Snatching Time With God

This weekend my husband and I got to meet with a group of other leaders from our church for some time of worship, focus, and training.  I was stuck once again by what a unique season of life I am in.  The demands of having young children can feel all-consuming, and my relationship with God has certainly looked different in the last few years than it has at any other time in my Christian walk.  I have noticed that most of the books I read or advice I have heard about spiritual formation may be really helpful during other seasons, but don’t necessarily work quite so well for me as a mother of young children.

Snatching Time
For example, I spent my first few years as a mom trying my “old” way of scheduling time with God–early in the morning, during nap time, after the children when to bed . . . the result was always the same.  While it can be helpful to have a regular quiet time, I have found that more often than not, that time I try to set aside gets interrupted by a teething baby, a toddler who wakes up earlier than usual, a child who’s melting down and just needs a bit more mama time than usual, or complete exhaustion on my part.

prayer calendarRather than developing a discipline of devotional time, I found it more helpful to train myself to “snatch” moments with God.  When everyone is playing quietly for a minute and I have time to run to to the bathroom alone, I take a moment to read in the Bible I keep there just for such chances.  I keep a perpetual prayer calendar above my sink so that as I’m doing dishes I can meditate on the verse for that day and pray for my children accordingly.  Sometimes I’ll keep a prayer list on the dashboard of my car so on the chance I get a moment as we drive when I’m not answering questions from the back seat I can use that time to pray about the things on my heart.

need these times.  When I find myself feeling short-tempered and irritable, snapping at my kids or feeling overwhelmed, it’s usually because I’m “running on empty.”  Taking an extra minute in the bathroom each morning to greet the Lord, thank Him for the day, surrender myself to Him, and ask for His Spirit to lead me, fills me up so that my kids catch the overflow of His love spilling out of me, rather than the impatience of a desperately thirsty soul.

Susanna Wesley, mother of 19 children including John and Charles Wesley, used to pull her apron up over her head to give herself a private place to pray.  That’s woman who knows her desperate need!  Whether you find your chance to pray under an apron, in a bathroom, in your car, or someplace else, I want to encourage you to have grace for yourself in this season of child-rearing.  Don’t feel guilty if you can’t find consistency in your quiet times. Instead, try to snatch up those moments to draw close to God whenever you can catch them.

How do you find time with God in the midst of busy days with little ones?  I’d love to know what’s working for you!