With four young children, a moment of quiet or predictable consistency is hard to come by. Even with my best efforts to be organized and intentional, it’s still difficult to stay engaged in regular bible study, to disciple women, to fellowship regularly with other believers, or to serve in ways that pull me out of my home. The desire is there, but so are the dirty diapers, the naptime routines, the laundry piles, and the mundane things that keep our family going.
All the distractions, setbacks, and challenges occasionally leave me wondering if theological growth just isn’t possible for a woman in the season of young children. I’ve wondered if I should just shrug at my inconsistent quiet times, and parched prayer life. I’ve contemplated sitting out of the women’s bible study or leaving our calendar free of hospitable meals because it’s just too hard.
But by God’s mercy, I’ve also seen that a life apart from frequent fellowship with Jesus, is bleak at best. The Lord has broadened my view to see creative ways to grow in my knowledge of sound doctrine, rich theology, and gospel truth (even in when laundry mountains and full crockpots abound). And when I stay connected to the vine in this way, I’ve also noticed that I naturally bear the fruit, and walk in good works that fit my season of life.
So for every mom of little ones who is longing to see her relationship with God as bigger than the elusive “quiet time”, this list is for you:
Consume the word of God throughout your day by utilizing technology to learn and grow. Use a bible app and listen to large swaths of scripture or put a passage you’re trying to memorize on repeat. When you are busy playing with children or cleaning up toys, let rich hymns remind you of important truth. Mundane tasks are a wonderful opportunity to let your mind process through challenging sermons, theological podcasts, or even a good audiobook. Regardless of the time or place, turn on your device and learn (as your children soak up the good truth alongside you!).
Beyond just listening, there are archives full of conference messages, speaking engagements, and sermons at your fingertips. Fold laundry with your laptop open to an encouraging or challenging message. Go beyond your favorite Netflix show, and catch-up on something that will point you to Jesus. Or you can even catch up on live videos on Facebook by following people who inspire you to take up your cross and spread the gospel.
We’re all guilty of spending a little too much time on social media, scanning through endless updates when our time and mind could be better utilized. Have some great books loaded on your Kindle app, and train yourself to default there in a down moment instead of to mindless entertainment. Be intentional about who you follow on social media as well, so you can skim or read gospel-centered articles instead of just cultural inspiration.
As you learn, turn around and share the truth with others. Your children might think you are little crazy at first, but they will eventually get used to hearing mom verbally process theological truths. Grow in your comfort level with gospel conversations by engaging a friend who is willing to ping-pong doctrinal ideas back and forth. Share with anyone you can reach or who will listen, through social media, conversations over coffee, or even with your husband as you clean up the house at bedtime. When you can share what you’re learning in an understandable way, you can be confident the truths are being etched deeply on your heart.
Finally, (and this one is hard for many of us) give yourself lots of opportunities to pray throughout the day. They don’t have to be long, quiet, complex prayers - but moments to acknowledge your need for God and your gratitude for his grace. I find these to be natural occurrences and meal times, rest times, and times of correction for young children. As you pray the truths your learning from your listening, watching, reading, and sharing alone and with your children - you’ll see them and praise God more readily for them.
Regardless of how you consume and pour out gospel truth, the key is to immerse yourself. Be obsessed with learning about and loving Jesus. Stop viewing time with the Lord as limited to a moment in your favorite chair with your favorite coffee mug when all is quiet before the kids awake. While that is wonderful (and moms of littles need more moments to be alone with God), that doesn’t invalidate the thousands of other opportunities to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength throughout the day. Moms of littles; catch a bigger vision of bible study and growth that includes your children, mundane chores, workday commutes, meals, and times of fellowship. Theology is for you too, even if you have a baby on your hip and a toddler at your knees.