“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” Psalm 19:14.
A good friend of mine (Martina) and I catch up each fortnight. We catch up while her son goes to Kinder, so that our girls can play together. We alternate whose house we go to, and while we have only done it a couple of times, it seems like it might just be one of those routines that sticks pretty well. We enjoy it, the girls enjoy it, and on the good days, it gives us a chance to connect on a deeper level. As we caught up last time, catching snippets of conversation amongst the distractions of two young babies and two busy toddlers, we chatted about one of the biggest challenges of being mums of young children: With so many demands on our time, how do we manage to spend time with God?
As many of you will know, parenting young children (we currently have a 4 month old and 23 month old) can be exciting, rewarding and fun. But it is, by its very nature, challenging, tiring and relentless. Tonight our 2 have played tag – one slept happily while the other was difficult. Then they switched. We have just had them both awake. One has now settled and the other still can’t get off to sleep. There is no ‘downtime’ in our household at the moment. And when we get it, we are so tired all we can manage is to get to bed before someone else wakes up. So when it comes to the notion of wanting to spend time soaking in the Word, communicating in prayer and reflecting on what Christ has done for us, where (oh where!) can we fit God in?
A common, albeit very kind, word of advice is often, “Don’t worry! You’re a young mum with 2 young kids – just do what you can”. And there is merit to this comment. We live under grace. I don’t need to earn God’s favour by filling a certain quota of prayers, or reading a certain number of pages in my Bible each day. My righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 4:21-26) not through impressing God with my diligence. But at the same time I have wondered – if I am not spending time with God now, when I truly and sometimes very desperately need Him, when will I?
The daily struggle goes beyond simple desire though. If I have 30 minutes, maybe a whole hour that both of the girls are sleeping at the same time during the day, I have to make some choices. Do I catch up on some sleep because I was up at 4am with Pippa? Do I mop the floors because we are toilet training Heidi? Do I try and organise a catch up with a friend? And so the list goes on.
As Martina and I caught up that day we ended up talking about Psalm 19. We didn’t read it together as the girls were getting a bit rowdy, but later I snatched a moment to take a look. Verse 14 says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer”. And I thought to myself, “How can the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to God if I don’t know what He wants me to say and how He wants me to speak? And how can my heart please God if I don’t spend time with Him, meditating on both Scripture and on who the Lord is?” Despite the circumstances of my life, these questions cannot change. This is what I have been by convicted by.
Somewhere in my day, I must make time for God. And I can. The times when I’m breastfeeding Pippa – I can put down Facebook on the iPhone and read the Bible. As I sit down for lunch not long after the girls (hopefully) go to sleep at the same time, I can spend some time in prayer. It is about me making a choice. A choice I don’t always feel like doing, but a choice that represents my priorities and my passions in life. If I spend more time on Pinterest looking for activities to keep Heidi occupied with, or ideas for something (anything!) than I do with God, what does that say about the things that I value in life? If God is really my number one passion in life, maybe my time should represent that a little more?
It has not been easy, and I still have not made the right choice every day. In fact, with health issues, family issues, toilet training and this un-ending, hooooottttttt weather in Melbourne at the moment (and a baby who doesn’t like the heat at all), I often have literally not had a moment to spare in the day. But, I am working hard to change some habits and shift some mentalities. I want to know God more, to love Him, and to spend time with Him. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (Thanks Colin Buchanan) and I so desperately want that. I’m not going to beat myself up if it doesn’t happen. But I am going to make more of the opportunities that come up in the day, to snatch some quiet time with God. Because He is worth it.
How do you find time for the important things in life? What advice do you have to young parents regarding spending time with God? How does anyone survive having young kids in the heat???