5 Suggestions for Pursuing God in a Busy Season
I’m a stay-at-home mom of four. My oldest is five. It is a wonderful, but different kind of season. My days are non-stop, and I’m on call all night. Quiet moments are rare and quiet times are a challenge. Knowing this, some people tell moms of young children to give up on quiet times altogether.
But here’s what I know about myself: without a steady diet of the Word of God and a consistent prayer life, my love for him grows cold. I need His Word. This isn’t merely a legalistic exercise; it’s life to me.
God says His Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12), a lamp to my feet (Psalm 119:105), and profitable for teaching, reproof, and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). It is how He reveals himself to me.
Recently, I asked our pastor what it looks like to grow in Jesus in a busy season like mine. What does a devotional life look like when you can’t pinpoint from day to day when you’ll have a quiet moment?
His exhortation has proven very helpful and freeing: Your quiet time is going to look different. Find ways to get the Word of God in you.
Here are some of the ways I’m attempting to creatively get time with God:
1. Rising early.
To be honest, I’m not a morning person. It’s difficult and at times painful for me to get out of bed. But when I do, the rewards are great. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “It is a good rule not to look into the face of a man in the morning until you have looked into the face of God." Time with God is always helpful, always profitable, but I find when I begin my day with Him, I am more likely to lift my eyes to Him throughout the day. I believe that God has mercy on mothers when we are exhausted and when things don’t go as planned. But when it’s possible, starting my day before my kids get up is so, so helpful.
2. Knowing myself.
Bible-in-a-year reading plans are difficult for me because my schedule is so variable. Sometimes I can read a chapter, sometimes three. If I get off the schedule, I get discouraged and feel overwhelmed. So I have released myself from reading plans until my kids are older. Right now, I’m reading the Psalms and also through the New Testament. Sometimes I read the former, sometimes the latter, sometimes both. No matter how much I read, God uses it.
3. Reading with my kids.
A few of my kids are now old enough that they can read the Bible with me. Sometimes we do that in more formal devotions (we are working our way through a book called Long Story Short) and sometimes they just sit in my lap as I talk them through some Scripture. Either way, it benefits both of us.
There are always lots of distractions at my house so it’s easy to leave my quiet time and forget completely what I read. I want God’s word to change me, so I’m trying to find ways to let it sink deeper into my heart. One way I do that is keeping scripture in front of me visually. I have a dry erase board on my freezer on which I write attributes of God, key verses, things that challenge me or encourage me. It’s a huge help for me to be reminded of God’s character and faithfulness even while making lunch or getting ice for a sippy cup.
5. Praying throughout the day.
God hears me when I’m washing the dishes, changing a diaper, helping a little one learn to read. He hears me when I’m crying out for a little one to stop crying, when I’m asking him for patience, when I’m begging for him to save my kids. There is really so little I can control about my day so I ask for help a lot. It keeps me in communion with God and reminds me that I need Him.
The traditional ways of pursuing Christ are more challenging in this stage of life. To be sure, reading scripture on four hours sleep with a wiggly toddler in my lap is not ideal. Sometimes we have to set ideal aside for a season and get creative with how we pursue Him.
Susannah Wesley famously pulled her apron over her head to let her children know to give her some time with Jesus (though I’m reasonably certain if I did this my house would come crashing down).
Whatever we do, God has not left us alone. He goes with us, using interrupted quiet times and desperate prayers to draw us to Him. His word does not return empty (Isaiah 55:11), and He will use these weary, busy days to make us more like Jesus.