On the bookshelf next to my bed sit several devotionals written specifically for moms. Just a sampling of what could take up an entire bookshelf in a Christian bookstore. Here are some common trends among them: the title or description mentions the word “busy”, the devotionals are short, and the books are small. Oh, and the covers have some sort of peaceful picture, trying to help you get to that peace inside. I’m grateful for these books and I appreciate the desire to help moms get some time with the Lord. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people encouraging mothers of little ones (whether it was me or someone else) that God understands our stage of life. We shouldn’t feel like we’re failing God because we can’t get in a full bible study and prayer time every day. As someone who struggles with the “I should be...” mentality, this advice has helped to calm some unnecessary guilt and condemnation.
However, lately I’ve been thinking, “but when I’m going crazy and I’m overwhelmed, isn’t that the time when I need quality time with my Jesus the most?” So, I’ve been wrestling with this. Is it helpful and right to tell moms that 10 minute devos are good if that’s all you can do right now? I don’t think there’s an easy or “right” answer to that.
Here’s what I’ve realized, though. If I could be fully convinced, 24-7, that my time with God is my lifeline in the intense, always on, no sick days or vacations life of motherhood in the early years, then I don’t think finding time for Him would be a problem. Because, let’s face it, it’s not for Him, it’s for me! I NEED it. Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” David says in Psalm 63, “Oh God you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Oh, that my soul would yearn for the Word and the comfort of my Heavenly Father as my body yearns for the ice cream!
So if I’m wondering, “Should I give myself the young mother pass, and relax my guilt,” then I’m missing the mark. First of all, there is no need for guilt, regardless. Jesus does understand what’s going on in our lives, whether it be busyness from motherhood or work or whatever is filling up our lives. And God wants to help us, like the Good Father that He is. How can He, though, if we don’t go to Him. The effects of continually pushing off time with the Lord may not be evident yet, but eventually you will see it.
Secondly, there’s no need for legalism. Just grace. Always grace. Sometimes making sure we have our daily quiet time with the Lord can be legalistic because it becomes an item on a checklist instead of the result of our desperate need. Jesus does not offer condemnation, but grace and forgiveness when we repent. Plus, there’s no guarantee that if we spend a certain amount of time devoted to Bible reading and prayer, then we will have a better day. God doesn’t seem to follow these formulas we put out for Him. My time with the Lord is not always going to look like it did when I was in college, when I got lost in my studies and emerged from the coffee shop 3 hours later. But whatever it looks like, I need it and I need it every day.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”