So much to do. Days, weeks and months fly by with little time to claim as your own. All mums will know what I mean.
All-consuming and brain frazzling. Sleep routines, weaning, potty training, nursery runs, school runs, after school clubs, church clubs, shopping, cooking, hospitality – and cleaning thrown in there somewhere. Organising holidays, days out, play dates, making sure everyone has school uniform and shoes that fit, birthday parties… Then balancing all this with work commitments! Priorities become muddled.
Why should we spend time with God?
Spending time with God often gets pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list but it is one of the best uses for our time. A relationship with someone is useless if you never speak to them or don’t listen when they speak to you. Our relationship with God is what we were created for. ‘My sheep hear my voice,’ said Jesus, ‘and I know them, and they follow me’ (John 10:27).
1 Chronicles 16:11 instructs us: ‘Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.’ Jesus took himself away to pray and speak to his Father. How much more do we need to do the same?
A recent sermon reminded me of something awesome that I quickly forget: the Bible is the very breath of God. ‘All Scripture is breathed out by God’ (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Wow, what a privilege it is to be able to read it, any time, any day. Who better to listen to than the Creator of the universe? I need this daily reminder to turn my eyes towards Jesus and the things of eternity.
Daily Bible readings have always been a struggle and have sometimes slipped by the wayside, or become just token readings. What I have learned is that whenever I skimp on my Bible reading my attitude towards everything becomes more worldly. I feel a change in how I am with others, especially my family. Stress and anxiety creep in, and a negative feedback cycle begins.
I am not a morning person so I read in the evening. I keep daily Bible notes under my pillow so they are easy to grab before I go to sleep. I have even been known to get my kids to read the passage to me while I sit on my bed and listen!
Aside from daily readings, I love Bible verses dotted around the house. I recently bought little tins with Bible verse cards. Just a verse in the middle of the day can be a reminder to turn our thoughts to the Lord. Even the kids’ coloured memory verses on the fridge (or more likely all over the bedroom floor!) can also be a timely nudge. Listening to good Christian music also reminds me about the great truths of the Bible and will often lift me in praise and worship.
The hymn What a friend we have in Jesus reminds us of the privilege that we can ‘take it to the Lord in prayer.’ Everything. Problems in work, problems at home, relationship problems and secret problems.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 exhorts us to ‘pray without ceasing’. Then there is that favourite verse in Philippians 4:6: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.’ It is hugely encouraging to be able to hand over to the Lord all the worries and cares for him to deal with.
This isn’t easy for a natural control freak. I so often fall into the trap of trying to organise life from my mind at bedtime. I am learning that this is in fact a complete waste of time. I am so grateful that the Lord is in control.
Praise God that he loves to hear our prayers, and amazingly we can pray about everything no matter how big or small. Short arrow prayers for help with a medical emergency, patience with a teenager, or a tricky situation in work. Longer prayers requesting miracles of conversion or seemingly impossible worldwide changes.
Finding time to close the door and pray by yourself is a challenge when days are busy and nights are disturbed. Remind yourself to acknowledge the Lord and pray to him throughout the day, not just keeping all your requests for bedtime when you start to worry. Thank the Lord for that five minutes when you could enjoy a hot cup of tea and delicious slice of cake, a moment of stunning scenery through the car window, or an encouraging conversation with a colleague. Get into the habit of thanking and praising God for all things.
I have come to love time in the car on my own, using this time to be with the Lord, just him and me. On the way into work praying for the day ahead, and after work praying over whatever has been. Everyone’s day looks different. I would encourage you to think about a part of your day that is consistent (it may not be conventional!) and use this as a regular daily time to speak with the Lord.
I have found keeping the Lord’s day invaluable, always leaving this day for going to the house of the Lord, being fed by the ministry of his Word and spending time with his people. In this 24/7 society it can be tricky to set aside a day for the Lord. God’s pattern of resting on the seventh day is a blessing to enjoy, not a restrictive rule to resent. There is no better way to prepare for the week ahead but it can be so tempting to squeeze other activities and jobs in and around this day.
Prioritising church will be a witness to your children, teaching them to put the Lord first. What could possibly be more important than your child’s soul?
An immense tiredness comes over me when it is time to go to prayer meeting. Does that sound familiar? In the middle of a busy week it can be hard to go out to the prayer meeting but I have never regretted it. In fact, quite the opposite. I have been encouraged by just being with brothers and sisters in Christ, and reminded of eternal prospects, and putting my own problems into perspective as I learn about others who need our prayer.
Considering all the above, I’m surprised when I think about how often I neglect God’s Word, forget to bring everything to the Lord in prayer, and go to the house of the Lord only from a sense of duty, rather than joy and gratitude.
Life as a working mum is busy and tiring. I often don’t get the balance right. I find my sinfulness frustrating. I’m so thankful for Jesus who made a way to forgive us, to make us right with God, and who instructs us to rest in him. Join my quest to spend more time with the Lord!