Mothering is a full-time job. Children are there when you wake up. They’re there when you’re sleeping. Sometimes they scare you when you’re sleeping too. With their erratic sleep schedules, desires to sit in your lap, and tendency to stick their heads between you and your Bible, it can be hard to feel like you’re getting in time in the Word.
Expectations tend to ruin us. We can’t compare now to our pre-kid life where we could (and sometimes did) study for longer periods of time with journals and colored pens and concordances. We can’t compare ourselves with our husbands or our best friend or the blogger on the internet. This is our personal relationship with God. And there are no qualifications in the Bible. God doesn’t say that we must spend 30 minutes in the Bible. Or that it only counts if it’s all in one chunk and not broken up in five minute sections. He doesn’t say that we can’t read while also instructing our children or snuggling them while they hold their own book (or watch a show!). We place those requirements on ourselves.
Let them go.
Seriously. God wants you to spend time with Him. He loves you. He doesn’t have a checklist pulled out to grade you on your quiet time. He gave you those children and He sees your life.
But we do need the Word and God does want to spend time with us. Here are a few ideas when you can’t sit and drink deeply as often as you would like.
1. Read when you’re up with the baby at night. I’ve read when I’ve fed all my babies at night. And I’ve fallen asleep reading too. Do you really think that makes God angry? A lot of times I can’t actually go back to sleep and reading my Bible is a much better practice than scrolling through facebook. It’s all political ads and arguments about vaccines anyway. It might be easier to read on your phone than holding your Bible and the baby. Do it. (There’s not a rule about that either.)
2. Read to the kids after breakfast (or while they are still eating). Doesn’t have to be a lot but they will soak it up over the years. Read a Psalm. Read through the Epistles. They are learning the importance of Scripture and it’s bathing your heart at the same time.
3. Listen to an audio Bible. Or use an app. YouVersion will read it aloud to you while you start the laundry, cook the pancakes, sweep the floor. Bonus points for an animated one that the kids will enjoy too.
4. Listen to sermon podcasts. I don’t depend on sermons or devotionals for instruction in God’s Word- nothing should replace the Bible in your life- but they are excellent aids to spiritual growth. Technology has provided us with great resources and we should take advantage of that.
5. Keep your Bible open on the kitchen counter. The kitchen is the mainstay of your home; think of how much time you spend in there. Read a verse when you walk through. Read it out loud to your kids. Memorizing Scripture with my kindergartener has been a great motivation for me to memorize as well.
6. Master small chunks. Read one Psalm or one Proverbs. Read one chapter of Philippians. Don’t try to read 10 chapters of Isaiah. Read two verses of Philippians and think on them all day. Get something you can learn and apply.
7. Use notecards. Write those two verse in Philippians on a notecard and hang it over the kitchen sink or on the bathroom mirror or over the changing table. Think about what they say when you are working there.
8. Discuss what you are learning with your husband or a friend. Then you get the benefit of what they’ve learned along with what you’ve learned. Some built-in accountability never hurts either.
9. Pray for a heart for the Bible and time for it too. God hears your prayers and He answers. You’ll be surprised at how He provides.
Time in the Word may not look like what it did before you had kids. It changes constantly and that’s ok. Keep learning the Word and continue to fall more in love with Jesus. A little bit at a time adds up to a lot when it’s done consistently. You’re much better off reading one chapter (or two verses) every day than reading 5 chapters once a week.
How about you? How do you manage time in the Bible with small children?
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