Monday, July 26, 2010

Quiet Time

Your plan for a "quiet time with Father" is a noble one. Your head fills up with the delight it would be to daily spend time in prayer and reading the Bible, maybe even getting some journal writing done. Full of hope, you once again pen your schedule. You want so much to "Number your days aright, that you may become wise". But life gets really busy for young wives and mothers. And time after time, your heart becomes piled with guilt and disappointment because in the shuffle of busy days, your "quiet time" couldn't happen.

A young woman called me this morning in tears. Her head was about to explode from lack of sleep and her highest dream for the day was a hot shower. She was convinced she was a bad mother. Her house was a wreck even though she cleaned it yesterday. She wasn't sure she could handle another round of hot dogs and macaroni with cheese. Certainly she should quit teaching Children's Church and on top of it all she forgot to pay a bill and her husband left the house this morning not at all happy. How on earth was she supposed to have a "quiet time"!

I'm not here to tell you that you never need a quiet time again and you'll be fine, but you do need to understand that your "quiet time" is not the bedrock of your faith. Your relationship with God is not measured by how long you read scripture or how much you know about prayer. Many people practice a "quiet time" for years and yet never hear Father speak to them, never figure out their calling, never have a relationship with Father that fills them up with joy.

Spending uninterrupted time reading the Word and enjoying prayer, writing in your journal if it helps, hiding God's Word in your heart...All these are important and with some creativity can take place on many of your days. Keep your reservoir as full as you can. Know that during the early stages of motherhood, you desperately need God, but may feel it impossible to connect with God for a daily quiet time.

Sitting on the park bench with Father and talking to Him about those sweet playful children you're watching counts. Washing the dishes (Read: Playing in the bubbles where nobody will bother you because they'd have to help!) is a good time to memorize that Bible verse you jotted down and taped to the paper plate art over your sink. Falling asleep with that friend's prayer request popping into your tired brain is a whisper from God that He's sharing it with you. Planting Mommy Appleseed thoughts about why Father thinks green is a good color for zucchini but not yellow squash is evangelism. Praying for marigolds with your child over the freshly planted seeds is indeed prayer time. Raising the children God has trusted to your care is a spiritual discipline that will teach you much more than you ever expected.

Live your life WITH Father not just FOR Him or IN Him. The more you get involved in the messy lives of messy people whether they are splashing loudly in your bathtub or living in a prison cell, the more you will grow in your relationship with Father.

Often people pray so that they are prepared to do some grand work. Often people read the Word so that they are prepared to know all about life and godliness. What if, instead, on those tough days, you looked at prayer as BEING the grand work and reading the Word as an active, living part of your busy day? What if instead of setting time aside to "be with Father" you took Him with you through the busy day?

My young friend was refreshed to remember that what she's doing matters. I called another friend to deliver supper and arrange babysitting for date night. The housework will get done. The children will have rest time after the park and McDonalds. The world will turn back on its axis. But the important thing is that now she understands that when Father says "the yoke is easy and the burden is light", He had her in mind. And that makes life just a little bit more bearable.

Isaiah 40:11
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arms He will gather the lambs (your little ones)
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes. (that would be you)

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