More Coffee? And Convo?
Don’t mind if I do.
I’ll give you a topic…
(Actually, I’ll steal another topic from your facebook requests.)
When do you find time for the spiritual disciplines?
Ok, that wasn’t exactly how that question was phrased, but asking me when I do my “quiet time” is simply cause for giggling. Because it’s rarely quiet here.
Admittedly, I’m writing this at 2pm while the Littles are napping and the Bigs are outside playing and it’s fairly quiet. (Except for the opening and closing of the front door roughly 800 times as kids come in and out and ask if they can play “sword-fighting” with wood scraps.) So, YES, it gets quiet here and YES an introverted mama like me really does go to her room despite fear of the house burning down just to get some alone time.
But that wasn’t really the question.
The question (I think) was more about how do we busy mamas find time to grow spiritually when we’re being tapped dry emotionally and physically? And how can we set good examples for our kids so they learn to do the same thing?
I’ll tell you what I do and what I wish I did better and then you all can tell me what YOU do.
We’ll conversate, ok?
Sometimes I think prayer was created just for mamas because it’s honestly the one thing we can do any time, any where, no matter how full our hands are. I’ve told you all about the Lesson of the Prayer Crickets and how I’ve translated that to praying at set times during the day. In the morning I pray for my kids. In the afternoon, I pray for others.
The benefit to having those crickets call me to prayer is that I’m not the only one who hears the Crickets. (Note to self: remember to TURN OFF THE CRICKETS during church. Jumping under the pew to find one’s phone is only funny so many Sundays in a row.) But explaining that alarm gives me a chance to talk about prayer to anyone within earshot. And it may even give me a chance to talk about the Gospel.
And just who is within earshot of me the most?
Ain’t that a kick?
They know those crickets and they know what they mean. At 10 am, when the crickets go off, a scuffle will often ensue to be the child closest to me so I can put my hand on their head and pray for them. Or if I just bow my head where I’m at, they’ll ask me, “Was it me? Did you pray for me this time, Mommy?”
I can get up and place a hand on a child’s head, I can grab the kid that wins the scuffle, or I can just lift my hands and close my eyes and cover them all in one fell prayer swoop. I don’t always pray out loud, but they know I’m praying and they know it’s about them.
Doing this has allowed me to demonstrate the discipline of prayer to my kids, but also the relationship aspect of prayer. My kids know I talk to Jesus. They know there’s a relationship there. And I hope they want one, too…
Of course, they’re not the only people on my heart, which is why there’s that 4 pm alarm. Sometimes I whisper these prayers out loud over dinner prep and sometimes I just stop and grip the counter and grit out my worries and anxieties and sorrows in my mind.
I think the discipline of praying at a set time ensures that I really do pray. I don’t just worry over something or somebody. Sometimes prayer seems like such a non-helpful thing when you want to be Doing Something About It All but honestly? Prayer is a whole bunch more proactive than worrying and hand-wringing.
(p.s. My friend Missi wrote more practical tips about this discipline of prayer in the crazy,)
This year, I challenged Andrew to join me in the Romans Project over at Ann Voskamp’s site. I printed out notecards because I like to SEE and FEEL my words and Andrew is using Scripture Typer. We say our verses to each other and egg each other on to keep going when we get busy and forget. It’s a friendly competition but it helps spur us on to consistent memory work.
I keep my notecards in the kitchen so I can study them while I feed Finn breakfast or while the kids are eating lunch. Finn hasn’t been as interested in breakfast lately (go figure) so I took my cards, stuck them in a ziploc baggy, and took them with me to the shower to study.
Romans 1 Verse 13?
Done before I’d even shaved my legs.
The great part is, even though we’ve purposefully left the kids out of this little venture, they’re intently watching us learn and study. I often say my verses to Sam or Ian when Andrew isn’t around to listen. They get a kick out of the banter and “friendly competition” that Mommy and Daddy have. They want to know WHY we’re doing it and we’re modeling various ways HOW to do it.
Hopefully, they’ll want to join in our fun at some point.
(Want to join us, too? It’s not too late. We’re almost done with Romans 1 but in another week or so, we’ll start Romans 8. Two verses a week. No big whoop.)
What I Wish I Did Better:
I don’t sit down and model an actual “daily quiet time” for my kids. I grab snatches of Scripture reading on my phone, we do devotions as part of school and we do family worship in the evening. But that personal journaling, quiet reflection, and study time?
It doesn’t happen.
I know mamas who do it and do it well. Those who rise faithfully before their kids. Those who manage it during bath time. My mentor told me to just leave the books and journals out where you’ll see them, remember to pick them up. But our house doesn’t currently lend itself to having any more book clutter.
Some day, I think it will. Maybe when Finn quits unloading the TV cabinet hourly like it’s his own personal smorgasbord of DVDs to chew on…
For now, though, I cling to the snatches of Truth I can find. I look forward to my mornings off. And I pray that by being faithful in the little things I CAN do, God will honor that faithfulness in the future with more time for quietness and reflection.
Now tell me. What’s your spiritual growth plan? Is it podcasts (something I’m only just now getting into), notecards, journaling, early mornings, or the Bible in a year plan? When do you find time for prayer?
What spiritual disciplines to you model well for your kids? What do you wish you did better?