If you’re anything like me, you’re having a hard time balancing your crazy hectic life with spending actual quiet time with God. You read blogs or devotionals about the importance of spending time with the Lord. You know it’s true. You desire it. Yet the reality of your everyday life is weighing you down and wearing you thin. You just can’t find that special time and place to be alone with God daily.
For years (yes, years. It’s sad) I struggled with knowing that I needed God daily and finding a spare moment throughout the day.
I heard the same old suggestion again and again. Just wake up earlier. It was beyond frustrating! I don’t know about you, but waking up earlier is not a thing in my house. I have 4 kids under age 5 and on average, none of them sleep completely through the night. The baby wakes up to eat once a night and usually a few times for his paci. My 4 year old wakes up to go potty and insists on coming to let me know. My 3 year old gets up because he wants to sleep in my room, on the floor next to my bed. And my 2 year old is the only one that will almost always go all night without a peep, but is up by 6 am. All of them (besides the baby, who actually sleeps until about 7:30) are awake by 6:30.
I tell you all of this to say that waking up earlier just isn’t an option for me. Not if I want to be a decent person throughout the day.
So what’s a mom to do when she has children at home with her all day long, gets zero breaks throughout the day, and can’t even go to the bathroom alone?! How can this mom ever hope to spend time with the Lord before her kids go off to college?
First, realize your quiet time is going to look different than a mom with older kids. And that’s okay. If you’re a mom with babies, toddlers or preschoolers, you are living in survival mode. Literally. Your days are quite literally spent keeping little people alive. It’s exhausting.
So no, you might not wake up an hour earlier than everyone else so you can sit quietly and read your Bible. You might not be able to take the kids to school, then spend some alone time studying God’s Word. Heck, you might not even be able to complete the weekly assignments from the Bible Study that you are in (the one you’re in because it provides free childcare so you can finally come up for a breathe of air mid-week). No, your quiet time will not be so neat and clean.
Ways to have quiet time when you can’t even pee alone:
Do it before the kids get out of bed. I know what you’re thinking. I’m contradicting myself. I said I cannot possibly get up any earlier because my children literally get up before the sun. That’s true. I can’t wake up before them. BUT, I often have my quiet time with God before the kids get out of bed.
In our home we have a rule: You can wake up early, but you cannot get out of bed until 7am. So when I hear that my kids are awake, I will usually grab my phone and do my devotion and then pray for a bit. I must admit this is both a great time and a terrible time to do it. It’s great because I’m typically not interrupted. I can hear the kids in their beds, but they don’t come out of their rooms (unless they have to go potty). But It’s also terrible because...I’m still in bed and sometimes I fall asleep reading or praying.
When you’re driving anywhere: 2 of my kids go to preschool 3 days a week. It’s a 20 minute drive there and back. I often spend the drive praying and talking to the Lord. Sometimes out loud because, kids. Kids can be loud. I know God can hear my thoughts, but sometimes I cannot. Sometimes I’ll pray, listen to a podcast, or crank up the worship music. It’s 40 minutes that I can talk to and listen to and worship my God.
During quiet time: Listen, I get it. Quiet time isn’t always a thing. Here’s what works at my house. 3 days a week I just have a baby and a toddler at home with me. They both nap for several hours during the day. Several hours! I can spend actual quiet time with God at those times. The rest of the week though, my older two are home and I insist on having “quiet time”. They are supposed to be in a bed for one hour. They don’t have to sleep. They can pick a few toys and books. But they must be in a bed. It doesn’t always play out like I want, and often I’m having to redirect them back to bed. But I like to believe that God understands and these small interruptions don’t bother Him.
When the kids are playing: When I notice that the kids are all in rare form and playing nicely together,
I stare at them with my mouth open wondering how this happened and how long it will last for I grab my Bible or devotional and I spend a few surreal moments with the Lord.
I tell the kids it’s reading time: I don’t do this one as often as I probably should. I like this one because it involves the kids, and I think it’s important that your kids see your love and excitement for God. I grab my Bible and sit in the living room and I invite the kids to also grab a book and read. We tell each other what book we’re reading and then spend a few minutes quietly reading to ourselves.
Oh yeah! I just remembered why I don’t do this one that often. It never works out!! My 3 year old will NOT, for the life of me, sit quietly and read. But I still think it’s important for your kids to see you spending time with the Lord, even if you have to keep reading the same sentence over and over again because you’re being interrupted a thousand times to “watch me mommy”!
As I trudge through the day: It’s no secret that the baby, toddler and preschool days can just draaaaag on! It often feels like a warzone and I feel so depleted throughout the day. As I go from one sticky messy situation to another, I talk to God. I tell him how tired I am and how I just long for one night of uninterrupted sleep. I tell him how frustrated I am that the kids cannot seem to fathom the importance of obedience and cleanliness. I ask for forgiveness for how I treated the precious children He entrusted to me. I beg Him for patience and kindness and love and the supernatural ability to make it through the day even though I got like 40 minutes of sleep last night. I just keep God near me all day long, talking to Him, sometimes whining, but trying to keep in step with the Spirit as I go about my day.
When the kids go to bed: I’m not entirely sure why, but this one is really hard for me. Actually, I do know why. I’m extremely selfish. After the chaos of dinner and the bedtime battle, I’m ready to call it quits and begin my mind-numbing t.v. and ice cream binging evening routine. But the reality is, it’s an excellent time to spend with the Lord. My kids go to bed at 6:30. That gives me hours in the evening.
Also, realize that what I currently do right now may not work for you. What I hope you get out of this is the realization that quiet time with God can happen anywhere, whether it is quiet or not. Chances are, it won’t be that quiet. That’s okay. God can still hear you and the Holy Spirit can still speak to you.
And know that every day will be different. The important thing is that you ARE spending time with God.
How do YOU find quiet time with God throughout each day?