I sit down with my coffee and my Bible. I get settled in and open my journal and my Bible. I hear stirring from the baby monitor. The baby woke up. Again.
In high school I used to spend long stretches of time reading my Bible. In college, my workload got more intense, and I didn’t have as much time to spend in the Word. At the time I didn’t understand that different seasons of life mean that our time in the Word may look different. Instead, I felt guilty and would often go through long periods of not reading my Bible at all because I thought if I couldn’t spend the time that I was used to spending then I shouldn’t spend any time at all – I was wrong, by the way.
It’s so easy to get frustrated when different seasons of life make your “quiet times” with the Lord look different. It’s easy to just not show up. Something to remember, however, is that God values faithfulness. He honors when we choose to show up, whether we have an hour or just ten minutes. I believe time spent with God is never time wasted. God can bring fruitfulness out of both situations, even if we don’t necessarily see the fruitfulness right away.
So I take a drink of my coffee, set my Bible and journal aside temporarily, and go get my sweet baby. My quiet time is different than it used to be, but that’s okay. Seasons of uninterrupted time in the Word are beautiful, but so is this season.
There will be times as my daughter gets older when I wake up early to spend time with the Lord and the little pitter-patter of feet come down the stairs before they are supposed to, and that’s okay. Maybe I’ll pull her onto my lap and we can read together. Or maybe I will take a break to make her breakfast and then resume – maybe ten minutes later, maybe two hours later. But what I won’t do is get frustrated. I want my children to see their mama meeting with God regularly, and that may mean my quiet times looking much different than they did when I was fifteen. And that’s perfectly okay.
Friends, be willing to meet God where you are, no matter the season. Seek His face no matter what, and remember that your time with God is never wasted.
I just spent five days and four nights with seven children between the ages of two and eight (and head back Monday for round two!) during our church’s high school camp (we watch the leaders’ children) and amidst the chaos, God showed me a lot.
1.) Quiet time is essential. Which can become quite difficult when there are seven children running around from seven a.m. until nine p.m.. By the time Genelle, Chloe, and I got the kids to bed, comprehending anything was practically impossible. We were giggly and confused and couldn’t get to bed fast enough. Anyway, the first three days I actually managed to have quiet time twice a day whereas the last two I was lucky to get in one session (the kids were getting quite tired and grumpy). Looking back, the difference I can see in myself on those days when I spent a lot of time with God and the days when I didn’t is pretty astounding. The first few days it seemed I had an abundance of patience, gentleness, kindness. As the week went on and I didn’t spend as much time with God, I became less patient, less gentle, and less kind. I had been telling the kids they needed to stop being so grumpy when I myself was just as grumpy. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.
2.) If you’re working with children, you have to look at thing’s from a child’s perspective. Children do not see things the way we do. We may not think that spilling a box of crayons is a big deal, but to a three year old, it can seem devastating.
3.) Encouraging and rewarding good behavior goes a long way. “Can you clean up your mess? You’re such a big boy! You did a great job, thank you so much for cleaning up!” goes a lot further than “Seriously? You need to clean that up right now!” Children are fragile and gentle and their self-esteem and self-worth are easily damaged, our words can impact them for the better or the worse.
I’m sure there are other things I wanted to say, but I’m exhausted and I have to go teach my fiance how to do laundry. Talk to you later people! And please be praying for us as we get to love on these wonderful children for another week, and for their parents as they love on the middle schoolers, and for the teens. God will do big things.