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. : )