One of the most pressing issues on the minds and hearts of young Moms is: How to manage?
How to manage a home, a family. How to manage money and time. How to manage relationships and commitments. How to manage everything, and all at once? In beginning a family, we enter a realm of management of not just our lives but the lives of others, and it can seem utterly daunting. God only gives us 24 hours in the span of a day, so we cannot add more hours, but we can “gain” time through creative thought and action.
For those of us wanting to establish Christian homes, the obvious foundation for our thoughts and actions should be God’s Word. Regular intake of Scripture is what shapes our minds and hearts to be like Christ, and we cannot mother Scripturally without some measure of consistency. We can only teach what we know, so to remain in God’s Word is vital.
The “little years” are chaotic and unpredictable by nature. No sooner do we excitedly establish a habit, than someone develops a stomach bug and we are up in the night, washing sheets and cooling foreheads, too tired to do much of anything the following day, much less study God’s Word.
The longer I mother, the more I think of motherhood as a fight- a fight for order of all kinds, and studying God’s Word is perhaps the toughest battle of all. One that requires being armed with a plan. And in my experience, the greatest weapon for this fight is: the alarm clock. While I know that the cry of a mother’s heart is more sleep, the cry of her family’s heart is more grace. And that grace is found in the character of Christ, as He is found in Scripture.
After the arrival of my 3rd baby, our morning routine got a make-over. I was in over my head and needed a new means of fitting in the best things, letting go of the lesser things. I was asked some challenging questions in those months, leaning on older Moms. But questions I found helpful as I looked to find a new devotional routine: Can you set your alarm clock to wake you up 30 minutes earlier? 15 minutes earlier? Rather than waking up to the frenzy of the day, can you wake up to a still house and spend time with the Lord? Make His thoughts your thoughts. Make His mind your mind. Make His desires your desires. Can you brew coffee or tea, whatever makes your morning begin in a peaceful manner, and sit with Him? I can guarantee that these moments will pay off in rich dividends in your day. He promises that His Word never returns void, and so giving Him the first-fruits of your day is only beneficial to you, and to your family.
Or perhaps you have had “one of those nights”, and rising early is impossible, can you read as you go? We will all spend time in the kitchen in a day- preparing food, cleaning up food, clearing away messes. Maybe a Bible laid open on the counter-top could be a good reminder of the need to engage in God’s Word. Stopping to meditate on a few verses before starting dinner, before throwing in that next load of laundry, before cracking open afternoon homework.
Or if you enjoy exercise, could you read before you exercise, and pray as you run? If an audio learner, can you plug in some headphones and listen while you multi-task? If a night-person, can you read for ten minutes before bed? There are a thousand ways to benefit from God’s amazing Word, and God is not a legalistic driver. He wants us to know Him as He is found in Scripture, but in our age of heightened technology, there are endless ways to access and absorb. Find what works for you!
A devotional life, while difficult to establish and maintain, is still the greatest means of refreshment to our souls, as we invest daily in the soul-deep needs of our families. His Word is powerful. It makes me who I am not in the flesh, and redeems many days from the clutches of selfishness. Being in Scripture conforms my likeness to Christ, so that I think and act less like me, more like Him. This is the single greatest gift I can offer all those living in our home.
If you are having difficulty beginning a devotional plan, can you begin this week with waking 15 minutes early? Can you read for 10 minutes before turning out the light at night? You will be amazed at how a handful of extra moments can orient your mind toward Christ, toward the hope that He gives each new day. I guarantee that while you will not gain those minutes back, you will earn them back in riches not limited by the bounds of time.