Before kids, I had such sweet quiet times with the Lord. After having kids though…?
I still have sweet times with the Lord. It looked a little different in seasons, but I actually soaked in the Word and prayed more during a time I expected these things to suffer. I had lots of worries during my pregnancy that kind of forced me to figure out how to continue to connect with the Lord. I knew I wouldn’t get through that time without him.
Maybe you’re a mom struggling to find time with the Lord in a bustling house. Maybe you’re not a mom, hoping to be one day but also sort of terrified at the hit it will take on your slow mornings with the Lord.
I hope this post encourages you that finding time with the Lord in this busy season is possible and 100% worth it! Sometimes we just have to get super creative!!
Here are 8 things I’ve done in the newborn phase (and other busy seasons) that help me connect with the Lord.
1. STRATEGICALLY PLACE TOOLS AROUND YOUR HOME.
Where do you end up for longer periods of time? In the recliner nursing? For me, it was on the floor next to Vana’s rocker, rocking it with one hand and trying to make sure she didn’t see me. I kept New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp on the floor, and when I found myself unexpectedly stuck waiting for her to fall asleep and terrified to walk out and wake her up, I had my own quiet time with the Lord. If you’re looking for a devo especially for moms, check out my devotional Fresh Start for Moms. Not a mom? We’ve got a 31-day devotional on prayer, Fresh Start Prayer Journal.
2. PUT AWAY THE HEAVY STUDY.
This might sound bad, but it actually helped me not to see a stack of Bible study materials next to my bed or laying there unopened making me feel “behind”. If I had extra time I could pull them out, but they didn’t stay out and frustrate me during this unique season. If you KNOW you don’t have 30 minutes or an hour, you may not do anything because you know that’s what a big study requires. If it paralyzes you, it’s having the opposite impact it should, so keep it simple for this short season.
3. REVIEW OLD NOTES.
You’re sleep-deprived. You’re trying to figure out a new routine, and in case I haven’t said it enough, you just don’t have the same time you had before. Pull out old sermon notes or notes from different books of the Bible you’ve studied and soak in the truth you’ve already discovered but likely need refreshing in. I took a notebook with me to the hospital when Vana was born (we were there 4 days because of my c-section) and it was refreshingly easy to pull out my notebook for a little catnap. I’d maybe read a page of notes for 5 minutes and then doze myself. It wasn’t much, but it sustained me more than I could have ever hoped! Click here to see a photo.
4. KEEP YOUR BIBLE OPEN ON A COUNTER.
Just the sight of it serves as a reminder to set my heart on God in the form of prayer and praise. Even reading just a few verses keeps His word on my lips. I particularly love the Illuminated Bible for this because it has passages in the margins in big beautiful lettering so even at a glance you can get a verse!
5. PRIORITIZE FILLING OUT PROMPTS IN YOUR PRAYER JOURNAL.
I created our first prayer journal while pregnant with my first and have found it easy enough to keep up with through every busy season during the past 6 years. Granted, I wrote less in busy seasons but I always prioritized finding 20-30 minutes to fill out my prompts section each month. If you’re pregnant, I’d communicate to your husband how important this is for you. That 30 minutes to yourself helps you pray throughout the whole month, so have him encourage you to take the time even when it feels like you can’t get away for 30 minutes. Head to the porch or a quiet space and know that that this simple prep can serve you all month long!
6. GO FOR STROLLER WALKS WITH YOUR JOURNAL ON THE CANOPY.
I didn’t realize till we had Vivi just how much I’d be walking her in the stroller. Those witching hours where nothing could calm her down beside some fresh air and cloud gazing became an unexpected time of lots of prayer! I actually miss it now even though I’ve got more morning time with two girls who are no longer newborns. Click here to grab our prayer journal!
7. LISTEN TO CHRISTIAN BOOKS DURING NIGHTLY FEEDINGS.
This was also super unexpected. I downloaded Fervent by Priscilla Shirer and it actually helped me look forward to this time. I mean, yes, I would have much preferred to sleep but if I had to get up, getting to listen to Priscilla encourage my prayer life became a really sweet time. Listening instead of reading made it easier to fall asleep after because I could keep my eyes closed and stay in the dark.
8. MEDITATE ON ONE VERSE A DAY.
I had a spiral of notecards and would write a verse on one side and break it down a little by reading different translations and putting key phrases I wanted to meditate on on the back. I also put a question and then pray on it throughout the day. I intentionally started becoming aware of God’s presence in every mundane thing. The question helped me get out of “request” mode and instead made me more attentive for his voice. I actually created cards based on this format with key verses from my book, Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday. Find the cards here.
There you have it! 8 tips I hope will help!
I thought I’d end with some encouragement that I shared in Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday on the topic of quiet times!
“I love the story of the innkeeper in Bethlehem, because I can relate to his situation. He was full. He was maxed out and had no occupancy. Yet he made room for Baby Jesus. It was messy, but he made it happen. You might be in a season where the best you can give is ten minutes, and even that isn’t quality, unless you count the Doc McStuffins theme song in the background as worship music. There are times when we have to be okay with whatever scraps we have to give to God. God doesn’t see it as scraps.
Let’s take a look at the story of the widow with two coins:
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ’Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’
Mark 12:41-44, NIV
Though you may feel impoverished by your lack of focused time with God, don’t discount what you do have to offer. Keep giving it to him with a joyful heart. The Lord is delighted when we give all we have. And I have to believe that our small offering is worth more than a larger offering by those who have all day. The key is adjusting our mindset and expectations, knowing that this is the season we’re in and then making sure it doesn’t become an excuse after the season ends.
All that said, I don’t want to let us off the hook too easily. I think we are often convinced that we have only two coins to give, when in reality we have a purse full of dollar bills. The truth is that we feel what we have should be portioned out to something else. That’s why it’s so important for us to reposition the way we think about our time with God. We need to stop seeing it as something we do simply to appease God, like that unpopular girl you hang out with just to be nice, not out of an actual desire for friendship. You know what I’m talking about—for some friends you’ll fly across the country to hang out with them, and for others you won’t even shift your laundry night.
I don’t just want to fly across the country to spend time with God; I want to move mountains. I want to make sacrifices, and I want those sacrifices to speak not only to how much I need him but also to how much I genuinely love being with him. I want him to not just fill the little corners of my day but to go everywhere with me. I know he’s always with me, but I want to live with an awareness of his presence, even when I’m going grocery shopping or driving to a play date or eating Chef Vivi’s specialty, pretend red onions and bell peppers…”
This article originally appeared on Val Marie Paper. You can find this, and other blog posts by Val here.