Tuesday, January 20, 2009

AM routines, QTs, and kids

The snow was still here this morning and I looked happily upon it as I prayed. On a recent post where I talked about what my morning routine generally looks like, Peaceloving asked:

"I'm curious, what are your kids doing during this time? Maybe they're old enough that the house can still seem peaceful while they're home? Mine are preschoolers and quiet is just not available when they're awake."

My kids are between the ages of 8 and 12, so they are able to care for themselves and entertain themselves much more so than when they were preschoolers.

I sometimes lay out their clothes the night before, or put their cereal bowls and boxes out the night before to make things go smoother in the mornings, but they can handle those kinds of things by themselves now for the most part. Plus, my husband (a great Dad and a morning person) has always helped heavily with the kids in the mornings before he goes to work.

I remember those preschool years well. I remember hearing people talk about praying for an hour every morning, or doing Precepts Bible studies with daily homework. And I felt like a failure as a Christian because I couldn't manage to do that with two preschoolers at home. I dreamed of being able to do that. Once mine reached school age, however, I chose to homeschool them - so I still didn't have the house or time to myself for a long time.

I just look at it in terms of seasons of life. Right now you may be in a season of caring for a baby/preschooler, and that's simply not going to allow for you to spend hours alone with God having a "Quiet Time." God knows that. Young children need lots of attention and supervision. So be realistic about your expectations, and realize that we at P31 believe motherhood is a high spiritual calling. You are fulfilling your purpose in this season of life by giving those children a solid foundation.

Refresh your soul in God as best you can. For instance, I started keeping a Bible at my kitchen table and I would open it and read while eating my morning cereal - just a few minutes worth of reading until I had to do the next thing. That was my routine at that time. If able, I might read some more later as I ate lunch or had a cup of tea. And yes, my kids or a Barney DVD might be playing in the background as I read.

Don't assume that if you do not have an hour of peace and quiet that it is not worth doing any Bible reading - God's Word is alive and active, and never void, regardless of your circumstances or surroundings!

I'd also play Christian music in the car when we drove places. I wish I'd had a MP3 player when my kids were little; I could've occasionally drowned out Dora the Explorer with some worship songs while still keeping an eye on my kids. I joined a MOPS group, which was a life saver for me. And later I went to a Bible study group that provided childcare. Both of those were at churches other than my own, by the way.

My friend Marybeth Whalen, mother of 6 and a homeschooler, says she learned to use her shower as her prayer place because it was the only time she was alone and couldn't hear the kids! So she prays while taking her shower.

You could do that, or a brief version of my core morning routine. I specifically made it easy enough to do in a few minutes, if that's all I have that day. You can stand in front of your window and pray for just a few seconds. You can even stand there with a baby in your arms. You can chose a devotional book that has short daily entries. Sharon mentioned one that I have and love called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It usually takes just a minute to read her entries, but they are powerful.

True, many days I spend more time with the scriptures later in the morning, but that's separate from my fast, flexible "core" morning routine.

I do feel that that we should not compare ourself to others who may be in a different season of life and expect our life or quiet time to look like theirs. Feeling guilty or inadequate is not helpful either - it usually paralyzes us.

I think we look at our favorite Bible teachers - like maybe Beth Moore, or Kay Aurthur, or Joyce Myers - and assume that everyone has to have big long Bible study sessions each day. While we all need to stay plugged into God and His Word and allow Him into our day, we aren't all full-time Bible scholars, or preachers. And we don't all have jobs researching and writing Bible studies. So learn from them, and get inspired by them to delve into the Word for yourself, but also keep this perspective.

Most importantly, resist the temptation to view your children as an obstacle to your spiritual growth - they are a blessing from God and His assignment for you. They can actually be a vehicle to spiritual growth for you in this season of your life.

