And then the negative thoughts started surfacing. In the back of my mind all I could think about was that I was heading the outreach, to try and talk to people who live in our town about The Gospel, spreading the good news. Yet I hadn’t even had a quiet time of devotion that day. I hadn’t prayed other than to give thanks for my food. I hadn’t done family worship with the children because it had been such rush to get dinner made and eaten.
With all the school runs, appointments and nappy changes, I had let my day runaway. And the devil was taunting me with it. “How can you be rushing out to do this outreach when you haven’t even prayed about it?”, “How are you gonna know what to say to people when your head isn’t thinking straight?” and these doubts kept on coming. But then I realised these thoughts really were from the devil, and although I knew I had let my day totally slide, it didn’t have to ruin the work I was about to do. So I prayed out loud, just so the devil knew what I was doing. I prayed out all my petitions, thoughts, feelings, desires, requests and everything else that was on my heart. By the time I got to church I felt prepared and refreshed. Ready to serve as best I could.
That night really brought home to me the importance of setting our day up properly. In order that we can have the private devotional time we so desperately need to balance the very chaotic world of motherhood. I am not an expert on this topic (as the above story illustrates), but I am working on it and slowly improving. These are a few things that have helped me.
- Get up a little earlier. I know what you’re thinking, mums needs their sleep! I agree. But if your children generally sleep through the night then you are capable of waking up before they do, and having your quiet time. But preparation is a key factor here. You have to make it as easy as possible for yourself, when your alarm goes off at 5am or 6am or whenever you decide is the best time for you.
- I like to have a flask of hot water waiting beside the bed, along with a mug for drinking the water (maybe you prefer tea or coffee). Beside it I place my kindle with the one year bible app open and ready to start reading at the correct date. The reason I use the kindle rather than the paper bible is that the kindle is back-lit so I don’t need the turn a light on to read and so don’t disturb Andrew if he is still sleeping.
- If you get your early morning quiet time, that’s great! Well Done! But quiet time with God doesn’t have to end there. I find that there are periods in my day where I can redeem my time and use it for good. These will be different for everyone, but for me, the afternoon school run which is a 1 hour round trip, is a great block of time for quiet meditation. Obviously I am driving at the same time, but I can pray if I have missed my morning devotional time, I can listen to a sermon series or edifying podcast, I can sing songs or hymns with the pre-school children in the backseat (if they’re awake!). There are lots of uses for this time.
- Maybe you walk to school, or have a commute to work in the mornings, or have to wait in the car while your kids are at football practise or music lessons. Make a list of all the times in your week where you have ‘redeemable time’ and devise a plan of how you can use it wisely.
- There are many days that good intentions can go out the window, for very legitimate reasons. Your baby could have you up most of the night, for example. In that case you should probably catch up on some sleep when you can, even if it means turning your early alarm off. But on those days, carve out some time for your devotions when you can. It might mean waiting until bedtime but that’s fine. Better to do it than not!
How do you create time in your day for private devotions? I would love to hear from you via comments below!