Whatever happened to early morning quiet time? Oh, I remember. I had children.
“Momma? Can I get up now?”
I pried open one bloodshot eye and cocked my head toward the clock. 4:39 a.m.
“No, baby girl,” I croaked, “it’s not morning yet.” My toddler stood at my bedside, clutching her pillow and an armful of stuffed animals.
“But Moooooom! I’m all done sleeping. I want to get up!”
“Come snuggle with me. Mommy’s tired.” Desperate, I lifted her warm body onto the mattress and tucked her pillow between her dad’s and mine. She settled under the covers and stared at me nose-to-nose. My eyelids slid shut.
“Mommy!” she hissed.
Sorry, I’m sleeping.
“Moooommyyyy!” She whispered louder. I rolled away and buried my face.
“Mommy!” Her finger jabbed my shoulder. “I want to get up!”
On the other side of the bed, my husband shifted and sighed. I assessed the options. If our human alarm clock stays here, she’ll wake her dad. If I make her go back to her own bed, she’ll wake her sister. Call me a martyr or a pushover—I opted for peace.
“Fine, let’s get up.”
“Oh, thanks, Momma! Will you take my pillow please? And can I have some milk and a muffin, too?” She began rattling requests as we pattered down the hall.
Yep, I’m your mom and I love you. Let the race begin.
Waffles, carpool, phone calls, e-mails, deadlines, library, laundry, potty training, piano, homework, cooking, dishes, tantrums, hugs, bath, bedtime prayers, goodnight kisses, listen. . . for. . . quiet.
What fills your day?
A year or two ago, each night when the kids were finally in bed, I’d wilt into an armchair in the family room. My handsome man would appear through the fog, presumably expecting either sex or popcorn. I’d buy some time and suggest we watch Cupcake Wars. Then it would hit me.
Noooooooooo! I haven’t touched my Bible today! How could I let that slide again?! My exhausted brain wrestled with how to spend those precious 30 minutes of “me” time. Bible, TV. Bible, TV. I’m ashamed to admit it wasn’t an automatic decision.
Has that ever happened to you? We’re all busy. The demands of family and work and life command every minute of the day—and every ounce of energy we can muster. Sadly, it’s easy to crowd God out of the calendar.
As if he’s just another item on the to-do list.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” (John 15:4–8).
Did you catch that? Apart from me you can do nothing. All our housekeeping, child rearing, errands, work—it amounts to zero without Jesus. He’s our sustenance. When we let ourselves slip out of the vine, we become withered branches, useless and barren. No wonder we’re drained.
I know what I’m supposed to do about it. Choose a portion of the day and set it aside for God—the coveted “quiet time,” which for many women is at the crack of dawn because that’s the only peaceful hour in the house. I’ve done that, and it’s an excellent discipline.
But will you think me less spiritual if I dare to voice an ugly fact? During certain seasons of life, a solid block of quiet is crazy impossible to carve. Ask any woman who’s jolted awake three times a night by a hungry baby—5 a.m. isn’t quiet time, it’s the shift change.
Out of necessity, I’ve learned instead to invite God into my not-so-quiet day.
It’s not pretty, but it works. I start each morning acknowledging God, praying while I stretch my aching limbs out of bed. Lord, thank you for another day with my children. Help me to honor you with the way I treat my family today. Then I crack open my Bible while the kids play at my feet. I read it while I sit on my daughter’s bed as she drifts off to nap. I sneak a few verses from Proverbs while the family watches Tangled on TV. I tell Bible stories to my kids at bedtime. I talk to and about Jesus in daily conversation, keeping him close to my heart as I go about the responsibilities he gave me.
Maybe it’s not ideal, the constant activity, the noise. It’s like inviting God for coffee at McDonald’s Playland. But it’s time with God nonetheless.
Besides, imagine if we moms reserved all our time with God for the moments when our kids are sleeping or absent. They’d never get to see our faith relationship in action. When I read my Bible in front of my children, when I pray with them, when I point to God in ordinary scenery, I’m remaining in the vine—and I’m teaching my kids that God is top priority.
Last night, after the girls were in bed, I sank into my trusty family room chair. Moments later a button nose poked around the sofa.
“Hi, Momma. Will you rub my back a little bit?” Apparently, the bedtime ritual wasn’t quite over yet. I wiggled eyebrows at my husband.
Good thing we didn’t pop that popcorn, eh, babe?
I lifted my daughter onto my lap for a hug, then laced her fingers in mine and led her back to her room. Mom duty is never really on a break. But I can keep going strong—with God, my vine.
Linking up with: The Better Mom, Playdates With God, The Mom Initiative, Titus 2sdays, Grace at Home, Women Living Well, Rethinking My Thinking, What He’s Done Wednesday, Wedded Wednesday, and Things I Can’t Say.