by Candice Watters
It’s a daily complaint among moms of infants and young children: not enough time to read much, or any, of the Bible. Focused prayer doesn’t fare much better amidst the din of crying, bickering, and loudly playing, early rising little ones. I asked a friend who is presently Mom to a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and expecting a baby, about the challenge of carving out time for daily devotions. “A lot of young moms in my Bible study are asking this question,” she said. “I used to get so discouraged about how hard it is to read the Bible with little ones and sleepless nights and it led to a lot of not reading my Bible!” But she didn’t stay there.
The answer I sense God giving me is to patiently train my children every morning to read quietly, or eat the breakfast I have prepared in advance, while I finish up my Bible reading. I want them to see me prioritize this time with God. And I want to be sensitive to the days when I need to cut my time in the Bible short to read them a book of their own or have some early morning cuddles. I’m learning that some days I need to spend more time growing in grace from God’s Word and other days I need to live out the grace I have already received by choosing patience with my children when they need more attention.
Mercifully, some days are easier than others.
Some mornings they sleep past my Bible time and those mornings are sweet times of communing with the Lord. But more than half of the time, at least one little person is awake and I have the chance to gently remind them that Mommy is spending time with God (teaching them about the Bible being how God talks to us and prayer is how we talk to him) and they must be quiet or go back to their beds. I’m seeing so much fruit in our eldest from this. She knows that unless she is bleeding profusely, Mommy is not getting up from her glider until the “little hand is on the seven.” Some mornings when both girls are up I let them eat their breakfast while I pray a Psalm out loud and we talk about the words and ideas they don’t understand.
In the same way we need the daily bread of God’s Word, our children need our daily patience and training.
Sticking with the girls’ training, especially over daily naps, and seeing them grow slowly over time has given me the insight and fortitude to realize training them takes time. It’s not about how each individual day goes but about consistently being faithful.
Making the training of her children a priority is bearing good fruit in a critical time.
I have spent more time in the Word this past month than ever in my married life. Starting with Jen Wilkin’s book Women of the Word this summer, I can see how God has been increasing my appetite for His Word, without which I could have never made it through the past month of my husband’s new job and all it has required of me. I’m wondering how my Bible study will look going back into the newborn/nursing/colic months but I’m trusting God will show me that when it’s time.
Recently I heard Ray Ortland preach in Southern Seminary’s chapel about Psalm 1. He said, “God is calling you to a lifetime of ever deeper flourishing in His Word. Accept no substitutes. … Make God’s Word the center of your life. … Something is going to occupy the center of your life. If not Holy Scripture, what else? And why that?”
David said in Psalm 1 that the man who delights in God’s Word, meditating on it day and night, is blessed. It’s hard to give that much focused attention to the Bible when children are little, but that’s always the case. The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that the enemy conspires against us, men and women, in every season of life to have endless distractions and reasons that we don’t have time to read the Bible. There is no better day, and no better season, than the one you’re in right now to start making the Bible what’s at the center of your life. Nothing can sustain us, preserve us, nourish us, direct us, enlighten us, or discipline us like God’s Word. Nothing else gives us everything we need for life and godliness. In every season, God’s Word is our life.
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