I can still remember (just barely!) whey my husband and I were first married and had no children. My husband and I joke and ask “What did we do with all our time back then?”
We have eight kids now and our days (and nights!) are filled! As a new wife, and even before that, I was always very faithful in my devotional life. As a teen I’d been taught the importance of daily spending time in prayer, and reading God’s word. Therefore, it was a habit to spend time alone with God each morning. Now, here comes my confession!
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As I started having children, I began to have a little difficulty being faithful to my quiet time. I did fairly well with one and two kids, but as we went up from there to three to four, and on up, my daily quiet time alone was no longer daily; my quiet time was rarely quiet(!), and alone –impossible! But I didn’t give up!
As a mom, I knew it was vitally important that I read God’s Word and pray daily. Therefore, I kept trying different things. Getting up before the kids didn’t work. Without fail, one of them would get up too. Nap time didn’t work too often, because I usually needed a nap. So, unfortunately, there would be days when I fell into bed exhausted at night and realized I’d never read my Bible that day. Perhaps you have struggled with this problem too, or still do.
Here are some thoughts that might help you, and then I’ll tell you what solved the problem for me when the kids were young, and the days were busy.
1. Realize that when you have kids, your devotional life will probably change.
If you used to spend thirty minutes or an hour with the Lord, you’re going to find it hard to keep that up when you are in the busy days with little ones. You may have to settle for five or ten minutes.
2. Don’t feel guilty!
It’s better to spend some time, than to skip totally because you don’t have as much time as you’d like.
3. Keep trying different times and methods till you find one that works for you.
Remember, as the kids grow you can always go back to your other time or ways.
Here is what worked for me:
I finally decided to INCLUDE my kids in spending time in God’s Word. This meant having a Bible time with the kids daily, and reading a Bible story from a book. Since I needed to be reading the Bible, I decided to read a chapter to the kids each day. I loved it, and they loved it!
Rather than quickly reading some verses (just to say I did) and not really getting anything out of it, I took my time. The kids needed a lot of it explained to them, which made me think, and I ended up getting a lot from it. Don’t believe that the Bible is boring to kids! My kids, from preschoolers to teens enjoyed this time and listened well.
This is a great way to re-enforce from the Bible the things you’re trying to teach your kids. For example, obedience. One chapter in Matthew tells the story of Jesus calling His disciples to follow Him. I stressed to the kids that they “straightway” followed. They didn’t ask “why”, or “do I have to?” etc. They obeyed immediately without question! (That does a lot more for the kids than a lecture on obedience!)
So my quiet time alone was no longer alone, but I was still gleaning from God’s Word daily.
As far as prayer time, it too took a different format, but didn’t get neglected. I often had a hard time getting up in the morning , so when the kids were up and dressing, I laid in bed and prayed for strength (!) and wisdom for the day, etc. Then throughout the day there were many times when I said a quick prayer for wisdom or help in situations where I needed it. I also prayed with the kids after our Bible reading.
Time with the Lord is worth fighting for, so don’t give up because your circumstances make it difficult. Keep trying! The rewards and blessing are worth it!