5SKIS asked if I follow my same morning routine on snow days. Yesterday I did not. Rather than watch Sunrise Earth, I played outside and watched the inaguration. I'm flexible like that. (Course we get a snow day about once every 7 years so maybe if snow came regularly I wouldn't always deem it a "fun day".) Today I eased back into my routine.

Just keep your heart connected to God and His Word daily and stay focused on His plans for you in the season He has you in. That's my approach. This blog is a place for conversation, so feel free to comment, make a different suggestion, or ask another question. : )


  1. Thank you for your encouraging words. I do find myself comparing to others. It's nice for the reminder that we are all in different seasons of our lives. I appreciate your posts and look forward to reading them. They are always so uplifting.
    Thank you again. :)

  2. Rachel, this was such an encouraging post & just what I needed to read TODAY!! As a mom to a recently turned 4 yr. old I'm always "scrounging" for my quiet time...your post helped me to realize "GOD KNOWS" I don't have that time & I should learn to appreciate these times with my daughter, as they are quite spiritual in their own way!
    THANK YOU, my friend!!

    I look forward to reading your posts every day! Thanks for doing this!
    Pat in NYC

  3. Your post couldn't have been more timely. It was also a bit convicting and yet liberating at the same time. I am guilty of some of the negative feelings you mentioned but I felt so relieved when I read "God knows that" - how silly of me to have forgotten! You are so right. I need to embrace the season I am in and do my best no matter the circumstances. I appreciate your gentle words of wisdom. Thank you.

  4. Thank you so much for answering my question. I'm pretty good about not feeling guilty that I don't have the hours of uninterrupted time that I did before kids. I agree with you that God meets us in the small moments between the noise, as well as in the moments that I'm treasuring a smile or a hug from my boys or something funny that they've said. Right now they're finished with breakfast and are calling my name. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. Rachel:
    I was very touched by your honesty about the warm morning bed being a magnet! I have been fighting this same issue for the past year, and unfortunately, my bed has been the undefeated champion....much to my dismay!.....I beat myself up....then go over my list of excuses....at the top of this list is being tired...after raising my own children, I am now raising my (surprise gift from God) grandson... I am just plain tired and worn out. God is whispering in my ear it is because I am doing it, or trying to do it on my own...
    You will be at my church's ladies retreat this weekend....and I am so ready to spend some time with God...with you, and with the wonderful women from my awesome church....I am expecting an encounter! Love to you...and traveling mercies on your trip to Delaware!

  6. rachel, thanks for sharing. I have a question though. How do you organize your prayers? I find praying overwhelming because I have so many needs to pray about and I struggle with praying the right things for others. Do you have any prayers you generally use? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  7. This was a great post Rachel. It is hard when you are a mom to young kids.....but you are right to say that we just have to find the time whenever and wherever!! I do the shower thing and I do the MP3 thing too, especially when they are driving me up the walls and I just need to escape with the Lord!! =)

  8. Rachel,
    This is a great post. My children are grown now and I do have extra time. But I would often feel lacking because I work full time + and could not attend day time studies, with stay home women. I am way over that now and have a very good study routine (that can be flexible) but I like this post as an encouragement for those who don't have as much time.

  9. Thank you so much for the reassurance. I usually have to break up my time with God throughout the day and have 'worried' that it wasn't 'right'. This is the second blog post I've read tonight that says differently. Thank you Rachel!

  10. Thank you so much. I have always loved your blog. Recently I have felt God leading me back here. I know he used you to tell me just what I needed to hear. I have a two year old and an almost six month old that are not on the same sleep schedules. I am learning to use the time I have and not feel guilty if it doesn't come. I am starting to pray throughout the day instead of not praying at all because I didn't get a quiet time. I actually think I'm enjoying this more because God is teaching me that He is not only with me during quiet time, but all day long. Thank you, sweet Rachel. You are appreciated.

  11. Thanks for keeping it real and for encouraging us in success and not failure as we desire our time with Him! :)

    Warm hugs,


Chime in.