[Today I'm linking up with We Are THAT Family's Works for Me Wednesday bloghop.]
Anytime I see a blog post or a pin on Pinterest about spending time with God while being a mom of small children, I have to read it. It is a constant struggle! There are not many minutes in a day that pass without someone calling for mom. (Took me all morning to write this...) I am always looking for tips from other moms to try out myself. What works for them? Can that fit into my days with my boys?
One of the recurring "this is the most important thing" tips is to get up an hour before your kids do. I don't know how this is actually possible. When I'm up early, the boys just know, and they are up, too. They can sleep through a train wreck overnight, but the sound of my feet on the floor anytime after 4 am wakes them up. Then chaos ensues because they are just so energetic in the mornings. It's not time for breakfast yet. There's nothing for them to do but run from one side of the house to the other and back. If I sleep in and let them wake me up, we all get up about 6:15. It's difficult for this not-a-morning-person to deal with all that energy at 6:15, but it's definitely more bearable then than it is at 5:15. Plus, it's late enough that we can start breakfast, and giving them something to do helps focus their energy on something other than running. I'm hoping that as they get older this will change. For now, me getting up before them for quiet time doesn't work. Here are 3 things that do work for me:
Family devotions. Just before bed every night, we have devotions together as a family. This is the easiest to keep up with because it actively involves the boys - so they aren't interrupting! Though we experience God through these times, it is not enough Bible study for Rodgers and me to end here. We have The Beginner's Bible, which is not a translation of the Bible. It is about 90 Bible stories, based only on the Bible, without artistic license (though they do skip over some heavier subjects, like adultery), hitting the main points from Genesis to Revelation. Reading one a day, we get through the Bible every 3 months. Because it's written for preschoolers, there are lots of pictures and each story is short enough for their attention spans. As they get older, we'll move on to reading passages directly from the Bible. Then we read the day's reading from Jesus Wants All of Me, which is My Utmost for His Highest paraphrased for small children. It is great! We talk about what our reading teaches us about God. We also work on memorizing Scripture, we sing worship songs, and we pray together.
Audio Bible. I love reading. I used to read through the Bible every year. Since I would inevitably miss days, and I hated getting behind in my reading plan, I put together my own plan that leaves a little wiggle room. I think it's 327 days of reading. I could do each day's reading in about 15 minutes. Now, with interruptions from my kids at least every 45 seconds, I would sit down for a 15 minute Bible reading and realize an hour later that I wasn't even halfway through it. (This is where being able to get up before them in the morning would be handy.) Now I use You Version on my phone and play the audio for the day's reading as I'm cooking breakfast or getting Nate dressed for school or doing my morning chores. I'm less likely to be interrupted when I'm visibly doing something, and I can bring it with me and keep listening while helping the boys with whatever they interrupted me for.
Making the most of nap time. One great thing about early risers is that they still have to take naps. Ben is not even close to giving up naps. During the school term, Nate is so exhausted that he still takes long naps on the weekends. During break, he didn't take a nap every day, but he would at least lay down and look at books for a long enough time that I could do my Bible study. It's the only uninterrupted time I get during the day. When I'm very ambitious, I do Bible study, exercise, and start dinner. But if all I get done is Bible study, that's enough.
One more I'm working on. I spend time in prayer during my Bible study, but I also want to pray continually, as I go about my day. I have a reminder pop up on my phone. I have lists posted where I will see them, but it is still hard to keep it in the front of my mind. I am still working on this one.