If you’re the mom who has the daily quiet time thing down pat, you’re prolly gonna want to skip this post, because for you it’s yesterday’s news. And because I might sound slightly hostile toward perfect mothers like you. But mainly the first thing.
I recently took an anonymous survey of nearly 300 moms, and the answers were telling. It gave me so many insights into the lives and minds of believing moms, and I discovered that most all of us are in the same boat. Or maybe I should say we’re not in the boat. We’re in the water, drowning, lips barely breaking the surface and gasping for air.
In the survey, I asked all kinds of questions about how we conduct our lives as Christian moms. The overall consensus? We all feel like we’re failing. Miserably. In a culture that frowns on letting our mess show, we view others’ lives through a filtered Instagram lens, and when everyone parades their best while we know our personal worst, well…suffice it say we feel less than.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the first question on the survey, mainly because it’s a big struggle for me right now. The question is this: do you intentionally spend time with God every day?
I don’t know about you, but I tend to look around at my Jesus-loving peers and assume they somehow manage this crazy life better than I do. I picture them up at 5:30am with a hot cuppa and their Bible spread open on their laps. After they read and journal and pray in their prayer closets, they brush their teeth, get a shower, and put on actual clothing before they take their offspring to school. By actual clothing I am referring to garments that do not fall in the activewear category (see below).
The truth? Only 2% of the 300 moms surveyed spend intentional time with God every day. TWO. PERCENT.
Feel better? I hope so.
Don’t get me wrong; just because statistics show that very few Christian moms spend daily time with the Lord doesn’t mean it’s something we should settle for. God is clear that to know His heart and to be refilled for all of the pouring out that we do as mothers, we have to plug into His Word and connect with Him in prayer. We need to bathe in His presence so that we’re ready for battle every day. He knows we need this, which is why He talks about it so much in His Word.
Those two words sum up so much of our struggles when we’re in the thick of motherhood: BUT KIDS.
Jesus loved kids. He gravitated toward them, and He told us that if we want to inherit His kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, we have to become like children first. He probably played with them and hugged them and tousled their hair. He taught them, which means he has to know what it’s like to try and impart wisdom to a seven-year-old boy who wiggles incessantly and makes fart noises on his arm during the most reverent of moments.
I tend to think He understands how difficult it is to carve out quiet time when there are kids around. I bet he was exhausted after he spent lots of time with children, because children are EXHAUSTING.
Jesus knows what it’s like to be a mother. Before you do a double-take, go with me here. In His time on earth as God and man, Jesus loved, served, taught, cared for others all day, every day. He knows what it’s like to give when you feel you have nothing left in your tank. To serve when you’re so tired you could fall asleep standing up. To teach when you feel like no one is listening to a word you say. To take care of the sick and the needy.
Jesus understands you. He isn’t condemning you. He feels for you and can empathize and has great compassion for you, mama.
He also knows how to help make things better. He knows that communion with Him will give your soul rest and life that sleep and vacation can’t offer you. He knows that He can strengthen you when you’re weak. He knows that He can love and serve and teach and care for YOU so that you can do so for others. That’s why He so desperately wants your time! Because He loves you and He cares about meeting your needs.
I want to leave you with a few practical tips for making time with God a part of your routine, not so that you view them through the lens of legalism and “have to,” but so that you have somewhere to start. Trust me, I’m talking to myself here, too.
Stop the self talk and engage with the voice of God. Stop beating yourself up and letting the lies of the enemy rule your heart and your mind. You are not a failure. You are not a disappointment to your Heavenly Father. You are deeply loved and He has unending compassion for you. You don’t have to do anything for Him to love you more, and you can’t do anything to make Him love you less. Your commitment to a daily quiet time does not determine how loved you are by your Father. Let Him tell you He loves you and be free.
Download an app like The First 5 and use it. If you’re not familiar with this app (and there are others that are similar), it’s fantastic. The team at Proverbs 31 Ministries put it together, and the purpose is simple: to help women engage with God through meditating on His Word and His truths during the first five minutes of every day. Most of you are like me–you keep your phone by your bed, and it’s often the first thing you look at each morning. If you download the app, it’s so easy to open it up and spend the first five minutes of your day focusing in on Jesus. So. Easy. It’s free, and it’s priceless. Go download it. Now.
Listen to podcasts by your favorite teachers. This is a huge one for me. I spend so much time in my car shuttling tiny humans around, and I find that I can get an entire 50-minute teaching session in each day, no sweat. Make sure you are listening to content from trusted, doctrinally-sound teachers, ’cause ain’t nobody got time for heresy, you know what I’m saying? A few of my favorites are J.D. Greear (pastor of Summit Church), The God-Centered Mom Podcast (hosted by Heather McFadayan), Andy Stanley (pastor of North Point Community Church), and David Platt (head of the IMB and author of Radical).There are countless more, so ask around for recommendations. If you have a favorite podcast, will you share it in the comments section below so we can check it out?
Pray on the go. The great thing about a relationship with God is that it exists outside the walls of a church. In Old Testament times, in order to experience God’s presence you’d have to hang out in the temple. Nowadays, we are His temple and His Spirit lives in us! Pray as you wash dishes. Pray as you change diapers. Pray as you carpool and as you grocery shop. You don’t have to hide away in a prayer closet to talk with your Father. Just pray, then be quiet and let Him speak to your heart.
And please remember, in all these things there is grace. So much grace. God doesn’t want our strivings, so if the only reason you’re doing any of it is to make Him happy, then you can go ahead and stop now. He just wants our hearts and our affection, and He knows how desperately we need Him.
If it’s any consolation to you, I’ve literally been in the middle of reading the Word when my child interrupts me and I holler in anger (I can’t believe I’m confessing this), “Can’t you see what I’m DOING here? I’m trying to spend time with GOD and to read the BIBLE and YOU are interrupting me! MOMMY NEEDS THIS!”
Responses like that go such a long way in teaching my kids to love God, right? #MomFail
Feel Free to Laugh!