered diary in which you will write the most important Scripture God gives you for the day. Don’t forget to put in two or three pens (or even more as they seem to disappear quickly), as you want to have a pen on hand when that revelation comes.
Keep your Meditation Basket in the place where you love to sit with the Lord, or you can pick up your basket and take it with you anywhere in the house, or outside under a tree while you are watching the children play, or wherever you want to go. It’s all in the basket. You don’t have to run around finding everything when you find another cozy nook somewhere.
The more you feed from the living Word of God, the more you will be sustained, strengthened and satiated. You will be filled to overflowing to feed your family with life-giving truth.