Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quiet Times: Learning To Adapt To A New Style of Seeking and Listening

For 20-some years I had spiritually programmed myself and didn't even realize it!
To me, a "Quiet Time" was:
~a few minutes of Prayer
~a chapter or two read in the Bible
~about 6 pages written in my journal
~followed by a more lengthy time of prayer

All of this was done in the quiet of my bedroom, no interruptions, my schedule, my timing.

Often I would be in my "Quiet Time" for an hour...and I loved it.  I sought the Lord daily and would wait upon Him (in the quiet) until I heard Him speak to my heart.  It was wonderful--I loved reading, journaling, and communing with the Lord.  I always felt so much lighter and hopeful after my "Quiet Times".

Well, after I started having kids, I tried to fit in my "Quiet Time" into my day, but no matter where I'd place it, I often ended up frustrated by the end result...I would barely get done with my initial prayer and someone would need me.

How was I ever going to have a real "Quiet Time" again?

Then the Lord told me that I needed some re-programming!  After all, how could I expect to have my past step-by-step "Quiet Time" experiences when I am no longer in a quiet season of my life?

At first, this was a really hard reality for me to handle.  I didn't know any other way to experience God (on my own) than in my little routine I had set.  I was already missing Him...even though I knew (and could quote) that the Lord is always with me.

I needed God (throughout my day) more than I ever had, yet time with Him was extremly limited, more than it ever had been!  I remember asking "How is this gonna work, Lord?"

So through various scriptures and books, I sought the Lord on how to adjust to this new season of my life.

One book I read said that in our kid-less years we get used to a "gush" of the Lord every morning, but that as momma's we have to live on "scattered showers" throughout the day.  So now, the scriptures posted around my home and scheduling things like "5 minute morning devotion/quiet time" into our days are my scattered showers.  They are usually just a few minutes here and there, but they are all I have most days.

I still try to wake early to be with the Lord, but no one tells mommy's about the secret alarms that go off in your kids rooms once your feet hit the floor (no matter how early you keep trying to make it)!  But on those days, I have to remind myself that even when I set out with the intention to have my "old-fashioned Quiet Time", and don't get to it all, I just need to trust that was a part of the Lords plan for that day.  And then, I need to WATCH and LISTEN for how the Lord wants to supply my need for Him in another way.

Stilll, I struggle missing those long, in-depth "Quiet Times".  I get them every now and then...and those are cherished times!

It's a lot more work when I don't get my "gush" of the Lord in the mornings.  I have to remind myself to watch for Him and listen for Him-and that can be exhausting even on a "typical" day!  But I know it's good for me to develop those disciplines.

Recently, I was talking to my sweet friend Cheri (who I don't get to see often enough!) about all of this...and she greatly encouraged me that the Lord is creative in speaking to us when our children are small.  She said,

"Sometimes He will use their little voices to say the very word that He wants us to hear...He might use nesting birds or sour milk to speak to us.

He is crazy about momma's who love their babies so He helps them out a lot!..

When we realize that we can listen as we are on the move, it makes our movements more like a dance."

In other words, he's trying to speak to me in new ways...but am I trying to listen?

So...I'm still learning...Still trying to discipline myself to listen for Him in the thick of my day...Still failing to recognize His voice in the "sour milk"...Still desperatly needing to open my eyes so I can see Him...

Still needing to remind myself of this day after day after day after day...

And more thankful than ever for His steadfastness and His faithfulness!


Christine (iDreamofClean) said...

What a great way to put that! I can't wait for my showers tomorrow!

Kara said...

Great post! I always love to hear how other mommy's do it! I loved this post on the girl talk blog awhile back, it has truly been a life saver for me and helped me to set my heart on the gospel which is the only thing that will help me love the way I should, discipline the way I should and the best way I can glorify God!

The Blackley Tribe said...

Thanks Grace! I have been mulling this over with God for a few weeks now. My quiet times didn't change a whole lot with one kid, but now that there's two its SO challenging to get that time in. I appreciate your insight, encouragement, as well as the quote from your friend!

Kay said...

I love it! I always feel like i must be the only mommy that doesnt spend hours every day praying... I DO pray LOTS, but in bits and peices, not all at once. Thanks for the real-life encouragement!!!

Shonda said...

Wonderful thoughts. I think when you have a houseful of munchkins that your time with the Lord is bits and pieces, but I can tell by your heart and by the names you've given your children that you are worshiping the Lord throughout the day. Blessings, Shonda

Danielle said...

Thank you for this!! What an encouragement. I was able to share this with a friend who needed just this!

Cheri Bunch said...

Dearest Grace,
The "gush" season will return, but more gardens will bloom as a result of the shower seasons. Beautiful post, sweet friend!

Corrie said...

It is so timely that I read this today, cause my baby had that alarm-when-momma's-feet-hit-the-floor thing happen today! Just when I think I've got it figured out something changes (or lots of somethings!) Thank you for this encouragement! I'm still readjusting my perspective on this topic!

cooperkelly4 said...

what an encouraging post. It is so funny how kids do have that internal alarm. We get up between 5:00am-5:30am just to get that quiet time, coffee time, and exercise time in before the kids get up. (We are no longer in the waking up in the middle of the night to nurse stage and that makes a big difference." It just makes me so thankful for the Holy Spirit; He's the Helper and if I am watching/waiting for and anticipating for God to show me or teach me something I am then ready. Thanks for the heart condition reminder to be ready for how ever God chooses to speak and lead for that day. =0)

laurapeery said...

Dr. Whitney who wrote "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life" has also written another book called "Simplify your Spiritual Life" that I've heard him mention here when he's lectured in our Seminary Wife classes... he totally understands the demands of motherhood while also encourages moms in the midst of that season, could be another good read if you haven't heard of it already - I think it has lots of practical ways to incorporate bits of the Lord into your day like you said

Victoria Osborn said...

Grace, Thanks for the post. I have actually been following your blog for awhile and have been so encouraged by your postings.

Marjie R said...

After I had my third I had a lot of trouble finding time so I have a daily parenting devotional emailed to me. Short, scripture-based and very encouraging. Sometimes it just helps to focus my thoughts or direct my prayer life.

I also had a very wise Mom of teenagers encourage me that this is training ground. It is important to have quiet times but this busy time in the life of a mom with young kids is training ground to spend your day in surrender. She encouraged me to continue sending up those quick prayers as that will train me to more fully rely on God throughout my day. When the day comes when I do have to have longer quiet times I will still be blessed by this season where I am learning total dependence.

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