February 26, 2008 by Stacy McDonald
One of my readers pointed out to me in the comments section that there may be ladies who misunderstood the point of this post, so I’ve decided to remove the old post and instead include a segment from Chapter 4 of Passionate Housewives called “Weary Women.”I want everyone to understand that spending time with God each day, praying, and worshiping Him, is crucial to the life of any Christian. But it is a mistake to try to make our “quiet time” resemble someone else’s. We should spend time with God in the way He allows – in the time He gives us – without agonizing over how quiet or secluded a time we manage to have. We must rely on God to meet our needs, trusting that He knows (better than we do) what those needs truly are. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. (Isaiah 40:29)Excerpted from Chapter 4 of Passionate Housewives Desperate for God:”Has anyone ever said to you, “You sure do look tired; you need to get more rest”? Maybe some well-meaning friend has patted your back and told you about your need for more time to yourself without the children, so that you won’t have a breakdown or wear yourself out. Perhaps they’ve insisted that, to be truly spiritual or godly, you must have a “quiet time” early each morning in peaceful solitude with the Lord. To top it off, they’ve probably warned you that if you don’t do all these things (that are practically impossible for a mom with young children), you won’t be able to take care of your family properly, your relationship with God will suffer, and you may even wind up on the five o’clock news!
Rather than getting angry or frustrated by these statements, we need to know how to respond to them. Even more importantly, we need to know how to rely on God to relieve our burdens—His ways never fail us! In this chapter we’ll discuss several ways we can let go of some of the ways we burden ourselves, as well as learn how to properly manage the challenges and trials God sends us for our good and His glory.
The Highly Revered “Quiet Time”
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I don’t have a personal quiet time every morning that is actually quiet or alone, nor do I know anyone with more than two children who does. Spending time with God and in His Word is crucial, but don’t set yourself up for disappointment by expecting a regular time of peaceful bliss in prayer and quiet solitude.
I believe that one of the heaviest burdens well-meaning Christians place upon the shoulders of mothers at home is the mandate of “quiet time.” One mother shared with me how heavy a burden this was for her to bear:
“I have heard over and over that I should have a quiet time every morning. I have felt so guilty over the past four years. I tried everything to have one. Getting up earlier did not work, as I have a little one who seems to know as soon as my eyelids open in the morning. The only thing that happened in my efforts was that I felt guilty and lost more sleep than one already does with little ones.”
Moms of little ones need their sleep! We can certainly discipline ourselves to go to bed early enough so that we can wake up with our little ones (or our husband), but to beat ourselves up over our failure to create a worship time that resembles someone else’s isn’t necessary and can sometimes be detrimental.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2)
Rain on Your Despair with “Prayer Droplets”
Too many women are in bondage to the man-made myth that everyone should pray in one great big gush early each morning. But rather than praying a river at an appointed time every day, I would suggest a more reasonable and feasible option for a busy mother: pray in “droplets” throughout the day. Not only is this achievable, it is biblical. We are instructed to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and to let our souls follow close behind Him as His right hand holds us up (Psalm 63:8).
What better way to follow close behind Him than to read snippets of Scripture and pray in droplets throughout the day? As you care for your children, interact with neighbors, and chat with store clerks, “let your tongue speak of His righteousness and of His praise all the day long” (Psalm 35:28). God is your refuge—make clinging to Him every moment become a disciplined habit, even as others look on:
I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day. (Psalm 71:7-8, NKJV)
When all your children are small, it can be nearly impossible to even go to the bathroom alone, much lessenjoy a half-hour of prayer and contemplation in heavenly, uninterrupted bliss; so get creative! Copy chapters of Scripture or buy small pocket Bibles and place them around your house—in the bathroom, in the laundry room, next to the chair where you nurse the baby—wherever you might have a moment where you’re standing (or sitting) still. You’ll find yourself rising above your trials by God’s sustaining hand when you make His Word a continuous presence in your day (Psalm 119:116-117).
If you have little ones, accept that this is your “noisy season” of life. You’ll have moments for “quiet” time later. Pray in droplets during the day as well as when you’re awakened at night:
Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)
Pray with your children, pray when you’re bathing the baby, and pray in the shower— but pray!
Make Room in Your Prayer Closet for Your Children
Looking back to the days when all my children were young, and I desperately sought time alone with God, I recall thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why does everyone else seem to have it all together, and I can’t seem to have a single quiet time without getting frustrated over being interrupted every five seconds?” I thought I had to spend time with God a certain way for it to “count.”
Then there were the mornings when I sacrificed the extra rest and tried to get up before the children did. Inevitably, I would open my Bible, begin praying, and then hear the footsteps of a toddler plodding down the stairs. “Mommy, I’m hungry.” And so my day would begin in frustration and heaviness without having accomplished my “spiritual time of rest and quiet communion with God.”
Rather than pouring some cereal and reading my Bible with the children while they ate and I sipped a cup of coffee, I would begin my day feeling like a failure, being short with the children—perhaps even secretly feeling like God was unfair. After all, I just wanted to spend time alone with Him; why couldn’t He have kept everyone asleep? I wound up getting angry because I was trying to meet God each day “my way” rather than His, and it wasn’t working.
It took me a long time to realize that I needed to serve God right where He had placed me—and I didn’t have to be in seclusion to spend quality time with Him. I was in His presence with every diaper I changed, every Bible story I told my children, every meal I prepared, every toilet I cleaned, and every math paper I graded. I learned to gather my little ones around me to pray the Lord’s Prayer, for my good as well as theirs.”
This excerpt was taken from Chapter 4 of Passionate Housewives Desperate for God