As I was working on my workshop for women’s conference, I realized that my notes to busy moms really could apply to anyone who is struggling to find time with God in the midst of life’s busyness. When busyness is a barrier in your relationship with God going to back to the basics and keeping things simple can be helpful. My presentation was about an hour long, so obviously too long for one blog post. I’ll be dividing up my talk and sharing it here in a mini-series this week. I hope your encouraged and maybe even walk away with some new ideas for finding time with God.
Finding Time with God as a Busy Mom Workshop:
My name is Amy Scott. I’m married to Pastor Jeremy, the children’s pastor here at Bethel. I also happen to be an ordained minister as well. Jeremy and I have two boys, Owen who is about to turn 8 next month and Graham who is about to turn 6. In an unexpected twist in my life story, I now find myself in my second year of homeschooling. I am still in the trenches of kids 24/7 at home and balancing my faith in the midst of household chaos.
I grew up here at Bethel Church. My family moved to the area and we started attending here when in 7th grade. While I made a decision to follow Jesus as a young child, I didn’t really fall in love with God’s word until I was a freshman in high school. I joined a youth leadership team and part of that commitment was Bible reading. Weekly, we would have to share what we read and what stood out to us in God’s word. I thought I knew the Bible because I had grown up in church and heard all the Sunday school stories. I was blown away when I actually read the Bible for myself. When I read it cover to cover, I was amazed. My faith took on a whole new vibrancy! God’s word is powerful!
Throughout my high school years I felt a call to ministry. I knew I either wanted to marry a pastor or be a pastor (turns out I did both). I decided to go to Bible College because I knew I was going to be a church lady and I wanted to be well-equipped. College is where I hit my first snag in Bible reading and quiet time. What I used to do for my own personal faith became homework. After studying God’s word for four years, I definitely had new wisdom and insight, but I also experienced Bible burn out and that led to guilt. I loved God. I wanted to be in ministry. But I had no desire to read my Bible for personal reasons. It felt too much like school. Thanks to wise friends and mentors, I realized that it’s okay to have my quiet time look different in different seasons of my life. I’m a rule-follower and a lover of routine, I had gotten it into my head that my quiet time with the Lord had to look a certain way and I was thrown off when that no longer worked for me.
I’m thankful that I learned this lesson in college because I would learn it again in motherhood and this time I didn’t get tripped up as easily. After having my oldest son, I fell back into daily times with God fairly easily. Owen was a great napper so I often had quiet moments throughout the day and I would spend them with God. My steady routine was harder to regain after the birth of my second son, Graham. While I might have still had quiet moments throughout the day, I felt like my mental capacity was different in the season after having Graham (I’m not blaming Graham. I had new mom brain, a toddler at home, some big life stuff to process). During this season, I embraced having a quiet time with God almost every other day. About 3-4 times a week and it was never a super-lengthy or in-depth study. I will say that Bible reading was harder for me in that time, but prayer became more important – it became a lifeline in that season. Things shift from season to season and that is okay. I’m so thankful that I’ve learned this because it has freed me from so much “I should be doing it like that…” guilt.
Guilt is a common feeling that comes up when we talk about what we should be doing. It’s easy to get caught up feeling bad about the things we should be doing, but aren’t. Side note: as you’re listening to my suggestions in this workshop, instead of thinking I should do that, think I could do that. Give yourself some flexibility, some options, and a chance to experiment. Taking things from a “should” to a “could” in your mind frees you from guilt and opens up more possibilities.
If you’ve been in church for a while you might be familiar with this passage from Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message where Jesus says:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I don’t know about you but being tired and worn out seems relatable to me a mother. And adding heavy religious expectations on to ourselves isn’t the kind of life-giving relationship that Jesus wants to give us. I pray that as you process how to find quiet moments with God in your day; you’ll remember that he won’t place anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. He wants you to live freely and lightly!
This might be a bit of a basic place to start, but I’m going to start with the why we should find quiet moments with God in our daily lives. One of my joys has been teaching 4th-6th girls for over a decade on Wednesday nights. When I talk with the girls in my class about having a relationship with God, I try to have them think of their relationship in light of real-life relationships. Girls know what it’s like to have a BFF or a super close friend. I ask them to think about how often they talk to their friends. How often do they want to see them and hang out with them? A relationship with God is the same way. Friendships are built around spending time together, about communicating, and about listening. Our relationship with God is similar to a relationship with a friend, a spouse, a child, a parent – time matters, communication matters, and listening matters. This is why it’s a worthy endeavor to find time with God in your daily life.
Also Jesus modeled this for us as well. He often got away from the crazy crowds and the hustle of everyday life to spend time with His Father. I often think of the disagreements between the disciples on the same level as sibling squabbles. It takes energy to lead and guide people. As leaders in our homes, we need to be connecting with the Father to get refilled, renewed, and restored. We can’t give from an empty cup. If Jesus needed quiet time away with God, then we need it too!
To Be Continued…