Q: “How do you balance making time for God with raising children? What are some ways you got your devotions in without getting up at three in the morning?”
A: I love being a mom. I count my blessings when I look at my kid’s cute and sometimes ornery faces. But being a mom hasn’t made life easier—it’s made life harder. With kids, things I once took for granted, like peaceful showers and the ability to think without interruption, feel more like long-lost memories than everyday manageable tasks.
Knee deep in babies and toddlers, gone were the days of accomplishing everything on my list. I was just happy if I could get through the grocery store without anyone having a major meltdown—including me, seeing as baby days were prior to that lovely thing called online grocery pickup.
Even with the addition of grocery store attendants who can shop for us, I know you mamas are still feeling the stress. Raising babies is hard. Trying to find time for yourself is like trying to find a pen in the bottom of your purse. Not to mention, when are we moms supposed to eat? That’s what I’d like to know.
If we don’t even have time to sit down for a meal, then how are we supposed to find time to sit down with Jesus? What used to look like blissful morning Bible time now looks like breakfast negotiations similar to crossing the diplomatic aisle, and expansive lectures on the importance of wearing pants. See, I totally get it.
But I promise you, I’m not the only one who understands—Jesus gets it too.
Time with Jesus Doesn’t Have to Be Long
In Mark 6:31 we get a glimpse of what life was like for Jesus and the disciples during the height of Jesus’ ministry: “Many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”
Life was crazy during that season, so Jesus invites the disciples to come away with him “to a desolate place and rest a while.” Yes please, I’m all in. But upon arriving at their desolate location, a crowd is waiting. A crowd that Jesus spends all day with.
By evening the disciples are ready to send the people away, and I don’t blame them. But instead of dismissing the crowd, Jesus says, “Nope, not without feeding them.” Rabbi, are you serious? What about that rest you promised us? Besides, all we have are five loaves and two fish.
Five loaves and two fish are all God needed. Jesus miraculously fed five thousand people from one boy’s lunchbox, and “they all ate and were satisfied” (Mark 6:42).
Moms, we may feel like we don’t have a lot of time, energy, or brainpower to offer Jesus, but when we give Him what we do have, He can make it enough. It’s not the amount of time that satisfies us, but the God who fills our time.
So even if you only have five minutes before the kids come looking for you or the baby wakes up or a fight breaks out, giving God the time you do have is a great place to start. The God who provides everything we need for life and godliness can multiply those small moments of time into ample provision.
Time with Jesus Doesn’t Have to be Quiet
I used to assume that quality time with the Lord needed to be quiet, serene, and kid free. That assumption placed nearly impossible expectations on my relationship with Jesus once kids were part of my day. As a result, I searched madly for serenity instead of actually seeking time with my Savior, and I felt frustrated any time my quest for quiet was interrupted.
But time with Jesus doesn’t have to be quiet or kid free. Much of the disciples’ time with Jesus included other people. The disciples simply did life with Jesus. Interruptions came on all sides, and life was often crazy, but because they went where Jesus went, those interruptions didn’t keep the disciples from being with the Lord.
Learning to view my time with the Lord as an all-day event which includes my kids, instead of as twenty minutes of uninterrupted reading, has been life changing.
As much as I love and cherish uninterrupted time in the Word, God isn’t asking me to sit down with him for twenty minutes a day. He’s asking me to live my life in and through Him all day long.
Joshua 1:8 doesn’t say we need to meditate on God’s Word before the kids get up or for a few minutes after they go to bed. Instead, it says to “meditate on it day and night”—all day long, no matter how noisy the house might be.
Time with Jesus Doesn’t Have to Be Kid Free
As a mom, I may be stuck at the kitchen sink more than I want, but that doesn’t mean I can’t meditate on a Bible verse. My kids may want me to sit in the toy room while they play, but that doesn’t mean I can’t bring my Bible. I may be sweeping crumbs for the twelfth time in one day, but that doesn’t mean I can’t listen to worship music and talk to God while I clean.
When your kids are small, time with the Lord is all about resourcefulness. If getting into the Word is hard for you, then try reading it out loud to your kids. Let them hear Mommy memorizing her favorite verse. Chances are, they’ll have it memorized before you do!
Listen to the Word in the car or in the kitchen. Play it while your kids are playing or while you’re nursing your baby. Talk about Jesus with them. Tell them what God is teaching you. It doesn’t matter if they understand.
Furthermore, let’s not discredit family devotions. It can look more like a circus than a church service, but it counts. More times than I can count, Jesus has spoken to my heart while I read the Jesus Storybook Bible to my little people.
Time with Jesus Is Worth Fighting For
If something is really important to us, we will fight for it. The raw truth is (and I say this with love), if you have time to scroll through social media, then you have time to read your Bible. Even on the craziest of days, if I look, there are options. If my goal for the day is really to spend time with my Savior, then I will find a way.
Moms, there will come a day when your house is quiet again, but if it’s not today, that’s more than okay. No matter how chaotic your house might be, the promise still stands that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).
So tired mama, whether you’re on the couch exhausted, up in the night nursing, or sitting on the playroom floor, seek the Lord with all your heart. Give Him the time you do have, and the God who walks with us through every season of life—including motherhood—will reward you.